Radler is one of the most favorite summery low-alcohol beers available on the market. However, many people are not sure what is a Radler beer. It is basically an effervescent and malty blend made of wheat or lager beer combined with grapefruit, limes, oranges juice, or classical lemonade.
Such a refreshing beverage always has a lower ABV level than a standard beer. In most cases, it is Helles or Pils mixed with lemonade or juice in particular proportions.
Until recently, this delicious beer was mostly unknown in the US. Since the American craft scene always seeks new esoteric styles, Radler has come into fashion almost immediately after appearing on the market.
What Is the Radler Beer?
In most cases, Radler contains two parts lager beer and one-part soft drink, often lemonade, lemon-lime soda, or sparkling lemonade. However, the mix can contain these ingredients in equal proportions, but it needs to include at least 50% beer to be eligible.
Since there is no established recipe for this beverage, many breweries make their own combinations to get a unique taste. The result is a refreshing carbonated and less-alcoholic beverage. You can also find regional styles like:
- Beer and cola mix
- Wheat beer and cola
Nowadays, you can find two citrus beer types, including Radler and Shandy. The difference is not significant, but Shandy is slightly more encompassing and includes apple or ginger ale. Some connoisseurs consider these two citrus beers the same stuff with different names Shandy (in Britain) and Radler (in Germany).
Top 25 Radler beer Brands
It is assumed that commercially prepared Radler contains 2 to 4.5 % ABV while commercial Shandie is stronger with 4.2 to 4.5% ABV on average. However, brewers tend to make stringer beverages, so you can find Radlers with higher ABV than most classical beers contain.
No one can say if the story about the Radler invention is true. However, most people enjoy the legend, so there is no reason to judge its truthfulness. It said that the first Radler dates back to June in 1922, Germany, when thousands of cyclists driving down a new bike trail visited Franz Kugler’s Kugleralm Alm pub in Deisenhofen.
When they started to order beer, the resourceful innkeeper realized he didn’t have enough supplies of this beverage. His quick solution was to mix sparkling lemonade with a beer in kegs in a 50:50 ratio. Then, he served the new drink under the name Radlermass, which literally means ‘cyclist liter.’
It was an excellent solution that included providing enough beverage to customers and getting rid of lemonade nobody wanted to buy. Later, it shortened the drink’s name to Radler, meaning ‘cyclist’ in German.
These sportsmen realized that this beer with only 2 to 4% ABV is an ideal drink for refreshing after sports activities. Once this beer-and-juice combination came to the US, many small craft brewers started to create their own unique recipes that included lager or wheat beers and lemonade or grapefruit juice.
It seems that Radler is the equivalent of the famous British Shandygaff that was invented in the 1850s. Most modern admirers enjoy Shandy that contains two parts beer and one part ginger beer/ale. Some brewers also add carbonated lemonade or some other juice to it for a more exotic flavor.
What is National Radler Day?
The celebration of National Radler Day is on June 22, the ‘most refreshing day of the year!’ This day is held in honor of the Radlers, German cyclists who visited Kugleralm pub owner in 1922.
You can become one of many Radler enthusiasts who participate in the Radler Ride, 17 miles (27 km) long path that begins at 5:00 pm at Hopworks BikeBar in Portland.
A pause for drinking a can of excellent Totally Radler is at 6:30 at the Portland International Raceway. The race ends at the same place where it started, and a Totally Radler party can begin.
How to Produce Homemade Radler?
Radler is actually a genius drink because of its simplicity and possibility for everyone to make it. Believe it or not, creating a Radler at home is not complicated at all.
It is enough to mix any cold light beer with lemonade or your favorite lemon-lime or grapefruit soda in a 50:50, 70:30, or 75:25 ratio. One of the most practical options for beginner brewers is to use either a light lager or wheat beer.
If you plan to make a traditional German Radler, you should mix light-colored, hoppy beer and lemon-lime flavored citrus soda in equal proportions. The best beer for this purpose is doubtlessly pilsner. Fill a glass 1/2 or 3/4 full with lager, depending on your taste, and pour an artisanal carbonated lemonade to get the desired flavor. That is all!
Once you successfully make this beverage, you can start experimenting with grapefruit, mandarin, or mango flavors. One of the most delicious variations is to combine beer with grapefruit soda and a little fresh mint.
The only restriction is the amount of sugar since Radler is never sticky sweet. However, some modern versions include adding 7-Up, Sierra Mist, or Fresca in beer.
In any case, you will get a healthy, lower-calorie, and low-alcohol beverage. Compared to beer with up to 10% ABV and approximately 400 calories, homemade Radler is a much more desired drink with 2 to 4% ABV and only 130 calories.
German Radler Options
Germans make a few Radler types and mix beer with:
- Carbonated lemonade
- Sweet syrup shot (Schuss)
The most common syrup varieties include:
- Green Waldmeistersirup (woodruff-flavored) syrup
- Yellow Zitronensirup (lemon) syrup
- Red Himbeersirup (raspberry) syrup
Nowadays, the best Radlers in Central Europe are a mix of Hefeweizen and Grapefruit soda (Schöfferhoffer Grapefruit) and a combination of lager and grapefruit soda (Stiegl Radler).
The Best Radlers
The National Radler Day is the right time to try one of the best Radlers available in the market, such as:
Moosehead makes a delicious combination of a traditional Radler with lemon, grapefruit, and grape juices. The result is a beverage with 4% ABV served in the iconic green bottle.
The 10 Barrel Brewing Company makes a perfect blend of beer, tartar lemon taste, and refreshing grapefruit. It contains 4.5% ABV.
Stiegl Brewing produces an excellent mix of Stiegl-Goldbräu and natural grapefruit juice without artificial sweeteners. This cloudy beverage with 2% ABV is highly refreshing, making it a desired option for hot summer days.
Hopworks Urban Brewery makes a 50:50 blend of organic HUB lager, lemon soda, and delicate honey flavor with only 2.6% ABV.
Waterloo Brewing mix craft lager with real grapefruit juice to get crisp and bitter refreshment with only 3.1% ABV.
Central City Brewers & Distillers has produced the first Canadian Radler with cider. They blend craft-brewed apple cider with red grapefruit juice to get a gluten-free refreshing beverage with 4.2% ABV.
The same company produces the beer mix with grapefruit juice and only 3.5% ABV for bikers. You should try this unique combination of sour, sweet, and bitter tone.
Parallel 49 Brewing makes refreshing beverage with a 3.5% ABV of a lager blended with fresh grapefruit juice.
Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. makes a delicious combination of golden lager and lemonade. This well-balanced, refreshing brew has 4.2% ABV.
Boulevard Brewing Company from Kansas City started producing this zesty, refreshing beverage in 2014. It is a mix of beer, lemonade, and ginger juice with 4.1% ABV. This traditional product is an excellent thirst-quenching beer you will adore, especially during warm summer days.
Krombacher Privatbrauerei Kreuztal produces a traditional Radler of pale lager and lemonade in equal proportions. To add an extra aroma to this 2.5% ABV beverage, they use lime and mint.
11. SPF 50/50
Red Hare Brewing Co. from Georgia produces an India pale Radler with slightly bitter pale ale and grapefruit soda with 4.2% ABV.
If you are a beer lover but need to refresh yourself with a beverage with a low percentage of alcohol, Radler is the best option you can find. This delicious drink was entirely unknown for most Americans until recently, but summer Radler has finally come into fashion. Pick out your favorite recipe and enjoy the upcoming summer.