Sunday, March 22, 2015

Victory Helles Lager

3.3
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
Chad9976 (1310) - Albany, New York, USA - MAR 22, 2015
I’m not sure how it happened, but it seems like Munich Helles Lager (BJCP Style 1D) is suddenly a hip lager style among American breweries. Some brew it traditionally, others change it up a bit. Victory Helles Lager claims to be among the traditional camp – which it may very well be as far as recipe goes – however, it’s lacking a lot of the distinct qualities found in the style. This drinks more like a generic pale lager than any kind of niche style. It’s not flawed, and I can honestly recommend it, but it needs some improvement.

I poured a 12oz bottle into a pilsner glass. A six-pack cost $9.99 ($1.67 per bottle or $0.14 per ounce).

Appearance: Straw pale gold color over a crystal clear body. Carbonation is consistent. Pours to a small, bright white, soapy head that never completely dissipates but leaves no little lacing.

Smell: Pure pilsner malt. Clean, but mild. No hops.

Taste: Going by the description on the brewery’s website, it seems that this beer is brewed simply with German two-row pilsner malt. That’s fine, but there’s nothing memorable or exciting about the malt base. It definitely has the classic lager/pilsner taste of pale malt, but that’s about it. It’s clean – no DMS or diacetyl – which is also fine, but having something for the taste buds to latch onto would be nice. This is brewed with whole flower German hops, which is a vague description and an odd choice. There isn’t much in the way of perceived bitterness and just the faintest trace of Noble hop spice somewhere in the backend. That being said, there’s absolutely nothing off-putting about this palette other than its mildness.

Drinkability: When I first started drinking my glass I took a very long pull as it was remarkably refreshing and easily quaffable. At only 4.8% ABV, Victory Helles Lager has the light, sessionable body you want in a brew of this style. It’s crisp and clean with no aftertaste. There probably should be a bit more body for the weight, though. A good introductory craft lager – now only if it were available in cans instead of bottles. 
Grade: 6/10