Sipping summer beers: Best shandy and radler beers

A selection of summer beers and house-brewed seltzer from Damsel Brew Pub sits invitingly on a patio table on Wednesday, June 16, 2021.Damsel Summer Beer 2
A selection of summer beers and house-brewed seltzer from Damsel Brew Pub sits invitingly on a patio table on Wednesday, June 16, 2021.Damsel Summer Beer 2 /

When the warm weather hits, lighter beers tend to be more refreshing. While light lagers can often be a popular choice, shandy beers or a radler are a great sessionable option as a summer beer. Grab the koozie because these summer beers are a great choice.

Although a shandy and a radler are similar, the terms are not interchangeable. Specifically, a shandy should only be a combination of lemonade and beer. On the other hand, a radler is any combination of beer and fruit juice. Whether the label designation of correct or a slight misnomer, the reality is that either beer is perfect for warm weather drinking.

With the definition clarified, another question is left in the cooler. Which shandy beers or radler should be the first to drink?

Goose Island 312 Shandy Variety Pack

The classic Goose Island 312 Lemonade Shandy has been a Chicago staple for years. While the can showcases iconic summertime treats, it is the bright, juicy flavor that has people grabbing a second one. For anyone who has enjoyed an Italian Ice on the Southside will love this summer beer.

With a 4.2% ABV, the Goose Island 312 Lemonade is quite sessionable. From pairing it with a Chicago Dog or a rack of ribs, there are plenty of possibilities.

This summer the 312 Shandy Variety Pack has three flavors, including a new flavor that is a must try. While some people might be familiar with the Grapefruit Shandy, the new Strawberry Lemonade is the most exiting beer in the pack.

A touch sweet, it is a lovely balance of juicy strawberries and tart lemonade. Anyone who was priviledged to try the select Goose Island Bourbon Barrel Stout that channeled the classic strawberry frozen dessert will want to try this shandy. This flavor would make a perfect brunch beer. Or, it might be a sweet ending to that big barbecue.

Leinenkugel Summer Shandy

For anyone who has spent a leisurely day at a Wisconsin lake, they were probably sipping on a Leinie’s Summer Shandy. The classic beer is always a great choice. The Weiss beer with the refreshing lemonade should not be missed during the summertime.

For this summer, Leinie’s is offering a variety pack. When throwing a summer party, this option is a great choice. There are four here’s, Leinie’s Summer Shandy, Juicy Peach, Lemon Haze IPA and Grapefruit Shandy. The Grapefruit Shandy is exclusive to the variety pack.

Some people might buy the variety pack just to get a taste of the Grapefruit Shandy. And, it is totally worth it. A touch tart, beer drinkers should petition to have this flavor to be a permanent summer offering.

Sam Adams Porch Rocker

While many people grab a Sam Adams Summer Ale, the Sam Adams Porch Rocker is a lovely mix of beer and lemonade. The golden Helles with the tart lemonade is citrus forward. A touch of a pucker yet not overpowering, it is easy to sip more than one of these 4.5% ABV summer beers.

Schöfferhofer Hefeweizen

The classic beer and fruit juice combination, the Schöfferhofer Hefeweizen is quite delightful. While many people grab that grapefruit flavor, the newer pineapple brings a taste of the tropics. Plus the new Get Happy variety pack is perfect for any summer gathering.

These shandy beers and radler beers are just a small selection of the many summer beers that deserve a second or third sip during the warm months. And, don’t forget to support local craft breweries who might have a hidden gem waiting to be enjoyed.