It’s The Right Time for a Radler

Fruit Beer - A boom sweeping the Czech Republic

Aaron Johns

Written by Aaron Johns Published on 07.08.2012 14:30:39 (updated on 07.08.2012) Reading time: 4 minutes

There is a boom sweeping this country, and the beer giants are taking full advantage. It’s the light, beer-based mixed drink known in this region as a radler. English speakers may know it as a shandy, and others still may refer to it as a panaché. A radler (cyclist in German) is beer mixed, about 50-50, with lemonade or other citrus-y fruit flavors. It was supposedly first poured for a German cyclist who wanted something light and refreshing during rides, hence the name, radler.

Staropramen’s cool lemon hit shelves last summer and proved there was a real, lasting market for these drinks. Most major brewers have since announced radlers of their own; there are now radlers from Staropramen, Gambrinus, Zlatopramen, Samson, Zubr, and more. Some pubs are even mixing their own. 

Staropramen’s Cool Lemon radler is a 2% abv. (alcohol by volume) drink that is a murky yellow-ish orange color and smells like artificial lemon flavoring, though it’s surprisingly refreshing. Staropramen reported sales in the millions of pints per month last summer. Now, with their own Cool Grep and heavy competition from other brewers, it is unlikely they will reach those kinds of numbers this season.

Like anything else, there is a time and place for everything. Sure, you would not necessarily sit down to a meal in mid January with a radler, but picture this: It’s  mid-afternoon on a hot sunny day, you’re by the river, maybe even playing some bocce ball, cracking open a cold, light drink with a little kick sounds just right.

After speaking with a couple of dads around town, I was surprised to hear that they like radlers because they provide them with an alcoholic beverage they can drink throughout the day and still be able to play with their kids and enjoy family time. Another great point that I heard many times is that these drinks, though sweet, give a much needed alternative to the liquid candy bar that is soda.

Several tastings have been held to put these Czech radlers in to perspective. There is one from and there was Radio Prague’s great radler tasting special. But, like any other beer, don’t take someone else’s word for it, set up your own tasting event and find the one that quenches your own thirst.

Řízný Citrón – 2.1% abv.
Limetka & Bezinka – 2.1% abv.

Escape Limetka – 2.5% abv.
Escape Malina – 2.5% abv.
Escape Zázvor – 2.5% abv.

Chipper Grapefruit Beer – 2.0% abv.


Apartment for rent, 3+kk - 2 bedrooms, 70m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 3+kk - 2 bedrooms, 70m2

Gočárova třída, Hradec Králové

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 50m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 50m2

Gočárova třída, Hradec Králové

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 62m<sup>2</sup>

Apartment for rent, 2+kk - 1 bedroom, 62m2

Sladová, Plzeň - Východní Předměstí

Office for rent, 79m<sup>2</sup>

Office for rent, 79m2

Pospíšilova, Hradec Králové

Radler Lemon – 2.5% abv.
Radler Grapefruit – 2.5% abv.

Cool Lemen – 2% abv.
Cool Grep – 2% abv.

Radler Citrón – 2% abv.
Radler Pomeranč a zázvor – 2% abv.

Yuza & Limeta – 2% abv.

Mixed at the pub

I can’t see myself regularly ordering a radler at a pub, but there are a number of pubs in Prague now serving radlers, and I thought I should try a few out. Here are two examples from opposite ends of the spectrum. 

First, I noticed that Melantrich, just under Marks & Spencer on Václavské náměstí, had a summer beer listed as a panaché in their outdoor seating area. So I sat and ordered said panaché. When it came, I asked the waiter which beer they use in this mix, he informed me that it was Pilsner Urquell. Next I asked about the lemonade mixer, and found out that they simply mix it with Sprite; to say the least, I did not enjoy the beer. Finally, I asked for my bill and was absolutely shocked to receive a 116 CZK check for one beer. So, I went to the waiter in case there was some mistake. No mistake. Melantrich serves Únětice regularly, and has always been a pub that I could make a quick stop to escape the river of people on Václavské náměstí. But 116 CZK for an Urquell and Sprite, ridiculous! The moral of this story is when at Melantrich go inside and drink Únětice.

On a much brighter note, if you haven’t heard of it or tried it yet, Pivo a Párek is a must stop. They have a cute little shop on Korunní with an admirable selection of bottled beers, a few rotating taps, a selection of sausages, and their own radlers. I was speaking with one of the owners, Pavel Mrzena, and could not have asked for a more helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable guy. Pavel was happy to tell me about the 8º beer that they have specially made just for their radlers, though I could not get him to divulge who makes it for them. Same story with the syrups: all of their syrups are specially made to work with the beer to make their radlers unique, but he would not budge on sharing exactly who makes them. I like that they are keeping their secrets close to the chest. Pivo a Párek is a wonderful little shop with some interesting and different Radlers. 

As always, get out there, taste as much as you can, and we hope to hear from you!

Related articles

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more