A few months ago we decided to give up soda (or pop for those of you in Michigan). After a while you can really get tired of drinking nothing but water, juice, or tea as cold refreshment (especially when you can’t always drink beer or wine). The odd thing is though, when you drink soda you never seem to get tired of drinking soda, the more you drink the more you crave.
Enter the shandy. Leinenkugels Summer Shandy is well known around here. As per their website the Summer Shandy is their take on the German Radler, a beer that is mixed with a citrus beverage to increase the drinkability and refreshment abilities. Consider the flavors that hops bring to the table this can make some interesting combinations.
Lately, with this in mind I have been experimenting with my session bitters and different juices. Lemonade mixes quite well and brings to mind lemon meringue pie notes. The malt is reminiscent of the crust and the head brings to mind the meringue while lemonade and citrussy hops bring to the fore front the bitter, sweet, and sour notes of the main tastes in the pie.
Earlier today I was cooking off a chicken on my bbq (low and slow so it stays tasty). I wanted something to drink, I mean it is required right. I ended up mixing some grapefruit juice with the bitters. My first thought was that the grapefruit juice would either be lost or the flavors would over power considering the hop profile in the beer. Turns out I couldn’t have been further from right. The flavors matched up perfectly. The sweetness of the malt balanced out the bitterness of the grapefruit leaving a drink that was perfectly citrussy, with a mellow bitterness. A perfect brew for sitting on a sunny back deck watching the smoke billow out of the grill.
I do believe that it is now time again for a pint…