The radler is ein Deutsche concept. According to the font of all knowledge, it means “cyclist”. In English, a radler is effectively a shandy, a beer diluted with lemonade. As a cyclist, I can see how that link would work. After a long hot day in the saddle, a drink consisting of carbs, water and a bit of booze to loosen the muscles seems ideal. The concept of ‘beer + cycling’ is endorsed by pro Laurens Ten Dam.
Personally, I first came across radlers at Oktoberfest, where my female colleagues were enjoying this Teutonic shandy (who goes to
Oktoberfest Germany without liking beer?) while I preferred the beer unadulterated. This would prove to be my undoing a mere four hours later as I hastily made my way to the S-bahn to get back to the hotel where I’m promptly passed out.
Blurry memories aside, the label says:
An easy drinking beer, brewed to full strength with light hoppy notes and a hint of natural lemon juice. Let this zesty beer refresh you with its tangy citrus finish.
Sounds promising. I am interested in zesty beers. I am definitely interested in zesty German beers, which almost sounds like a contradiction in terms, that you would expect takes the best of beer and adds a twist of lemon.
Pouring a glass and boom! Lemon! The ester fills the room. Radler Bier is diluted with lemon juice, not lemonade, so the smell is justified. The head is a solid white but disappears quickly. There’s a tiny bit of carbonation on the tongue and lips. The beer is a light straw colour and strikingly clear.
Time for the taste test and, oh crap, it tastes like lemon Pledge. Did I misread the bottle and accidentally pick up the dishwashing liquid? Nope, it still says “bier” on the side which, unless someone has a very twisted sense of humour, means this bottle should have contained beer.
A second taste and, settling down, its not as bad as the last paragraph makes it out to be. Wait, no, it is. I don’t like to do this to a beer but let’s not dance around the maypole: I am no fan of this beer and after a few of these, I’m gunshy about ever trusting Germans (or Kiwis) again.
I can’t fault the concept. After all, I bought the beers on the promise of lemon plus beer. However, the mix of a fairly weak (“moderate” hops?) beer with an overpowering flavour of natural lemon juice, not the hint advertised on the label, is an unpleasant surprise. Radler Bier’s ancillary qualities redeem it somewhat but, without a balanced flavour, it does not go down well.
- Genre: Germano
- Regionality: Greymouth, NZ
- Strength: 5.0%
- Rating: 0.5 / 3 taste + 1 / 2 ancillaries = 1.5 / 5
- Plus: Looks good and smells good
- Minus: The “hint” of lemon juice that is actually impossible to work out how that much lemon ended up in a 330mL bottle.