I was at an airport bar, and the tap labeled Curious Traveler piqued my interest. I was, indeed, travelling, so I wondered if my curiosity would pay off. The bartender told me she really liked the beer. It was a sort of pre-mixed shandy, a combination of beer and lemonade. The bartender told me it reminded her of a drink they made when she was in college, called a Hop, Skip and Go Naked. If you do a quick online search for this drink, you’ll find that, although recipes vary, they tend to be some combination of beer, lemonade concentrate or powder, and hard liquor – typical college punch, really. I told her I’d drunk my fair share of similar concoctions when I was in school. Some things never change.
She was right on the nose about the Curious Traveler, by the way. It tasted like someone mixed beer with very sweet, processed lemonade. That taste has been prevalent in other pre-mixed shandies I’ve had, Samuel Adams’s Porch Rocker for example. Unfortunately, Narragansett’s Del’s Shandy is no different.
This is another collaboration with an iconic Rhode Island beverage for Narragansett. In the past, the brewery produced a stout with Autocrat coffee syrup that was really quite good. This time they’ve teamed up with the famous Del’s frozen lemonade stand chain.
The Del’s Shandy pours a crystal clear yellow color. It may be a slightly more vivid yellow then the normal lager, but that could be the imagination playing tricks. The fizzy white head crackles out relatively quickly. The beer smells strongly of lemonade. The taste is similar. The lemonade definitely overpowers the beer. If you really try to focus on the beer, you can tell it’s the standard Narragansett somewhere in there, but the lemonade doesn’t seem to want you to know that. What’s worse is that the lemonade has a cloyingly sweet, Hop, Skip and Go Naked character, like it was made from concentrate or powder. It tastes like someone mixed lager with Country Time powder (and believe that I know of what I speak in this matter).
Here’s the thing, though. On a warm day, it can definitely grow on you. It’s a good thirst quencher, and some people who don’t normally like beer seem to like this one. It’s not, in the final estimation a bad drink, by any means. It’s just not beery enough to be ranked highly as a beer.