Summer Shandy

Will Neuenfeldt


I had a friend of mine
who lived in a Leinenkugel’s label

and every day he would wake up
to a lemon sun.

A fruitful sky, dripping from
the night before

that drained into acres of
saturated coastline

where the water was white and his skin
was red as the skiff

dragging him across hands
of slapping waves,

but behind glass bottle shades
and a light blue cap

he could taste a hint of sweetness
in those sweltering July afternoons.

Born and Raised in Cottage Grove, Minnesota. Will Neuenfeldt graduated from Gustavus Adolphus with a bachelor’s degree in English. When he isn’t writing, Will is watching either reruns of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia or new episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Just depends on the time of year.

Before the Razor
A look inside the creative process of “Summer Shandy”

In the Leinenkugels catalogue, Summer Shandy is a seasonal beer that I forget to buy until it’s out of season. Thankfully, this is one day I had brought one to a friend’s on a lake by White Bear that I have forgotten the name. Sitting on their deck, I noticed the similarity between the label and the lake with their white waters and forests. We were in the label living up Leinenkugels’ definition of summer. Unlike Summer Shandy, my friend is an always-summer type of person. A person who, after talking with them, makes you wonder, “How can someone be this happy all the time?” Which is why I wrote the poem as a celebration of optimism and enjoying the small window of a Minnesota summer.