One fine summer day a long, long time ago (in the 18 somethings) a beer garden with an especially pristine lakeside setting saw an onslaught of cyclists looking for a pit stop. After a whiff of profit-driven ecstasy the host turned to fearing his beer supplies wouldn’t be able to keep up with the guest’s thirst and looked for a way to dilute the brew.
Ta-dah! The ‚Radler’ was born. Aptly named as Radler means ‚one leisurely riding his bicycle. The newly created beer mix was a fusion of dark beer and lemonade which back then and ever since then was well to the taste of the cycling masses. Much has since changed though – if ordering a Radler today one will be served a light beer mixed with lemonade instead of a dark beer. And of course, as it is in Germany, things are regulated by now meaning a strict 60% beer 40% lemonade proportion has to be adhered to.
Considering a barkeeper’s tendency to use a rule of thumb estimate which wouldn’t be good enough to keep it legal the only legal way to serve it nowadays is bottled. Plenty of derivates have appeared, some longstanding others recently invented that draw on the mixer idea. The Radler being a rather southern German idea, the North of the country followed with its Alsterwasser (water of the Alster) which also mixes in lemonade but not with light beer but with Pilsner. Middle Germany sees one of the most intense mixers. It’s creation of black beer with raspberry lemonade is something one probably has to cut one’s teeth on. Why it is called ‚Ententeich’ (Duck pond) is not entirely clear. It might be due to its murky color or maybe even the venturous taste. In the very South of the country and its neighbors Austria and Switzerland one of our most beloved has sprung up: The ‘Almdudler’ – meaning ‘guy tootleing in the alps’. Ever smelled an alpine meadow in full spring bloom? Turn that smell into a taste, flavor light, fresh beer with it, add a little sweetness and bottle it up – ready is your Almdudler. A favorite amongst favorites!
Written by Anna-Barbara Schmidt