how to enjoy a beer

Shandy – the easiest, most refreshing beer cocktail ever!

craft beer shandy and sunglasses.png

Is there anything more refreshing than an ice-cold lager on a hot day?

Yep! How about an ice-cold shandy instead? We promise this super-simple beer cocktail will have your tastebuds tingling in no time at all.

A shandy is the easiest mixed drink ever to make. Just two ingredients. Beer and lemonade. In equal parts. That’s it! 

Its simplicity is what makes a shandy both so delicious and so versatile.

Four steps to a perfect shandy.

1.    Take a bottle of your favourite beer. A lager is your traditional choice.

2.    Half fill a glass. Any glass will do.

3.    Top up with lemonade. That’s the soft drink, carbonated, fizzy soda type of lemonade.

4.    Enjoy! 

Did you know that shandy has different names depending on whereabouts in the world it is served?

In Germany you would order a “radler” - literally meaning “cyclist” in German. The refreshing mix of lager and lemonade is a popular refreshment for hot and sweaty cyclists.

In France, Switzerland and Belgium a shandy is know as a panache (pronounced pan-a-CHAY). It’s simply French for “mixed”. Self-explanatory but, as with most things French, sounds sophisticated and rather gourmet.

Twice as good - Tinker your shandy

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If you’re like us at Tinker Tailor you’ll want everything to be twice as good. So naturally we recommend you try two versions of a shandy. One Tinker-ed and one Tailor-ed! 

Your Tailor-ed shandy is classic and refined. Take our refreshingly crisp Lager and simply add the best lemonade you can find (we recommend Foxton Fizz). And that’s it.

For your more Tinker-ed, slightly experimental version you’ll love to use our Vienna Lager. A Vienna Lager is not your typical lager and it makes for an amazing shandy. Firstly, you get to admire the glorious red-copper colour that is characteristic of this style of beer. And secondly, the malty flavour of a Vienna Lager combines perfectly with the sweetness of lemonade. Add a slice of whatever citrus takes your fancy to the side of the glass for a jaunty garnish. 

Four more ways to pimp up your shandy

Now you’ve got a shandy in your hand you’ll probably start thinking about ways to change it up a bit. To Tinker with it!

The beauty of making your own shandy (or any beer cocktail really) is that you are in total control of the end result. A little bit more or less of either of the key ingredients, or changing or adding ingredients and you’ve created a drink custom-designed for your tastebuds.

Here are a few of our favourite variations:

Change the ratio 1

For a lighter, sweeter and even lower alcohol version try adjusting less beer and more soda. 25:75 works really well. Or maybe even just a splash of beer in the top of a tall glass of lemonade. Known in the Netherlands as sneeuwwitje (snow white) for the white, foamy top the beer creates.

Change the ratio 2

If you want your shandy to be more beer-y you simply, (you guessed it!) increase the amount of beer. Congratulations you’ve created what is referred to in England, Scotland and Wales as a lager-top.

Go more alcoholic

Give your classic shandy a bit of a kick by adding a shot (or two) of spirits. With a dash of Grenadine we’ve made a Biere Monaco. Or why not try a Southern Shandy by adding a shot of peach brandy. My personal favourite is a Campari Shandy. Just as it suggests – with a wee tipple of Campari and a wedge of lime.  

Change the mixer

Lemonade is the traditional soda of choice for a lager, but why not experiment with ginger beer or ginger ale to create a Shandygaff (another name for a ginger shandy). Use cola as the mix to create a Colabier or Diesel (with or without a shot of whiskey!) Add a nip of blackcurrant cordial for a bitter, sweet and tart concoction.

That should give you plenty of inspiration.

Remember you can always keep it really easy by going back to the tried and true, original shandy.  

Half beer. Half lemonade. Twice as good!

Why you should drink craft beer from a glass

craft beer pouring in to a glass

Imagine this - It’s a hot day. You’re thirsty. You crack open a bottle of your favourite craft beer. The satisfying whoosh as the cap releases. The refreshing cool of the droplets glistening on the outside of the bottle. You bring it to your lips, tilt the bottle, and….

Wait, stop right there.

If you want to get the most out of your craft beer, please, please, please, don’t drink it straight out of the bottle. If you take the time to pour your beer into a glass, and to pour it properly, you’ll maximise your beer drinking experience.

Why? Well, the taste of a beer is only part of the enjoyment. We drink with all our senses. First our eyes, our noses, then our tastebuds. Even our ears come into play.

By pouring your craft beer into a glass first of all you’ll be able to appreciate the colour and clarity of the beer. Brewers have put a lot of thought into these aspects of a beer. It allows you to ask yourself questions – is this true to style, or is it not what you were anticipating. Is the colour what you were expecting?  Excellent examples of some beer styles are particularly recognised for being pristine and clear e.g. a pilsner, others are deliberately hazy e.g. an East Coast IPA. Either way you’ll want to get the full appreciation.

craft beer glass

By taking time to look closely you’ll also get some clues as to how the beer might taste. The texture and thickness of the head suggest how creamy the beer might be. The amount and vigour of visible bubbles will hint at the level of carbonation.

Turns out the bubbles are super important. The tiny bubbles are all releasing little puffs of delicious aromas from the hops and malts. Essential to the whole experience of tasting. The act of pouring also breaks up some of the carbon dioxide in the beer making it easier on your tummy. Yep, that’s right. If you drink straight out of the bottle the carbon dioxide will be released in your stomach. The result is that bloated feeling you can sometimes experience.

And last, but not least, just like your mother told you, it’s just good manners to use a glass!

Looking after your brewery-fresh beer

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Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of a rigger of fresh craft beer. Now what? The obvious answer is to head home, down to the beach, or over to your mates and drink it. Straight away. Yum.

Sometimes that just isn’t possible (Mum turns up, the dog needs to be walked, or it’s your turn to drive the kids to netball) and you find yourself with an unopened vessel of beer.

You may be wondering how long will my rigger of fresh beer last? Well, that depends on how thirsty you are! Or how many friends you are sharing it with. Seriously now folks, we recommend enjoying your beer within one to two weeks, if you can wait that long.

If you know in advance that you want to keep a rigger for longer than that ask your local craft brewery if they are able to purge the container with carbon dioxide first. Some breweries can do this if they have the right equipment. The carbon dioxide minimises the amount of oxygen in the rigger. You definitely don’t want your beer to oxidise – according to the experts it will begin to taste like wet cardboard, or even sherry!

craft beer riggers at Tinker Tailor brewery

Once a rigger is opened it is best to consume it within a day or two to keep optimal carbonation and flavour.

You may also be wondering does my rigger of fresh beer need to be stored in the fridge? The short answer– YES.

The long answer - beer maintains its freshness when it is kept cold – ideally from the brewery right through to glass in your hand. This is especially important for beers with lots of hops in them so that you maintain that delicious well, hoppi-ness. Think IPAs and some APAs. If in doubt check with the team at your cellar door.

Four steps to the perfect pour

Craft Beer Glasses

1.     The glass. Always start with a clean glass. Wash it in warm soapy water, then make sure you rinse thoroughly to remove any traces of detergent. A room temperature glass is best. Too hot and the beer can go flat; too cold and ice crystals form and make the beer foam up. Either way you risk making the beer taste bland. After all the hard work your brewers have gone to to create layers of subtle flavours you want to make sure you can enjoy every aspect.

Craft Beer Pour

2.     The initial pour. Hold your glass at about a 45 degree angle. Then pour the beer down the side of the glass aiming at the point halfway between the bottom of the glass the the rim.

3.     The tilt. When the glass is about half full tilt the glass upright. Keep pouring into the middle of the glass. This part is very important to create a good head on the beer. Depending on the style of beer you are aiming for a head of 2-4 cm. Find out more about why head (or foam as the Americans say) is good.

craft beer glasses in hands

4.  The drink.

Time to enjoy!