April 11, 2015

Taste Test: Sippin' a Shandy

Ok, so I might be a little early... but I'm craving summer. (Or at least some warm sunshine sans cold breeze... oh, and green grass/trees/anything.) Mother nature, however, seems to have different plans... but, "April showers bring May flowers", right??

Last summer- when the Shandy craze started to hit the states- I was happily pregnant with my baby boy and stuck to regular lemonade, club soda with a twist, or Arnold Palmers if I was feeling fancy. I took note of all of the talk though, and vowed that I'd find out what all of the fuss was about after I'd brought my healthy boy into the world.

Today, when I was at the store- gathering the items on my produce-heavy, springlike list- I decided that there was no time like the present to will warmer weather into fruition by trying a shandy. While standing in the well-stocked beer section, I quickly grabbed my phone to google which brew(s) I should try first.

The review I found- thank you Huffington Post- listed Traveler Beer Company's Curious Traveler as Number 1, and Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy as Number 2. Thankfully, I was able to easily find the top contenders for my own home taste test.

First, let me say, I'm not a huge beer drinker... but its growing on me. (I typically prefer white wine/gin and tonic/mojitos/hard lemonade drinks in the summer.) This, I think, is part of what makes shandy right up my alley. For those who aren't sure what a shandy is, a shandy is a (typically) 50/50 mixture of beer and lemonade/carbonated beverage/apple juice/orange juice/ginger beer. (Very similarly, radlers are drinks made of a 50/50 mix of beer and sparkling lemonade... the name depends on what country the drink is originating from, and all are a lighter alcohol content than traditional beer.)

Back to the tasting!

2. Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy is, apparently, the biggest seller on the market and makes up for a large percentage of the company's overall sales. It's pretty good. My husband, who drinks more beer than I do, refers to Leinenkugel in general, as "soapy"... and wasn't as enthusiastic as I was about trying their shandy. Neither one of us were in love, but it is definitely drinkable. (I found it to be a little bitter, but again- I'm not a huge beer drinker.) It is definitely lemony; it smells and looks almost lemonade-like, is nice and light, and has a decent lemon flavor.
Although it wasn't my favorite, I would drink it again.

1. Traveler Beer's Curious Traveler was a completely different story. It's one of the best beer/beer drinks I've ever had. Very light, refreshing, and interesting- I found myself wanting another one. It's not obviously lemon, like Leinenkugel's offering, but yet offered a similar bright and refreshing feeling. It's smooth and delicious. I am very excited to hunt down and try their Illusive Traveler (a shandy made with grapefruit in place of lemon), and their seasonals when the time comes.
If I were to pick a new summer drink, Curious Traveler would be it!!

As much as I love Curious Traveler, I have seen many more shandies and summer beers out there that I'd love to try- if you have a favorite summer drink, please share!

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