Saturday, February 7, 2015

Southern Tier Where The Helles Summer?

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (1277) - Albany, New York, USA - FEB 7, 2015
I hate it when breweries give their beers a long and/or corny name. But as long as what’s inside the bottle is good I’m happy. That’s the deal with Southern Tier’s “Where The Helles Summer?” spring seasonal lager. It would actually work better as a summer seasonal because it’s quite refreshing despite being a somewhat spicy/flavorful brew. Actually, this is the kind of lager I would enjoy year-round (take note, STBC).

I poured a 12oz bottle into my official Southern Tier goblet. It was bottled on 1/6/15 and cost $2.50 ($0.21 per ounce).

Appearance: Crystal clear shade of dark amber/pure gold. Effervescence is quite calm. Pours to a small, white, foamy head which retains and laces pretty well.

Smell: Classic German-style lager aroma of pilsner malt and spicy noble hops.

Taste: There’s a certain “je ne sais quoi” factor to classic European-style lagers as both a whole and to individual style. This beer definitely has that character going for it in nearly all aspects. It’s probably a fairly simple recipe, yet there’s plenty of flavor here. Malt dominates the palette, especially at the forefront; biscuits and cereal are the most notable flavors. The hops are restrained, initially, but emerge strong on the back end with an earthy/herbal character found in Noble hops. Though not particularly bitter, this beer does have a lovely spice character that gives it a bit of a liquid cracker taste. I wish more American breweries would make Helles and Dortmunder style lagers, because this beer proves they can be surprisingly good.

Drinkability: This is exactly the kind of beer I would use as a “transition” beer for macro adjunct lager drinkers. It definitely has the taste of a lager, but it also drinks like one – better, in fact. The mouthfeel is crisp and thin, but not spastic or watery. The hops do linger a bit, but are subtle enough to easily ignore. At only 4.6% ABV, “Where The Helles Summer?” is easily a candidate for sessioning; if only it were available in cans! 
Grade: 8/10

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