In The Tasting Room: Cigar City Hotter Than Helles Lager
Friday's here, so it's time for beer.
Every Friday, so long as the creek don't rise, this beer enthusiast will take a look at a Florida beer that, hopefully, should be readily available in a local shop or on tap at your favorite bar.
Summer is right around the corner, and hurricane season is already here, so it's about that time to start to look into summery beers. Many will quickly reach for their favorite Miller/Bud/Coors offering and be done with it, but there is flavor to be had in your choice of refreshing and crisp lagers.
The Hotter Than Helles Lager from Cigar City is an excellent example of the true meaning of German engineering, as it emulates so well the ideals of that 'perfect' European lager. Brewed with classic German and low alpha acid Hallertau Mittelfruh hop (about 3-5% alphas), the subtle bitterness and aroma agent works wonders on the beer.
CCB wants to make sure, too, that the drinker understands that Hotter Than Helles contains no spices or peppers of any kind; perhaps one wayward imbiber thought the namesake was too literal and was disappointed? This is just a lager, folks, but the word 'just' doesn't do it justice.
I grab a beer, whose canning date reads May 16th, 2013, and pour it into a standard pint glass. There is a great white head that dissipates moderately, and gives off a very faint grassy nose. There's nothing jumping out, which is nice. Just like the can, it has a pleasant straw-yellow color as well. It tastes of very light malts and a crisp bitterness. This is no funky pilsner, oh no. This is an amazingly drinkable lager. There's no adjunct corn or rice taste to it either, which can really raise its ugly head in some other 'traditional' lager beers.
Overall, this is one to take out wherever a tasty refreshment is deserved, whether that's the beach, the pool, the boat, or at home.
It may be delicious, but what is a 'Helles', besides a punny name? Why not a little beer history?
The helles beer style was developed by Spaten brewery in 1894, and the word means 'light colored'. Spaten Premium and Lowenbrau Original are two German examples of the style, which can be found all over Bavarian restaurants. It's now a standard German beer style, and one that Cigar City has done proud. Pick up a 6-pack when you can.
As always, drink good beer, and #drinklocal.
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