The 8 Best Shandies And Radlers For Spring, Ranked

In late spring, when warm weather is finally here to stay throughout the US, beer drinkers have literally tons of choices. While hot, sunny days are well-suited for IPAs, pale ales, and pilsners, we like to change it up sometimes and throw down a few shandies and radlers. Zesty, tart, refreshing, these light beers have everything we crave on a hot day (unless what we crave is high ABVs).

For the uninitiated, a shandy or radler is technically a beer (usually a lighter beer) traditionally mixed with lemonade, lemon flavoring, or a lemon-lime soda. These days, grapefruit soda seems just as common as lemon as the mix-in, with blood orange and other citrus featured as well. Typically the brews are extremely crushable and often very tasty (good beer mixed with quality citrus is a winning duo), so we decided to rank our eight favorites as party season begins!

8) Schöfferhofer Grapefruit Hefeweizen

Schöfferhofer Grapefruit Hefeweizen
Schöfferhofer

ABV: 2.5%

Average Price: $9 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans

The Beer:

This orange, almost pink-hued, crushable warm weather beer is made by mixing a 50/50 blend of hefeweizen and carbonated grapefruit juice. The result is an atomic bomb of citrus, tart, and wheat beer. It’s only 2.5 percent ABV so it’s a highly sessionable pick.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is all citrus with grapefruit dominating. There’s also a sugary, syrupy sweetness on the nose. Tasting it reveals more tart, tangy grapefruit, sweet wheat, and… really not much else. There’s no denying this beer is easy to drink, it’s just that it tastes more like grapefruit soda than beer.

Bottom Line:

If you don’t really like the taste of beer but you enjoy grapefruit soda, this is the beer for you. Otherwise, go with a shandy or radler that at least vaguely resembles beer.

7) Jack’s Abby Blood Orange Wheat

Jack’s Abby Blood Orange Wheat
Jack’s Abby

ABV: 4%

Average Price: $9 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans

The Beer:

Jack’s Abby is most known for its craft lagers. But, if you’re a shandy fan, you should definitely try its Blood Orange Wheat. This German-style radler starts with the brand’s wheat lager which is then infused with blood orange. This creates a sweet, tart, citrusy beer perfect for spring and summer.

Tasting Notes:

Right away, after one whiff of this beer, you know what you’re getting into. There’s a nice aroma of blood orange that smells both sweet and tart that definitely draws you on. The palate is heavy on the blood orange as well as some biscuit-like malts, wheat, and slightly floral hops. It’s easy to drink but definitely waterier than we’d like.

Bottom Line:

If you’re looking for an easy-drinking beer with a nice citrus backbone, this is a great choice. Otherwise, look for something with a little more substance.

6) Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy

Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy
Leinenkugel’s

ABV: 4.2%

Average Price: $10 for a six-pack

The Beer:

Available from March until August, this beer transports you to the summer lake house on the label. This award-winning shandy is 4.2 percent ABV and is a mix of the brand’s traditional weiss beer and natural lemonade.

Tasting Notes:

Heavy notes of citrus zest, lemon essence, malts, and slight floral hops meet your nostrils when nosing this beer. Drinking it brings forth lemon curd, lemon zest, and overall lemon/lime flavor. Sure, there’s some wheat beer flavor in there, but it’s largely dominated by sweet, tart lemon.

Bottom Line:

Like with many shandies and radlers, Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy tastes like sparkling lemonade more than beer. But it has enough malt and wheat presence that you’ll realize you’re drinking a 4.2% ABV beer and not a soda.

5) UFO Big Squeeze

UFO Big Squeeze
UFO

ABV: 4.5%

Average Price: $10 for a six-pack

The Beer:

UFO means unfiltered offering. It’s a reference to the hazy, cloud wheat beer style that the brand uses as the base for its beers. UFO Big Squeeze, a mix of wheat beer and grapefruit juice was first launched in 2014 only to be retired in 2016 and eventually brought back after fans started a Facebook campaign.

Tasting Notes:

Orange cream, grapefruit juice, and light wheat are prevalent on the nose. The flavor is a mixture of tart, slightly sour, sweet grapefruit, lemon, and orange flavors as well as slight cracker malts and light hops. Overall, it’s a classic shandy that leans heavily on citrus.

Bottom Line:

While we’re headed in the right direction, Big Squeeze is still a little too heavy on the grapefruit juice flavor. It would be better if the wheat beer component was more noticeable, but maybe it’s just not for us.

4) Samuel Adams Porch Rocker

Samuel Adams Porch Rocker
Samuel Adams

ABV: 4.5%

Average Price: $12 for a six-pack

The Beer:

Brewed with Hallertau Mittelfrueh Noble Hops as well as Samuel Adams’s proprietary two-row pale malt blend, this seasonal beer is the iconic brand’s take on the classic German-style radler. This crushable, 4.5 percent ABV brew is a mix of golden helles and real lemons.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is fairly light with hints of lemon zest, lime, and slight floral spice. Luckily, the palate is much more pronounced than the nose. There are notes of lemon, lime, tangerine, grapefruit, pale malts, and gentle, slightly bitter Noble hops to tie everything together nicely.

Bottom Line:

As radlers and shandies go, this is a pretty decent, easy-drinking option. While it’s still heavy on the citrus flavor, you do actually know you’re drinking a beer when you take a sip.

3) Stiegl Grapefruit Radler

Stiegl Grapefruit Radler
Stiegl

ABV: 2.5%

Average Price: $10 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans

The Beer:

There aren’t many radlers more well-known than Stiegl Radler. Ask a handful of brewers and beer fans to tell you their favorite and there’s a good chance you’ll hear the word “Stiegl” a lot. This cloudy, thirst-quenching, low-ABV beer is made with a mix of beer and grapefruit juice.

Tasting Notes:

The nose is dominated by the aromas of grapefruit, tangerine, and other citrus fruits. While there isn’t much else, that feels like it’s enough in this case. The exciting thing about Stiegl Radler is that it isn’t just a sweet, citrus bomb. It’s a nice mix of tart and sweet with loads of citrus. It’s refreshing and thirst-quenching and leaves you wanting more.

Bottom Line:

Even though this beer is really low in alcohol (2.5 percent), it still has enough background beer flavor along with the zippy citrus to appeal to beer drinkers. It’s a nice, fruity, crushable beer for hot days.

2) Narragansett Del’s Shandy

Narragansett Del’s Shandy
Narragansett

ABV: 4.7%

Average Price: $10 for a four-pack of 16-ounce cans

The Beer:

This 4.7 percent lemon shandy tastes like summer in a can. It’s a collaboration between Narragansett and Rhode Island’s well-known Del’s Frozen Lemonade stand. It starts with the brand’s classic lager that’s infused with lemon concentrate and sugar to create the beer equivalent of a frosty lemonade.

Tasting Notes:

Aromas of lemon zest, sweet malts, and light grains are highlighted on the nose. It smells like a glass of freshly squeezed lemonade that you poured a beer into. The taste follows suit with a nice mix of sweetness and tart flavor from the lemon juice. It pairs well with the crisp, malty flavor of the lager.

Bottom Line:

Many shandies and radlers opt for a base of a wheat beer, Narragansett chose lager. The result is a nice mix of crisp, easy-drinking lager and slightly tart, sweet lemonade. Highly refreshing on a warm, sunny day.

1) Great Divide Roadie

Great Divide Roadie
Great Divide

ABV: 4.2%

Average Price: $11 for a six-pack

The Story:

Roadie is Great Divide’s tribute to the popularity of cycling in Colorado. This 4.2% ABV, easy-drinking beer is brewed with natural grapefruit puree. The result is a semi-sweet, tart, slightly bitter beer that’s designed to quench your thirst after a long bike ride.

Tasting Notes:

A complex nose of bright grapefruit, tart lemon, biscuit-like malts, and light hops greet you before your first sip. The palate, while grapefruit-centric, is well-balanced with more malt flavor, light hay, sweet yeast, and a gentle bitterness at the very end that leaves you craving more.

Bottom Line:

This is possibly the most well-balanced radler or shandy we’ve ever tried. While it has the bright citrus flavor we look for in a shandy, it also has enough of a malty, yeasty backbone to appeal to most beer drinkers.


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