You Can Actually Drink Summer!

Sorry for the delay everyone. I had an eye doctor appointment and, as a result, I spent most of the afternoon with my eyes dilated and unable to see much on the computer. But, now I’m back and it’s time for a beer – specifically, a Leine Summer Shandy.

I have my brother-in-law, Brian, to thank for my new summer drink. Last summer he visited us in California and raved about the Summer Shandy. Jeff and I spent the rest of the summer on the search for the elusive beer in SoCal. Once we returned to Chicago, in February, we searched again – and again no luck. Then Cubs Opening Day (yes, it’s capitalized on purpose – it’s a holiday at our house), we spotted it in the bar – the Summer Shandy season had begun! Leine Summer Shandy mixes wheat beer with lemonade (the Leinenkugel site has a much more elaborate description) for what tastes like summer in a bottle!

We have since learned that Summer Shandy is only available from April – August. Supposedly it is sold nation-wide but we never saw it in SoCal – let me know if you find it outside of the Midwest.

For those who can’t find it, I wanted to supply a recipe to make your own. In searching for a recipe, I came across what may be the history of the Shandy, aka the Radler, on The Splendid Table Web site (The Splendid Table is on Minnesota Public Radio and I loved listening to it when I lived in the Twin Cities. Lynne Rossetto Kasper is over the top in her love of food – in a good way).

Here’s Lynne’s take on how this yummy beverage came to be: The story goes like this: in 1922, an innkeeper in Bavaria didn’t have enough beer to accommodate the bicyclists and other guests, so he cut the beer with lemon-lime soda and it was a hit. He named it “radler,” which means “cyclist.”

And here’s the Shandy recipe from Epicurious:

Lemon Shandy:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • four 3-inch strips lemon zest, removed with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 fresh mint sprigs
  • chilled beer, such as pale ale

In a small saucepan bring sugar and 1 cup water to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved, and stir in zest. Cool sugar syrup to room temperature. Transfer syrup to a small pitcher and stir in remaining 2 cups water, lemon juice, and mint. Chill lemonade until cold. (Makes about 4 1/2 cups lemonade.). Pour 1/4 cup lemonade, or to taste, into each of 4 chilled beer glasses and top off with beer.

Or, the easy-peasey way to do this – mix 1/2 a can of light or wheat beer with 1/2 a can of lemon-lime soda and splash of lemonade.


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  1. I was looking for this last week and was able to find it at a liquor store not too far from me in Maryland! Love it.

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