Beer shandy: A refreshing thirst-quencher or just all wrong?

On a hot summer’s day, many Aussies love flipping open the Esky and taking a swig of an ice-cold beer. But if you’ve got to hit the road later, a shandy’s always an option someone in the crowd will suggest – and it’s usually a suggestion that causes one of two reactions – great idea or complete horror.

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Those who grew up in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s will know that a shandy is usually created by mixing beer with a soft drink, usually lemonade, but sometimes ginger beer, ginger ale or even, for the exotic types, apple juice or orange juice. While the proportions of the two ingredients can be adjusted to taste, they’re usually mixed half-and-half. Aussies call them shandies, Brits a ‘lager top’, Germans a ‘postsdamer’ or a ‘radler’.

Those who love a good shandy find it to be delicious and refreshing, but there are plenty of others who think that combining soft drink with beer is just all wrong.

Unfortunately for shandy lovers, the drink also often comes with quite a bit of stigma—often being referred to as the ‘girly’ version of a beer. Many shandy drinkers also cop criticism for being “lightweights”. But some shandy fans have fought bought.  In an article on media site Thrillist, Dave Infante documented his internal struggle with the gendered stigma surrounding the drink.

In an article entitled Real Men Drink Shandy (I Swear) Infante writes, “For years, these half-and-half hybrids have been my summer secret, my summer shame.” He adds, “I’ve surreptitiously sipped Radlers on rooftops, privately pounded potsdamers in parks, and quietly lager-topped my way to many afternoons of leisure. I’ve drank all manner of shandy in my summers on this earth, and I’ve done it in the shadows.”

Infante argued that shandies are better than normal beers because you can drink lots of them in one sitting without getting drunk, while their European origins make them more sophisticated and impressive than the average lager.

He’s not the only one to try to defend the shandy in print. Sophie Atherton did the same in the The Guardian, relating how she asked a brewer whether he thought his beer would make a good shandy, only for him he laugh out loud.

But, looking through the comments on both articles it was obvious that the authors were fighting a losing battle with some people. One commenter referred the traditional 50/50 beer and lemonade mix, by joking that “I find a 100/0 ratio works rather well”.

Others described the beverage as “god awful” and one even reckoned that the stigma surrounding shandies was well deserved.

“I worked in a bar and some men would say in a false burly voice ‘A lager top, please, son’  to which I would reply in a voice audibly loud enough for the rest of the pub to hear ‘You want a shandy pal? A shandy was it?’. There is a lot of stigma and prejudice about a man ordering shandy. So, there should be. Hopefully, it shall continue!” the anti-shandy commenter claimed.

What do you think? Is there nothing better than a shandy on a hot day? Or do you reckon the soft drink ruins the taste of a good beer? Do you ignore the shandy stigma to enjoy one every now and then?