Finally! This past week in Eastern Iowa we were finally able to enjoy some nice spring weather. Temps hitting the high 60’s and low 70’s makes one think that the summer months and finally approaching (although snow is in the forecast for Wednesday. What the hell?). With the warmer months coming our taste for beer usually starts going for the lighter more thirst quenching styles. Many shelves have the summer beers stocked. We are burdened with the excess of Coronas, sugared up wine coolers, Shocktop’s nastiness, and the usual light fare of shit given to us by the “big 3”. The question remains, what is out there for a craft beer lover that would fall under a “summer beer” category?
A style with a lot of buzz lately has been a shandy or radler style of beer. These “styles” are usually just a lager mixed with citrus juice/soda and makes for a great refreshing beer. Leinenkugel’s is pushing their summer shandy hard, in fact, I believe I saw it on the shelves in late February, but the pledge taste it gives off makes it only a one and done. Mike’s Hard Lemonade is very successful with their products and have recently entered the world shandies.
Usually a shandy has a relatively low ABV. So if you are wanting to mix the “hardness” of a Mike’s Hard Lemonade with the drinkability of a shandy, look no further than Hoppin’ Frog’s Turbo Shandy (www.hoppinfrog.com). At 7% it easily hits the hardness that you want, but the tartness hides it deceivingly making for a very refreshing, drinkable summer brew. From the brewery:
The release of our Turbo Shandy Citrus Ale is around mid June. Born from European tradition, our Shandy is a refreshing combination of lemon and light malt flavors. Unlike traditional shandys, Turbo Shandy, revs it up a couple of notches with a high-test, full flavored approach as only Hoppin’ Frog can do.
The citrus flavor dominates the beer. I actually forgot I was drinking a beer and thought I was sipping on a glass of Squirt soda for a while. While, this a style for me is hard to down more than one, it was very tasty, but I can see that this isn’t the type of beer for the craft beer snob, but for someone who just wants to chill on the patio, let the rays soak in, and enjoy a crisp, citrusy brew.
Style: Fruit beer, shandy
Purchased at: Woodman’s Market; Madison, WI.
Pour: Blonde pour with a medium white head.
Aroma: Lemon fruit scent, maybe some yeast notes as well.
Flavor: The sweet lemonade is there. I described it as very close to drinking a Squirt soda.
Ratebeer.com rating: 39/100
Beeradvocate.com rating: 79/100
My recommendation: A hot day, this works well. The only drawback for me, not enough beer flavor and too sweet. A good 22 oz bottle to share with somebody.