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Comparison of a Radler shandy (left) and a Pilsner (right)

Shandy is beer mixed with a lemon flavoured beverage, often lemonade, usually half lemonade and half beer, resulting in a lower ABV for the finished drink. Shandies are popular in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Canada.

In some jurisdictions, the low alcohol content of shandies exempts them from laws governing the sale of alcoholic beverages.


The debated origin of the term (recorded first in 1888) is shortened from shandygaff, from Britain in 1853 and itself of obscure source.[1]

Variants by name[edit]

Shandy is a popular drink in UK and is usually ordered as either "bitter shandy" (50/50 bitter beer and fizzy clear lemonade) or "lager shandy" in which lager is substituted for the ale.


Radler (German: [ˈʁaːdlɐ] , German for "cyclist") has a long history in German-speaking regions. It commonly consists of a 50:50 mixture of beer and a lemon-flavoured soft drink.[2]

The term Radler originates with a drink called Radlermass ("cyclist litre") that was created by innkeeper Franz Kugler in the small town of Deisenhofen, just outside Munich. During the great cycling boom of the Roaring Twenties, Kugler created a bicycle trail from Munich through the woods that led directly to his drinking establishment.[citation needed]

While the term Radler has been widely attributed to Kugler, the combination of beer and soft drink is documented in texts dating from 1912.[3] Radler is consumed not only in Bavaria, but also in other parts of Germany, Austria, Czechia, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Poland, Portugal, Netherlands, Norway, Bulgaria, the United States, Canada, and Romania.

In northern Germany, a half-and-half mix of Pilsner beer and soft drink is known as an Alster (short for Alsterwasser, German: [ˈalstɐˌvasɐ] , German for "Water from the Alster", a river in Hamburg). Regionally the Radler and Alster may refer to shandies made with either citrus or orange flavoured softdrinks, with the two terms either contrasting or referring to the same drink. In Austria, a saure Radler is a mix of lager and soda water.[4]

In Austria, it is common to use Almdudler instead of lemonade for the Radler.

Radler is very popular during the summer months due to its low alcohol content and reputation for being a 'thirst-quencher.'[5]

In New Zealand, the word "radler" was trademarked by DB Breweries for their "Monteith's Radler" beer, which is a citrus-flavoured, full-strength (5%) beer.[6] This has led to some brewers to use the names "reldar" (Radler spelled backwards) and "Cyclist" (the literal meaning of Radler).[7]

In the Netherlands, shandy and Radler are largely seen as two different drinks, shandy being a 0,5% alcohol drink popular as a children's drink during the 70s, as not >0.5% was officially seen as non-alcoholic.[citation needed] The classic Radler, known from Germany, and since a decade or so[when?] also sold as pre-mixed drinks in increasing popularity by most large Dutch beer brewers in increasing variants.


In Bavaria, the southeastern state of Germany, as well as in the countryside of Austria, a mix of 50% Weißbier and 50% lemonade is called a "Russ". There are three different theories about the origin of this name:[8]

  • Due to a shortage of raw materials that occurred during the great inflation between 1921 and 1923, Weißbier became more popular. To further reduce material efforts, the Weißbier was thinned with lemonade. The name "Russ" may derive from the popularity of the drink among Russian workers in Germany at that time.
  • Another theory of the name's origin is that the drink initially was called "Riesen-Maß" (Riesen = giant), as the drink mixture frothed heavily.
  • The most popular theory is that the drink was first served in the Mathäser-Keller in Munich after the 1918 Revolution when Communists came together.[citation needed]


A Shandygaff is an older British name for beer mixed with ginger beer or ginger ale; the earliest written record of the word dates back to 1853.[9] In H. G. Wellscomic novel The History of Mr Polly, Wells refers to Shandygaff as "two bottles of beer mixed with ginger beer in a round-bellied jug".

Lager top[edit]

In England, Wales and Scotland, a lager top is a lager with a dash of lemonade on top, the latter of which reduces the lager's hardness.[10][11]


In France, Switzerland and parts of Italy, a mix of beer and soda (Sprite) is called a Panaché.[12] This name was also adopted in Portugal due to the influence of French culture in the area.


In France, a 50/50 mix of lager and carbonated lemonade with a dash of Grenadine is called a Monaco.


In Spain, a clara is typically any mixture of beer with a sweet-tasting carbonated soft drink (in order to reduce the bitterness of the hops).[13] The addition of soda lightens the color of the beer, hence its name (clara means "clear" in Spanish). It is usually served as a refreshment in the hot summer months, being a very popular drink.[14] Other regions have different names for the mixture, and there is a debate over whether a clara refers to beer with lemon, or beer with a soft drink.[15][16][17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "shandy | Origin and meaning of shandy by Online Etymology Dictionary". Etymonline.com.
  2. ^ "Radler". Germanfoods.org. Retrieved 15 November 2021.
  3. ^ "Radler". Projekt Gutenberg: Lena Christ, Erinnerungen einer Überflüssigen / 1; first published 1912. Retrieved 2008-12-14.
  4. ^ "Fußball-Weltmeisterschaft: Warum der saure Radler immer beliebter wird". 18 June 2018.
  5. ^ "Radler (The Bicyclist): Radler (The Beer)". Archived from the original on 16 January 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2010.
  6. ^ Krause, Nick (14 July 2011). "DB wins its battle over Radler beer". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 9 November 2011.
  7. ^ Law, Tina (25 May 2009). "Backward move in brewers' blue". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
  8. ^ "Russ". Bayrisches Bier (in German). Retrieved 15 December 2018.
  9. ^ "Shandygaff". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  10. ^ "Getting to the bottom of lager tops". Liverpool Echo. 24 September 2007. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  11. ^ "Lager top". Collins Dictionary. Retrieved 11 June 2014.
  12. ^ Larousse, Éditions. "Définitions : panaché - Dictionnaire de français Larousse". www.larousse.fr (in French). Retrieved 2023-05-18.
  13. ^ "Las bebidas más sanas para ir de terrazas - CLARA (CON LIMÓN): 72 ... | Zen | EL MUNDO". ELMUNDO (in Spanish). 2016-08-01. Retrieved 2022-04-07.
  14. ^ Felipe., Lescure Beruete, Luis (2005). Diccionario gastronómico : términos, refranes, citas y poemas. Vision Net. p. 69. ISBN 84-9821-137-9. OCLC 433953617.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  15. ^ "Dime como pides una "clara" y te diré quién eres". ElNacional.cat (in Spanish). 2020-07-30. Retrieved 2022-04-07.
  16. ^ "Cómo nombrar la cerveza con limón en diferentes lugares - Rentabilibar MSM". Mahou - Rentabilibar (in Spanish). Retrieved 2022-04-07.
  17. ^ "La clara, ¿con limón o con gaseosa?". La Voz de Galicia (in Spanish). 2019-08-17. Retrieved 2022-04-07.

External links[edit]