Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy
There are lawnmower beers, and then there are lawnmower beers. Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy is the lawnmower beer to end all lawnmower beers. Its rating on Beer Advocate is a paltry 71 – definite proof that a lot of craft beer connoisseurs have prejudices against “average Joe” brews. Just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s not incredibly well-crafted. Hell, a beer like this that could easily be terrible if it were not perfectly in balance. So hats off to the Leinenkugels for getting it right! Summer Shandy is their take on a traditional German Radler – half pale lager, half lemonade. It is, of course, brewed specifically for the summer months when something cold and refreshing is in order. And boy, does this stuff ever hit the spot! It doesn’t taste “off” or too sweet or disgusting. For what it is, it’s pretty darn perfect. It may be a lemonade beer, but it’s still a beer. The lager component is rock solid. And if you hate the idea of lemonade in beer, that’s a matter of taste and not a knock on the quality of this product. Honestly, I haven’t mowed a lawn in almost 20 years. But coming home from the gym in a non air-conditioned car is kind of similar to coming in from mowing a lawn. And I do that a lot. Both cases are fine occasions to pour a Summer Shandy! The cynic will say that the booming sales of this beer are a sign that it’s lowest common denominator swill. But conceptually, there’s nothing wrong with a beer that almost everyone can love. It’s simply a matter of whether it’s quality or garbage. If Bud or Miller tried to make a shandy (and trust me, they will sooner or later), they’d fuck it up royally. Do not underestimate the Summer Shandy!