While it’s definitely been a great summer for craft beer in Ontario, demand has also risen for a certain fruity, lighter craft beverage : The Radler.
What IS the radler, anyway, and where did it come from? The radler is the perfect blend of lager and sparkling lemonade, typically only about 3% alcohol. We have the Germans to thank for its invention (Thanks, Germans!). The word ‘radler‘ comes from the German word ‘radlermass’, meaning ‘cyclist‘.
According to legend, radler was invented on a hot summer day in 1922 when an innkeeper outside Munich found his beer garden inundated with thousands of cyclists. Faced with a cellar shortage, he mixed his remaining beer with lemon soda and avoided a riot by convincing them that his radlermass was specifically designed for cyclists so they wouldn’t fall off their bikes on their way home through the alpine forest.
We’ve learned a lot about alcohol since 1922 (for example, that it’s not a sports drink, and the it’s definitely not going to help you stay on a bicycle) but our love of the radler has remained. Good news : You don’t have to go all the way to Germany to enjoy a great radler! A number of breweries here in Ontario have stepped up to meet the province’s demand for sparkling summer flavour. Here’s a list of our top 5 favourites, and where they can be found:
1. Waterloo Grapefruit Radler from Waterloo Brewing Co. (Waterloo)
Where can it be found? The LCBO, or the Waterloo Brewing Co. Bottle Shop.
From the brewery : “Food pairing? Radler-sicles – Ya, we went there…Pour this radler into a popsicle mould until each well is filled halfway. Make sure to pour down the side of the mould to minimize the level of foam. Continue to fill until your within 1/4″ of the top. Insert popsicle sticks, place in freezer..wait….then share with friends (who are are of age of course.)”
2. Xmas in July Pine Radler, Royal City Brewing Company (Guelph)
Where can it be found? Available by the glass, or bottle, as part of the seasonal tap rotation at the Royal City Brewing Company in Guelph.
From the brewery: “Visit us for a tour! Our brewhouse is open for visits whenever our brewery is open. Our staff would be happy to show you around and explain our brewing process.”
3. BONGO Ginger Grapefruit Radler, from Big Rig Brewing (Ottawa)
Where can it be found? Available by the can, at the Big Rig bottle shop!
From the brewery: “Crisp. Refreshing. Light. Perfect.”
4. Honeymoon Peach Radler, Niagara Brewing Company (Niagara Falls)
Where can it be found? Available at the brewery’s location on Clifton Hill, on tap, by the bottle or even by the growler!
From the brewery: “Niagara Falls is known as ?The Honeymoon Capital of the World? and this Honeymoon Peach Radler is crafted as a tribute to all of our newlywed visitors. With an airy malt sweetness, touch of ginger, and pleasant peach finish, you’ll feel refreshed and more in love with every sip.”
5. Kitchesippi Radler, Kitchesippi Brewing Company (Ottawa)
Where can it be found? LCBO locations in the Ottawa area.
From the brewery : “When someone wants to try your local beer, they want to experience something that is unique to the community. We’re proud to say that our beer has been craft brewed in Ottawa right from the first batch and we plan to keep it that way.”
Find out more about craft beer in Ontario, who makes it and where to get it through the Ontario Craft Brewers!