Lemonade is great on a hot day. Beer is arguably even better! So like the thousands of other great food and beverage mashups throughout history, it was practically an inevitability that one day, the two would end up together.
As we wade into the warmer weather of the summer months, the relevance of drinking refreshing beverages reaches peak importance. Many will reach for a nice, cold juice on a hot day; many others will grab a beer when they start to sweat. But what if we told you there was a way to have it all?
Radlers and shandies are beer cocktails that have been around for at least a century, owing to two different points of origin. In Germany, legend has it that a popular innkeeper in the 20s began to run out of beer to quench the thirst of the hordes of bicyclists who had glommed on to the new craze of cycling. To extend his product, he cut his wares by creating 50/50 blend of lemonade and beer. The result was a drink that was low in alcohol and high in refreshment, and also a nod in the namesake: Radler literally translates from German as “cyclist.”
So what about “shandy?” The British have yet to come up with a cutesy origin story for the name yet, but if you ask anyone from the UK, Australia, or New Zealand what one is, they’ll at least be able to tell you that it’s a 50/50 mixture of beer and lemon/lime soda, lemonade, ginger beer, or other juice. Talk about an open interpretation! The discrepancy between the two has created a weird nomenclature war that rages on over the internet with great furor (*so* 2019!), but in most cases, people are just happy to get a refreshing beverage in their hand when they ask for one.
Even though they’re very easy to make at home, the best part about shandies and radlers (aside from sounding like a cop duo from the ‘70s) is that there are some really great ones conveniently available on your local beer merchants’ shelves. We’ve done the dirty work and picked some of the most notable ones for you to check out.