As the weather warms up, people start reaching for beers mixed with juice.
There are two distinct styles: The first is the radler, a beer cocktail that is roughly 50% beer, and 50% citrus juice, or juice cocktail, or even a citrus-flavored soda.
These drinks are popular in Germany during the warmer summer months, and generally feature a light lager as the base beer, although it’s not uncommon to a wheat or a kolsch put to use. The term “radler” actually refers to bicycling, as the beer was and remains popular with cyclists.
You have probably heard the term shandy thrown around as well, and while the more popular versions of shandy’s tend to use lemonade, the original shandy is believed to have originated in England as a blend of ginger ale and beer.
While there are a number of brewers packaging version of both, local brewers haven’t pressed these styles into production just yet.
It’s important to note that a beer infused with fruit isn’t a shandy or a radler. To qualify, the blend should consist of at least 33% non-beer beverage.
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That, dear reader, means the ball is in your court.
Why pay for for a watered down beer when you can do it yourself? Making a great shandy or radler isn’t rocket science. Hell, it’s not even beer science. All you need to do is find a beer suitable for blending, and a juice that does that beer justice.
Land Grant’s 1862 Kolsch is one of those beers. 50% Kolsch and 50% orange juice is a refreshing brunch beverage. It also mixes well with cranberry juice.
Grapefruit juice is a wonderful compliment to a hoppy IPA like Bodhi. In this circumstance you’d want to dial the juice back to about a third of the volume, and let the beer be the star.
On the westside, there’s a drink known as the Hilltop Hot Rod. It’s mixed up in a pitcher with ice, using about 16 ounces of V-8 Juice, a dollop of A-1 sauce, and a few dashes of hot sauce. Crack open two cans of Hilltop Lager, and dump them in.
Mix, pour, and wash away that hangover. Glasses rimmed with celery salt are optional.