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Say “Prost!” Relax with a Radler

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The Drink Local Research Department works outdoors even in triple-digit temperatures. Photo by Charles Fischman

It’s August vacation time. You’re hiking mountain ridges; cycling back-country roads; lounging on forested shores of alpine lakes. You’re… not living in Bavaria; you don’t have four weeks of paid summer vacation, and the Medford high on August 1, the official start of month-long vacations all across Europe was… 110 degrees.

Cheer up, Rogue Valley nine-to-fivers. Even if you don’t have the rest of August off, and your best chance for vacation is Happy Hour, you can still experience cool relief from our current Dante-esque climate: the radler. Supposedly invented in Bavaria where the oceans of beer slosh up against the Alps, the radler is a lager or pilsner mixed with a citrus-y beverage. Jacksonville’s Frau Kemmling’s Brewhaus version is authentic indeed–two parts Radeberger Pilsner (bottled in Dresden, Germany) and one part Sierra Mist (bottled in Roseburg, Oregon–sounds German, right?). As intended, the mix drops beer’s alcohol level and bitterness. A radler and a wurst at Frau Kemmling’s with a side-porch view of the Siskiyous feels Bavarian-ish.

If Jacksonville is too far, genuine German and Austrian radlers have made the 9000 km journey to local stores. Both the Stiegl Radler (Salzburg, Austria) and the Schofferhofer Hefeweizen (Frankfurt, Germany) feature grapefruit juice for the citrus. The Stiegl blend—40 percent beer, 60 juice—accordingly tastes like a beer-flavored grapefruit soda. The Schofferhofer is similar. One article we read suggested serving them at brunch. Why ruin a good brunch?

A self-sufficient Oregonian might try making his or her own radler. For mass-market, we started with Pabst Blue Ribbon (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) and Sprite, again two parts beer and one part soda. The soda flavors the beer, not the opposite. The outcome was satisfactorily refreshing; having both beverages super-chilled is key.

After a chips and guacamole break, the inspired Drink Local Research Department had its breakthrough discovery: Breakside Pilsner (Portland, Oregon) plus Lemmy Sparkling Lemonade (Orca Beverages, Mukilteo, Washington). They achieved a crisp beer and well-carbonated lemon sweetness partnership which had us speaking Deutsch. Pour a frosty cold 22 oz Breakside Pilsner and an equally chilly 12 oz Lemmy into a one liter mug, say “Prost!,” and turn the next triple digit Rogue Valley afternoon into your vacation.

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