If you’re craving a distinctive craft beer with a deep history, malty sweetness, and rich hoppiness that pairs well with a variety of great-tasting food, rediscover the beautiful taste and color of German-style Helles lager. Here are a few fast facts and need-to-know data on your new favorite craft beer.
Taste of Helles Lager
Take a swig of your new favorite German beer and discover a vibrant, drinkable beer. A sessionable blend of hops, malt, and soft finish create a crisp beer for summertime refreshment or staying warm on chilly winter evenings. What is a Helles lager? Here are a few characteristics that make Helles a popular option for a variety of beer drinkers:
- ABV: 5%
- Bread-like, fresh malty taste
- Smooth flavor, mildly hopped
- Clear pale or golden color
The low ABV makes a Helles a sessionable beer for a long afternoon or evening with friends. Unlike dark porters or bitter IPAs, the clear color and malty balance of Helles makes it a welcoming change for many beer drinkers. Whether you love pale lagers and are looking for a unique twist in this category or you need a change of pace from your typical amber ale or IPA, discover why Helles lagers have stood the test of time.
History of Helles Lager
Originally developed in the late nineteenth century, Helles lager was created by Bavarian brewers who wanted to take on beloved Czech pilsner. Both Helles and pilsner have a long history throughout the region, and both Germans and Czechs alike had a part to play in the light, malty, and spicy alternative to ales.
A pilsner is technically just a subcategory of lagers. These crisp, refreshing beers have both lead to popular beers that are still enjoyed throughout the world. When it comes to the difference between pilsner vs. lager, a pilsner typically has a distinct spicy hop taste, while a Helles lager, often called a Munich Helles Lager, is much maltier and breadier.
Helles, which simply means “bright” in German, is indeed a bright, malty alternative that retains the crispness of a lager without the spicy hops found in a pilsner. Like all lagers, Helles is made with a unique yeast variety, so it’s distinguished from ales during the fermentation process.
Ales follow a process known as top-fermenting, where the particular yeast strain remains on the top of the batch. Lager yeast is bottom-fermenting. This subtle difference creates a whole host of variables that make lagers and ales distinct beer categories.
First, lagers are kept cooler during fermentation. This allows the yeast to work in different ways. The completely different strain of lager yeast doesn’t produce the same heady, fruity flavors common to ales, but instead offers a more crisp, clean, and refined nuance.
Pair Your Helles
Because of the brightness and smooth finish of a classic Helles lager, your Helles will pair well with many of the same foods you pair a pilsner with. Here are some pairing ideas to enjoy as you sample your new favorite Helles lager.
An obvious combination is Helles and bread. The natural maltiness of your lager will balance well with freshly baked bread. Because it’s a lower alcohol beer, you can enjoy this with a fresh lunch without feeling too full to push through the afternoon.
A rustic cheese and meat platter make another great companion to your traditional Helles lager. Choose some soft, young cheeses and lightly spiced sausages to create a memorable meal that really highlights the natural qualities of your lager.
Visit Prost Brewery
Try out your new favorite German beer today. Stop by Prost Brewery to sample Helles lager and other German favorites that take on traditional lager styles with fresh, bold ingredients.