The Shandy, a light, refreshing English style beer is made with fifty-fifty light beer (think Lager, Pilsner, or Helles) and lemonade or fruit juice. The term “Shandy” is often used interchangeably with the term “Radler,” a similar style of German origin, which is most commonly made by blending a light beer with a carbonated beverage. Kissing cousins, both Shandy and Radler are in their simplest forms, a kind of “beer-cocktail.”
Found on menus near and far, the “beer-cocktail” or even the cocktail inspired beer (think Mule Beer, available in Short’s new variety pack) is hawt. You’ve probably had one, and if you haven’t you definitely should. They bridge the gap between beer culture and cocktail culture in a way that brings something truly unique to the bar.
Both the beer-cocktail and the cocktail inspired beer have been heralded as experimental and cutting edge by bloggers and brewers alike, so why snub the Shandy and Radler? Similar in origin and experience, one elevated to the status of new, exciting trend while one is relegated to the category of “wimpy” or “girly” beer. Why can’t we just admit that we like to indulge in a Shandy or Radler now and then?
If we felt like gambling, we’d surmise that this attitude stems from the many mass-produced Shandy-style offerings one can find at big box stores and corner gas stations alike, but we’re not gambling today. We’re just stating the facts. Craft Shandies and Radlers are light in body, full-flavored, complex, sometimes effervescent, and most notably, low in ABV. A lower alcohol content makes these brews the perfect option for hammock swinging, pool lounging, beach playing fun. You may even be surprised to know that some beers described by American breweries as “experimental” are actually Shandies or Radlers in disguise. For example, our award winning Melt My Brain can be categorized as a Radler as it is blended with tonic water, a carbonated beverage.
If you’re looking to try a craft Shandy (ya know, for comparison’s sake) you’re in luck. In early July, we released Power of Love, a Shandy made with a blend of Northwoods Soda & Syrup Co. Gourmet Lemonade and a Wheat Ale brewed with raspberry and rosemary. You’ll also find Soft Parade Shandy pouring from taps in Michigan and Indiana.
Better yet, make your own! Our favorite Beer Liberation Specialist, Jon “Woj” Wojtowicz has crafted 5 Short’s brew inspired Shandies that can be mixed at home and served up fresh. Experiment and adjust the recipe to your particular preferences and appreciate a union that results in this effortless and tasty beverage.
Don’t knock it ‘till you try it. And once you try it, don’t be shy. End the summer on a lighter note with a Shandy in hand!