HOME > Chowhound > Beer >


Adding stuff like lemons to beer - good idea? Why? [moved from General Topics]

  • r

Buried in another thread is a discussion about adding lemon to Hefeweizen which some people seem to think ditract from the beer and probably is a US thing.

Often a lime is served with Mexican beers. My opinion is that like bad tequilla, it takes the edge off of mediocre Mexican beers.

I had a Belgium Beer called Berliner Weisse which is traditionally served with a shot of raspberry or green woodruff syrup. In the link below, the beer fan says to drink it straight. Tried that. I say, add the sugar. The straight version is horrible sour in a bad way to me.

Looking around I found a wheat beer which was served with with a spicing of coriander and salt which was said to bring out a tang in the beer. The same beer was sometimes laced with sherry or the raspberry / woodruff syrups.

So, are there any other compatablie additions to beers? Or is it a beer sin to add ingrediants?

Link: http://www.germanbeerguide.co.uk/berl...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Yards Saison (available only in summer) is served with an orange slice. Doesn't distract at all, it just complements the flavor with another refreshing, fruity level.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gina

      Try mixing 2 parts mediocre beer (tecate in my case), 1 part champagne, 1/4 a lime, and 1/4 lemon.

      We call it -- Champeer!

    2. As always, it's all about personal taste--I remember my dad once ordering, and actually drinking, a Coors (Oklahoma-style 3.2%) mixed with tomato juice.

      7 Replies
      1. re: PayOrPlay
        The Jeff Next Door

        My brother-in-law drinks that -- he calls it a "Red Beer." BTW, he's from Idaho-Montana-Colorado-Nevada-New Mexico-Oregon.

        1. re: The Jeff Next Door

          How about Clamato Beer? Clamato, 1/4 bottle of beer, hot sauce, lemon juice, salt and chili powder. Motts suggests this on their website aimed at hispanic consumers.

          No worse than a Bloody Caesar, I suppose, which is Canada's top cocktail.

          1. re: The Jeff Next Door

            In the southeast, it's called a "redeye". Great with a breakfast of fish and grits.

            1. re: The Jeff Next Door

              Years ago at my dad's bar in Southern Oregon, some of the regulars - particularly in the mornings if memory serves - used to mix the draft beer (blitz weinhard) with tomato juice. Never had much appeal to me though.

            2. re: PayOrPlay

              My uncle from Wisconsin who, at the time (1950's+)added a raw egg to his beer. At the time I thought it was quite gross-and still do. Has anyone else ever heard of this?

              1. re: Ken

                I know drinks like that were very popular in the 1800's.

              2. re: PayOrPlay

                Tomato Juice and Beer, isn't that called a "Bloody Monkey"

              3. You just demonstated why Germans like to do it. (Berliner Weisse, as the name implies, is a German, NOT a Belgian beer) and I can't see Belgians adding a sweet syrup. They will add fruit as an adjunct during the brewing process, but the products are notable for their tartness, not sweetness.

                Link: http://eatingchinese.org

                1 Reply
                1. re: Gary Soup

                  You're right, Gary. Berliner Weisse is a German wheat beer, made in the Berlin style. The main reason people add lemon to wheat beer is to enhance the natural tartness imparted by the yeasts. It's not to cover up anything or make a bad beer better.

                  Belgian-style witbier (which is actually an ale) is brewed with bitter orange peel and cardamom. Many styles of beer and ales add flavorings, and, in reality, the malts, hops and specialty yeasts used in the brewing process are all flavoring agents. Without them, beer is just water.

                2. "Shandy" is a fifty-fifty combination of beer and either lemonade or ginger ale. It's popular in England.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: N Tocus

                    A friend of mine who grew up spending his summers in Augsburg, Germany often spoke of a local summer drink made of strong ale (maximator), coca-cola and cherry schnapps poured over a tall glass of ice. "Totally awesome!", was how he described it. It sold by the pitcher in his uncle's restaurant.

                    1. re: N Tocus

                      just to note--"lemonade" in england is usually a clear, lemon-flavored, sweet soda. a bit cloying on its own, but nice in a shandy!

                    2. I thought you were only supposed to add lemon to kristalweizen, or clear wheat beers. Not the cloudier hefeweizen style.

                      1. Originally lime was added to Mexican beer because they were terrible and it made them palatable. When Corona began marketing to the US, they adding lime to beer to make it a trendy thing to do, not to cover up the taste (I mean Corona doesn't really taste like anything so what's to cover up).

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Evan

                          Corona has a very distinct odor of skunk. Unfortunately, some of the Mexican restaurants put limes in perfectly good beers like Negro Modelo.

                          1. re: Noah
                            1 wiener hound

                            The skunk you smell and taste is a sign of improperly handled beer or beer way past its prime.

                            1. re: 1 wiener hound

                              Skunked beer is a function of exposure to light and has nothing to do with the age of the beer.

                              Beers that are bottled in clear or green bottles are especially vulnerable to skunking, so the best way to avoid skunked beer is either to purchase beer that has not been exposed to light (skunking can happen quickly) or to purchase beers in brown bottles.

                          2. re: Evan

                            To me Corona has a chlorinated water flavor and is difficult for me to drink by itself - much better with a slice of lemon.

                            1. re: LStaff

                              Why drink it if it tastes bad. There are lots of good real pilsners available. For me it doesnt taste much like anything.

                          3. You must refer to Leipziger Gose. I had not heard of the syrup treatment to this beer, which AFAIK is exclusive to Berliner Weisse.

                            "Looking around I found a wheat beer which was served with with a spicing of coriander and salt which was said to bring out a tang in the beer. The same beer was sometimes laced with sherry or the raspberry / woodruff syrups."

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Jim Dorsch

                              Yep. Could just be the one establishment mentioned at the end of this article. They also sometimes added a local version of the caraway liqueur Kummel

                              Link: http://www.beerhunter.com/documents/1...

                            2. In the early 70's, my family was in Belgium for a few months on sabbatical. Families would mix the local lager (Stella Artois) with apple juice for the kids.

                              1. There's a kind of great beer cocktail made at bars in Mexico City called a michelada -- perhaps they're made elsewhere, I don't know.

                                mix a little Worcestershire sauce and a few dashes of tabasco with lime juice and black pepper, top off with a bottle of amber or dark beer, like negro modelo. Serve in a glass with salted rim...

                                They're sorta crazy, but sometimes . . . they just hit the spot!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: pitu

                                  Yeah, I've heard of this one. - I think it's a fairly standard cocktail.

                                2. Berliner Weisse is actually (I believe) a german beer from... Berlin. I've had it mixed with both Woodruff and Raspberry syrup in Berlin itself (this is quite tradtional).

                                  Sometime I mix the Berliner Weisse with a homemade fruit mash (fresh strawberries, raspberrries or cherries mashed with sugar).

                                  It's quite nice as the beer has alot of natural sourness. It's sort of a homemade lambic (which is Belgian).

                                  I don't think these additions distract from the beer and on a hot summer day are quite nice - as a little acidity really "freshens" the taste.


                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: boris_qd

                                    "Berliner Weisse is actually (I believe) a german beer from... Berlin. I've had it mixed with both Woodruff and Raspberry syrup in Berlin itself (this is quite tradtional)."

                                    Depends how far back in tradition you want to go. Doubt they were drinking it mit schuss back in the 16th, 17th, or 18th century. But who knows, could be possible they were mixing it with something else to make it sweeter.

                                    When Napoleon conquered the German states, he and his troops loved it so much they called it the "Champagne of the north".

                                  2. I apologize if someone's mentioned this, but we have a German friend who says they put soda water (7-Up or something similar) in really bad beer and call it a German Soldier.

                                    You would never do this to a good lager, though. He's horrified that Americans put lemons in hefeweizen.

                                    I just thought German Soldier was a hilarious name.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: nooodles

                                      I can still remember going with a friend to the Neckarmueller Brewery in Tubingen, and seeing germans mixing sprite with their beer. This wasn't the good stuff by their standards, but it was still damn fine beer. Certainly tasty enough that I wasn't going to adulterate it with anything stronger than a lemon.

                                      Also, slightly off the topic, but is anyone else disgusted by the addition of green food coloring to beer on St. Patrick's Day? I know it shouldn't affect my taste, but it does. Just another reminder, I suppose, of the psychological dimension of taste.

                                      1. re: nooodles

                                        In Germany, the beer/lemon soda combination is called "alserwasser" or "radler."

                                        This is the first time that I've heard that subpar beer is used to make these drinks; in my understanding, the soda was supposed to make the beer a bit more refreshing to drink during the summer months, and let you drink more of it without getting as drunk.

                                        Interestingly, Germans seem to love mixing carbonated beverages with other drinks (e.g. adding mineral water to apple juice--"apfelsaftschorle"). My family does this all the time and I've always wondered how this came to be. Was it a way to make juice last longer, by diluting it with mineralwasser? Or perhaps, as some people tell me, the juice is too sweet to drink alone and so one mixes it with something else.

                                      2. I think I can win the prize for most revolting addition to a beer. In costa rica during christmas (apparently as a seasonal specialty) I was served beer on ice with condensed milk added. Yes, it tasted as bad as it sounds.

                                        1. a
                                          abdul alhazred

                                          don't make a face until you've tried this: pour a little oceanspray cranberry juice into a glass and add cold budweiser...really refreshing on a hot day :)

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: abdul alhazred

                                            Next time skip the bud and just use seltzer water.........

                                            Reminds me of the old joke why is Budweiser like making love in a canoe...

                                          2. Lately theres been a trend here in the Bay Area to create "beer cocktails," mixing stuff like bourbon or scotch with strong ales, stouts and porters. Personally, i think that if the beer is well made it can stand on its own. The one exception might be berlinerweiss, which can come across as over the top acidic. Dogfish head circumvents this issue by subtly flavoring a berlinerweiss with peach. Its called festina peche and is actually quite tasty and refreshing. Gose are also a bit tart, but i like that flavor component. Somewhere along the line, bars got the stupid idea that a hefeweizen needs lemon. If its a good hefeweizen it doesnt need a thing. Same thing with the lame frosted mugs with a decent ale. I guess coors has them brainwashed that cold is a flavor. Good beer actually benefits from not being freezing cold, but not coors, bud, corona, stella, etc. they are undrinkable if you dont drink them really cold

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: chuckl

                                              DFH changed the recipe for Festina Peche a few years ago. It was more tart and bright and less malty. I enjoyed it that way. I described it as the perfect beer if you ever had to walk directly into the sun.

                                            2. Although I am in NO way a beer snob (I DO know one gentleman who goes by that moniker) and I DO consider myself somewhat of a pizza snob (from NJ), I would rather be a purist. Beer is beer and fruit is fruit, and never the twain shall meet. At least in my glass. But, to each their own.