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Shandies and Radlers are summer classics — these are our favorites

Shandies and Radlers are the perfect summer crushers


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

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.

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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

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

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

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

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
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