Jun 22, 2014

A nice refreshing "beer cocktail"

Mixing it up poolside....
OK, so, yesterday was the summer solstice, and I guess that means the "official" start to summer, however, for us here in Arizona, we've been in the triple digits for weeks now, giving the pool temp a chance to climb to a very comfortable 85 degrees (for us its comfortable) and leading me on the search for the ever perfect summer beer or beer cocktail.

Well, while sitting at the pool with my family, and my parents, this past weekend, my dad asked if I wanted a "shandy"? Thinking he was referring to a Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy, and wondering why he would have that in his fridge, let alone be offering me one, I just answered him "A shandy?"
Its photogenic if nothing else!
He told me this story of our next door neighbor, Elian, we had when we were growing up (I was about 4 or 5). She was from Ireland, and always seemed to have a pint of Guinness handy for anyone that expressed the slightest bit of interest in a beer. Well, one afternoon, my father and a few of the other neighborhood dads were putting up a fence along the back of the property. It was a typical hot, humid New Hampshire afternoon in the middle of the summer, when Elian came out and asked the guys if they wanted a beer. Not really in the mood for, or thirsting for a Guinness, they politely declined, thinking that was what she was offering them. She assured them, this was not Guinness, and was much more refreshing, and would most certainly hit the spot. So they all reluctantly accepted. Dad said she brought out 4 glasses of what looked like any light lager, or pilsner, with the exception of the extremely foamy, thick head at the top of the glass. Dad took one small sip, and then downed nearly the entire glass in the next one. What he tasted was a light, crisp, sweet, almost lemony concoction. What was this???

Dad taking a sip....
Elian explained that what she gave them, they referred to as "shandy's" in her homeland. Just a 50/50 mix of a light beer (in Ireland, they used Harp or Smithwick's normally) mixed with Ginger Ale, or sometimes ginger beer.

Now, I did a little research, and learned, that Biermischgetr√§nke ("beer-based mixed drinks") are most popular in Germany. Most commonly the Radler (translation "cyclist") is a 50/50 mix of beer, and a German style lemon drink (more like a lemon soda). The "Mazout" is a mixture of beer, and Coke.  These cocktails vary slightly from region to region throughout Germany.

The British version however, is a 50/50 mixture of a lighter beer, and ginger ale, or sometimes ginger beer, called a "Shandygaff". The earliest references to this drink date back to about 1853. It was referred to an the HG Wells comic novel "The History of Mr. Polly" as ""two bottles of beer mixed with ginger beer in a round-bellied jug"."

Dad tested, Beer Czar Approved!
Well, dad and I each had a couple of these wonderfully refreshing, easy to drink flavorful beverages. I would be certain that there was lemon in this drink, but there was not, it just tastes like there is. Just a 50/50 mix of a beer (my dad was using Stella, but any lighter lager or pilsner would probably work just fine) and cold ginger ale. It has a light, perfect taste for summer, and being that it is cut 50% by the ginger ale, there isn't a great deal of alcohol in these, so you can drink quite a bit of them. They do fill you up rather quickly however. So, if you want a quick, easy beer cocktail, try the Shandygaff, or the Shandy, whatever you want to call it. It tastes great on a hot summer day, pool side....

Until next time
Bottoms up my friends

The Beer Czar

1 comment:

  1. Hey, you guys might want to keep a harpoon at poolside. You need to protect your beers from rogue whales!! :)

    Don Jr.