10 October 2018

Beer of the moment

I'm going back a few months to when there seemed to be a disturbance in the force on beer Twitter over the absence of Rheinbacher Pilsner from the shelves in Aldi. I had always assumed it would always be there, and even having never tasted it I made a point of picking up a four-pack when it came back.

It looks... proper: a clear gold. There's a delicious weighty sweetness, starting me thinking of helles, but quickly after the early candyfloss and golden syrup there's a harder spinach and dry tin. It's not quite a balancing act; more a seesaw: the two very different characteristics taking turns to run the flavour. Overall, though, it's a jolly decent pilsner with plenty to offer the fan of malt-forward German lager while also bringing just enough noble hops to keep the other tribe happy. And all for just over a euro can. Can't say fairer than.

While I picked up that plastic-wrapped four-pack I also, on a whim, bought a sixer of Brasserie Lager Shandy. This is fun because no ABV is displayed on the can though the number of standard drinks and the ratio of beer to lemonade is there. I reckon it comes out at about 1% ABV.

Expecting yellow I was immediately surprised by how brown it was, a clear garnet-copper. It does present like a soft drink, being bubbly but headless. And yes it tastes of lemonade: a sugary fruit concentrate with just a sprinkle of spiced ginger. There's a sizeable layer of lemon tea in the taste: dry and quenching. The problem is all the sugar stays in charge while there's no sign of the beer: nothing of the hop or the malt about it at all. I can see why the pre-mix shandies of my youth used an ale. It offers a much better base to work from.

This doesn't have the bright zing of a good radler yet lacks the depth of a old-school English shandy. There are much better options out there, even if you have to pay a little extra for them.


  1. Is it just me or does the branding of the Rheinsbacher make it look like a shandy too?

    1. Can't say that occurred to me. They seem to be going for the Krombacher look.