Weekly Beer Review: Bitburger Radler

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Bitburger Radler
Bitburger

Price: Like $3 for a pint can? I dunno, the sticker fell off.
Grade: A-

The Beginning:
Before the craft beer revolution introduced your average person to the sweet deliciousness of the shandy, my parents had a party drink recipe called “Hop, Skip, and Go Naked” that was a beer and lemonade blend that more or less amounted to homemade shandy. So if we can go homemade with it, we surely can go more processed – and of course the market fills all niches. Radlers are like shandies, except using pop rather than juice. They’re creeping onto store shelves now (I suppose they are a natural response to IPAs to keep the overall average bitterness of the shelf the same), so I’m trying my second review of one of these refreshing concoctions.

The Brewer’s Pitch:
“Bitburger” is a very fun word to say- it makes me smile a little even just typing it. Nevertheless they seem to be a very serious international brewing group that has merged 5 German breweries as well as distributing beers from some more localized brewers. Their English web site is high on visuals but low on words, and the sales pitch for their Radler is pithy and to the point. The beer they use is a dry and aromatic Pilsner with a clear hops element and some light citrus characteristics of its own. The blend gets minimal hype, but they do claim that the dry hops notes and fruit sweetness balance well for a refreshing and pleasant lingering aftertaste.

The Beer:
Bitburger Radler is bright champagne gold with lots of rising carbonation but very little head. The nose is like a lemon soda with light hints of hops and a slightly stale beer twinge. The taste is just what the nose promises. The dominant flavor is the smooth tartness of Meyer lemons backed up by a mellow depth of flavor reminiscent of lemon pudding. Some smooth notes of fresh-mown grass give a summery character to it, and the aftertaste gives a light haze of hoppy bitterness to counterpoint the sweetness, and there’s some lingering hops on the very back of the palate.

The Breakdown:
This was a tough beer to describe as it didn’t have much in the way of traditional beer flavors to go on. It’s more like a soda with beer elements than it is a beer with additional flavors- citrus and beer are a natural pair, though, and it’s particularly intriguing to have lemon used as a mellow full flavor element rather than a tart cutting element. I did this review right after I got home from a long day at work and it hit the spot. It’s refreshing, it’s sweet, it’s got enough flavor to enjoy on its own but it’s so pleasant and mild that it doesn’t leave your tongue burnt out and bitter like other full-flavored beers do. Grab this when you want something enjoyable and mild, not too complicated, and fun to drink.

The Bottom Line:
As a great man once said, Beersoda is the ultimate drink for an all-night gaming session. Beer has the happy juice, and soda has the caffeine that banishes the evil sleep demons. Beersoda.

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