If you’ve stopped by a Craft Beer Cellar store in these first few days of July, you’ve probably noticed the “Style of the Month” tags hanging next to some our favorite combinations of beer and fruit juice/soda. We’re featuring shandies and radlers this month, fun drinks with roots in UK and Central European pub culture (“radler” is German for cyclist, a reference to the beverage’s popularity as a mid-ride thirst quencher that’s low enough in alcohol not to inhibit a short bike ride home).
While there are many pre-packaged options available from Stieglbrauerei zu Salzburg, The Traveler Beer Company, and more, it’s also fun to DIY. Craft Beer Cellar Newton‘s recent “Shandy Shakedown” event with Stacy’s Juicebar and Downeast Cider and the upcoming Drink Craft Beer Summerfest “B. Good Burgers Shandy Station” got some of our own Staff Beer Geeks thinking (and testing) combinations that we hope you’ll find refreshing!
After weeks of thinking about it, I convened my first homemade radler experiment, mixing Jarritos grapefruit soda with Two Roads Ol’ Factory Pils and Unibroue Blanche de Chambly.
“A witbier radler?” you say.
Oh yes, I wanted to go a little unconventional with at least one of these. Blanche de Chambly, in my opinion, is a great beer on a par with any of the other witbiers on the market. But how would it blend with grapefruit soda?Using one part soda and two parts beer – measured very unscientifically – it turned out to be a generally pleasant experience. It was a little on the sweet side, understandably, but not annoyingly so. The carbonation from the soda, combined with traditional witbier flavors (orange, coriander), made for a unique, pretty tasty combination.I wonder if it would have been better with the bitterness of grapefruit juice rather than the sweet soda. Perhaps in my next experiment.
As for the Ol’ Factory radler… I would drink this all day.
On its own, Ol’ Factory Pils is nice and crisp, with a notable hop finish from its dry-hopping. This, in combination with the soda, made for an incredibly delicious, pleasantly bitter grapefruity flavor that went down easy on a warm summer evening. I used the same ratio of soda to beer as in the witbier radler, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.
Editor’s note: Unibroue Blanche de Chambly is available in all Craft Beer Cellar stores nationwide, while Two Roads Brewing Company Ol’ Factory Pils is currently only available in Craft Beer Cellar stores in Massachusetts. But their Stratford, CT brewery is DEFINITELY worth a visit. Tell ’em we sent you, yo!