Where it all started
Since the release of Leinenkugel’s lemon brew, shandy has become a familiar style. It’s a summer staple for breweries like Narragansett or the Traveler Beer Company, which only makes variations on the shandy. It’s a fast ascension for a beer that is a relatively new creation, especially for a beer concocted in Germany.
Franz Kugler introduced the beer at his Deisenhofen tavern just outside Munich. At the end of a race in 1922, his establishment was set upon by thousands of thirsty cyclists. When he realized he might not have enough beer to sate the masses, he began cutting the beer with a clear lemonade soda he had trouble selling. And the radler, which translates to “cyclist,” was born.
Today, radler and shandy are used almost interchangeably in the United States, even though the differences between them once held some importance.
The beer didn’t sweep across the US as a summer BBQ must-have until the arrival of Summer Shandy. Now, it would seem, life has handed every US brewery lemons and they’re making lemonade shandy. However, Summer Shandy remains the gold standard. Leinenkugel says nine of 10 shandies consumed in the US have Leinenkugel’s on the label.