[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s the warmer months are upon us, palettes turn to lighter, more thirst quenching fare. But are we cursed to guzzle Coronas, super sweet dressed up wine coolers from a can, or “Light” beers? In the “What to drink this summer” series we will offer some alternatives to the usual, and sun-poison your taste buds with options.
- The beer style with the most buzz right now just might be shandy. Not really a style at all but a mix of lager and a citrus or ginger flavored soda, the combination is popular in nearly all markets that drink beer. In the U.S. beer has mostly kept away from the Mike’s Hard Lemonades. But as the beer market continues to grow, diversify and mature drinkers are more willing to try hybrids once thought unsaleable. And in summer even the most hoity beer snob is more willing to try something farther up the refreshing scale. Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy is popping up everywhere and at 4.5%ABV it will turn a few Landshark/Smirnoff Ice types on to something new.
- On the more extreme side is Turbo Shandy, a flavorful, higher gravity blend. If shandy is the craft beer take on Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Turbo Shandy is the answer to the Mike’s Harder series. One readily available take on this style is Akron brewer Hoppin’ Frog’s Turbo Shandy Citrus Ale, a 7.0%ABV 7.3IBU offering.
Turbo pours blonde with a limited white head and bubbles away quickly. With a clean lemon fruit (not furniture polish) scent there is no hint of either beer or booze. The taste is a mildly sweet lemonade up front with some good carbonation. The finish has some malty complexity that hints of the grains in the brew. There is no hint this stuff is 7%. Very drinkable.
This was our first commercially produced shandy, and we were was not certain what to expect. Luckily, this stuff brewed right. Never too sweet and with just enough beer flavor to keep your beer-geek credentials intact, this is a creative option for the warmer months. The appeal is nearly universal, and the quality is high. Our only criticism might be that the beer flavor was perhaps not pronounced enough. As these cocktails are traditionally blended with a pilsner, that may be too much to ask.
- Seek this one out as it is available right now almost anywhere Hoppin’ Frog is sold. Beer lovers and haters alike may be fighting over these bottles at your next
cocktail partyBBQsoftball game
- dry-wedding reception tailgate.