The Radler: Beer + Lemonade = Refreshment
July 25, 2014
It’s happened. The sun is out in spades and the thermometer has finally made itself at home in the upper 80’s. What is a beer drinker to do?
That ultra hoppy IPA isn’t as tasty when you are sweating through your shirt. Porters and stouts are delicious, but they don’t really go well with a tank top.
You might decide that the best course of action is to turn to a domestic beer with a clever ad campaign. Maybe something about being frost brewed or being on a beach somewhere. I can assure you that a can that tells you when the beer is ultra cold doesn’t mean whats inside is any good. You could get almost anything that cold it will probably be drinkable.
So whats the answer? When it comes to beer, sometimes it’s best to do as the Germans do. Make yourself a radler.
"What’s that you say?"
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It’s just about the simplest beer cocktail you can make. Take one part lager and one part lemonade (or lemon soda), mix and enjoy. It works best with a traditional German pilsner or any type of blonde beer. From there, you can mix it with almost anything lemony (including sprite.) For those of you who are feeling lazy or arent good at pouring things, you can always just pick up a pack of Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy. Its pretty much the same thing, but made with a wheat beer.
The drink came into being in the early 20th century just outside of Munich when a man named Franz Kugler decided that building a bike path to his beer garden would be a good way to drum up business. Much to his delight and later to his dismay, his plan worked. According to the German Beer Institute, his plan worked so well that on one hot afternoon he found himself inundated with thousands of thirsty cyclists. Rather than run out of beer and ruin his reputation, he had a stroke of genius and decided to cut his beers with some lemon soda he had in his cellar. He named his mixture a radler, which translated from German means a cyclist. The drink was an immediate success and is still very popular during the summer months in Europe.
Besides being extremely refreshing, the radler has the added benefit of being low in alcohol, so you can have one and still go about your day. I was first introduced to this delicious summer drink by my cousin-in-law Ralf while he was driving us through every nook and cranny of western Germany. Halfway through a marathon day of touring castles and countryside, a light and bubbly drink like the radler was the perfect choice to keep me going.
So enjoy a radler while you are mowing the lawn, or doing some gardening. Try one in the sauna or while you are cleaning out your garage. Or just enjoy one on the porch. The important part is that when the situation calls for a refreshing way to drink beer, the radler has what you need.