Summer is upon us, the grills are fired up, the sun is beating down and life is good! Summer is also a time for great beer; seasonal releases like Peak Summer Session, Narragansett Summer, Mayflower Summer Rye and a host of others always get me excited. More recently I've been turning to the Shandy, though. Now bear with me because I'm sure some of your are screaming blasphemy. Yes, there have been some breweries releasing pre-bottled versions of a shandy, this is NOT what I'm talking about. If you've been to the UK or Australia you've probably had their version of the drink, which is lager and Sprite, yeah not that either. What I'm talking about is a good crisp summer beer mixed with GOOD tart lemonade.
I find the ideal mix to be 60% beer and 40% lemonade, the resulting drink lets the beer come through while allowing the freshness and tartness of the lemonade to compliment the beer. A key to this drink is adding the lemonade second. If you add the beer second it will float on top of the lemonade. Narragansett Summer Ale has been my go-to beer of choice, the Citra hops come alive with the addition of the lemon and, honestly, I could drink these all day. And that's the thing, you can drink these all day. With the lemonade addition a pint is around 2.5% abv making it the ultimate session beer. The lemonade makes all the difference, though. If you go the store bought route Simply Lemonade brand works quite well. If you're planning ahead, though, making a pitcher of lemonade will not only make the drink better but it's a great way to serve an easy drink to guests.
For those of your that have already embraced the goodness that is the Shandy you're probably nodding right now. For those who haven't tried it, or have only tried the pre-bottled versions, I'd urge you to give this a go, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. And with that I'll end my sales pitch...time to go make another Shandy.