Beer is not the first thing anyone thinks of when they are pondering a cocktail. The Black and Tan (and all of its variations) is the go to when people consider mixing beers, but that is as far as it goes. There is a much wider variety of beer cocktails, most of which are created with ingredients that the bar already has. The Michelada (Bloody Mary-like mix and Mexican lager), Black Velvet (Guinness and champagne), and the Snake Bite (Guinness and hard cider) are all common ones you can find. There is also the Boliermaker (a shot and a beer), but I am not sure that is actually a cocktail. With the wide selection of beers there are now, from light and crisp to bold and bitter, making beer a consideration when adding them to the menu.
There was a German tavern owner in the 1910's that did not have such an option. It was in the middle of the bicycling craze, and his tavern was right on the biking trail. On a particularly busy day of biking through the lovely countryside, he noticed he was running out of beer. To help prolong his stock, he blended a sparkling lemonade he had on hand with the beer. The radlerinnen ("cyclists" in German) loved it; it was refreshing and light, perfect for continuing the ride. Ever since The Radler has been a popular summer drink, with many large breweries offering a version of it for their summer seasonal.
1 part ale or lager
1 part lemonade
Pour the beer into the appropriate glass until it is half full. Fill the rest of the glass with lemonade and enjoy.
Dee. Lightful. I have been a fan of the shandy for a long time, from back when I discovered Pete's Wicked Summer Ale. I loved the lemony flavor, and drank far too many. But I was officially introduced to the mixed version at Barley's Brewing Company. It was so much better, and offered many other options.
Some may ask "What about the Shandy?". That is a story for a different day.