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A beer like caipirinha – beer-based mixed drinks are trending strongly

By far the best-known and most popular mixed drink in this category is shandy, no doubt about it. Outside Bavaria, though, in the rest of Germany it’s often called “Alster”, and in Switzerland it answers to the nickname of “Panasch”. But have you also heard of the “Monaco”, the “Diesel” or the “Schuss”? When were these beer-based mixed drinks first introduced, and what came first, the lemonade or the beer? What beer-mixing trends have evolved in recent years, and is the consumption of these beverages overtaking the figures for traditional beers? I am addressing these and other questions in this article!


What precisely are beer-based mixed drinks? 

Beer-based mixed rinks are beverages made from beer or non-alcoholic beer, and soft drinks like lemonades. These beverages usually consist of 50 % beer, often a lite variety. This is then topped up with soft drinks. The overall alcohol content mostly lies between 2.4% and 2.5 %. Nice to know: it used to be compulsory for these drinks to be prepared in front of the customers, so they could see the mixing process with their own eyes. Since the new German Beer Tax Act of 1993, this has no longer been the case. Unusual and adventuresome beer-based mixtures are proving particularly popular with the youthful target group. Taste explosions like guarana-acai beers, caipirinha or mango-mojito are top-sellers. Exotic mixtures of beer and soft drinks are created to target drivers, athletes and health apostles as well. From low-carb mixtures to vegan beer – the inconceivable has become the commonplace. 🙂


Which beer-based mixed drinks are the most popular, and which are the wackiest?

Besides the familiar shandy, there are other mixed drinks in plentiful abundance a. The “Berliner Weisse”, for example, which consists of 50 % beer mixed with a shot of raspberry or woodruff syrup, is also extremely popular. One of the favourites among young people in rural areas is wheat beer mixed with banana, cherry or peach juice, and of course there’s “Russ” – wheat beer mixed with light lemonade. But there are plenty of fans for other interesting mixtures as well, like elderflower shandy from the beer city of Bamberg. Here, the shandy is pepped up with a dash of elderflower syrup. The perfect alternative for beer-lovers to an elderflower-prosecco cocktail! The most popular ready-mixed beer-based beverages in bottles: V+, Cab, Mixery, Warsteiner Premium and Desperados. One of the most popular choices, too, this year is German-style “ginger beer”, consisting of beer with added ginger ale. A refreshing choice in trendy beer gardens or a lakeside idyll in a city park. 🙂 But compared to the trendy ideas from the Veltins Brewery in Sauerland, mixtures like this seem almost boring. The Veltins Brewery this year launched a mixed drink comprising 50 % beer and cappuccino flavouring. Perhaps not absolutely everyone’s cup of tea, but you have to admit it’s out of the ordinary! What’s likewise more than unusual and most definitely unique is the blue summer shandy, called “BABO blue”, created by the student Patrick Loy from Nuremberg.

I haven’t tried it yet, unfortunately, but the idea has a lot going for it :-).


And who invented them?

The original progenitor of all beer-based mixed drinks is shandy. It was invented by a tavern-keeper called Franz Xaver Kugler from Munich. Franz was actually a railway track worker and earned his money on the Munich-Holzkirchen route, which towards the end of the 19th century was being upgraded to double tracks. The work was hard and sweaty, and the nearest tavern was a long way away. So canny Franz had an idea: why not supply his colleagues with beer? From the railway tavern in Deisenhofen, he began to regularly transport beer to the site with a horse and cart. Pretty soon, he found all this driving to and fro rather effortful, and built a wooden shack near the site, which he solemnly named the “Canteen of the Royal Bavarian Railways in Deisenhofen”. From then on, he supplied the thirsty track workers here with the beer they craved. Once the track was completed in 1897, Franz’s little tavern, though, meanwhile known as the “Forest Restaurant”, was later renamed the “Kugler-Alm”. This tavern, located about 15 km outside Munich, quickly became a popular destination for day-trippers, particularly after the First World War, when more and more people took up cycling. Shortly afterwards, Franz Xaver Kugler even had a cycling path laid straight through the woods, which even today is still a popular route for cyclists.

One day, it was a hot summer day, around 13,000 thirsty cyclists stormed his hostelry, and of course they wanted far more beer than the landlord had in his cellar. So he mixed the dwindling stocks of beer half and half with lemonade, and served his thirsty customers this “specially developed” mixture as a “Radler-Mass” (“Cyclists’ Mug”. This mixed drink gained a very large community of fans, particularly in Bavaria, and even today remains the best-known and most popular mixed beverage around.


Despite all the offbeat experiments with beer, the best and most refreshing drink on a hot summer’s day, in my view at least, is still shandy. This is a matter of opinion, of course :-). For all the curious among you, I have listed here a small (as yet incomplete) “beer-based mixed drink ABC”:

A for Apeman Beer (wheat beer with banana juice)

B for BMW (50% beer mixed with 50 % water)

C for Cola Wheat (50 % wheat beer mixed with 50 % cola)

D for Diesel (beer with cola)

E for Energy Wheat: ¾ wheat beer and ¼ energy drink

F for Flying Stag (wheat beer with Jägermeister)

G for Goassmass, also popularly known as Bumber (beer mixed with any spirit of your choice)

H Heller Moritz (wheat beer with sekt)

L for Lantern Mug (beer with lemonade and cherry liqueur)

M for Monaco (beer with grenadine)

S for Schuss (50 % Pilsner mixed with 50 % malt beer)


We’re looking forward to hearing about your own favorite mixtures! So feel free to post your comments, and then we’ll be able to complete the alphabet. 🙂

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