Here at VinePair, we love the shandy: the perfect compromise between hydration and intoxication. A shandy is technically a beer cocktail comprised of a good brew and fruit juice. Shandies are perfect for the summertime, especially when it comes to hikes or long days in the sun. The juice will prevent you from getting faint, while the beer (which is typically low in alcohol) will make life just a little bit rosier. And while it’s always fun to try and make your own shandies, if you’re short on time or just in the mood to see what’s out on the market, you might want to reach for something prepackaged that you can easily drink on the go. We’ve chosen the fourteen shandies that perfectly tread the line between fresh flavor and boozy goodness. If you weren’t jonesing for a long weekend and a frosty glass before, you will be after reading this list.
Grapefruits are more than just the fruit selection for dieters worldwide. They’re also delicious, tart, and perfect in a radler (basically the German equivalent of a shandy). Schell’s grapefruit radler has a surprisingly creamy head with a touch of malty nuttiness. There is a certain pop sweetness to Schell’s, so this is a great radler if you want to treat yourself to an adult soda. However, aside from the sugar you’ll get a nice touch of grapefruit puckerability.
2. Sixpoint Rad
This mild-mannered beer is from Sixpoint’s Mad Scientists Series, which produces wacky, innovative brews. Rad is a wheat beer that incorporates a fruit juice mixture to deliver a thick, fizzy shandy. Rad is pretty unique for a shandy, in that the fruit juice flavors go beyond just citrus. You’ll get stone fruit like peaches and nectarines, as well as a little strawberry and banana. Plus, the bright orange color of the beer matches the cool can, which is perfect for a picnic or hydrating after a jog.
Sam Adams does a great job of consistently putting out temperate, agreeable beers that appeal to macro and micro-brew drinkers alike. Porch Rocker epitomizes this phenomenon, as it has both fresh originality and mainstream approachability. This is a delicate beer that doesn’t overdo it with the sweetener. You’ll taste some light lemon, hay, and a bit of natural sugar. Don’t expect a cloying cider: expect a beer with lemon. In other words, this is the beer a Corona and lime wants to be.
4. Boulevard Brewing’s Ginger-Lemon Radler BEST OVERALL
While ginger has been a popular cocktail ingredient for some time (Moscow Mule, anyone?), it’s a little underutilized in beer. Boulevard Brewing makes the most of this sweet-spicy root with their ginger-lemon radler. You’ll get lemon rind, succulent citrus, a little heat from the ginger, and sweet, tasty bubbles. If you want to fancy up this raddler, add ginger shavings. We also think that the gentle zest in this beer would be just what the doctor ordered should you fall ill to a summer cold.
Throw your Mike’s Hard Lemmies in the trash and reach for this lovely spin on spiked lemonade. Del’s Shandy is pretty alcoholic as far as shandies go (5% ABV), with a substantial, creamy texture. Plenty of bright lemon mingles with yeastiness for a great combination of summer sugar and ale punchiness. Del’s has a great nose, so take a big sniff and enjoy the aromas of lemon curd and grainy grit. Mike’s, you gotta up your game.
Traveler Beer Co. is brought to you by the same people who brought you Magic Hat, one of the more well-known craft breweries out there. Both whimsical and fruity, Curious Traveler is Traveler’s year-round lemon shandy. This is a very refreshing beer that – particularly when dangerously served on draught – you’ll find yourself reaching for again and again. The lemon sourness and semi-bitter, salty finish will cleanse your palate. Enjoy this shandy with light summer fare like chicken salad or peanut lettuce wraps.
Harpoon triumphs with this bold, grapefruit shandy. Like Schell Shocked, UFO Big Squeeze is all about the grapefruit. In fact, there’s so much luscious, fruity goodness, if you’re looking for a shandy that’s mostly beer, then move along. This is a beer for someone who truly appreciates real fruit. This beer is great when dessert is making its rounds, because it has genuine zingy sweetness without being saccharine. It will both satisfy your sweet tooth and leave you feeling sated.
8. Amstel Radler
We know, we know, we were hesitant as well – but hear us out. This radler is a solid session beer that caps in at a low ABV of 2%. It’s quite crisp, with bright lemon tanginess. While Amstel is a good beer alternative to a vodka lemonade, don’t expect too much hoppy or malty flavor. Like UFO Big Squeeze, the fruit to beer ratio is skewed (at least in terms of taste) toward the fruit. If you’d like to add robust nuttiness, stir in a little amaretto.
9. Point Coast Radler BEST ON A BUDGET
This beer from Stevens Point Brewery features a little bicycle on the bottle. Why? Because “radler” is German for “bicycle.” Point Coast switches up the game by using both lemon and grapefruit juice, not to mention a little squeeze of lime. This beer – which is made with Munich hops (this radler is staying authentic!) – tastes like a perfectly indulgent naughty popsicle on a blistering summer afternoon. Plus, at around $8 for a six-pack, this is an affordable shandy that you can buy massive quantities of for a summer barbecue.
The aftertaste on this shandy is superb. Plenty of wheat and malt accentuate the classic lemon flavor. Leinenkugel’s won’t taste like pure juice either. Instead, you’ll get a hint of egg flavor, like you’re enjoying a fluffy lemon meringue. You could even enjoy this shandy as a light breakfast beer. Get the griddle ready for pancakes, omelettes, and serve up chilled glasses of Leinenkugel’s summer shandy. Now that’s what we call a healthy start to the day.
11. Schöfferhofer Hefeweizen-Mix Grapefruit
The German brewery Binding-Brauerei has created a scrumptious (although slightly hard-to-pronounce) grapefruit shandy. We recommend serving this straightforward citrus beer with a healthy dose of ice and a little maraschino liqueur to complement the sour flavors. As this shandy is half-juice, half-beer, it’s well-balanced and a good jumping off point if the idea of a shandy sounds ridiculous to you because you can’t imagine juice in your beer or (god forbid) vice versa.
12. Stiegl Lemon Gaudi Radler Shandy
Another European beer, the Stiegl radler is an Austrian creation that will have even the most shandy-skepticcal smiling. More sweet than sour, this radler has an herbaceous, fresh-from-the-earth quality to accompany it’s full fruit flavor. Enjoy this fresh, clean beer with a few stalks of mint, or even crushed up basil leaves. For those who wish to enjoy a radler that has a hint of minerality, this is the apt choice.
13. Hopworks Urban Brewery’s Totally Radler
We love puns, and we love beer, so Totally Radler is a no-brainer. Primarily organic lager, Totally Radler gets a splash or two of fresh lemonade to liven up the party. Although Totally Radler is the perfect beer to serve in a punch bowl, we adore these colorful cans complete with radler-riding lemons and limes. Instead of chucking the packaging to the side in favor of dumping Totally Radler in a large serving receptacle, serve this shandy tacky margarita style. Simply get a glass and fill it with crushed ice and a little bit of shandy, then stick the can on top. Aesthetics are important!
By now, you know we’re obsessed with any craft beer packaging that involves animals. Ohio brewery Hoppin’ Frog has delighted us with this amphibien themed shandy that tips the boozy scale with an ABV of 7%. Far from watery, this malty shandy has attitude. Almost as much attitude as that shades-wearing frog. You’ll taste a honey flavor reminiscent of a mead, along with viscous dessert wine sweetness and a frothy lemon aftertaste. Hoppin’ Frog also makes a barrel-aged bourbon version of this shandy, for those looking to get ultra-funky.