Friday, June 16, 2017

Beer soft drink mixtures for cyclists

Many continental beers at 5% alcohol content are stronger than British draught beers at 2% alcohol. As in Britain it is usual for cyclists especially to dilute their beer with lemonade. However what do you ask for? Asking for a shandy in a Munich beer hall will get you some funny looks and no shandy.

Here is a list of the names that various dilute beer mixtures are called:

The easy one  for our American cousins in Britain is Shandy, a mixture of about 50% beer and 50% lemonade. It would appear that our US friends drink Shandygaff which is the same thing. One of the most refreshing drinks of this type is a Ginger Beer Shandy, which could well become an export hit in post-BREXIT Britain. This too is a 50:50 mixture, but note it is a Ginger Beer not Ginger Ale. Since most beer lemonade shandies come pre-bottled these days Ginger Beer Shandy is not easy to find.

In southern Germany you ask for a Radler - a cyclist and in the north you ask for an Alsterwasser if you want a beer lemonade mixture - the Alster is the lake in the centre of Hamburg. However in some parts of Bavaria, but do not ask me where, a Radler is known as a Russ. On the River Elbe the familiar beer lemonade mixture is called  Ententeich or Entenpuhl - duckpond. On the River Weser in the northwest of Germany the beer lemonade mixture is called Fliegerbier - Pilot's Beer. In and around Münster in Westphalia the locals drink a beer orangeade mixture called Wurstwasser - sausage water. Why, I don't know. I drank it once on a very hot day in the winegrowing area of the lower Mosel Valley. It was all the pub had. I suppose it was really twice - for the first and last time.  If you are in Berlin in summer ask for a Berliner Weisse (German: Berliner Weiße) mit Schuß which is a cloudy, sour, white beer of around 3% alcohol which is coloured with a shot of Himbeer raspberry or Waldmeister green artificial woodruff cordial. In north-eastern part of the former German Democratic Republic a beer raspberry flavoured soft drink mixture is known as a Potsdamer.

In Austria you ask for an Almradler a mixture of beer and Almdudler. The original Almdudler is a sweetened carbonated soft drink made of herbal extracts. Almdudler is the "national drink of Austria". In the western Austrian province of Vorarlberg you need to specify whether you want your beer diluted with lemonade Süsses Radler or with mineral water Saures Radler.


Dutch cyclists drink Sneeuwwitje - Snow White, a beer lemonade mixture but don't ask me how you pronounce it.

The Belgians around Antwerp call for a Tango - a beer with cola when they wish to dilute their excellent beers.

In Switzerland and in Luxembourg one asks for a Panaché (from the French panacher meaning to mix). If you wish to dilute your beer with cola then add the word "coca"- Panaché coca. In the Saarland, the German province, where French is the first foreign language taught in schools, one asks for a Panasch to obtain a lemonade beer mixture.

One can, of course, use non-alcoholic or low alcohol beers instead of a full strength beer. If you are not taken with the flavour of alcohol-free beers, this is an excellent way of disguising their too hoppy flavour.

These days a lot of German breweries like those in the UK pre-mix Radler. You'll get a bottle of Radler rather than a mixture of lemonade and draught beer.

If when you are touring in hot weather you hit a wall of tiredness we find a quick lift is offered by a cola-orangeade mixture known in most of Germany as a Spezi, but in Mannheim and district as a Kalter Kaffee - cold coffee.

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