I grew up in New Jersey. In Princeton, to be exact. And, in New Jersey, the summers get HOT. It’s called “The Garden State,” but that’s being generous. For many years, New Jersey was understood to be the Swamp State — there are marshlands everywhere. With humidity, the summers can be a drippy 100-plus degrees. So, to beat the heat, we needed to drink some delicious, refreshing beverages. Enter: the Radler, a part-light beer, part-citrus or soda-based refreshment.
We loved Radlers so much, we used to make our own. Sometimes we called them by their alternate name, Shandy. And for others we used our own, Skippies (don’t ask). Combining our favorite light (read: cheap) beer with lemonade, maybe a little fizzy water — and, if we were feeling saucy, a little vodka — was the perfect daytime drink to sip on around your friend’s backyard pool. Has anything ever sounded so Jersey?
Nevertheless, the process made me a fan of Radlers. And now that I live on the opposite coast, in Seattle, I’ve had to find new versions of the beverage nearby. But there are delicious versions all over the country and beyond. What’s that, you say? You want to know which Radlers YOU can enjoy wherever you are during these oncoming summer months? Perfect! Here’s what to look for and where.
Rainier Radler, Rainer Brewery
Just in time to whet your whistle for spring, the famed Pacific Northwest brewing company, Rainier has released their own version of the bright, citrusy drink. Brewed with lemon zest and orange peel, this effervescent beer somehow tastes even lighter than the original Rainier Lager. Tailgating for a Mariners game? Want to float down a river holding a tallboy can? This is your go-to.
Turbo Shandy Citrus Ale, Hoppin’ Frog Brewery
This Akron, Ohion brewery jumped right out of the box with this one. Get it?! Whereas most Radlers are lighter fare, this beer clocks in at 7-percent ABV (Alcohol By Volume), giving it more of an IPA punch than a Lager. So, if you want to get buzzed quick on a summer’s day, go to Akron.
Samuel Adams Porch Rocker Radler, Boston Beer Company
Over in Boston, the Samuel Adams brewery knows classic styles. They’ve perfected their recipes over many decades. And their version of a Radler is tangy, a touch puckery and will take your mind off of the British invasion – whether it’s the Red Coats, the 60’s rock bands or all the UK actors taking over U.S. movie roles.
Widmer Brothers Brewing, Hefe Shandy
Coming back west, Widmer Brewing in Portland, Oregon, has a taste for the delicious, light and fruity beers. Whether it’s their Marionberry Hibiscus Gose or now their Shandy, the company has refreshing talent. Giving their big name Hefeweizen some extra zest with some well-placed Lemon Drop hops, this unfiltered brew will put a sunshine smile on your thirty lips.
Grapefruit Hefeweizen, Schöfferhofer
While you may or may not be able to speak the language where this beer originates in Germany, you’ve almost assuredly seen this bright orange, inviting can before. A bit sweeter than the beers above, this 2.5-percent ABV brew is the perfect Venn diagram between beer, Radlers and a tasty soda. Bottoms up!