Cycling is hard work. And whether you’re sprinting through Normandy or straining to pedal up the 13th Street hill in Columbia Heights, you welcome a refreshing drink at the end. Germans have long favored a thirst-quenching blend of lager and grapefruit or lemon soda that’s known as a radler, which literally translates as “cyclist.”
Radlers came into public consciousness here in 2014, thanks to imports from Stiegel and Schofferhofer, and domestic versions by Boulevard and Sixpoint. The first local radler to catch my eye was Kodachrome Dream(ing), a “farmhouse radler” from the then-new Right Proper Brewing. Of course, because this is Right Proper, it wasn’t a true radler but “a really loose interpretation of radler,” acknowledges brewer Nathan Zeender, who concocted the recipe with his longtime friend and collaborator Michael Tonsmeire, author of the Mad Fermentationist home-brewing blog.
Instead of brewing a lager and adding fresh fruit juice, Right Proper brews a farmhouse beer with its house yeast, adding grapefruit, lemon and lime zest, then waiting until the very end of the brewing process to add the hops, dry-hopping with citrusy Galaxy and Citra. The result explodes with grapefruit and tropical flavors and aromas, but it finishes clean and dry, and clocks in at just 4.5 percent alcohol by volume. “I’m a big fan of San Pellegrino grapefruit soda, especially in the summer,” Zeender says. “This is kind of a beer version of that.”
In other words, the perfect thing to drink after a Saturday morning bike ride — or in a beer garden, while watching the televised Tour de France.
— Fritz Hahn
Kodachrome Dreaming by Right Proper Brewing. rightproperbrewing.com. $6 per glass and $14 per growler fill at Right Proper’s Brookland Tasting Room (920 Girard St. NW), at selected beer bars and on Sundays at the Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market.