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The summer’s biggest alcohol craze is radler – the perfect solution for those who aren’t quite up to quaffing full-strength beer all afternoon on the patio but who, like any self-respecting beer drinker, find light beer somewhat less than satisfying. As with most beer-based innovations, radler originated in Germany. Think of it as the Bavarian cousin of a British shandy: Beer combined with a fizzy juice for ultimate refreshment and low alcohol. Bonus: With a hit of vitamin C, it even gets a healthy nod.

Radler’s origins date back to the 1920s in the small village of Deisenhofen, just outside of Munich. As the boozy tale would have it, an ambitious business owner named Franz Kugler decided to take advantage of post-war cycling mania by creating a trail from Munich directly to his establishment. Chaos ensued shortly thereafter when 13,000 cyclists descended upon his bar at once and just about drained his supply of beer. The quick-thinking Kugler rushed to the cellar, where he had been keeping a stock of fizzy lemonade. In order to stretch his beer and deplete his stock, he combined the two. He called it “radlermass” – “radler” meaning cyclist, and “mass” referring to a litre of beer.

This might very well be the summer of the grapefruit/non-lemon radler, given its recent explosion on the scene. A mere two years ago, there were virtually none on the market. We taste-tested eight of these popular bevvies with your summer enjoyment in mind, and rated them on a wedge scale (a score of four wedges being the highest). Prost!

 

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