Jim Beauregard's Tasting Notes: A Shandy is a perfect summer refresher
A Shandy is a beer-based drink made by mixing beer with lemonade, lime, juice, soda water and sometimes other ingredients. It's been produced in Europe for centuries. It was originally called a shandygaff in England, in the traditional beer/lemonade mix, and it was carried by settlers to the 13 colonies. It's not just English, though; in Germany and Austria it's called "radler."
Beyond saying for sure it's a lemonade/beer mix, the variation begins. It can be half lemonade/whatever else and half beer, or adjusted to any combination, depending on taste or, for the market, what is popular in a given region. Overall, the alcohol content tends to be fairly low compared to beer in general.
One can buy them premixed, or they can be made at home easily enough. Today, we'll look at several that are commercially available. While some of them may not explicitly say "Shandy" on the label, it's the content that defines whether or not it is one. So let's take a look at some good summer selections, with a tasting committee consisting of Wendy and my anglophile mom, Mary, who has traveled extensively in England with her Welsh friend, Roma, and knows shat she's talking about when it comes to today's topic.
Leinenkugel Summer Shandy, $1.85, no abv on label. Huge white head, cloudy yellow beer, wheat-based and honey and "natural lemon flavors added." The nose is rich in lemon, the palate is dry, with low bitterness, low acidity, medium carbonation, medium body and medium-plus flavor intensity of lemonade. Good finish. Best in show for the committee.
Time Traveler Shandy, $1.95, 4.4 %abv. Again a huge white head, yellow-gold beer, low malt, high hops, also strawberry and watermelon on the nose. Off-dry on the palate, it has low carbonation, medium alcohol well-integrated, medium body. Medium-plus finish.
Sam Adams Porch Rocker, $1.95, 4.5%abv. Frothy white head, listed as "beer with natural flavors added." Yellow beer under the white head, medium hops intensity of citrus, lime and some floral notes. The palate is dry, with medium bitterness, acidity and alcohol, well-integrated. Medium body, medium texture and a flavor profile of hops and spice reflecting the nose. If you like a medium intensity lemon flavor rather than strong, this would do the trick.
Tenacious Traveler Shandy, $1.95, no abv on the label. Huge frothy white head, diminishing fairly quickly, Hops nose, lemon and some ginger. Off-dry palate, low bitterness, low acidity, low alcohol, and the palate is lemon, honey and ginger, as suggested by the ingredients. Medium texture, medium-plus pleasing finish.
House of Shandy Curious Traveler Shandy, $1.95, 4.4% abv. White head, brewed with lemon peel and natural flavors added, cloudy gold beer, lemonade nose, with a dry palate of medium bitterness, acidity, and alcohol that's well-integrated. Medium body, medium texture, and the lemonade comes through again right through the finish. Mom said this was the one closest to what she and her friend, Roma, had in England.
Shock Top Lemon Shandy, 4.2% abv.White head again, yellow beer, medium hops, nose of lemon. Dry with low bitterness, acidity, carbonation, well-integrated alcohol, and medium-minus flavor intensity.
Contact local beer and wine writer Jim Beauregard at email@example.com.
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