I guess this may be related to the earlier discussion of fruit in beer. I decided to purchase this beer when I saw it because I really couldn’t imagine what it tasted like. The description of the beer is actually that it is a shandy, or shandygaff. For those unfamiliar, wikipedia says the definition of a shandy in the U.K, is a beer or ale mixed with clear lemonade. That’s right, not lemon… lemonade. Honestly I didn’t have high hopes for liking this one, but it’s hot out, and lemonade is refreshing so I thought I’d give it a go. I’m always open for trying new beer styles anyway.
I poured it out and was immediately hit by the smell of lemonade. By lemonade I don’t mean the simple tartness or citrus notes from a lemon, but something altogether different. The smell was like freshly mixed Country Time Lemonade – that almost artificial lemon and sugar together. It poured out yellow and slightly cloudy, with a thin little white head. I have to say that the aroma was overwhelmingly strong, and I could smell it before the glass was anywhere near my face.
The taste, too, is skewed far towards the lemonade side. Despite the hint of carbonation and a tiny end note, there was very little beeryness about this brewing. It tastes, essentially, like carbonated lemonade – slightly unexpected and different but mostly a little… plastic? It feels like that fake lemon was involved instead of real lemons… not sure which they used but it’s hard to get over that really strong lemonade punch. According to the bottle they add “lemonade” and “citrus flavors” to the brewed beer, so its hard to tell whethere they’ve made it using fruit or artificial flavorings. The lemon is sweeter than tart, which is another thing that makes it more lemonade-like instead of just lemony. On their website, it says that the brew is made with a weiss beer and a touch of honey to sweeten it, which is evident from the taste.
I think I would have enjoyed this more if it were a bit more… subtle? I’ve never had a shandy before so I don’t have much to compare it to. But if you want to pretend you’re drinking lemonade… with a little carbonation… and alcohol… by all means go for it. It could be a pool side oddity. Just warn someone that it isn’t just a summer brew (it has a yellow label which reminds me of Sam Summer, among others) or they’ll be lemon-faced.