Rickard’s Shandy — Molson-Coors Canada

Years ago, I was sitting at Castro’s, with a dear friend of mine named Christian.  Christian is German.  This is important to the story, trust me.  At the time his English was fairly good, but occasionally, he would stumble to find a word or phrase.  So when he ordered his beer, I assumed there was a problem going on with translation.  In not so few words, he was asking for a half Hacker-Pschorr, half coke pint.  This couldn’t be right, so the server and I tried to ascertain what he actually wanted.  Surely he wanted a Hacker and a coke.  Like, he was just really thirsty or something.  But after some conversation he explained that, no, in fact drinking mixed beers — a shandy as us UK descendants would call it — was totally normal for a lot of Germans.  So the server duly poured him his (somewhat disturbing looking) drink.  He insisted that I try it.  And I’ll be honest, it wasn’t terrible.  Coke is just too sweet for me when I’m thinking “beer”, even if it is cut by half with a decent tart refreshing wheat beer.  But I was somewhat impressed.  So he ordered a few more favourites, like Hacker and OJ, and more I’ve forgotten.  And they ranged for not-awful to actually quite tasty.  And like that, I had my mind changed about the shandy.  I had always assumed it was a drink for old people.  But after this, I discovered the Radlermass (a German or Austrian mix of pils and some type of soda, generally a citrus), and that many English folks openly ordered a shandy on a hot summer day.  And while I still rarely do myself, I’m much more open to the concept.  So when I got a lovely wooden crate from Rickard’s with some cans of their new shandy (and a bunch of lemons and a dope lemon-shaped USB key), I was quite intrigued.  While Rickard’s has a pretty good record with me, the spate of light lime type beers of late hasn’t been my favourite development in big beer business.  But I read the can, and noted there are no artificial flavours (a good thing), so I’m actually pretty stoked to try this.

Rickard's Shandy — Molson-Coors Canada

Rickard’s Shandy — Molson-Coors Canada

From a 473ml tallboy can, Rickard’s Shandy pours a slightly hazy lemon yellow.  A pretty loose frothy 3″ of head disappears nearly immediately, with lots of motion on the surface from a very active carbonation.  Aroma is juicy bright lemons.  I’m sniffing like mad, and there might be a touch of malts to the nose, but it’s nearly all bright juicy lemons.  Taste is a bit more of a dance, there is definitely some malty sweetness from the beer, and a hint of some bitterness on the finish that I’m going to attribute to the hops, but it’s quite mild.  There is still a bright lemon aid tang to it, but it is clearly cut with the beer; it is not aggressively juicy.  Over-all, the beer is quite light: bright and refreshing taste, fairly light mouthfeel, active carbonation, and fairly clean finish with some tart lemon tastes echoing around.  My beer fridge is set a bit warmer than most people’s kitchen refrigerator, but I bet at like 2C, on a sticky hot summer’s day, I could drain a couple of these with no trouble at all.  I would be a happy fellow, indeed, if these were available on the cart at the golf course.  If this were a fruit beer, I would look for more of both the fruit and, well, the beer, but it’s not.  It’s a shandy, and in that, I think it does exactly what it says it will.  Bright, refreshing and quick drinking.  Perfect for summer.  Of all the lime/tea/[OMG-straw-ber-rita] type stuff from the bigger breweries, I would take this over them all.  In fact, I could easily see keeping some cans of this in kitchen fridge for post-weeding or lawn-mowing refreshment.

Quite a decent shandy, cheers Rickard’s!

Buy Rickard’s Shandy

Available in Ontario at the LCBO #341529 and The Beer Store for $2.35/473ml can. Given that it is a Molson-Coors product, check your major liquor/beer concern in your province of residence, it’s probably there.

Drink It With

Well, fairly light fare, as the beer is pretty light and mild.  Simple grilled fish, maybe splashed with a mix of 1:1 decent white wine and experienced olive oil (virgin and extra virgin burn too quickly, especially on the grill), with some chopped garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice?  Also, fresh summer leafy greens and vegetables in salad mix.  You don’t want to get into too heavily smokey stuff here, as you will loose the beer in it.  For cheese, I want to you try a non-traditional “cheese tasting” cheese: Queso Cojito.  You can find it at Mexican grocers (there’s a bunch in Kensington).  It’s like a very firm feta, quite tart and salty, and I think it would work well with the beer.  I think….

About The Brewery

In 1983, a beer enthusiast named Gord Rickard’s couldn’t find a pint with real character or taste worthy of his passion for beer. So, he set out to make his own perfect pint. That beer turned out to be Rickard’s Red, and he put his name on it.

Since then, other beers with character and full flavour – Rickard’s White, and Rickard’s Dark – have been brewed to meet Gord’s standards.

Rickard’s beers are brewed naturally using the finest ingredients – they do not contain additives or preservatives. And our Brewmasters use the finest hops and barley. They combine them with other flavourful ingredients to achieve what Gord wanted to create – well-crafted beers with character worthy of the Rickard’s name.

I would be a happy fellow, indeed, if these were available on the cart at the golf course.

 

2 Comments

  1. Andrya
    Posted April 28, 2014 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    This is all nice but I wanted to find out the actual ingredients in Rickard’s Red. They were likely all natural when ‘Gord’ was brewing up the beers, but now that Rickard’s is owned and operated by Molsons I am not certain that the popular coloring with formaldehyde and other chemicals, poisons, aren’t an ingredient.
    It looks like I may have to only drink German Beers because today, I discovered that The Reinheitsgebot law , or the german beer purity law, keeps the beer clean and pure.

  2. chris
    Posted April 29, 2014 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Andrya,
    I suspect you’ve read one of the “stop drinking these 8 beers” or “What’s in YOUR Beer” type articles. While I certainly don’t prefer brands from the major producers, I find it unlikely Rickard’s is made with anything particularly bad. It’s likely coloured using a malt-extract, which isn’t good, in terms of craft beer (which it’s not), but isn’t at all bad for you. While long, I would suggest you (and anybody else reading) check out this article that deals with a lot of the crazy claims that have been floating around recently regarding beer:
    http://maureenogle.com/maureen-ogle/2013/08/18/whats-in-your-beer-or-the-dangers-of-dumbassery

    Thanks for reading,
    C

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