Beer and Lemon Juice

A very light, refreshing and tasty soft drink

Have you ever tried a fresh beer mixed with lemon juice? No, not the simple and classical beer with a decorative lemon slice, but definitely a cocktail with the beer flavoured with the yellow citrus fruit. It’s so scrumptious and poor in alcohol that should be appreciated by everyone. It’s very easy to make, wherever you are: just get a bottle of beer and add some lemon juice. The proportion is up to your taste, but could be useful taking a look to some countries habits.

Beer and lemon juice, a drink with a lifelong tradition

The refreshing brew in ‘Strum und Drang’ countries is called Biermischgetränke, a light beer, with reduced alcohol content, only 2,4 – 2,6% .

South German (Bavaria) and Austria (Tyrol) inhabitants name it Radler, a mixture of 50% pilsner beer and 50% zitronelimonade (lemon juice and soda). The name, in English ‘cyclist’, was invented by the Munich gastronomer Franz Xaver Kugler in the hot June 1922 when approximately 13,000 cyclists stopped over his tavern. His beer started to run out, so he cleverly mixed the remaining beer with lemon juice. Hence a new light beverage was created, a guest thirst-quencher, an energizer for cyclists without the side effects of drunkenness and a fine brew for people who usually don’t like the sour aftertaste of beer.

In Tyrol and Bavaria, since 1993, you can even get two different blends in supermarkets and pubs: the summer one, which is a common Pilsner or Lager brew with lemonade and the so called ‘Schnee Radler’ (Snow Radler), traditionally served in the Austrian Alps at altitudes of more than 1000 meters and obtained mixing edelweisshafetrub and lemonade.

You might even heard called it ‘Russ’, in English “Russian”: a join of 1/2 Weizenbier and 1/2 lemonade. In Northern Germany this drink is known as Alster, after the river Alsterwasser, for the same clearness and coolness.
In Berlin you may drink a Berliner weisse mit schuss (wheat beer coupled with a ‘shot’), a very light and refreshing beer with a yellow lemon syrup.

English speakers ask for a Shandy, a beer flavoured with some soft drink, even though lemon-base shandys are the most common in Europe.
The proportions are on average 50% beer and 50% lemonade, although usually, due to laws regarding distribution of alcoholic beverages, in some jurisdictions, the dilution is 1 part of beer and 10 parts of lemonade. In the early ‘70s, among the Englishmen to have a Lager & Lime was very popular and trendy.

Did you know…?

  • Frenchmen sip the Panaché (from ‘Panach’: stylish) a combination between beer and their typical limonade, which is made of lemon and soda.
  • In Flanders: A mixture of lemonade and lager is called Kivela.
  • In Spain people enjoy the Clara or Clara con limón, if it’s boosted with fizzy lemon. When prepared with carbonated soda-water and lemon, they label it as limón gaseosa.
  • The Mexican phrase for this kind of beer is Cerveza preparada.


Berliner weisse

Type of wheat beer brewed in the area of Berlin, that contains around 3% of alcohol. It’s slightly barm-clouded and rather sour. Due to this taste, it’s commonly drunk mixed with some juice.

Weizen (Weisse)

Wheat beer distinguished by its pleasingly thick and creamy head. The weizen beers have a golden colour, leave a bitter aftertaste, are very refreshing and assist digestion. One of their main features is that the yeast is not filtered out, conferring to the beer the typical hazy appearance and a particular aftertaste. There are three main varieties available: hefeweizen (clear, with yeast), dunkelweizen (dark, with yeast) e kristallklar (clear, without yeast which is filtered).

Pils / pilsner

Very fine beer brewed in the Czech city of Pilsen. Pils are characterize by a low-fermentation, very light straw to golden colour and a noble hop flavour. They have a pretty sour aftertaste, a subtle perlage and a white creamy head. Pils should be served in the champagne flûte.


Lager beer is one of the most popular types of beer in the world. Lager has a pale golden colour and a slightly bitter flavor. Its name comes from German (‘lager’ > storehouse) and refers to place where the beer was originally stored and aged.