As you may recall, I recently reviewed a radler from Bitburger and mentioned that a “radler” and a “shandy” were effectively the same thing. Absent some backlash as I neither receive backlash from readers, nor much of any feedback outside of Twitter in general (or am I proven particularly wrong all that often), I have decided upon coming across this particular shandy that a bit of clarification may be in order for the purists out there. After all, there must be some Germans reading and I’d hate for them to get too salty.
In official terms, a radler is rather exclusively a wheat beer with a lemonade addition. This can also be a shandy, but a shandy can be a wheat beer mixed with most any other kind of juice, as we have before us today. In this, while every radler is a shandy, not every shandy is a radler. So there, I hope that granted someone the needless clarification they didn’t want or ask for.
That being now out of the way, before me I have the Aloha Traveler Pineapple Shandy. Now while I would be the first to leap from my seat to condemn whatever heartless uncivilized savage may seek to put pineapple on pizza, I stop short of doing such with beer. Specifically because, as we’ve discovered together over the past two years, there is little that actually doesn’t work in beer if done just right. Thus far in respect to pineapple, I have already encountered at least one pineapple IPA and one pineapple cider. So how does it stack up then in shandy form?
To begin with the beer pours looking like straight up pineapple juice. A hazy, dull yellow color this beer is outright opaque, with only raw and diluted light making it through the glass. It boasts no serious head to speak of and smells unsurprisingly like…that’s right, pineapple.
In this nose, the pineapple scent is only ever so slightly altered by the presence of the wheat base, but all in all, that is the mainstay of the smell of this thing. At a taste, something of a surprise if not an outright letdown occurs right away. It is not a serious letdown to be sure, but more a surprise by omission in respect to the pineapple profile herein.
To go by what the nose might suggest, one might rightfully expect this beer to be an assertive pineapple heavy sip with the piney, zesty notes being the beginning and end of the thing. To be certain if going by sight and color alone, this beer could easily be mistaken for pineapple juice outright. But it is only after this first sip and the resurrected realization that it is in fact a wheat beer based shandy that it all makes sense.
This zesty pineapple is tamed beneath what is a citrusy and somewhat grainy total body. While still chill, tasteful and refreshing, it is somewhat softer on the palate than I’d anticipated. At 4.4% ABV it is about as light and sessionable as one might expect of a shandy, while at the same time owning enough of an unusual flavor to somewhat stand out in the myriad of odd beers you’re likely already trying. I am – while not blown away or impressed outright – rather pleased with the beer and would recommend it to those looking for a fruitier, more citrus oriented flavor profile.
So to Travelers, to the differences between radlers and shandys and of course to you, 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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