A blog about making things - one small batch at a time

Summer in a glass: Radler.

Summer in a glass: Radler.

Ok. It’s many weeks into summer now and the sweating is getting a little crazy. Here is the perfect beverage to cool you off and not get you silly drunk.

I discovered radler on a super hot day this summer. I was having a mid day lunch meeting at a local gastropub. I wasn’t planning on having a beverage of the alcoholic variety on this particular Wednesday afternoon, but the person with which I was meeting unabashedly ordered a beer. Well, ok, I thought.

I asked the server whether they had any tasty beers on the low ABV side. He assuredly pointed me to the Stiegl Radler, which he explained, is a blend of juice, in this case lemonade but sometimes grapefruit or lime soda, mixed with beer. Ordinarily, I would raise my nose at any beer diluted with juice, but at that moment it seemed like the perfect option.

Homemade Radler

Against my better judgement, I ordered one.

When it came, I took a big long sip, and immediately fell in love. It’s light, refreshing, beery, and lemony all at the same time. At 2.5% ABV You could literally drink this all day long. Which, no surprise, is what people do. As I mentioned in my last post about our recent beer pairing dinner, I chose to pair my own homemade radler with the first course of fresh hummus and cucumbers. I figured people would show up thirsty and ready to drink some beer. This unexpected treat was the perfect way to start our dinner: Low alcohol, thirst quenching, and easy drinking. The lemon cut through the creamy hummus and garlic and refreshed the palate with every sip.


Radler starts with the best homemade lemonade, which naturally starts with lemons. Pleeeaaaase, don’t even consider using bottled lemon juice. The real deal is 100X better, even if it requires a little muscle.

Homemade Lemonade

  • 6-8 lemons, juiced
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water (for syrup)
  • The peel of two lemons – I like to make big old strands of peel and keep ’em right in the bottle with the syrup
  • Water to taste

Lemon simple syrup

Prep all ingredients. Start with your syrup: adding the sugar and your cup of water to a pot. Allow the sugar to dissolve fully and turn your stove off (this is how you make any simple syrup). Next, take your lemon peel and toss into the still hot liquid sugar syrup. Let steep for about 5 minutes. This makes the lemonade extra lemony without all that additional acid. Trust me, do this.

Once the syrup has cooled off a bit, place your lemon juice and simple syrup in a pitcher, and start adding water. Honestly, I just keep adding water until the flavor tastes just right. If you like a tart lemonade, add less of the simple syrup. Feel free to combine in whatever ratios you please. Refrigerate your pitcher for at least an hour or two before making your radlers.

The perfect summer drink: Radler

When you’re ready to make your radler, simply pour your lemonade into a large glass, halfway full or a little less. Add your favorite summery beer to fill. For this round, I used our own homebrewed Hefeweizen, which was a stellar combination. You can experiment withe the beer you use to make your radler, using hoppier farmhouse saisons for example (we used Sorachi Ace from Brooklyn Brewery at the beer dinner), or a nice Belgian blonde. It is super easy to personalize, so definitely make it your own.

Happy Sunday fun-day! Now go make a radler!

10 thoughts on “Summer in a glass: Radler.”

    • Yay! Glad to hear there are other radler lovers. I was suuuper skeptical about the idea but am now completely head over heals. Such a fantastic summer refresher. Cheers!

  • I love the bike pint glass! My go to summer drink is a chelada, a cerveza poured over a lime and ice. Works perfect on a hot steamy day.
    I’ll have to try the Radler now.

    • Thanks! We got them from a friend in Massachusetts. They’re all different colors which is fun. Definitely try radler, you can make it basically however you want, which makes it fun and it is just soooo refreshing 🙂

  • so…one of my biggest pet peeves is how bastardized a “shandy” (aka in other countries a radler) has become. I really don’t mean any offense to the drink you made, or your opinion of it. But the drink originated in Europe, where “lemonade” is the term for the American equivalent of a sprite, 7-up, sierra mist, generic lemon-lime soda. Now here in America, a “shandy” is thought to be beer mixed with “lemonade” as a still sweetened lemon juice…

    it angers me 🙂 sorry…i am just very passionate and nostalgic about a good shandy!

    • Totally understood. You might have seen that I mentioned the various ways shandy or radler can be made (soda etc.). I personally don’t drink soda, so this is my interpretation. Again, I appreciate that everyone has an opinion, and this one is mine. Cheers!

      • I’ll cheers to that!

        My family is British, my brothers and I were born over here. When we would go back to visit we were always allowed to order a shandy when we went to pubs before we were of legal age over there.

        I always get a bit miffed when people only associate leinenkugel summer shandy with a shandy/radler and write them off. When done well, they are a super refreshing summer drink.

        • Stiegl beer is superb. It’s always my weapon of choice – along with Fohrenburger – on skiing trips to the Austrian Tirol and it does make the most divine radler.

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