Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Shandies and Radlers are summer classics — these are our favorites

Shandies and Radlers are the perfect summer crushers

Leinenkugel's
Leinenkugel's

When it comes to refreshing alcoholic beverages, it’s difficult to beat the appeal of a shandy or Radler. We already love a crisp, refreshing beer on its own, a glass of tart lemonade, or a citrus-flavored soda. So, it only makes sense to combine the two to make an epic, thirst-quenching, boozy, sweet, tart beverage.

Gose beer
istock

Shandies versus Radlers

The classic shandy is a lemon-flavored beer that is made by combining (usually) a 50/50 mix of lemonade (or a lemon-based drink) and a crisp, refreshing beer. Originally called “shandygaff”, the mixture has its origins in England in the late 1800s.

The Radler, on the other hand, is a 50/50 mix of beer and lemon (or lemon/lime) soda. The name Radler comes from the German word for “cyclist”. While its creation is up for debate, many believe it was first invented in the 1920s by a German hotel owner named Franz Kugler. Several cyclists stopped by the bar at his hotel in need of a refreshing drink. Instead of just drinking a classic beer, he created this mix of lemon soda and beer instead.

beer
George Cox/Unsplash

The best shandies and Radlers to drink right now

While they are two different beer-based drinks and come from different countries, they are remarkably similar drinks. They are both citrus-based and are a 50/50 split between the tart, sweet beverage and a beer. They are known for their tart, sweet, citrusy, refreshing flavor profile and low ABV. Shandies and Radlers are very session-able and hit the spot after a long bike ride or an afternoon of mowing the lawn on a hot, sunny day.

Now that you’ve learned a little bit about these beer drinks, it’s time to find some to drink. Instead of making you find them on your own, we’re here to help you begin your shandy and Radler journey. We picked a handful of flavorful, refreshing choices perfect for any time of year. Keep scrolling to see them all.

Stiegl Zitrone Lemon Radler

Stiegl Zitrone Lemon Radler
Stiegl

When it comes to Radlers, there are few more well-known than Stiegl. Its Grapefruit Radler was the first, but we believe its Stiegl Zitrone Lemon Radler is the best. It starts with a balanced, refreshing Stiegl Goldbräu. They add sparkling lemonade that’s made using real lemon juice. The result is a sublimely refreshing, tart, citrus-filled beverage perfect for the hottest days of the year and every day in between.

Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy

Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy
Leinenkugel's

If you’re going to try an American-made shandy, you can do much worse than Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy. While it’s called a “Summer Shandy”, it’s available from February until September. This award-winning 4.2% ABV, sessionable, refreshing shandy begins as a traditional Weiss beer. The brewers add natural lemon flavor to create a wheat and citrus-filled summery beer.

Schofferhofer Hefeweizen Grapefruit

Schofferhofer Hefeweizen Grapefruit
Schofferhofer

When you pour a bottle or can of Schofferhofer Hefeweizen Grapefruit into a pint glass, you should have a pretty good idea of what you’re in for when you take a sip. This cloudy, orange beer is made by combining a hefeweizen and grapefruit mix. The result is a complex, balanced wheat beer and tart, citrus-filled pink grapefruit flavor working in perfect harmony. It’s also a crushable 2.5% ABV so it has that going for it. Which is nice.

Short’s Soft Parade Shandy

Short's Shandy
Short's

This 4.2% ABV seasonal shandy is fruit to the max. That’s because instead of combining a simple wheat beer or light lager, the folks at Short’s decided to combine its flagship fruit ale and homemade lemonade. It begins with Soft Parade, a beer flavored with blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. To this, they add homemade lemonade. The result is a lightly tart, very fruity, thirst-quenching summer beer you’ll crave every year.

Great Divide Love and Lemons

Great Divide Love and Lemons
Great Divide

This 5% ABV lemonade ale might not technically be a shandy, but this beer brewed with Mandarina Bavaria and Wakatu hops as well as real lemons is as close as it gets. This summer seasonal is known for its hoppy, refreshing, lightly tart flavor profile that tastes like a lemonade in a pint glass. One sip will transport you to the boardwalk lemonade stands you visited at the beach as a child.

Beer being poured from tap
spooky_kid/Pixabay / Pixabay

Bottom line

If you’re looking for pure citrus refreshment, you’ll pour yourself a glass of ice-cold fresh-squeezed lemonade. But if you want a beer as well, you’ll crack open one of these shandies. We also suggest trying some beer and lemonade experiments of your own. Take your favorite light lager, pilsner, or wheat beer combine it with some lemonade or lemon soda, and see how it turns out. We don’t suggest using dark beers for this endeavor. That might not work out so well.

Christopher Osburn
Christopher Osburn is a food and drinks writer located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. He's been writing professional
Saison beer is meant for summer, and these are our go-to drinks
Summer was meant for Saisons
Summer beer

When it comes to beer, you can’t beat a piney, hoppy West Coast IPA or a refreshing, crisp pilsner on a hot summer day, but the warmer months truly belong to the Saison.

For those unaware, a Saison is a beer that comes from the French word for “season”. Its history can be traced to Belgium where it was a beer style that was given to farm workers to quench their thirst at the end of the summer during harvest season. Traditionally brewed in the winter for consumption in the summer, what qualifies as a contemporary Saison is hard to pinpoint.

Read more
Summer whiskey cocktails: These are our favorites
Summer weather was meant for whiskey cocktails
Whiskey cocktails

You might not immediately think of whiskey as a summery spirit, and we get that. When you imagine nuanced single-malt Scotch whisky or spicy, warming rye whiskey, you likely envision a cold (possibly snowy) evening. You probably also have thoughts of drinking it neat. What about using whiskey as a summertime mixer?

If you only reach for gin, vodka, tequila, and rum for your mixing needs during the warmer months, you’re missing out. That’s because myriad blended Scotch whiskies, single malts, rye whiskeys, bourbons, and various other types of whiskey are perfect for mixing. Don’t believe us? There are countless summer whiskey cocktails perfect for now until the leaves start falling (and beyond).
Our favorite summer whiskey cocktails

Read more
The best new non-alcoholic drinks for a happy hour without the hangover
NA drinks are better than ever
Wilderton Aperitivo and citrus.

Within the vast realm of drinks, the most evolved as of late is arguably the non-alcoholic category. While we've seen exciting new cocktail trends and useful new beer hop varieties, it's the NA world that's made the biggest strides in the last couple of years. That means we no longer have to shutter when seeing things like zero proof on labels, as the options now are better than ever.

Why the upswing? A perfect storm, really. Wellness trends continue while tech continues to evolve, making the creation of such drinks all the easier. The non-alcoholic drinks sector has proven itself to be a major player in the marketplace, and the producers have responded accordingly, giving these beverages the TLC they deserve.

Read more