While we shake off the last vestiges of winter in the Northeast, Shock Top is getting ready for summer everywhere, with the limited release of its Lemon Shandy for another summer. The Belgian-style wheat beer brand, brewed in Colorado by Anheuser-Busch, features natural lemon peel, spices and lemon flavors.
Traditionally, a shandy is a mixed drink, combining beer and a non-alcoholic mixer like ginger ale, apple juice, and most commonly, lemonade. The resulting drink is a warm-weather refresher, generally at a lower alcohol point thanks to the dilution from the soda. Shock Top’s Lemon Shandy refines the drink by flavoring brewing its wheat beer with lemon peel and coriander, then blending in natural lemon flavor and a little sugar before bottling. In the case of Shock Top’s version, ABV stays up around 4.2%, or only a little lower than the 5 – 6% for the average American lager, and the same as Bud Light.
To promote the limited re-release of the Lemon Shandy (March 2 through September 6), Shock Top has launched a number of initiatives, including to “bringing summer early” to Boston, which was hard hit by winter storms this year. On March 21st, Shock Top hosted a summer party at massive event space The Castle at Boston Park Plaza. Using the slogan “72 Degrees and Shock Top,” Bostonians donned flip-flops and shorts, attempting to dance summer into being to the beats of Vacationer. In California, the company set a shindig up in a lemon grove, highlighting the natural California lemon peel incorporated into the beer. Other activations will most likely follow around the country.
If you didn’t make it to Boston or California, you can participate in the brand’s 72 and Shock Top online promotion. Share winter pictures on Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #72andShockTop and you may find them highlighted on the site, campaigning for an early summer (spring may have finally reached NYC, but it’s far from warm).
So, how does it taste? Shock Top was kind enough to deliver a six pack for review. The beer itself is a pleasing golden amber, and because it is non-filtered, slightly opaque and cloudy. Carbonation is relatively low, so you’re not going to build a big head on this, if poured right, and the bubbles are pleasingly tiny as they course up a tall pilsner glass. On the nose, the bready wheat beer character dominates, but it is relatively light in aromatics. On the mouth it is bright and citrus driven, while still retaining its beer notes: Nutty, bready, and slightly sweet. It opens tart and lemony, rounds into the middle allowing the beer notes to flourish, and finishes short and medium-bodied. Unlike Country Time lemonade (or a similar mix), the lemonade notes here are tart rather than overly sweet. After the first couple of drinks, the lemon notes and beer notes balance, though there is a slight astringent aftertaste at the back of the throat that lingers long after the finish. A clean acidity lingers on the teeth.
All in all this is a pleasant poolside refresher in a bottle (though we recommend transferring it to a tall cool glass). More beer than flavored drink product, it’s easy drinking and not cloying. Pair with football games, ultimate frisbee or sitting on the porch watching the sunset.
Shock Top Lemon Shandy is available in cans or bottles through September 6, 2015, and on tap at select bars. It has an ABV of 4.2%. Please drink responsibly.
Thirsty for more? Check out National Spirits Examiner or NY Drinks Examiner.
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FTC Disclaimer: The author sometimes receives product samples for review, which carry no cash value and cannot be re-sold, and sometimes attends press events such as lunches or cocktail parties, designed to promote a given product. The author is not paid by any alcohol manufacturer, retailer or distributor, or provided compensation apart from revenue from an assigning publishing company for editorial publication. Opinions are the author’s own. By the way, you should be 21 or older to read this page. Author received a six-pack of Shock Top Lemon Shandy for review, and an invitation to attend the Boston launch party (but was unable to attend). Author is SOOO ready for summer…