If ever there was a beer custom-made for cyclists, the radler is it. The word itself means “cyclist” in German, and the style’s traditional mix of lager and carbonated citrus soda makes it light in the stomach and in alcohol by volume (ABV), with a refreshing, fizzy taste. Perfect for a post-ride, or mid-ride, thirst-quencher.
St. Louis-based Urban Chestnut Brewing Company (UCBC) introduced its first radler, Big Shark Lemon Radler, in March 2018. The effervescent brew quickly became “our number one seasonal beer with craft and non-craft beer drinkers,” said Ashley Troutman, business and marketing operations manager for the brewery.
This March, UCBC released a second radler, this one a blend of its pale lager and grapefruit soda, and again collaborated with Big Shark Bicycle Company. “Just the simple sense that we should make this tie between radler and radler,” explained UCBC co-founder David Wolfe when asked why he decided to partner with Big Shark. “What better way to do that than to collaborate with a local bike shop? And Mike is a friend.”
Mike is Mike Weiss, owner of Big Shark, which has three location in St. Louis City and County. “Bike culture and beer have always been a pairing,” said Weiss. “To me, this relationship is a little too good to be true. It’s a marketing avenue we could have never done ourselves. We never would have had a product in the supermarket.”
Besides the promotional value, Weiss wanted the partnership to be a win-win by ensuring “it had to be a good beer.” “And it is good,” he said. “When St. Louis gets hot, it’s a great beer.”
UCBC introduced its new Big Shark Grapefruit Radler during a special reception that coincided with the Tour of St. Louis bicycle races on March 23 and 24. Racers were given a free sample with the display of their bib number. Other cycling fans were able to buy one radler and get the other flavor free for their first round.
“For our larger events, we like to have food and beverage, so it makes a lot of sense to have a beer that validates that connection,” said Weiss.
For Wolfe, the collaboration validates his love for both bicycling and beer. “I’ve had spurts in my life where cycling was a daily ritual,” he said. “I still challenge myself twice daily on my commute to and from UCBC during the warmer months. I’m also a fan of bicycle racing — love to watch it.”
Look for Big Shark Lemon Radler and Big Shark Grapefruit Radler (each 4.2% ABV) now through August wherever UCBC beers are sold, including at the company’s Midtown Brewery & Biergarten and Grove Brewery & Bierhall.
Author: Brad Kovach is the editor/publisher of Terrain Magazine