There have been a few distinct trends in craft brewing this Spring and Summer, a clear one is the emergence of the shandy/radler as a popular beer style. These mixtures of beer with soda (typically lemon/lime but there are many variations) are popular in parts of Europe, but they were rare in the US until the last year or two. Now many brewers are mixing their lighter lagers with soda or sparkling fruit juices as there is clearly a market for this style. The Traveler Beer Company in Burlington, VT specializes in shandies. In fact, that is all they brew. Traveler Beer was founded with the goal of popularizing the shandy style in the US, and it looks like they’ve accomplished that goal in a relatively short time. Traveler’s flagship beer is Curious Traveler, a shandy brewed with fresh lemon and limes in the place of soda to give a more authentic citrus fruit flavor.
Traveler Brewing Curious Traveler Shandy pours a cloudy pale gold with a very mild white head. The smell is a ton of lemon followed by just a hint of sweetness. The citrus fruit leads the flavor too, but it tastes like a beer flavored with lemon and not straight lemonade (an important distinction that some shandies seem to miss). There are some bready malts and just a hint of bitterness that provides the “beer flavor”. Curious Traveler Shandy is very drinkable and refreshing. At 4.4% ABV it is easy to crush a few on a warm summer day, or the perfect way to mix it up a little while you day-drink. The finish is clean with just a touch of lemon left on the tongue. This is probably the best version of a shandy I’ve tasted (limited experience with the style, but still). Definitely worth picking up if you’d like to try something a little different. Hoppy Boston score: 4.25/5.