Sure? Why not release a shandy in the middle of February. It’s not like Shandys are summer time drinks at all. I mean, lemonade mixed with hefeweissen? What about those two things doesn’t just scream biting winds and snowbanks which look like they want to melt and be gone but just hang around like the uninvited party guest with nowhere to go as the party winds down and a whole host of stories about their travels to the finger lakes to tell you.
But…wait a second. This isn’t a normal shandy at all. Oh no, this is different. This is an…IPA?
Suppose I have no choice now, do I? Just kidding, even if I had a choice, I’d still review the beer. Remember dear readers, 99% of the time, the beer you drink is better than the beer you don’t drink. Keep that in mind.
So onto this Traveler IPA Shandy then. To start out with, this thing is a very funny kind of yellow. I’d say it’s “piss yellow,” except as I’m generally somewhat dehydrated the whole color matching game in that respect just doesn’t apply and also I still have to drink this. So let’s say that is…1978 Ford Granada tan yellow in a way that has been baked under too many summer suns to really be identifiable as anything other than cream yellow. There, I think that sorts that matter out.
The head on the brew is thick. And not just heavy big bubble sort of lofty thick, but more like cruising altitude over the clouds kind of thick, where you almost think dropping a penny into the glass would result in it just sitting atop the foam. It’s honestly rather impressive, especially considering that it didn’t leap out of the top of the glass like so many yeast heavy Belgian styles are known to. Then of course though, there is the nose.
Now as this is classed as an IPA, I rather expected some piney or grassy hop notes to come through, but they really just didn’t. Instead it’s almost all citrus and grapefruit, leading me to believe this is more shandy than IPA. Upon a taste I find that I am, as always, absolutely correct.
Within the sip of this 4.4% out of season summer sipper, the only thing about it that really says IPA to me is the label. Everything else is just a tempered grapefruit shandy. I can note an ale backbone of sorts, but atop that rests only grapefruit and citrus zest in a body that looks more like a wheat ale or wit than anything else. This isn’t to say it isn’t good or drinkable, but to be honest, I feel a little let down.
Perhaps its due to heightened expectations regarding the label art, but in this brew I rather expected to find myself sipping something with an abundant hop profile. However here I find none of that, with just a trace bit of the hops that is so faint I won’t even venture a guess as to what they are. But perhaps that’s just the pain-in-the-ass purist in me talking.
All in all, this is an easy sipper that is sessionable to the point of pointlessness. At such a low ABV and so easy to drink, it may as well be classed as an adult citrus soda, which in its own right is rather brilliant. Between the Traveler shandys I’ve had thus far, if I were put to the irons on it, I’d likely go with this one to slug down in succession as I mowed my lawn, if I ever ended up having a lawn and didn’t just pay someone else to mow it for me. In that case, I’d probably slug these down while watching and criticizing the job the stranger did.
So to this, to the stranger mowing the lawn I don’t own and of course to you who I’d never expect to lift a finger to keep my non-existent property in order, I say as always…
While the brewery may have provided the product mentioned above for free, I was not required to write a positive review, I did not receive any monetary compensation, and the honest opinions I have expressed are my own.
Nicholas Goroff is an actor, writer and craft beer reviewer at EveryJoe.com. Certified as a Cicerone beer server, he is working towards obtaining certification as a beer judge while employed at Bert’s Better Beers in Hooksett, NH. When not reviewing beer, wine and spirits, he is typically writing political essays, screenplays and short fiction. Follow him on Twitter @wizardofcause.
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