Many many moons ago, when I was a much younger man, I spent a bit of time with the extended family in Agrigento, Sicily. One night, while enjoying a light and tasty cena with La Famiglia, my cousin poured me a beverage that consisted of 50% Fanta Aranciata and 50% of whatever crappy Lager that he had in the fridge. I thought it was an odd combination while he was making it, but once I tried it, I realized the genius behind what I would later learn was called a Radler (or what the Brits call a Shandy). It was light and refreshing, which is exactly what you need to combat the fierce Sicilian summer heat since La Famiglia ain’t got central air down there!
While it’s rare that I make myself a Radler, I definitely appreciate how good they can be when properly crafted. Several years ago, I was on a Pilsner Urquel and Newman’s Own Lemonade Radler kick. That was a tasty combo, but working my way through a half gallon of lemonade and a six pack of beer was ridiculously easy, so I cut back on that habit in a big way and haven’t had one in quite awhile.
In case you haven’t noticed, the Radler/Shandy trend has become quite popular over the past few years. Victory Brewing Company calls their version Cage Radler. Here are the details taken directly from the Victory website:
Our spin on a German classic connects lemon freshness with crisp lager. Effervescent notes of lemonade, lemon zest, and a hint of graininess.
Hops: Tettnang Mittelfruh
Light, dry, and extremely drinkable, this clean and crisp lager is perfectly balanced with the flavors and aromas of fresh lemon.
And here’s my take…
- Appearance: Much like other citrus heavy beers that I’ve had recently, the pour on this one is loud and fizzy with minimal foam and zero lacing. The color is a pale, hazy, lemonade looking shade of yellow.
- Aroma: The nose is lightly lemony with a cane sugar sweetness and the ever so slight hint of a lager.
- Taste: I thought this was going to be super tart when I went in for that first sip, but I was wrong. It tastes exactly like what it is, i.e. a lemonade infused beer. The flavors are all light, crisp, and lightly lemony sweet with just a hint of lager flavors on the back end. There’s just a slight bit of bitterness (think lemon pith) coming through in the aftertaste.
The Verdict: The art work on the Cage Radler label features a group of mountain bikers traversing some rocky terrain. I’m thinking Victory has brewed up the perfect post bike ride refresher. It’s thirst quenching with just a hint of alcohol to relax you after a strenuous bike ride. I’ll take this over a Gatorade any day of the week.