Learn more about best beer for radler.
Radlers have become increasingly popular as a refreshing and low-alcohol alternative to traditional beer. Originating in Germany, this delightful concoction balances the bitterness of beer with the sweetness of fruity soda, creating a light and flavorful drink that’s perfect for sipping on a warm summer day. As the demand for radlers has grown over the past years, many breweries have crafted their own unique takes on this enjoyable beverage.
In order to create the perfect radler, it’s important to select the right beer base. Since radlers traditionally combine equal parts beer and citrus soda, choosing a beer that complements the soda’s flavor profile is crucial. Pilsner is often considered the ideal choice, as its crisp and light characteristics blend well with the sweetness of lemon-lime soda or artisanal carbonated lemonade.
When exploring the world of radlers, it’s important to sample a variety of brands and styles to find the one that suits your taste. From German classics to modern American interpretations, there’s a radler out there for everyone. With the right beer and an inviting citrus twist, the perfect radler experience is just a sip away.
Table of Contents
History of Radler
The Radler, a refreshing mix of equal parts beer and citrus soda, has its origins in Germany. In June 1922, innkeeper Franz Xaver Kugler is said to have invented the Radler in Deisenhofen, Germany. The beverage was created during the country’s biking craze, and Kugler capitalized on this by establishing a bike trail from Munich to his inn.
The mixture of beer and soda allowed for a lower alcohol content, making it a popular choice during the summer months. This German tradition has since spread and inspired many variations of the drink, with fruit flavors such as grapefruit, lemon, and orange often incorporated.
The Radler’s connection to cyclists goes back to its inception. As Kugler attracted cyclists to his inn with the newly-established bike trail, he needed a drink that would suit the bikers who sought refreshment after their ride. The Radler satisfied this need with its crisp, refreshing taste and lower alcohol content, enabling cyclists to enjoy a drink while staying hydrated.
Today, the Radler continues to be a popular choice among cyclists and others who want a refreshing drink with a lower alcohol content. The India Pale Radler, for example, combines India Pale Ale with grapefruit soda, resulting in a 4.2% ABV beverage that offers a balance of hop flavors and tart grapefruit notes.
The key to a great Radler lies in the combination of chilled beer and soda, allowing for a truly refreshing experience. Some variations even use juice and club soda in place of citrus soda, offering even more possibilities for creating a Radler to suit one’s taste preferences.
Types of Radler
A Traditional Radler is a mix of lager, such as pilsner, and carbonated lemonade, creating a light and refreshing drink. This popular combination originated in Germany and has become a widely enjoyed beverage across the world. The ratio of beer to lemonade can vary, with some opting for half-and-half or even 3/4 lager to 1/4 lemonade, depending on personal taste preferences. Germans often mix beer with other ingredients such as sweet syrup shots called “Schuss” to explore different flavors and combinations source.
Shandies are very similar to Radlers, with the primary difference being that they originate from the United Kingdom. A Shandy typically consists of a mix of lager or ale with a non-alcoholic drink like lemonade, ginger beer, or any citrus soda. Pale ales and wheat beers are common choices in making a Shandy. The proportions vary, though the common ratio is equal parts beer and mixer.
Alsterwasser, also known as an Alster, is a variation of the Radler that specifically originates from Hamburg, Germany. Alsterwasser typically combines beer with a citrus-flavored soda, such as lemon-lime or grapefruit. The name “Alsterwasser” references the Alster River in Hamburg, as the light, sparkling appearance of the drink resembles the river’s waters.
Radlers and their variants have inspired numerous summer variations that incorporate different fruit juices and flavors to produce a refreshing, thirst-quenching drink. Some examples include:
- Grapefruit Radler: Combining lager with grapefruit soda, this tangy and refreshing variation has grown in popularity source.
- Blood Orange Radler: With a lager base and added blood orange juice, this Radler variant brings a unique twist to the traditional recipe source.
- Totally Radler: A 50/50 blend of lager and organic lemon soda that results in a low-alcohol, zesty, and invigorating drink that is perfect for warm weather source.
Experimenting with various fruit juices and flavors can lead to endless possibilities, providing beer lovers with a wide range of refreshing summer beverages.
Ingredients and Preparation
When choosing the best beer for a Radler, consider the alcohol content (ABV) of the beer. Typically, a Radler should have a lower ABV, as it is meant to be a refreshing and thirst-quenching drink. A beer with an ABV of 3% to 5% is recommended for making a classic Radler. Some popular choices include lagers, pilsners, and wheat beers. Mixing equal parts of beer and your choice of sweetener or citrus soda will result in a well-balanced drink that’s not too sweet or too bitter.
For those who prefer a non-alcoholic Radler, there are various alternatives available. One option is to use a non-alcoholic beer in combination with a carbonated lemonade or a carbonated citrus soda. Another option is to replace the beer with a non-alcoholic ginger beer, which lends a pleasant spiciness to the drink.
Radlers can be made using different sweeteners or mixers. Some common choices include:
- Carbonated lemonade: This is the conventional choice for a refreshing Radler. It adds a tangy sweetness to the beer.
- Sparkling lemonade: A slightly more sophisticated option is to use sparkling lemonade, which provides a more elegant fizz to the drink.
- Carbonated citrus soda: An alternative is to create your own mixer by combining a citrus juice (lemon, lime, or grapefruit) with club soda. This allows you to control the sweetness and acidity of the Radler.
- Sparkling grapefruit soda: This option adds a unique fruity twist to the Radler and complements the beer’s bitterness.
A key aspect of a delicious Radler is its carbonation. To ensure your Radler is bubbly and refreshing, always use chilled beer and chilled mixer before combining them. Mixing equal parts of cold beer and mixer will help preserve the beer’s carbonation and create a thirst-quenching beverage.
Keep in mind that the desired carbonation level may vary depending on the type of beer and mixer chosen. Adjust the ratios to achieve the preferred balance of flavors while maintaining a satisfying fizz.
Popular Radler Brands
American Craft Scene
In the US, radler beers have gained popularity as a refreshing and low-alcohol beer option. One standout brand is Red Hare Brewing Co., which offers a well-balanced radler with a combination of India Pale Ale and grapefruit juice called the India Pale Radler. Another notable brewery in the American craft scene is Boulevard Brewing Co., known for its Ginger Lemon Radler. This unique blend combines the tartness of lemon with the spiciness of ginger, resulting in a flavorful and thirst-quenching beer.
Another craft brewery worth mentioning is Urban Chestnut Brewing Co.. Their Big Shark Grapefruit Radler is made with grapefruit soda and unfiltered German-style lager, providing a highly enjoyable citrusy beverage that’s perfect for warm summer days.
Germany is the birthplace of radler beer, and several famous German brands continue to produce high-quality traditional radlers. Stiegl is a historic Austrian brewery that offers a widely appreciated radler called Stiegl Grapefruit Radler. Additionally, Schöfferhofer is another renowned German brewery that offers a distinctive grapefruit-based radler, which is incredibly refreshing and perfect for a relaxed afternoon.
Other International Options
Outside of the US and Germany, other international brands are also creating innovative and flavorful radler beers. Waterloo Brewing from Canada, for example, is gaining popularity with its unique line of fruit-flavored radlers, such as their Grapefruit Radler and Raspberry Radler. These fruity brews offer a delightful and refreshing touch to traditional pilsner beers.
Another noteworthy international option is Owl’s Brew Radler, which combines craft beer and botanical tea to create unique and interesting flavors. Known for their inventive combinations like “That’s My Jam”, a blend of amber ale, Darjeeling tea, and hibiscus, Owl’s Brew Radler offers a diverse range of options that cater to adventurous taste buds.
Homemade Radler Recipes
In this section, we will explore some homemade Radler recipes, focusing on variations with citrus, ginger, and tea. These refreshing beer-and-mixer combinations make the perfect summer drink, and the possibilities are nearly endless!
Citrus fruits bring a fresh, zesty taste to Radlers. Try exploring different types of citrus to find your perfect pairing:
- Lemon Radler: A classic combination, mix equal parts of beer and lemon juice. Add sugar to taste, and serve with ice and a lemon wedge.
- Blood Orange Radler: Instead of lemon juice, substitute blood orange juice for a sweet, tangy twist. You can also try mixing with other citrus juices, like grapefruit or tangerine.
- Citrus Lemonade Radler: Use a pre-made citrus lemonade to give your Radler a fruity, fizzy update. This option allows for a more convenient, carbonated drink that’s perfect for hot summer days.
For those who prefer a spicier twist to their Radlers, incorporating ginger beers or ginger-flavored mixers can introduce a delightful kick:
- Ginger Beer Radler: Combine equal parts ginger beer and a lager, pilsner, or bitter beer for a crisp, zesty Radler with a slight spice.
- Ginger Lemon Radler: Mix in freshly squeezed lemon juice, a light beer, and a splash of ginger beer or ginger ale to taste. This recipe strikes a balance between sweet citrus and spicy ginger flavors.
Tea-infused Radlers provide a unique and refreshing twist on the traditional beer-and-lemonade combination:
- Iced Tea Radler: Brew a strong, dark tea, and sweeten it with sugar to taste. Allow it to cool, then mix equal parts tea and beer to create your Radler. Include a slice of lemon or orange for a citrus touch.
- Herbal Tea Radler: Experiment with herbal teas like chamomile or mint. Combine equal parts brewed tea and beer, and include a sweetener if desired.
These homemade Radler variations can be easily personalized and tailored to your taste preferences. Don’t be afraid to get creative with flavors and combinations – the sky’s the limit!
Serving and Drinking
When it comes to Radler beer, glassware plays a significant role in enhancing the overall drinking experience. The perfect glass for serving Radler is a Willi Becher beer glass. This glass has a slightly tapered design towards the top, allowing for better aroma concentration and enhancing the flavor profile of the beer. It also has a thick and sturdy base which ensures a comfortable grip while enjoying your drink.
Radler beers are the ultimate summer refreshment due to their low alcohol content and delicious blend of beer and citrus flavors. They are perfect for the hot summer months because they quench thirst while offering a light and refreshing taste. To fully enjoy a Radler beer, it’s essential to serve it very cold.
Here are some suggestions for further enhancing your summer Radler experience:
- Serve Radler over ice to maintain its chilled temperature, but be careful not to dilute the beer too much.
- Try different variations of Radler beers, such as those blended with lemonade, sparkling lemonade, or lemon-lime soda, to see which best suits your taste preference. Some popular options are Goose Island 312 Lemonade Shandy and Hirter Herbal Radler.
- Experiment with garnishes like lemon, lime, or orange wedges to add an extra burst of citrus flavor to your Radler beer.
Remember to enjoy Radler beers responsibly as they still contain alcohol, albeit at a lower level than traditional beer varieties. So, serve in a Willi Becher glass, keep it cold, and savor the refreshing taste of the perfect summer drink.
Radler’s Rising Demand
Radler beer, also known as a “shandy”, is a popular refreshment that has roots in Germany where it was first introduced. It is traditionally made by mixing a light lager-style beer with citrus juice, lemonade, or soda, giving it a refreshing taste that is perfect for warm summer days. The name “Radler” comes from the German word for “cyclist”, as the beverage gained popularity among bikers looking for a thirst-quencher during long bike rides(source). Demand for this unique beer has been rising ever since, due to its combination of traditional flavors and versatility.
In addition to its traditional following, Radler beer has also captured the attention of craft beer enthusiasts due to the vast array of flavor possibilities it offers. This has resulted in a wide range of innovative and creative takes on the classic Radler, with unique combinations of beer, citrus, and other fruit flavors. American breweries are catering to the growing interest in esoteric Radlers(source).
As a result, there are now many different brands and flavors of Radler beers available in the market, such as Moosehead Grapefruit Radler and Hirter Herbal Radler. These beers provide intriguing flavor profiles and varying levels of alcohol content, making them ideal for a diverse range of tastes and preferences.
The increasing interest in and demand for Radler beers has led to the celebration of National Radler Day on every 22nd of June, where enthusiasts enjoy their favorite concoctions and pay homage to this German beer style(source).
By offering a refreshing and easy-to-drink mix of beer and citrus, paired with the appeal of unique and esoteric flavors, Radler beers have secured a growing place in the global beer market. This rising demand is testament to their ability to cater to both traditionalists and adventurous drinkers alike.