Helles Lager - Rivertown Brewing Co.

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Helles LagerHelles Lager

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BA SCORE
81
good

29 Reviews
THE BROS
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(Send Samples)
Reviews: 29
Hads: 75
rAvg: 3.56
pDev: 8.15%
Wants: 3
Gots: 12 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Rivertown Brewing Co. visit their website
Ohio, United States

Style | ABV
Munich Helles Lager |  5.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: brewdlyhooked13 on 03-04-2010

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 29 | Hads: 75
Photo of Ryan011235
1.92/5  rDev -46.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured into an A-B flute on 1/10/12

Timid, watery, faded manner of golden yellow so wimpy it looks artificial. I got to spend some time describing the color while the four inches of eruptive foam calmed down (took its merry time, too). Uneven wave of retention and a couple globs of lace.

The aroma doesn't seem so bad; perhaps even pleasant - prairie grass, damp pollen, clean grains and hints of mild spice. There's a lemon grass element as well, but I'm concerned the lemon smells too... pungent.

Sip. Hmm. Not good. Thin. Over-carbonated. The taste is that of what I can only describe as burned prairie grass and such. Like when the teenagers got bored and stopped by OSUM. Tart lemon, dull grain, metallic hops. There is a skeevy dirtiness on that back end that puts shame to the term "off flavor." It gets worse as it warms. Yuck.

I don't know how, but it feels like my mouth has turned to a smoldering ember after each drink. WTF? (942 characters)

Photo of BayerischBier
2.78/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

girlfriend brought them. 4 hrs in the fridge.

A: beautiful golden and clear color with some white-ish head.

S: smell comes with some floral aroma. almost like your neighbor would cut the lawn.

T: some tart finish is surprising after a low hop profile on the first taste. the grass flavor dominates and almost destroys the Helles-experience.

M: carbonation is ok. thin but medium body. grass-like taste with dry finish

D: clean lager and somehow refreshing. Not really hitting my spot as a Helles. Had one and switched to a wheat. Not very drinkable in 'mass'. (566 characters)

Photo of raznug
2.79/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: It pours a clear straw golden color and is topped if a solid 3” of snow white head that really lingers.
Smell: There is a typical bready aroma that most German lagers smell like and this one doesn’t disappoint. It smell of mostly malt and light hops that hang in the background.
Taste: I taste the bready malt flavor to go along side of aroma but this beer is a little over carbonated and the bubbles blast the palate and make it kind of hard to drink.
Mouthfeel: The body of the beer is well balanced and middle of the road but I can’t get past the carbonation it is just too much. (601 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
3.03/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

With the waining popularity of industrial domestic lagers, it seems that the trend it to offer all-malt varieties that resemble the original recipes that has been bastardized by American macrobreweries. Still, many microbreweries and brewpubs both hit and miss when it comes to these time honored European styles- how does Rivertown's light lager fare?...

Its pour delivers a slighly hazed deep straw color with particulates of yeast dropping to the bottom of the glass. A partly-froth, partly-fizz head forms on the beer with fair retention and mild lace. The beer does little to seduce the eye but even an underwhelming appearance suits par.

Rich malt components provide a dense aroma of baking bread, yeast, dough, and a buttery scent that hinges on caramel. The scent of corn and apples also make headway with a richer and vegital nose. Light herbal, perhaps floral, hops struggle to rise from the dense aromas from malt and yeast contingencies.

Butterscotch, pilsner grain, and light bready malt provides the caramelly and grainy-sweet taste that's normally relegated to Bohemian pilsners of the Czech Republic. Corn and butter swirl around the malts and provide a fuller taste than "helles" lagers perscribe while also impeding the zesty hops from delivering the near-fruity middle palate or the peppery bitterness to finish.

The fuller taste manifests in fuller textures as well as the buttery profile coats the mouth and won't allow for the clean, crisp, or refreshing properties that reside in beers such as Spaten Helles.

Call it a kellerbier or a bohemian lager and I'm going to buy that much better than a helles, but even then the heightened taste and texture of corn and bitter prove too much for any lager beer. (1,731 characters)

Photo of Groomsy
3.31/5  rDev -7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

*Edit, 04/26/12* - I realize now that I was a little too harsh on this, as I was unfairly expecting a hoppy German-style pils. After doing some more research on the Helles style and having another bottle of the same brew, I've decided to re-review.

12 oz. bottle poured into a pilsner glass.

Deep straw golden body with a short-lived head of foam that leaves no lacing behind. Carbonation dies down. Maybe if the brewery put a BOTTLING DATE on their merch, I would be able to tell how fresh this is, riiight?! Anyway, looks mediocre in the glass. Meh.

While the appearance and label alone would lead one to think of a fairly hopped pilsner, the Helles is more malt-forward. There's plenty of bready malt backed by a touch of roasty caramel and grain aroma. There is a subtle spicy/floral hop presence to support the malt presence here. I do, for some reason, pick up quite a bit of buttery/diacetyl aroma, but my nose may not be totally accurate. Fairly nice overall, and a nice mild smell to this lager.

A big dash of grainy, bready sweetness washes over the tongue with some caramel on the middle of the tongue. I'm still picking up the buttery flavor, which is a little offputting in this otherwise solid brew. There is a nice presence of spicy/floral hops on the finish that linger without overstaying their welcome. Pretty nice balance, and a rather tasty and refreshing brew.

Refreshing mouthfeel with crisp carbonation and a dry finish with subtle hop presence. Pretty refreshing brew.

While not as hoppy and dry as I'm used to for German-style lagers (e.g., pilsners), this was a nice break. Rivertown makes very solid attempts at traditional European styles, and the Helles is no exception... I'd rather have a pilsner, though. But a refreshing, malt-forward brew overall. (1,787 characters)

Photo of Cannoneer
3.36/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This was a bit strange.
The beer pours out of a bottle an unimpressive grayish-lemon tinge. The head is almost non-existent. So much for the looks.

The smell is quite intriguing, however. The strongest first note is that of fresh yogurt. Some lemon zest afterward. Eager to take a first sip.

It's sweet. Almost too sweet for my taste. I can't drink more than a couple of bottles of this lager. It seriously needs a hops infusion. It may be OK for some traditional Bavarian foods, such as a pretzel with mustard, but it's just too sweet for my taste. I'll probably not get it again. (583 characters)

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.37/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Bodega in Columbus, $4.50 per pint. Clear pale golden color, about a cm of foam that sinks to a filmy layer. Bready aroma, neutral and a little grainy, very little impact from hops (appropriately). Nice flavor, nothing offputting at all. Just a solid and unassuming Helles Lager. Good carbonation and body, no real complaints with this beer. (351 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.48/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is a pretty good helles. Unfortunately, the carbonation is so high that it really does interfere with the flavor delivery. What I do get is a nice grainy lager with a consistent flavor profile though. A bit metallic and tangy. But it's passable. (250 characters)

Photo of Schneic8
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a mug.

Appearance: Clear golden copper color with lots of carbonation. It has a white head that seems to last.

Smell: Floral hops smell is kind of faint. Also has a slightly sweet grassy aroma.

Taste: Initially it is crisp and clean. I get the floral hops throughout and it finishes with a mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel: It has a smooth crispness with mild carbonation. Goes down easy with a slight bitterness that is refreshing.

Overall: Decent beer. It seems a little watered down but has a nice overall flavor. I had a really hard time pouring this beer, there was a lot of carbonation. I would like to try again. (648 characters)

Photo of nlmartin
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer was served in a Pilsner glass.

Appearance: The body of the beer is a bright clear yellow. The head is quarter inch high good head retention. The head has a white coloration.

Smell: Light grassy aroma leads the aroma. A bit of lightly sweet grain. Clean aroma.

Taste: The beer has a nice crackery malt presence. The hops have a nice grassy floral bitterness. The hops have a medium intensity. The beer doesnt blow me away but I will definately have this around for my macro loving buddies.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability: The body of the beer is light but not watery. The flavors and aromas are clean. The carbonation works well with the beers overall character. This is a nice throw back beer. (703 characters)

Photo of RickS95
3.52/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Since I got smart and stopped drinking American macros, I've stopped enjoying this style of beer for the looks alone. Pours a dull gold. Not quite as clear as I'd have guessed, but something you can still see through. The head is bright white, a finger thick, and has only moderate retention. Attractive lace forms when swirled.

The smell was slightly complex, which was welcomed. Biscuity nose with some savory character, as well as the faintest touch of lemon.

Strong taste in that it's not watered down, malty backbone with an Earthy flavor before the hops add some savory citrus to the swallow.

Would be great in the summer, but it's cold out and it's still got a nice feel on the palate. Aggressive, crisp, flowery notes from beginning to end, with a bit of malty sweetness for balance. Crisp, acidic finish.

Overall, it's much better than I expected. More ABV would be a nice addition, but I didn't hate this and that's praise coming from me. (952 characters)

Photo of StoutHunter
3.54/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I got a bottle of Rivertown's Helles lager a couple weeks ago from my cousin Adam. I've never had anything from Rivertown before and they don't distribute to Michigan, so I was happy when my cousin gave me a couple bottles to try out, so lets see how it goes. No visible bottling date. Poured from a shorter brown 12oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A- The label looks nice, it has a nice city scene in the background, but it's not that eye catching. It poured a slightly cloudy straw yellow color that took on a golden hue when held to the light with two fingers worth of white head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and didn't really leave any lacing behind. This is a nice looking beer, but it's a little cloudy for the style.

S- The aroma starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness followed by a good amount of malts that impart some sweet, grainy and slight biscuit like aromas with some bready aromas sticking out the most that are very similar to a slice of white bread. Up next comes a very light amount of spicy hops that are barely detectable. The aroma was nice, but I think a little more hop aroma would help balance it out a little.

T- The taste seems to be very similar to the aroma and it starts off with a medium amount of sweetness followed by loads of bready malts that impart a flavor that reminds me of Wonder Bread. Up next comes some doughy yeast flavors followed by a light amount of spicy hops. On the finish there's pretty much no bitterness just a little more sweetness with a very white bread like aftertaste that seems to stick around for a while. This was a nice tasting Helles Lager, but I thought it could use just a little more balance.

M- Very smooth, clean, pretty crisp, a little dry, on the slightly thicker side of being light bodied, with a slightly higher amount of medium carbonation. The mouthfeel was nice and I think it worked well with this beer.

Overall I thought this was a nice beer and it's an above average example of the style, the malts were very bready and it had the signature spicy hops, but I think they were just a little light for the style. This beer had good drinkability, it was pretty smooth, clean, not filling, and the flavors did a decent job at holding my attention, I wouldn't have a problem drinking a few of these and it makes for a nice beer to enjoy on those hot summer afternoons. What I liked the most about this beer was the appearance and mouthfeel they were both pretty nice. What I liked the least about this beer was the balance, I feel like a little more spicy hops would help make this truer to style and balance out all those bready malts. I would order a pint or two of this at a bar, but I don't think I would get a six pack of it and I recommend to anyone who likes easy drinking Lagers. All in all I enjoyed this beer, it was a nice easy drinking lager, but Hofbräu Original is still my favorite of the style, i think it's more balanced than this beer and it does a better job at showcasing those spicy hop flavors. This made for a decent first impression for Rivertown and i'm interested in checking out more of their beers. Thanks a lot Adam. (3,179 characters)

Photo of fitrock2112
3.54/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured Helles into a pint glass.

A - Pours a clear golden with a half of finger head.

S - The aroma is very light, some bread, pinch of hops. Nothing over powering or knocking my socks here.

T - Whew, the taste is much improved over the smell. More biscuit qualities, touch of hops. Nice and refreshing on a hot summer day.

M - The mouthfeel is light with medium carbonation.

O - This style isn't gonna wow anyone, but hits the spot and is worth a try. Cheers! (466 characters)

Photo of aasher
3.55/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This one pours a very light and moderately clear faint gold in color with a light white lacing around the glass. When it first poured it even resembled a chardonnay. It eventually gained a light cloudiness. It smells of pilsner malt with a light sweet malty finish. It's moderately grainy. Upon my first whiff I even thought I got some ever so light white grape. Interesting and light. It drinks very clean and light and has moderate carbonation. Overall this one is okay, and I like when American breweries cover this style, but this one doesn't separate itself from the others. (579 characters)

Photo of projectflam86
3.55/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a clear golden color with a thick white foam that leaves decent lacing.

S- The nose is mostly cooked cereal and straw with some malt sweetness. Hard to describe, but it smells "clean".

T- Very plain, but not in a bad way. Clean upfront with a touch of bitterness and a sweet malt finish with hardly any alcohol. Biscuits and lightly toasted grains.

M- Light bodied with nice carbonation.

O- Overall a very easy drinking beer that was a touch boring but still solid. (478 characters)

Photo of bluejacket74
3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle, single bottle bought for $1.59. Served in a pilsener glass, the beer pours a slightly hazy light gold color with about a half inch white head. The head retention is good, but there isn't much lacing left on the glass. The aroma is a little light overall, the brew smells like bready malt, sweet malt and a bit of grassy hops. It mostly tastes like grain/bready malt, along with some light grassy hops and lemon peel. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, it's nice and crisp with good carbonation. It's also easy to drink. I think it's a solid overall brew, it's nice and enjoyable to drink, and definitely worth trying. (631 characters)

Photo of ColdPoncho
3.61/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - pours a really light yellow with a big frothy white head. I think it looks quite nice, and light. Almost BMC-ish, but a real head, and a respectable body.

S - THis weird molasses sweetness dominates. I've noticed this in other Rivertown Beers and other small breweries...It's not a good thing. Especially in such a light style, it tends to dominate. Otherwise, you have some light crisp malts, maybe a hint of citrus, but it's hard to tell.

T - Light malts and a touch of vanilla. None of that funny sweetness from the nose, except on the finish. It's light and pleasant and enjoyable.

M - light, thinnish, a touch dry.

O - not perfect, but it's a decent pale lager. Some funny stuff in the nose could be cleared up. (724 characters)

Photo of BeerAndBourbon
3.68/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A. Pours a pale yellow lager with a huge four finger width medium bubble head. Leaves lots of islands of residual lacing as the head dissipates to a small film.

S. Lots of woodsy, earthy hops. Some biscuit malt.

T. Bready/biscuity malt with some floral hops and a bit of grape flavor.

M. On the thin side of medium body with a robust level of carbonation.

D. It's damn hot in my house tonight and this is cool and refreshing. Perfect brew when it's hot outside. (465 characters)

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - decent bright golden straw color, a brief fizzy head disappears quick but manages to leave a few swaths of lace on the glass.

Aroma - a touch of grain sweetness, pilsnery hops too. Fresh and as it should smell.

Taste - crackery malts open up, again with an element of sweetness but not overdone. The hops are moderate, not very bitter, but assertive just the same. They do a great job of balancing up to the swallow. They resolve to a little more pils (Saaz?) bitterness on the swallow, even a flint or gunpowder kind of note. Leaves some nice flavor balance on the finish. Very authentic stuff, Zinzinnati OFest bound I believe.

Mouthfeel - crispness is the most notable thing here. The body is lagerishly smooth without being too heavy. 3.5

Drinkability - a nicely done Helles. Ought to hold its own come warmer climes and should taste just as good if the Cincinnati heat gets to it a bit, though mine is steadily disappearing. (954 characters)

Photo of santa216
3.84/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clean and clear. Light straw yellow color. Big, frothy white head.

Smell: Grainy and lightly sweet aroma. Low noble hop scents and no detectable DMS.

Appearance: Clean and clear. Light straw yellow color. Big, frothy white head.

Taste: Strong pils-malt grain character. Spiciness of noble hops is present but no overwhelming bitterness is evident. Clean and crisp with slightly sweet finish.

Mouthfeel: Light body with high carbonation.

Overall: Really delicious Helles Lager. Slightly sweet with a underlying noble hop bitterness/spiciness. Very clean, crisp and refreshing beer, however with a bit too high carbonation for my taste. True German-Pils malts are prominently displayed. (701 characters)

Photo of jkrich
3.85/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from an undated, 12 oz. bottle: very pale gold to yellow with a slight haze. The foamy white head dissipated quickly.
The aroma was freshly malty with some lemony hop aroma.
The flavor was crisp, refreshing and zesty with a nice lemon-like aftertaste. Though the flavor is tilted toward the malt, the noble hops give the lager good balance.
Clean and refreshing mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. The body was heavier than many helles style lagers I have tried.
What an excellent way to end a rather long work week during an especially hot summer. This is an ideal quaff - I finished this in no time and found myself reaching for another. (647 characters)

Photo of Natural510
3.88/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle; laser dating on the bottom of the bottle puts it at early December 2010.

Pours a pale, hazy straw color with ivory-white head and a sturdy ring of residual lacing.
Scent is virtually nonexistent; however in this style that is not a bad thing as the intent is clean, crisp notes.
Initial sweetness from a light malt, met with the balancing of a crisp, pronounced hop bite. An overall flavor of grain, hay and slight breadedness. Smooth, clean finish.
Mouthfeel is in-line with the style; crisp, astringent, somewhat buttery.
Quality helles lager in true Bavarian fashion (as opposed to a mediocre American imitation). I'll be seeking more offerings from this small, local brewery... (695 characters)

Photo of tsauce2
3.92/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

P: 12 fl oz bottle in to a tulip glass

A: SRM is bright golden hue. Crystal clear, medium heavy carbonation, white head is .5 in thick, dissipates to cling the rim.

S: Slight bread and banana notes, crisp lagered smell.

T: Crisp, clean malted notes followed by a slight banana note coupled with slightly yeasty/bready taste.

M: Light yet full bodied. Carbonation gives a nice tingle, malts give a rounded and full texture. Pilsner lager feel. Aftertaste is crisp and sharp.

O: Very enjoyable beer. Reminiscent of hefe and pilsner characteristics. Easy to drink. (567 characters)

Photo of Beejay
3.93/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: A slightly hazy pale yellow in color. The head is white, fluffy and very plentiful. Very nice, with a long lasting head.

S: There is a light fruit fragrance, as well as a sweet bread note. The fruity fragrance reminds me of a sweeter sparkling wine.

T: Crisp with a nice light fruity flavor. There is a cracker, or bread taste to this that I like a lot. The finish has a bitter hoppy flavor that I think balances the sweetness.

M: Medium in body, actually a touch thicker than I would imagine. The carbonation is fairly high and appropriate to the style.

O: Overall quite nice, something that is crisp and easy drinking. I would certainly choose this of the plethora of other lager options which flood our markets these days. (736 characters)

Photo of hooliganlife
3.99/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

thanks bamadog!

pours a very light copper. very clean and pure. light fizzy white head that disappeared quickly. no retention which bummed me out.

up front, strong biscuit and bread with faint crisp floral pilsner hops.

lots of malt flavor but in a light way. light crisp flowery hops to balance this out. very clean and a great malty aftertaste.

a bit thin but the moderate carbonation fills it out.

this is very drinkable. i enjoyed this, very balanced, although could use a bit more dominating flavors. this would be a wonderful summer beer. (551 characters)

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Helles Lager from Rivertown Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 29 ratings.