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SHANDY SHOWDOWN! – Leinenkugel’s vs. Shock Top

Style: Fruit / Vegetable Beer
ABV: 4.20%
Serving type: Bottle into pint glass

I’d like to welcome you to a new feature of this blog, where I will pit two similar beers into my custom built Death Dome to square off against each other, leaving only one to survive and be crowned True Beer Champion!

That sounded way more awesomely epic than what will actually transpire. What will actually happen is that I will judge each and decide on which represents the style better. I will put it up to vote and you the readers will decide the true winner.

The inaugural combatants in this beer beat-down are two shandy style beers packed with enough lemons to have you puckering your lips more than a girl’s Facebook profile picture. The point of these beers isn’t to blow you away with their complexities; they are here to be refreshing and easy to drink. With that in mind…

Let the battle begin!

Appearance – Starting with Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, the appearance was a nice hazy yellow color with a finger of bubbly white head. The head on this beer lasted a lot longer than I expected and left some pretty decent lacing. Pretty surprising for what isn’t considered a very heavy or high ABV beer style.

Shock Top Lemon Shandy was almost identical to Leinenkugel’s offering, if you couldn’t already tell by the almost identical pictures above. One finger of head appeared though it faded away much faster than Leine’s offering. And there was almost no lace to speak of for Shock Top, though that isn’t enough for me to distinguish between the two.

EDGE – Even

Smell – Shock Top’s shandy had a scent that was pretty mild and I wasn’t able to make out much besides the lemon and grain. I wasn’t expecting much and it delivered on those expectations.

Summer Shandy was pretty similar though it had some malt notes to it to go along with the grain and citrus. Almost no hint of hops were present in either.

EDGE -Slightly Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, but only because of the hint of malt I could detect in the nose.

Taste – The best way I can describe the taste of Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy is “summer in a bottle.” I will admit that it’s definitely more lemonade than beer, but I don’t mind. Summer Shandy has malt, citrus, and grain flavors very much like it’s aroma. It’s sweeter than a Lance Bass Christmas special.

Shock Top’s Lemon Shandy on the other hand is like a Joey Fatone Christmas special. It had good intentions, but it failed miserably and made me tear down all my N’Sync posters. Wait what..? Anywho, this beer is more artificial than your girlfriend’s moans in the bedroom. It was mostly false lemon taste with wheat. I’m pretty sure I was getting that oxidation aftertaste of wet cardboard on top of the already forgettable taste. Not pleasant at all to be blunt.

EDGE – Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy in a No Contest!

Mouthfeel – Shock Top was very thin and smooth. I would say it was easy to drink, but the taste made that point moot. There was almost no carbonation to it either which surprises me since “shandy” is basically beer with lemon soda in it.

Summer Shandy might be even lighter than Shock Top. Again, it’s easy to drink though this is loaded to the gills with carbonation. I’ve had this from the tap many times, but it’s never been this bubbly. I’m pretty sure I could burp the “Old McDonald” song if I drank this fast enough… or if I could burp at all. But that’s another story for another time.

EDGE – Slight to Summer Shandy again because of the carbonation.


So now let’s go to the judge’s scorecards for the final results….

MY WINNER – Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy

In a unanimous decision, I choose Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy as the better lemon shandy readily available to the U.S. market. Though very similar in many respects, the taste of each is so far apart that it’s not really close. I have a feeling that Budweiser saw how popular Summer Shandy was getting and decided to get into the mix. Their attempt seems somewhat rushed and half-assed while Summer Shandy makes me long for bonfires, camping, and fishing. It’s the perfect compliment to any summer activity!

So now I’d like to hear your opinion. If you’ve had both, just one, or hell – even if you accidentally got redirected to this blog post by some computer virus, I’d love to know your opinion. Who is the one and only Shandy badass?!

Leinenkugel Brewing Company

Shock Top