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