Have you stepped outside this week? Perhaps you’ve noticed the crushing humidity or felt a trickle of sweat roll down the small of your back on your way to the subway. Yes, summer is here, and she is a cruel mistress. We can’t all be sitting on a porch somewhere slow and sultry during the week, but we can make up for lost time during happy hour and on the weekends. “What can I drink at this all-day outdoors event that will keep me upright for the entire day and not make me sleepy?” you wonder. The answer, my friends, is the shandy.
The Village Voice has already covered in depth the reasons why we are perched on the precipice of the Summer of Shandy, but we have our own reasons for loving this summer beverage. Beer, in all its iterations, is delicious, but when it’s a million degrees outside and you’re sweating just thinking about leaving the spot you’ve staked out in front of your air conditioner, you probably don’t want to drink a smoked porter. There’s something so refreshing and light about these drinks, and its more than just their flavor — the low ABV on most of these beers (usually between the 4.0-5.0% mark) means that you can drink them all day without things getting out of hand. Head out to your nearest bottle shop or bar and see if they have any of these fine beverages available. Show up to your next barbecue with a six pack of these, and prepare yourself for praise.
Shiner Ruby Redbird — While technically not a shandy, this beer brewed with Texas Ruby Red grapefruit is the only thing I crave on a really hot day. The kick of ginger keeps it interesting. There is a bodega in my neighborhood that always seems to have these babies in stock, but I delight in finding them when I’m out and about. Rumor has it that the Park Slope bar High Dive has these in the can, so hustle on over there and find out for yourself.
Naragansset Del’s Shandy – The trick with a shandy is that it can sometimes taste like a Corona, or, even worse, a Bud Light Lime. This was my fear with the Del’s Shandy, but when I ordered one at Clinton Hill’s Speedy Romeo, I was surprised to find a nicely-balanced and delicious tasting brew that goes down easy. The secret is the addition of Rhode Island’s Del’s Lemonade, which is the perfect balance of tart and sweet.
Harpoon Big Squeeze – Harpoon has taken their already-classic unfiltered UFO wheat bear, and blended it with all-natural grapefruit juice, making a complex and refreshing drink that somehow improves on the original.
If you want to get crazy, make your own. We like this recipe from Epicurious. Happy summer!