All the best ideas start with a beer!

A bold statement perhaps, but bear with us while we explain what we mean. What have Honeycomb Milkshake, Paul Jackson’s Stoutzilla artwork, the Radler beer style and Top Cuvee’s London to Brighton bike ride all have in common? All these ideas came about because of a beer (or six!).

We’ve recounted the first two stories before, if you recall. The concept of Honeycomb Milkshake came about when Brett, now our Marketing Manager, Head Brewer and Founder Jordan, and Jack from Bison Beer sat together having a beer. The idea to create a beer based on a chocolate bar was out there, but spurred on by a few pints and a heightened sense of creativity they were confident it would work. Fast forward to 2024 and it’s one of our most popular beers! Stoutzilla, our annual Imperial Stout release, an entry into the Greatest Beers In The World thanks to beer writer Emma Inch, has gained national fame for the beer itself and the incredible artwork. That artwork, and in part the beer name, was a product of a boozy night between Jordan, Head Brewer and Founder of UnBarred, and Paul Jackson and is now a part of the fabric of our brewery.

How about the story of the Radler style of beer though? What exactly is it and where did it originate from? The Radler beer has its origins in Germany, as many of the classics do! Radler, German for ‘cyclist’, is quite simply a lager beer cut with lemonade. There’s an old legend that floats around that, while it may or may not be true, goes a long way to show why it’s done and how the resulting beer is still an important part of beer culture to this day. It all started in Deisenhofen, in the Bavaria region of Germany. An area full of extremely keen cyclists, much like the rest of the country, an Innkeeper named Franz Xaver Kugler created a cycling route from Munich directly to his establishment to drum up visitors. It worked. A little too well! One warm Summer day around 13,000 cyclists weaved their way to his Inn and, faced with a rapidly depleting cellar, Kugler started to cut his pilsner with some lemonade he had hanging around. The resulting fresh, slightly sweetened, and incredibly thirst-quenching concoction went down a storm amongst the thirsty, weary cyclists. The Radler was born! Again, who knows if this is 100% accurate, but it’s a great story either way and goes some way to explain what a Radler is and why people drink them.

This brings us nicely to our last point. Another legendary event, born from a few too many beers - Top Cuvee’e London to Brighton bike ride! Our good friends and London legends, purveyors of fine natural wines and craft beers (including UnBarred!), came up with the idea after a hectic day of couriering booze across the capital. One exhausted courier, enthused by beer, wondered if they could set a record for the longest bike courier. A bit of research showed that delivering wine and beer from London to Brighton would do the trick, so they set up a bike courier option on their website for customers in Brighton and carried on the night. The next day the team came in to work to find a bunch of orders had been placed, so that was that - they had to get on their cycling gear and get that booze delivered. Much more than just a record-setting journey, the team had a brilliant time on the open road and they knew they had to do it again. The Tour du Cuvee was born! Now an annual tradition and open to everyone, no matter your ability or background, the route weaves through the city and the countryside and ends up at the most incredible place in Brighton - our Taproom. The after-party is always a great time with an abundance of fresh beer and hotdogs for refreshment and nourishment, and great tunes for revelry. For 2024 however, we decided to team up to bring cyclists, and beer enthusiasts a little treat. The ultimate refreshment. The Radler. 

However, our take on the style is a little more nuanced and complex than just blending a pilsner and some lemonade. ‘We love processing natural fruit and expressing it at its best, and we love a good summer session.’ remarks Jordan when talking about our experience with fruit beers and how we’re approaching this one. ‘The aim is to create a zesty, bright beer that encapsulates the summer - pure sunshine in a glass!’. Starting off with over 400 lemons that we painstakingly hand peeled and juiced, the zest was added into the boil for a big hit of flavour, along with the juice for pH control. The grist, is made up of full-bodied pale malt, oats and wheat for a light smooth base, and fermented cold and long with lager yeast. When the beer was tasting great and ready to be packaged, we finished it off with a tincture of lemons for extra depth of flavour and a zesty kick. The result? A Super light, crisp 2.5% pale/lager hybrid that’s incredibly crushable. Working with the team at Top Cuvee, we feel like we’ve really nailed the ethos of the Tour de Cuvee within this beer, creating the perfect pairing for post-ride refreshment, or just a long Summer day in a beer garden of your choice.

Radler is available in cans and on tap from our Taproom from Tuesday 25th, and across all good bottle shops and pubs until you drink us dry! As we mentioned, the final destination for the Tour de Cuvee is our Taproom in Brighton and we'll are having a bit of a party to celebrate. On Sunday 30th June, as the ‘radlers’ trickle in throughout the day, there will be plenty of pints flowing with Hot Dogs (until they run out!) and good times. Radler will be the focus, but there will also be plenty of other UnBarred favourites available.

To find out more about the Tour de Cuvee, head to Tour de Cuvée 2024. Prost!