By now, you’re probably familiar with shandies; the beer cocktail that is typically mixed with lemonade, but could include a soft drink such as ginger ale, other light sodas, or orange juice. They’ve become a popular addition to many breweries’ lineups, particularly as the weather warms and craft drinkers look for refreshing beverages. Usually sweet and often tart, these mixes are a great fruity break from maltier or hoppier alternatives. They also tend to be lower in alcohol content, due to their mixed nature, so make a great go-to for day-time get-togethers like picnics and BBQs or just relaxing on the deck on a weekend.
The idea of mixing a sweet drink with beer might seem strange at first, but it’s been going on for a long time, and with good reason. The earliest record of a beer cocktail of its ilk is from 1853, in the form of the shandygaff, a beer and ginger ale mix. Other countries have their own versions, including the Radler (German for cyclist), a beer mixed with sparkling lemonade, which supposedly originated in Munich in 1922. France has its version, the Panache, which is close to the Radler definition. Even Singapore has a cocktail where beer is mixed with tonic water, called Kip Lin after its inventor.
Where shandies were traditionally mixed on-site, you can now conveniently buy them pre-mixed in a bottle. Here are a few to try:
Widmer Bros Hefe Shandy – A hefeweizen made with Lemon Drop hops and mixed with natural lemonade for a lip-smacking mix. 4.2% ABV
Shock Top Shandy – Another wheat beer with a big lemon taste and a spicy yeast to back it up. 4.2% ABV
Susquehanna Shady Spot Shandy – This shandy harkens back to the traditional English style: dry and refreshing. 4.7% ABV
While these shandies are a great grab-n-go option, and definitely worth a try, you might want to try your hand and making one of your own. If you’re unsure of where to begin, let’s go over a few simple recipes that can get you started, and you can take it from there.
Big Lemon Wave
1 12oz bottle Kona’s Big Golden Wave
4oz Fresh lemonade, pulp optional
Mix, garnish with lemon rind for aroma.
6oz bottle Sierra Nevada Summerfest
6oz Pure grapefruit juice, pulp optional
Splash sparkling water
Mix all, garnish with slice of lemon. Use one 12oz bottle for two servings.
12oz bottle Starr Hill The Love Hefeweizen
6oz Ginger ale, such as Schweppes
Mix, garnish with either a thin slice of fresh ginger or slice of lemon