Pros:Very refreshing; Not too sweet
Cons:Not as much wheat malt character as I prefer
The Bottom Line: This is a decent tasting fruit beer that could stand to feature some more wheat malt, but is still good in its own unique way.
Seasonal beer products are always welcome in my household. I look forward to the bold taste of winter brews most of all, but the other seasons have their share of memorable brews also. One seasonal I am sampling for the first time is Leinenkugel Summer Shandy, a beer made for the summer season.
Recommend this product?
Basic Facts About This Beer:
Leinenkugel Summer Shandy pours to a cloudy yellow/gold color with a thin head of foam comprised of very small, tightly packed bubbles, giving the beer a creamy consistency. The nose of this beer is unmistakably lemony, with the scent of cereal grains in the background.
This summer brew offers the taste of lemon and more lemon- possibly lemon zest-, with the faint taste of wheat malt in the background. This beer leans toward the sweet side but not by much, with some sour notes and the slight taste of honey blended with the citrus. There is little or no discernable hop character to this product.
Leinenkugel brews this beer using pale and wheat malts along with cluster hops. The alcohol content of this beer is 4.2 percent by volume and a 12 oz. serving contains 130 calories.
With the taste of lemons dominating, Leinenkugel Summer Shandy would make a good choice of beer for a tossed salad, fruit salad, raw fruit bowl, or fruity dessert. Its thirst quenching capabilities and easy drinking nature actually make it compatible with many different foods, but foods containing citrus and other fruits are best.
Summer seasonal beer products can usually be counted on for refreshment character and they are often brewed using a portion of wheat malt. Leinenkugel Summer Shandy is no different from other summer seasonals in this regard. It is brewed using a portion of wheat malt and it offers a very refreshing character making it great for a hot summer day.
Leinenkugel Summer Shandy tastes more like lemonade than beer and this fact alone would normally convince me to lower my rating and give the product a non- recommendation. But there are some qualities that make Leinenkugel Summer Shandy different from many other fruit beers. First, the fruit is not syrupy, wine- like, or excessively sweet. As expected, there is a certain sour character to this beer as well, and its taste isnt overdone to the point of making the drinker sick from the sugar. The taste of lemon is obvious, but Leinenkugel Summer Shandy doesnt taste like alcoholic Mountain Dew. It still has characteristics of beer, even though the lemon taste dominates.
Another quality I like with this beer is the way the taste progresses from wheat up- front, to honey, to lemon in the finish. The overall taste is still high on lemon, but there is enough wheat and honey present to notice their contributions to the overall flavor. There is almost no hop flavor at all, but the overall taste is actually fairly well balanced between sweet and tart.
Leinenkugel brews Summer Shandy as a summer seasonal only, with production beginning in April and ending in August. Leinenkugel now offers three different wheat beer products: Summer Shandy, Sunset Wheat, and Honey Weisse. But Summer Shandy is the only one of the three that is sold as a seasonal beer. The other two are now offered on a year- round basis.
Overall, Leinenkugel Summer Shandy is a decent fruit beer with enough redeeming qualities and great refreshment to make it worthy of a recommendation. I never thought I would say this, but Leinenkugel Summer Shandy is actually pretty good for a fruit beer. It isnt excessively sweet and while I would like it more if the wheat flavor was more pronounced, Leinenkugel Summer Shandy is still a decent beer and one I recommend for a hot summer day.
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