Beer Info FAQ

What's the Difference Between a Lager Top and a Shandy?

Lager tops and shandies are popular beer-based drinks that offer a refreshing twist to traditional beer. While both drinks involve mixing beer with other ingredients, they differ in terms of their primary components, brewing process, and taste profiles. In this article, we will explore the differences between a lager top and a shandy, including their ingredients, brewing process, and how they are enjoyed by beer enthusiasts.

Lager Top vs. Shandy: Ingredients and Brewing Process

A lager top is a simple beer cocktail made by adding a small amount of lemonade or lemon-lime soda to a pint of lager. The lemonade or soda is gently poured on top of the lager, creating a refreshing and slightly sweet taste. The key to a perfect lager top is to strike the right balance between the beer's bitterness and the sweetness of the added ingredient.

On the other hand, a shandy is a beer-based drink that combines beer with a variety of non-alcoholic beverages, such as lemonade, ginger ale, or fruit juices. The exact ingredients used in a shandy can vary, allowing for a wide range of flavor combinations. Some popular variations include the Radler, which mixes beer with lemonade, and the Diesel, which combines beer with cola.

In terms of the brewing process, lager tops and shandies are typically made by pouring the beer into a glass and adding the desired mixer. The mixing can be done by the bartender or by the drinker themselves, allowing for customization based on personal preferences.

Lager Top vs. Shandy: Taste Profiles

The taste profiles of lager tops and shandies differ due to the variations in their ingredients. A lager top offers a subtle sweetness from the added lemonade or soda, which complements the bitterness of the lager. The result is a refreshing and well-balanced drink that is perfect for hot summer days.

Shandies, on the other hand, offer a wider range of flavors depending on the chosen mixer. A shandy made with lemonade will have a tangy and citrusy taste, while one made with ginger ale will have a spicy and refreshing kick. The versatility of shandies allows beer enthusiasts to experiment with different flavors and create unique combinations.


In conclusion, lager tops and shandies are both beer-based drinks that provide a refreshing twist to traditional beer. While lager tops involve adding lemonade or lemon-lime soda to lager, shandies offer a wider range of flavor combinations by mixing beer with various non-alcoholic beverages. The brewing process for both drinks is simple and can be customized based on personal preferences. Whether you prefer the subtle sweetness of a lager top or the diverse flavors of a shandy, these beer cocktails are sure to enhance your drinking experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I make a lager top or shandy with any type of beer? A: Yes, you can use any type of beer as the base for a lager top or shandy. However, lighter and less hoppy beers tend to work best for these drinks.

Q: Are lager tops and shandies alcoholic? A: Yes, lager tops and shandies contain alcohol since they are made by mixing beer with other ingredients. However, the alcohol content may be lower compared to consuming the beer on its own, depending on the amount of mixer added.

Q: Can I make a non-alcoholic version of a lager top or shandy? A: Absolutely! Non-alcoholic versions of lager tops and shandies can be made by using non-alcoholic beer as the base and mixing it with your preferred non-alcoholic beverage.

Q: Are there any popular variations of lager tops and shandies? A: Yes, there are several popular variations of lager tops and shandies. Some examples include the Radler (beer mixed with lemonade), the Diesel (beer mixed with cola), and the Black Velvet (beer mixed with stout or porter).

Q: Can I experiment with different mixers for a shandy? A: Absolutely! Shandies offer a wide range of flavor possibilities. Feel free to experiment with different mixers such as fruit juices, soda, or even herbal infusions to create your own unique shandy concoctions.

Q: Are lager tops and shandies served over ice? A: While some variations of lager tops and shandies may be served over ice, it is not necessary. The choice of serving temperature is based on personal preference.

Remember to enjoy lager tops and shandies responsibly and savor the delightful flavors they bring to your beer-drinking experience!