Six of the best not-quite-beers for summer

It’s summertime and it’s hot out there. It’s so hot that chickens are laying hard boiled eggs! One of the best ways to combat this heat is a cool and sweet refreshing adult beverage, am I right? The beverages on this list are not quite beers, but are perfect for a hot and unclouded afternoon at the beach or a BBQ. Below are’s top six not-quite-beers for the summer.


1. Sprecher Hard Ginger Beer

Ginger beer is one of my favorite types of soda, hard ginger beer is even better than its non-alcoholic brethren and Sprecher’s Hard Ginger Beer is the best ginger beer that I’ve ever tasted, alcoholic or not. Coming in at a 4.7% alcohol by volume (ABV), this beer pours out gold and has a medium carbonation. Its aroma is mainly of ginger and its taste exactly like its soda version, sweet and gingery. I find it hard to taste any of the alcohol.

Sprecher Hard Ginger Beer (Photo credit:
Sprecher Hard Ginger Beer (Photo credit:


2. Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy

Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy is probably the most popular and easily obtainable shandy on the market, but many people aren’t familiar with what a shandy is. A shandy is a beverage that has one part beer and another part soda, lemonade or juice.

Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy is a wheat beer mixed with lemonade. To many Americans this doesn’t sound particularly good, but that’s not the case in the Caribbean and Europe. This beverage pours out bright gold with a thick white head and has an ABV of 4.2%. The aroma smells of lemonade, with a taste to match (but with a slight hint of wheat).

Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy (Photo credit:
Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy (Photo credit:


3. Not Your Father’s Root Beer

My love for root beer began at an early age when my family brought me to an A&W in Michigan and gave me a full frosty mug of cold deliciousness. Since then, I’ve been on a journey to taste all the different varieties of root beer that have been produced.

I just recently came across Not Your Father’s Root Beer, which pours out dark brown and has little to no head. One interesting note about this root beer is that it has several different versions of it by ABV. The most common version of this is the regular 5.9%, but there are also two other versions that come in at 10.7% and 19.5%. The aroma is sweet and smells like clove, ginger, cinnamon and allspice and it tastes just like root beer, only a little heavier, with a bit more of a syrupy taste due to the alcohol content.

Not Your Father's Root Beer (Photo credit:
Not Your Father’s Root Beer (Photo credit:


4. Magners Irish Cider

This delicious drink hails from Clonmel, Ireland and is known there as Bulmers Irish Cider because of a legal issue with branding. Everywhere else in the world, it’s sold under the name of Magners Irish Cider. As one of the world’s best-selling ciders, Magners is made with 17 different varieties of apples! Being a cider, it pours out a bright shade of gold and has an ABV of 4.5%. It’s dry but not overly sweet and highly carbonated.

Magners Irish Cider, from Clonmel. (Photo credit:
Magners Irish Cider, from Clonmel. (Photo credit:


5. Stiegel Radler

Radlers are similar to shandies in the sense that it is a beer mixed with a lemonade, fruit juice or soda. Radlers are found primarily in Europe, as it’s popular in Germany, Austria and a few other southern European countries. My favorite radler is from the Stiegel Radler from Austria. Stiegel combines their popular Goldbräu with lemonade and grapefruit juice.

This beer pours out a pale gold with a bright white head and only has an ABV of 2%, so you can drink plenty of these and not feel it booze-wise. This drink has a very citrusy aroma and can simply be described as an alcoholic grapefruit Sprite. There’s not taste of alcohol and it is very refreshing.

Stiegel Radler (Photo credit:
Stiegel Radler (Photo credit:


6. Forbidden Traveler Apple Ale

I’d have to say that, in my humble opinion, this is my favorite apple-like beer. This beverage isn’t a cider and is not quite an ale, but it is refreshing on a scorching hot day. The beer pours out gold with a small white head that quickly disappears due to the ample carbonation. It has an ABV of 4.4%. The aroma is similar to a cider: lots of apples. The taste is absolutely phenomenal (if you like apples), as it is sweet and tastes like a freshly sliced apple.

Forbidden Traveler Apple Ale (Photo credit:
Forbidden Traveler Apple Ale (Photo credit:

So remember: when it’s hot enough to fry an egg on the ground and you want to try something else other than beer or hard liquor, give one of these six drinks a chance!



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Creator and host of the podcast Beer, Bros & BS, teller of stories, drinker of beers, reader of (comic) books, watcher of sports, devourer of food, mostly entertaining. From Miami. Follow me on Twitter & Instagram @thebiglibrarian.

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