So I figured out what the problem was with radlers I made the other day. Now that I like beer they actually need to taste remotely like beer for me to enjoy them. The sugar in the lemonade overrides the malt flavors pretty consistently, but the hops balance that out. I just wasn’t going hoppy enough.
To resolve this problem I figured I’d try out a radler of a rather hoppy beer. Since we had some Ranger in the fridge and it’s one of my all time favorites I figured I would give it a try. A 75/25 try. No sense in diluting it too much.
It smelled like lemony flowers. The addition of lemonade overrides most of the malt character leaving the radler with a clean, sugar, sweetness, but brings out the citrus and floral tones. It’s like the bitch beer version of Ranger. It tastes like you would hope a beautiful woman smells. Have I mentioned the fact that I want Ranger body wash? Because I do. My husband would be all about that.
Conclusion: 25% lemonade, 75% Ranger, 100% freaking delicious.
The first shandy I ever had was with Mr. Jimmy Bickert at the Metropolis Taco Mac. It was, gasp, a Leinenkugel Summer Shandy (4.2% ABV, 13.5 IBU). Many people will tell you how awful that is based on the ownership of Leinies by Coors (although the family is still in control, they just have a much larger fund now) and the use of lemon extract as a flavoring rather than real lemonade, but I thought it was pretty good.
Before I get too far into this I should probably explain just what a shandy or radler is. They are both beer mixed drinks (Yes. Beer. Mixed with other stuff). Feel free to have a little beer purity freak out. I’ll wait.
According to Wikipedia, a shandy should be made with a carbonated beverage which can be gingerale, carbonated lemonade, even lemon soda (if this seems troubling, think 7 and 7; it might make you feel better about it), but since Americans tend not to carbonate things like water and lemonade it’s commonly made with the uncarbonated version in the States. Radler is the German term for the same thing. Ratios vary from equal parts beer and mixer to higher proportions of beer. Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) in Portland, Oregon offers a 70:30 mix called Totally Radler made with HUB Lager and house made lemonade which is delightful. I had it on our honeymoon, but don’t really have access to a bar that serves them here in Kansas. Hence, my desire to create a similar experience at home.
I made up a couple the other day while Austin was tasting some pale ales. For unknown reasons I decided Pale Ales were optimal for making them despite the use of a lager in the one I really liked. The first was a 50:50 shandy of Blue Heron Pale Ale and lemonade. Although I didn’t have one for direct comparison, I think it tasted damn near exactly like Summer Shandy. That might be a plus for some, but now that I actually really like beer it was a little heavy on the lemon and light on the beer. The point being I vote no on the 50:50 version, especially if you like beer. It might be great if you don’t. I also made the lemonade with lemon juice made from concentrate. I wasn’t thinking about it at the time, but I think that’s pretty much the same thing as using lemon extract. God forbid.
Next up – 75:25 Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and lemonade. First, I should mention that I really like this beer by itself. Like, a lot. I might even be willing to call it one of my favorites. That said, the mix was alright, but the lemonade overrides most of the goodness of the beer itself. Conclusion: make it if you’ve been drinking so much Sierra Nevada Pale Ale lately that you’re getting a little bored (not sure how that could be possible) and you still have a lot left, NOT if it’s your last bottle.
I’ll report back after I’ve tried a couple lagers with not from concentrate lemonade.
Yes. You read that right.
If you haven’t ever tried one you should at least give them a chance before you decide you’re morally opposed.
Austin shared this article about beer milkshakes on Google Reader this morning and I decided beer and ice cream combinations deserved a short discussion at the very least. The author made milkshakes and I’ll be honest, the idea of mixing beer and ice cream in a blender like a milkshake does sound pretty disgusting, but a beer float is a totally different story.
They aren’t quite as typical in the Midwest as the were in Georgia, but you can still find them. I think of Guiness as the most standard although I could be wrong. It was the first one I was exposed to. An Irish bar in Decatur has them on the dessert menu. Freaking delicious. I think stouts are best suited, both because they look a lot like root beer in the glass and because they have the kind of dark rich flavors the complement ice cream well.
If you think you’d like to give it a shot, I would highly recommend Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout or Young’s Double Chocolate Stout. Buffalo Sweat from Tallgrass is my local favorite and I think next time I’m at Blind Tiger in Topeka I’ll see if I can convince them to produce a Java Porter Float.
I’ll be seeking out Peak Organic Espresso Amber Ale to report back on. I don’t think in float form it could possibly be bad enough to make me want to “puke” or “die,” but we’ll see. (If that doesn’t make sense, perhaps you should read the article I linked to at the beginning of the post.)