Hailing from the city of Bamberg in Germany, known for developing and making famous the Rauchbier (smoked beer), comes this pretty little number. My maiden voyage into the world of this interesting style took place about a half year ago when I sampled their Urbock. I enjoyed the unique flavor of the beech wood smoked malt and decided to explore this brewery a little further.
Come to find out this Helles does not utilizes smoked malted, yet still displays the qualities found in it sister varieties. Opening this Bavarian flag laden bottle it poured a light golden-straw hue with a fluffy egg shell white head. The aroma was crisp, grassy, herbal, hay, straw and made me a little light hearted as it seemed to help bring Spring that much closer. I guess you could say there was a slight creamy corn scent, but for the most part the main malt (Pils) was showcased. As the beer warmed smokey qualities started to manifest themselves. I guess the brew kettle had left over flavors from the previous batch of smoke beer? I found there was a hidden hint of cinnamon.
The taste had a nice dry crispness to it along with previously mentioned adjective. The bitterness was low and malts on the light sweet side. The best part about it was the grassy herbal finish that had a hint of smokiness.
I was looking for a smooth soft lager recently (Dec. 2011) and remembered this beer. In all honesty I have to elevate my previous grade of B+ to an A-. This beer is amazing for so many reasons. First, the mouthfeel is light, yet the smoke aspect gives it some depth. Second, the abv makes this a very sessionable beer. And lastly, the aromas and flavor is outstanding. This time around I received a rice, wet-noodle aroma over a bready Pils malt backbone. No joke, a light cinnamon flavor is pleasant and unique. The beech wood flavor is light, making it a great gateway into the Rauchbier style.
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