Beer Review: Narragansett Del’s Shandy
Back in late February, beer lovers from around New England held their breath in amazement when Stephen Muzrall broke ground in the RI shandy game with the following Tweet:
— Stephen Muzrall (@StephenMuzrall) February 27, 2014
Had to be a prank or some kind of hoax, right? That’s what I thought, along with many others. But the news kept rolling that it was the real deal, and sure enough, Narragansett followed through with a mid-May release just in time for summer.
Narragansett has long been the king of RI booze flavor, much longer than I’ve even been alive. It’s only fitting that they pair up with other local favorites to try and bring us new and exciting boozy delicacies. The Del’s Shandy release comes after the December debut of the Autocrat Coffee Milk Stout, which was quite frankly a bit of a let down. Stout fans no doubt loved the dark, heavy coffee flavors, but coffee milk fans like myself were turned off by the syrupy depths of the brew. It was rich and complex but hardly a delightful treat. More sophisticated palates probably loved it. Unfortunately, my palate is about as sharp as a deflated beach-ball.
Anyway. How did this new shandy fare?
On face value, it’s certainly a solid summery drink. As far as shandies specifically go, it’s good but not great. I judge most shandies by the gold standard of my first shandy experience: Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, which offers a much complex and fuller-bodied drinking experience. The ‘gansett Del’s Shandy is light and refreshing and has that pleasant sweet tanginess present in every cup of Del’s Lemonade. It’s easily the most drinkable Narragansett beverage they have in their whole lineup, and at 5.0% ABV it’s not exactly too light either. Perhaps the largest drawback — which is the case with all sweeter beverage options — is its longer term viability. It might be hard to palate the sharp sweetness of the lemonade flavors for more than a single can, which may or may not be a good thing if you’re looking to stretch a six-pack out for a week or more.
Final verdict: B+
If you’re a fan of novelties like myself, then tracking down a six-pack or a single helping at a local restaurant in New England is a must-do experience. I’m not sure if I would include it in my regular rotation of summer adult beverage options, but I would definitely have it again. Narragansett Del’s Shandy is a delicious and refreshing treat worth your time, your money, and your buzz, especially if you are a Rhode Islander looking to stay loyal to this spectacular local brand.