Sunday, July 26, 2015

Radler me this?

Radler me this?

 Stiegl Radler Grapefruit Naturtrub, Stieglbrauerei zu Salzburg

 With a heat index approaching 102 this Saturday I thought some refreshing day drinking beer recommendations would be in order. Although I hate the sweltering heat it has contributed to quite an impressive farmers tan even if I do say so myself (bringing sexy back)!
"Radler" (German for cyclist) is a drink that was invented in the roaring 20s when cycling became all the rage. Enterprising Franz Xaver Kugler constructed a bike trail thru the forest that led to his hostelry 12 miles from Munich. On a  Saturday in June 1922 13,000 thirsty cyclists descended upon Kugleralm (meaning Kugler's Alpine Meadow) demanding beer. Kugler didn't have enough beer but in a light bulb moment realized he had several thousand bottles of clear lemon soda in his cellar gathering dust - he mixed the soda with the remaining beer to a 50/50 ratio and called his concoction "radlermass" (mass = liter of beer). Essentially the Bavarian equivalent of the British shandy.
Visitors to the beautiful city of Salzburg, Austria know that it is not only known for Mozart balls, the Sound of Music and hoardes of Japanese tourists it is also home of the Stiegl Brauerei  who make the preiminent Radler in the world. Stiegl is Austria's largest and most successful private brewery, having been privately owned since 1492 (mind boggling). Stiegl's Radler is a mix of 40% Goldbrau (Helles Lager) and 60% grapefruit juice. Cloudy and straw colored it tastes more like fruit juice than beer, reminds me of San Pellegrino soda. Light, smooth, tangy and crisp low in calories and with an ABV of just 2% you can drink pitchers of this. Refreshing. What are you waiting for?
Side note - my favorite memory of Salzburg was a visit to the Augustiner brewery. Sitting in a huge communal beer hall at a picnic table supping on my man sized liter of beer in a ceramic mug I noticed that my mug had disintegrated leaving a bunch of debris in my half finished beer. It must have been quite a comical scene as I tried to explain to the German speaking monk what had transpired. He grabbed my drink and disappeared and returned with a replacement stein. Filled exactly to the same level as my original. Another example of ruthless German efficiency!
Stiegl grapefruit Radler is available in 4 pack 500ml cans for $8.99.

 Schofferhofer Grapefruit Binding-Brauerei (Frankfurt, Germany)

 Schofferhofer claims to be the first brewery in the world to combine a Hefeweizen beer with grapefruit juice. That gorgeous ruby hue it displays on pouring is the result of a natural food coloring called "cochineal extract" - if you are squeamish turn away - it's a red dye made from bugs that are primarily found on prickly pear cactus. Aztecs have been using it to dye fabrics for centuries. It takes about 70,000 insects to produce a pound of dye (thank you Wikipedia) and is harvested mainly in Peru and the Canary Islands. I'm guessing Schofferhofer is not vegan friendly? The drink is an equal mix of 50% unfiltered Hefeweizen and 50% carbonated grapefruit juice. Hazy, zesty and not as sweet as Stiegl with a bit more body and a slightly higher ABV of 3.2%. An invigorating thirst quencher it would be great to use in a cocktail.
Schofferhofer Grapefruit is available in 4 pack 500 ml cans for $7.49. Give it a try. Prost!

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