Endless Beers: The Summer Shandy

ShandiesEvery season is craft beer season. Hopefully you are expanding your horizon in the beer world, putting down those bud light limes, and trying something made with fresh ingredients by people that give a damn about flavor. That’s what we’re all about here at ES anyway isn’t it? With flavor in mind, here is your guide to the best summer shandy for this summer.

If you don’t know, a summer shandy is a beer that is made out of lager and lemonade. There are a few out there that you can get just about anywhere: Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, Sam Adams Porch Rocker, and Shock Top’s Lemon Shandy. Classically, a summer shandy tastes like a lemonade with a hint of beer. On a summer day, this makes the perfect day-drinking beer, as compared to your Bud Light Lime.

Leinenkugel’s makes a great shandy that is sweet and refreshing. A bonus is that you can get the variety pack that includes orange shandies and lemon berry shandy. I enjoyed all of the varieties and on a hot summer day, it did not feel like it was too heavy, nor did it taste like water. But there was something missing…just a little more of that beer flavor.

I tried the Shock Top lemon shandy. The brew was also crisp and refreshing, but they are now  part of Anheuser-Bush family and I’m a little disappointed that big beer sucked up one of the good guys. So far, Leinie’s is in the lead.

BUT THEN, Sam Adams wanted in on the action and decided to tease us with their limited-edition Porch Rocker. Apparently engineered after the Bavarian Radler, which was created by cyclists wanting a true day brew. Right off the bat, we’re dealing with some serious experience and inspiration. But then you take a swig of it. First you taste the lemonade, which is quickly followed by a a citrusy Boston Lager flavor. This is the brew that tastes the most like beer when you drink it. However, it isn’t so heavy that you lose the lemonade flavor.

So there you have it. I’d recommend picking up the variety pack of the Leinie’s shandy and a case of the Porch Rocker. If the Porch Rocker moves like Oktoberfest does, it will be gone before July even hits us. Trust that it’s worth it and between those two brews – you’ll be set on day beers for the rest of the summer. Don’t tell me it’s too expensive—you’ll be spending just as much  money going through cases of Bud Light lime trying to find the flavor. Do yourself a favor and go for quality for once.

(Photos: Leinenkugel’s, Sam Adams, Shock Top)

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  • fredcai June 25, 2013  

    Leinenkugel has been a part of Miller since 1988. They’re still fairly independent, but still “crafty” rather than “craft.”

    My favorite summer beer is Dogfish Head’s Festina Peche. It’s fantastically light and has a great peach flavor. I do believe it is time to get one now.

  • snebbu June 25, 2013  

    You got me on that one. However, from what I’ve been able to find, they still brew in their own facilities. Still leaning towards craft, but I can see how you can say “crafty.” Enjoy that Dogfish!

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