Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week": Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Jul 3, 2007 7:00PM

Last year, we were lamenting the news that Puffer's, long the bar with Bridgeport's best beer selection, was being sold and renamed Mitchell's Tap. Recently, we've started going back to Mitchell's. One reason is that legendary bartender Al Moran - he was one of Dave Jemilo's old partners in Green Mill and Déjà Vu - holds court there on Tuesday nights. Another reason is that they still have a damn fine beer selection. They have some bottles not listed on the site's menu and aren't afraid to switch taps on a moment's notice.

Last week, we were sitting near the front door chatting with Al when he pulled out a small glass and poured us a beer to sample. This particular brew had an odd lemon merengue color, but upon first sip we weren't appalled. Al poured us a Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy. A shandy is a beer flavored with lemonade or some form of soft drink. We've been aware of Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy for some time; it was even suggested to us by a reader during our call for suggestions. We didn't choose it at the time because we thought the beer was too gimmicky. What did we know?

Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy uses a natural lemon flavor, in order for the beer to maintain its alcohol content. The seeds for this beer were sown during the launch of Leinie's Hefe-weizen nine years ago. The brewery suggested serving it as a shandy to customers, with lemonade instead of the standard lemon slice that comes with most weiss beers. this proved popular with people who like their beers on the sweeter side - those "hard lemonade" people. Summer Shandy is replacing Leinie's Berry Weiss as its summer seasonal selection. It's a bold move. We like the Berry Weiss, but this is a tasty beer. We actually enjoyed its prominent lemon flavor, which isn't so powerful that it masks the flavor of the beer.

The only thing we didn't have was a picture of the beer. Lucky for us, we not only fond a photo, but video of someone pouring the beer, as well, courtesy of "A Roughneck's Take on Beer." His review of it is spot-on, as well. Those of you who left Puffer's after the switch to Mitchell's now have some incentive to visit; Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy is priced at $3.50 a pint.

We're posting this a day early because we won't be around on the Fourth of July. We'll probably be enjoying a nice bottle or two of Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy, Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week."