Beer Style Guide: The Shandy

The shandy is a particular “fruity” style that’s been hitting the markets for the past few years, but gaining the most traction within the past summer or so. Popular examples include Leinenkugel Summer Shandy, Curious Traveler Shandy, and (my personal favorite) Narragansett Del’s Shandy. Just in time for the early days of summer, I’m going to take a closer look at this uniquely refreshing style. 

The shandy is characterized as a beer that has been mixed with fruit juice or carbonated soft beverage (such as ginger beer or ale). Though you may think this is a uniquely “American” sounding invention, it turns out that the idea of mixing beer dates far back to the European tradition. 

One of my favorite “shandy” styles.

In western European nations in particular, it is popular to mix beer together in a variety of different cocktails, most notably lemonade, orange soda, and coca cola. This refreshing mix has a low enough yield of alcohol to be exempt from some laws governing alcoholic beverages in Europe! Another perk of mixing beer with soft drinks is that it ends up being very palatable, light, and ultimately different than your average draught pour. 

Though it may be tempting (especially for beer ‘hipsters’) to discount the shandy style as cheap, it pays to mention that the style has been around for many, many years. The main tasting notes to look for in a good shandy include: a dry or slightly sweet body (you don’t want it to be overpoweringly sweet), initial taste of sweet fruit juice (or soda) followed by slight bite of alcohol, the mid taste is usually dry and semi-sweet (or slightly sour with juice), but then quickly fades to a neutral aftertaste that may sit with the slightest hint of a bite on the back end. 

Don’t be “too sophisticated” to try a shandy! It is an amazing style for this time of year: refreshing, easy sipping, and pleasant to drink out in the heat. I’m glad that the style is catching on state side, then only thing better would be for shandy styles to be served from draught at a bar or table side (a guy can dream)! Follome here on Blogger, and on Twitter and Facebook for more beer news, trends, and information!