This Friday, Smith Commons is hosting a Meet and Greet with Alan Newman, founder of House of Shandy.DCBeer had the opportunity to interview via email in advance of this event! Read on for more about the shandy!
DCBeer: So first off, the plural of shandy is shandy's? Just confirming that. Not shandies?
Alan Newman: We have declared the same.
Editor's Note: House of Shandy contacted DCBeer after the interview to say they've rethought their position here and have decided to go with Shandys as the plural of Shandy.
DCBeer: What's been the most common first reaction to shandy that you've seen people have?
AN: It's quite a refresher – tastes great.
DCBeer: Do you get a lot of people who try shandy thinking it's going to be more of a malt beverage like Mike's Hard, etc. and then are surprised to find out that there's more beer to it than they might realize?
AN: Maybe a little with the beer geek community – but most don't really know what a shandy is so they have no preconceived notion. Those who have any knowledge or notion of what a shandy is are always surprised that a. it is not candy-like sweet, and … b. are impressed by the natural, fresh lemon aroma and taste and that it is a serious, "American" craft beer.
DCBeer: The craft beer sector is increasingly seasonal. We're smack in the middle of pumpkin ale and Oktoberfest season, and soon enough we'll be on to Christmas beers and winter warmers. The Curious Traveler is billed as a thirst-quenching, refreshing drink, do you think that will be a hard sell for folks who have an actual winter?
AN: Great question. I believe that when people find a beer they like, they drink it year round. For proof, look to Europe where shandy's sell year round, or in the US look at Blue Moon or #9 (to name just 2) – both were believed to be "summer beers" – and both sell well year round. That said, there is clearly a perception within the industry that a shandy is for summer. I believe this has been created somewhat by Leinenkugal with their "Summer Shandy". This too shall change, in my most humble of opinions.
DCBeer: I see that the Curious and Tenacious Travelers use the same malts (though it's unclear if it's the same malt bill). How much variation do you think there can be on the base beer for a shandy? What's the highest SRM base beer you think you could turn into a tasty shandy?
AN: 2 questions in one: we have 3-4 more flavors in development. They all have different base beers – including one that is based on a stout base. At this stage, I'm not sure which will make it thru to "customer lips", but, as we say on our web site – we are adding American entrepreneurial thinking to a century old concept – to see where we can go. Ask this question again in 3-6 months.
DCBeer: I see on the Tenacious Traveler that there isn't actually citrus but instead clover honey and ginger. This takes shandy in a new direction because it doesn't have the citrus, but it does have the refreshing nature of ginger. What other directions have you seen shandy taken in, and can you reveal to us any we might see in the future?
AN: Ahhhh – what is in the development pipeline? People have been shot over talking about lesser information. But do see the comment above, combine it with your question, and I would hope we can continue to develop great refreshing "American" craft shandy's – each different – and each, "quite refreshing."
DCBeer: Can you name three beers that are all-time favorites for you and three that have stuck out in your mind this year (either for being good, interesting, etc.)?
AN: Kind of. I like a lot of different beers – 3 favorites is tough. #1 Boston Lager has always been, and remains, my basic "go to" beer. #2 I like white beers – from Hoegaarden, to Allagash, to a "California-style" white beer we are developing in another A&S project, Angel City. #3 I tend to like sours – Cantillon Kriek being my favorite #4 There are a bunch of IPA's I like – from Fiddlehead (a newer brewery in Vermont) to Pliny the Elder (from Russian River).
DCBeer: Who is squeezing all these fresh lemons and limes for the Curious Traveler? That is a lot of citrus.
AN: Special elves I've picked up while traveling curiously.
DCBeer: What are the odds that we'd see a shandy-cider hybrid someday?
AN: If the question relates to Angry Orchard – almost none as we have nothing to do with them. It's never come up in our new product development meetings … but, hmmm, now that you mention it …..
DCBeer: Are there any other shandy's being produced by craft breweries, whether here or abroad, that you know of?
DCBeer: Anything else that you want us to know about your product?
AN: It's quite a refresher, I hear.
To try both the Curious and Tenacious Travelers, stop by Smith Commons this Friday at 6pm. Thanks to Alan Newman for taking the time to speak with us!