Here in Germany, we like our beer. It's so special to us, we even have the Reinheitsgebot of 1516 on the statutes - an ancient law that strictly regulates brewing. But we also have huge regional variations, and of course that means rivalries between beer styles and the areas they hail from.
The same is definitely true for shandies, or as we call them: Radlers. Or Alsters, depending on where you are from.
A Bottle of Radler.
Neither Radler nor Alster(wasser) are actually specifically defined. In Hamburg, and most of Norddeutschland, everything is an Alster. But that is the only region where that's the case.
In other places, a Radler is made with orange soda, while an Alster is made with lemonade. It can also be interpreted exactly the other way around. Once again: it all depends on where you are!
The only thing that is for certain is that both variations are beer mixed with orange soda or lemonade. It really can get confusing at times!
A nice 6-Pack.
Sometimes it gets easier though. Like with this Einbecker Radler. Apparently, these guys do not care about traditions, or even about what is printed on the bottle.
Their Radler, in a twist, is made with 50% Beer and and 50% 'lemonade'. Only that that lemonade also contains orange, and even apple juices. So I guess it would be a Radler anywhere. Except for Hamburg of course.
While that definitely is not the usual combination, it definitely tastes very good; very refreshing when it's chilled.
Maybe you can read German;)
Because German shandies are usually mixed 50/50 beer to lemonade, their alcohol content also dilutes quite a bit. A normal 5% ABV beer turns into a 2.5% ABV shandy for example. Hand-mixed versions vary, of course, and there are 0.0% Versions available, but I have never tried one of those.
(Almost) every brewery here in Germany also has a shandy in its repertoire - some even boast multiple different ones, featuring fruit sodas like blood orange, or grapefruit.
And then there are also all kinds of flavoured Hefe-Weizen, but those are something different, for another day! Both Radler and Alster have one thing in common everywhere after all: they are both on Pilsner-style drinks.
If you are from Germany/ Europe: Do you say Radler or Alster, and what kind of soda would you use? Or maybe you even have a completely different name for the beverage. Tell us in the comments!