There isn't a fourth-grader around the Sunshine State who hasn't heard of at least one of the Henrys for which Two Henrys Brewing Co. is named. Famous oil tycoon and Florida East Coast railroad magnate Henry Flagler and real estate mogul Henry Plant form the impetus behind the name of this Plant City brewery. It's quite possibly the most historically steeped brewery in the state, at least in its theme.
This week, we're looking at the Gilded Age Golden Lager, which is described by the brewer as a Helles lager. This distinctly German style of beer was developed on March 21, 1894, by the Spaten Brewery of Munich. Yes, the German Beer Institute claims that this is one of the few beer styles that actually has a birthday, which is pretty damned cool. It's also a fairly straightforward style, with few complicated ingredients creating a dazzlingly complex but subtle beer.
As the GBI states, "Helles is arguably the evolutionary epitome of Germany's more than three-thousand-year-old brewing tradition. In terms of sheer brewing artistry, it caps everything that has gone before it, and nothing that has followed it has ever equaled it." Strong words from a prolific beer country.
As for Two Henrys, they believe that the brew is something akin to "what the Henrys would’ve enjoyed at the turn-of-the-century Florida."
It pours a crystal-clear golden yellow with a moderate amount of hazy white foam. The can was bursting to the brim with beer, so I definitely got my 12 ounces' worth. On the nose, there is a subtle grassy aroma, with lemon, apple peel, and floral nectar showing through. Tasting, it shows a slightly honeyed flavor that moves through to European bitterness. It ends with that distinct crisp lager yeast character. There is some sufficient body to the beer, which is appropriate for the style, and some may find it a little on the sweeter side compared to traditional American lagers. It's an easy drinker too at only 4.5 percent alcohol by volume, so it makes a fantastic addition to the end-of-summer repertoire.
Doug Fairall is a craft beer blogger who focuses on Florida beers and has been a homebrewer since 2010. For beer things in your Twitter feed, follow him @DougFairall and find the latest beer pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.