#helles Archives – PorchDrinking.com
Perhaps nothing makes brewers beam more than when one of their beer babies—and a lager at that—becomes a commercial success. For Jeff Bunk, director of operations for Proper Brewing Co., that’s the story of Whispers of the Primordial Sea.
He’d had his recipe for the smoked Helles with pineapple tucked away since his days working at a cidery in Oregon. Then, in late 2020, Proper put the beer on draft as a one-off. And in mid-2021 Whispers of the Primordial Sea hit the Utah market in 16-ounce cans. It became an instant hit.
Reflecting on Good Word Brewing’s lager releases since opening in 2017, brewer/owner Todd DiMatteo candidly admits they’ve gotten better. He’s made a number of them, but only brewed Helles one other time before this effort, Are You Living in a Computer Simulation. Though it’s a fine beer as is, he will continue to refine it.
In sharp contrast to Wrench, Industrial Arts’ incredibly popular NEIPA, their Helles from the State of the Art series is exceedingly bright. Its execution is consistent with the entire ethos of the brewery, perfectly captured by its name.
With a rich history going back 600 years, Hacker Pschorr is truly one of the OGs of German beer. These guys were doing Reinheitsgebot almost 100 years before there WAS a Reinheitsgebot. This Munich-based brewery produces several dozen different beers, only a handful of which—including Münchner Gold—are distributed in the US.
It’s always impressive when a brewery breaks away from their most popular beer. For years, O’Connor Brewing Co. was known for its El Guapo, an Agave IPA that you’d find at just about every supermarket and Mexican restaurant. The brewery had some nice beers here and there, but most got overshadowed by El Guapo. O’Connor finally broke through the mold last year when it released Proper Lager, a new flagship Helles-style lager that ranked #4 on Paste’s 102 of the Best Craft Lagers, Blind-Tasted and Ranked.
Pale Lagers have a complicated history in the US. In the wake of prohibition they were the preferred style of the emerging “macro” brewers. Using cheaper grains and industrializing the brewing process, they were able create low-cost Lager beers that allowed them consolidate their share of the beer market and squeeze out smaller brewers who couldn’t compete. Fast forward to 1978 and a once thriving and diverse US beer market had atrophied to only 44 breweries, most of which were producing the homogeneous, low quality, watered down beers that would come to be known as American Adjunct Lagers.
It’s a sunny day in Denver, and it’s hot—like, record-breaking hot. The raging misters on the patio of Prost Brewing are creating a fog that veils the normal view of the Mile High City’s skyline, obscuring one of the main perks of this taproom location but providing a necessary reprieve in this unprecedented September heat.
It’s this heatwave draping much of the American West this summer that has created a conundrum of sorts for craft beer drinkers in this part of the country. This month on the calendar denotes not just the early days of autumn, but a perhaps more important, even more special, time of year for craft connoisseurs: Oktoberfest season.
The best beer to pair with a Labor Day BBQ is light and smoky. Beers like Schlenkerla’s Helles, or the historic Polish beer known as Grodziskie (“Grätzer” in Germany), can’t be beaten. They have the perfect combination of being refreshing and low-alcohol, with a smoky character to complement whatever’s cooking on the grill.
Let me be clear: There is nothing fancy about this beer. No foraged fruit from the wooded land out back; no rare yeast secretly used; no pungent ingredients to overpower the palate. Plain and simple, the clean and crisp Low Bridge Lager is a delicious combination of the four essential elements of beer that Root Down Brewing Company let shine in this brew.
Almost one year after releasing its first bottled beer, Dovetail Brewery brings its signature Helles to cans. Beginning this week, locals can pick up a four-pack of the 16-ounce cans at the brewery’s North Center taproom.
In a market so saturated with DDH beers, super-fruited and adjunct overloads (which I should note, I love trying as much as the next beer enthusiast), I find it refreshing when a brewery isn’t steadfast to these trends and unafraid to put out more traditional styles of beer. Fox Farm Brewery in Salem, Connecticut is a brewery that’s doing just that. Their Smoked Helles Lager, The Cabin, is a great beer that deserves the spotlight for this reason.
After a sip of Jack’s Abby’s House Lager, it is understandable to think that you just tasted the Massachusetts brewery’s version of an Oktoberfest. Everything about the taste harkens back to the 1516 German Reinheitsgebot law that states only water, malt, yeast, and hops can be used to make beer. But there is something else about it that separates it from the other beers on the market. It has a maltier taste that splits the difference between nutty Oktoberfests and the standard golden lagers that belong at a summer barbecue.
Somehow I’ve managed to go years without reviewing a single thing from Burial Beer Company, one of the better-known, Asheville-based brewers in North Carolina. Today we make an end to that with One For Me, Burial’s collaboration Helles Lager brewed with Other Half Brewing out of New York.
The term “little hellion” can only be used endearingly for this brew, from the Harrisonburg-based Virginia brewery. It’s relaxing to drink, harbors a thoughtful approach to the style and is a flagship selection from Brothers Craft Brewing.
ABV: 5.4% | IBU: 18
Do you have a propensity to get a little fresh with blondes? If you do, go to Helles… Samuel Adams Fresh as Helles Lager, that is.
Ahh, the Munich classic provides familiar tastes that comforts one like a blanket on a cold winter’s night, and when the beer is constructed by a modern craft brewer there is the added bonus of exquisite quality and innovation. Sam Adams Fresh as Helles is that combination of classic comfort with a modern craft-beer spin.
Pull up a chair, turn on the Weather Channel and relax, because Sam Adams has two beers ready to match anything Mother Nature can throw at ya! Samuel Adams, no stranger to seasonal releases, is introducing drinkers to two new seasonal beers: Samuel Adams Hopscape and Fresh as Helles. Ashley Leduc, Sr. Communications Specialist at Sam’s, explained the reason for two seasonal releases in a press release, “The brewers felt that these two brews capture the essence of the ever-changing season across the country from January through April.”
ABV: 4.5 | IBU: ~18
In addition to their flagship Amber Lager, Red Oak Brewery produces another beer deserving of extra attention, the Hummin’ Bird Helles, a golden Munich lager.