Strawberry shandy. Photo courtesy Traveler
Shandy, short for shandygaff (no one knows the origin of the word), is beer diluted with a non-alcoholic beverage. It’s a traditional British pub drink that mixes lager with lemon soda, ginger ale or ginger beer. Carbonated lemonade, cider or other citrus-flavored soda can be used.
Whatever you use, consensus is that shandy is a refreshing summertime drink.
The shandy tradition dates back to the 17th century. Today, English publicans blend an English ale or beer with various lemon and lime beverages.
With a new twist on the tradition, Traveler Beer Company of Burlington, Vermont, makes three craft shandies (4.4% ABV):
Curious Traveler Shandy, a shandy from wheat ale infused with real lemons and limes (4.4% ABV). Lemon lovers: This shandy has a lively fruit flavor and a powerful fresh lemon aroma
Time Traveler Shandy, a wheat beer, brewed with real strawberry
Jack-O Traveler Shandy, the newest flavor, brewed with lemon peel and added pumpkin
DIY SHANDY: CREATE A SHANDY BAR
It you’re looking for a Labor Day activity, how about a make-your-own shandy bar? Just assemble the ingredients, print out brief “instructions*” and put them in a frame next to the beer.
Shandy Bar Ingredients
Lager beer (plus wheat beer or nonalcoholic beer if you’d like two styles)
Citrus soda, sparkling lemonade, sparkling soda
Ginger ale/ginger beer
Lemonade: plain, sparkling, Mike’s Hard Lemonade
Berry lemonade: blueberry, strawberry, raspberry (muddle the berries and mix with regular lemonade)
Glasses (start with small-to-medium size)
Swizzle sticks to stir
Paper towels for spills
What adult trick-or-treaters want: pumpkin shandy. Photo courtesy Travel Beer Company.
A COMPARATIVE SHANDY TASTING
If you don’t want a shandy bar, gather whatever shandy brands you can find and have a tasting.
Samuel Adams makes Porch Rocker, if you can still find it (the distribution period is through July). Anheuser-Busch’s Shock Top Lemon Shandy is available through August. Also look for Harp Lemon Shandy, Labatt Shandy and Saranac Shandy Lager and Lemonade.
Fentiman’s brews two soft drink shandy styles, non-alcoholic shandy and a low alcoholic version brewed to .5 ABV ABV (1 proof), which allows it to be sold as a soft drink.
We like to use shot glasses or juice glasses for this type of tasting. It lets everyone try a small amount of each brand, and return to their favorite with a larger glass.
More about shandy.
*Instructions can include: (1) Shandy is half beer, half soft drink. (2) Create your own signature shandy with the soft drink of your choice. (3) Be neat, and clean up your spills!