Dismiss Notice
Introducing: Project Extreme Brewing (a Dogfish Head + BeerAdvocate project)

Atwater Hell Pale Lager | Atwater Brewery

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Atwater Hell Pale LagerAtwater Hell Pale Lager
36 Ratings
Atwater Hell Pale LagerAtwater Hell Pale Lager

Brewed by:
Atwater Brewery
Michigan, United States

Style: Munich Helles Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by proc on 06-21-2003

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Ratings: 36 |  Reviews: 34
Photo of dmorgan310
3.6/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of harpus
2.75/5  rDev -12.1%

Photo of MbpBugeye
1/5  rDev -68.1%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

For some reason my girlfriend bought a bottle of this in MI at a shady little shop in Ann Arbor. It looked old and I asked her why she would get that, but it came home with us anyway.

It sat in the fridge for months and months, just as it must have sat in that shanty little shop, until today. I noticed a spill in the fridge. I traced it back to this bottle which had been on its side with some foam and moisture around the cap. "Infection city" I thought to myself. I gave it a whirl anyway.

The bottle opened with a cracking great whoosh of escaping carbonation. With all that pressure Im not surprised that this was leaking, the surprise is that the cap didnt just shoot off by itself.

I turn to get a glass, the bottle sitting on the counter out of my sight for a second. I turn back and a good inch of foam is standing out of the top of the bottle like one of those crappy 4th of July ash snakes. I prayed that it didnt take over the whole town like in that episode of South Park.

I quickly pour into my New Glarus pilsner to avoid making a mess. It turns out making a mess would be the least of my worries. The glass filled up with foam three or four times over before I had enough beer to actually sample.

At this point many people would call it a loss and move on but today is labor day and Im off work, I needed something to do. Having poured out over half of the bottle's worth of foam I had a sample big enough to tick.

The smell is of dull grains and citrus, well citric-like acid. Frankly, its sour (no surprise).

This left me quite scared to try a sip but Ive fought this thing across the kitchen for hours now and a forfeit would be a loss for the ticker in me. I mustered up all the fourth-grade double-dog-dare-you bravery I could and took a swig. It tasted much like the nose. Dull grains, that hinted at the beer that once was, and sour acidic lemon cleaner. Fearing for my health I poured out the rest.

In hindsight I wish I had been able to reseal this bottle some how and sit on it longer. An explosion would have made for a much better story, but and explosion would not have allowed me to tick off this dubious beer.

 2,156 characters

Photo of WakeandBake
2.68/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A pale yellow body with a HUGE foamy white head, slight spotty lacing,high carbonation. Aroma of sweet pale malt,grain,bread dough and grass. Flavor is somewhat sulphery , a bit of sweet caramel some fruity notes and then a tart lemony taste,short finish, way too fizzy in the mouth. This was drinlable but nothing I would buy again

 332 characters

Photo of ThaBobfather
3.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a straw yellow color with almost 3 inches of white head. (Almost overflowed by imperial pint glass)
Smells got some bread/grain notes and light malt quality.
Taste again has the grainy flavor with pour quality malt backup.
Finish is clean but there isn't really anything left for me after-taste wise.
Drinks pretty well, but find my a helles lager that doesn't...
I'm not typically a hater but Atwater Hell kind of lives up to the name...

 444 characters

Photo of mtstatebeer
2.78/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle. Pours a very active, but hazy yellow-golden color with a huge (nearly unmanageable) fluffy white head. Aroma is mainly pale malts, corn, bread, and with a touch of grassy aroma. Flavor has a touch of sweet caramel malts, yeasty, and a bit metallic. Mouthfeel is light and active, leaves a sweet taste on the tongue. Drinkable beer, good alternative to a macro, but not extraordinary.

 398 characters

Photo of BeerBelcher
2.82/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer first distinguished itself by the amount of head present - it seemed to sort of gush all over the place. Body seemed a bit thin and was a clear (but not brilliant) yellow. Aroma was slightly sweet; not quite corny or grainy...almost mediciney, although I read soap in another review and could agree with that too. Flavor is slightly sweet but rather metallic and soapy. Mouthfeel is OK.

I won't be driving any great distance to have this again. I bought this 12oz single at Brew&Brew in North Ridgeville, OH.

 519 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.35/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Medium amber with Champagne-like carbonation. That isn't a positive. It takes several minutes before there's more beer than dirty ivory foam in the pint glass. The cap is smooth and nearly featureless (it does looks like sculpted styrofoam after subsequent pours), while the glass is virtually untouched.

The nose is a minor improvement. It smells like Hell will be sweet and pale malty with a modest amount of spicy German hoppiness. The brewery says that caramel malt is used, but it sure doesn't look or smell like it. Maybe the buds will do a better job of detection.

Nah, it ain't happenin'. The beer tastes like sweetened grain soaking in lemon juice, with a side order of Hallertau. The clashing that's going on between sweet, sour and bitter is what keeps this Atwater Block offering from being enjoyable. Pale Lager may be the worst Munich helles that I've ever had, although it's far from the worst pale lager. Well, maybe not that far.

The mouthfeel is an offputting combination of light on the front end, lightly sticky on the back end, and too fizzy throughout. These guys either need to go to brew school or find some way to tighten their quality control. My guess is that the latter is what's needed.

I can't recall another case in which I've had five such mediocre offerings from a single craft brewery. Trust me, I'm pretty free and easy with the average scores (as evidenced by *my* average being about 3.6). I have one more Atwater Block beer in my cellar. One more chance is probably one more chance than they deserve. If Hell is the official beer of hell, then I plan to be a very good boy from now on.

 1,627 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.08/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: Pours a clear yellow body that is so, so fizzy.

Smell: Over this past Labor Day Weekend, my friend and I boiled brautwurst in a mixture of Warsteiner beer, white onions, and sauerkraut prior to grilling them. This beer is exactly how the remaining concoction in the stock pot smelled.

Taste: Flavorwise, it tastes like a lager crushed under the weight of all the sulpher contained within. Finishes tart, faintly bitter, and mercifully quick.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied. Moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: Sometimes these beers are so aptly named! All of the various Atwater beers I've tried recently have been nothing but a mess.

 643 characters

Photo of hustlesworth
3.16/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

from the very beginning, something wasn't right about this beer. i sent one of my bartenders to the store giving very specific instructions on what to get: chimay blue label and atwater pale ale. he returned with the chimay but got atwater vanilla java porter instead of the ale. BLAH. so i went to the store later and returned the porter and found that what i thought was pale ale was actually atwater hell pale lager but i bought it anyway. this is my story.

A- hazy golden honey in color with a loose white 1 1/2in of foam that slowly settled to a ring of dense bubbles.

S- seemingly normal buttermilk biscuit with slightly herbal hop notes followed by malt, un-aged cheese, and sweaty feet.

T- i said aloud "what the hell?" metallic at first the BANG a strong apricot sour orange juice that immediately switches to grain and popcorn starchy white bread yeast. it goes from sour to flour with a grassy corn husk aftertaste.

MF- juicy and tart with great carbonation. not quite syrupy but not smooth either like my mouth doesn't know what to do.

D- surprisingly drinkable, the shock value of the taste would inhibit me from buying another at a pub, but the fact that there's 5 more in my fridge makes another one of these slightly more enticing.

 1,264 characters

Photo of boblog
2.88/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Light and clear golden wheat straw color. Small head with no lacing at all.
Smell: Not much scent, but sharp almost wine like hop scent is detectable.
Taste: Fairly typical american lager. Light malts, leaving a slight hop bitterness aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Typical light bodied lager.
Overall: Decent but not exciting. Fairly drinkable, but I would recommend many other beers before this one.

 409 characters

Photo of jcdiflorio
2.87/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

poured into a nonic glass from a 12oz long neck brown bottle with a crimped on cap brought over by the WVbeergeek before the Penn Fest.

Clear,light amber color with a 2" white head that fizzled quickly to a very thin coating of foam not leaving any real lacing. Just a few bubbles rising almost flat looking.

Fruity aroma,green apple aromas with some light carmell notes and a slight grassy note.

Clean taste,fruity green apple tastes like in the aroma,tart with a syrupy taste,no hop tastes detected. Reminds me of a light wine even has a dry sweet finish.

Light to medium mouthfeel with a slight prickely feel. Didn't have a hard time finishing this beer, just not anything here to make me want another.

 717 characters

Photo of Grundle20
1.58/5  rDev -49.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

The beer pours golden yellow in color with a sizable white head that displays good retention but not so much the lacing.

This beer smells odd. There's a strange underlying sulfuric scent, but not quite like skunking, almost like a particularly funky brett smell. Aside from the potent cheese like scents there's an odd honey note, kind of like freshly fermenting mead. I don't suspect infection, or at least any infection I've ever come across in my drinking and brewing. This is not a pleasant experience thus far.

Taste and Mouthfeel:
Again it's a little weird. There seems to be a nice background of caramel malts but again there's a lot of Belgian yeast character coming through. The beer drinks thin but it is crisp. Towards the end of the drink a layer of tasty hop bitterness comes out but finishes clean. I can't figure out if it's the water they use to brew this beer, if it's infected, or just strange. It feels kind of like a tragic mix of all 3 at times.

I don't know what it is, but I did not enjoy this beer and it doesn't feel like a good example of a pale lager really. I'm not trying to be a troll here but I simply wouldn't enjoy drinking more than one of these beers.

Bottom Line:
Kind of a bummer beer, I picked this up in Detroit last weekend and I was hoping for something a bit more. Let's hope this was a bad bottle or a bad batch.

 1,405 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.15/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appears a clear honey tinged golden color large white head disappears at a moderate pace leaves behind uneven layers of lacing. Aroma has a mild sweet biscuit tone touch of honey graham crackers pleasant sweetness with a mild light hop profile a good mix overall. Flavor a rolling sweetness pretty clean and mild with a light hop finish finishes with a bit of a biscuit malt layer that comes off balanced. Mouthfeel has an even mouthfeel lighter bodied with some cloying carbonation that carries to the back of the throat. Drinkability is great a decent session lager I could have a couple of these but after that I would begin to get board and would crave some more flavor pretty drinkable and clean and mellow like the style should be...this is definitely their crossover beer.

 779 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
2.92/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Another American rendition of a German classic, and another half-hearted attempt toward quality. The fizzy pour leads to a hazy (bottle conditioned?) straw complexion with a quickly evaporating foamstand and dulled carbonation. The aromas are rich and varies between pilsner malts and adjunct grains (corn?). Blended in is the moderate scent of European-type hops (Haullertau?). The flavors contribute little in improvement. A heavier than normal sweet, vegital tastes is hardly tempered by the bittering or flavoring hops; nor does the lightened carbonation help at all. Slick on the toung with a buttery flavor late. Though not a total disaster in drinking, the brew falls well short of even fair German Helles. Probably not as true to style as Anheuser Busch Burnin' Helles.

 777 characters

Photo of sullysbeer
2.34/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Aroma: Corn and diacetyl or Butterscotch. Slight grainy and no hop nose, sweet.

Diacetyl - Diacetyl is recognized as a buttery or butterscotch flavor often accompanied by a “slickness” on the palate. Low levels are appreciable & desirable in some styles of beer. It is generated as a fermentation byproduct that may be reabsorbed, depending on process and strain, or as a bacterial infection. Extended warmer temperatures during fermentations tends to reduce diacetyl. Worts with high ratios of adjuncts tend to produce higher diacetyl levels. Additionally, diacetyl removal is affected by the constituents of the wort. Early fermentation cooling may result in higher diacetyl levels by virtue of Time verse removal mechanisms in contact with beer. Agitated ferments reduces diacetyl by increasing surface area over Time (rousting), however care must be taken not to facilitate production of acetaldehyde!

Appearance: Crystal clear and a light golden color. White head that dissipates into the beer.

Flavor: Sweet and tart. Malty and almost no hop flavor or bitterness. Tad hit of diacetyl.

Mouthfeel: Thin and slick. Light carbonation.

Overall Impression: This beer seems kind of old like it was sitting on the shelf for a long time. No born on date so not to sure. I wasn't impressed with this beer at all. Kind of tart in the flavor that was a turn off. I dumped the beer but I have been down to the brewery many many times and these guys brew GREAT beer.

 1,475 characters

Photo of ahking
3.69/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the brewery. Pours nice golden color, clear and crisp. True to style in every way except maybe not as malty. But this makes it nice and crisp. Brewer does a good job on the lagers. Light grassy hop aroma blends nice with the earthy malt flavors. Recommended.

 272 characters

Photo of walleye
4/5  rDev +27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

from the bottle. poured a hazey dark wheat with no head just a small white ring. aroma some malts, honey and light orange and some other sweet fruits. flavor tangeraine with a splash of orange on it than some orange zest qwith a little lemon zing at the finish. I think this is the best pale lager I have had. good lawn mowing beer since I just finished mowing the lawn.

 370 characters

Photo of oberon
3.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poures a lighter dull golden with a thinner quickly dissapating white head,very muted aromas mainly light toastiness maybe a hint of lemon but its faint and reaching to say it.A somewhat flavorful lager toasted grain,mineral finish with a pleasant fruity/lemon note.a notch above a standard American brewed lager and would be good for a day out in the summer and I would think a good conversion beer.

 400 characters

Photo of lackenhauser
2.7/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Hazy, golden color. Low aroma-somewhat sweet and citrusy. Mildly malty flavor but it has a lemon like character to it. Sweet-almost like wine cooler sweet. Perfumey as well. Decent enough mouthfeel. Overall I would give this a wide berth. Has a lot of the same flavors as their Rost Amber. Not impressed at all here.

 316 characters

Photo of TheBungyo
2.92/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured ultra cloudy into my pint glass. It was a sickly color that reminded me of Crazy Ed's Chili Beer ... or apple juice with no head
I couldn't smell a thing! Nothing ... well maybe an apple juice like sweetness but that's it.
Taste is sour then sweet, followed by a fruity tartness and then grain. The fruit also kind of reminds me of apple juice. Very odd. The grain is quite pleasing though, perhaps the most pleasing aspect of this beer. Mouthfeel is quite nice and full. Not in a hurry to drink this again, not unpleasant but not remarkable.

 552 characters

Photo of jp32
2.82/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours golden yellow in color with a fizzy, pop-like appearance.

The smell is a bit citrusy, not much else to note.

The flavor contains a bit of honey up front, and finishes quite malty. It has something that reminds me a bit of malt-o-meal hot cereal.

The mouthfeel lies somewhere in the broad field between thin and medium bodied and is presented with tingly carbonation.

The drinkability is decent. I sure wouldnt turn one of these down if it was offered to me, but I probably wont be going out of my way to pay for it.

 535 characters

Photo of sopor
2.71/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pale straw yellow crystal clear beer under a thick snow-white head developing to fill a pint. A fair amount of largish bubbles rush to reach the surface. And even film lasts through the beer.

Pale malt is slightly sweet and touched with lemon on the nose, smells like a macro lager.

A hint of sweet, with what I think of as the "macro flavor", slightly sweet/lemony/caramelly, but very watery. Fortunately, some good flavor comes in at this point, starting with a crisp noble hop, and leading into a dry cereal malt. The macro comes back, but fortunately is able to clean up before the finish. Imcould for just a slightly fuller malt. I know it's a Hell, but hell, it's awfully close to being american macro style.

Very light body, right to style, including clean finish.

I'm not being critical of this without keeping style in mind. I know it's a very pale lager, but if you had poured this for me blind, I wouldn't know for sure that this wasn't Budweiser, except for teh ehad retention indicating all-malt.

All in all, an excellent beer to share with my BMC friends.

 1,084 characters

Photo of SupaCelt
3.7/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer emerged from the bottle with a golden honey colour. A small head developed with a bone white appearance. It lasted not long whilst bubbles a plenty floated on up from the depths below. The nose was p'raps honey accented as well as a scosh corn syrup-titious. Heehaw. P'raps a pinch or two of a ginger like spicery. The flavours were much akin to the odours. Honey like. Somewhat syrup-titious, heehaw, in flavour and mouthfeel alike. Be not forgetful of the ginger or similar spicery as it plays a role in the flavour as well. This is quite drinkable. Not quite as crisp and refreshing as I would have liked with the somewhat syrupy aspect. Fairly light on flavours. This is somewhat odd, but altogether unoffensive. Easily drunk. Not bad for some serial swilling instead of reaching for a selection from the axis of evil...mwaahahahahahah.

 850 characters

Photo of granger10
3.51/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours an auburn red color on the bottom but the color transfers to a clear gold midway through. Nice foamy and creamy white head sits atop the liquid and holds up for a long time. Good lacing. Aroma was bready and somewhat spicy with almost a clove flavor. But it was on the weaker side. Taste was also good but a bit on the light side, even for the style. I got a banana/clove flavor along with some extra honeylike sweetness. Bready notes underneath. A slight grassy, herbal hop flavor lies underneath. Finish is a bit oily and buttery and not quite as refreshing as I would have hoped. Overall, a decent offering and something worth trying. Definitely a worthy "transition" beer for the macro drinkers.

 715 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Atwater Hell Pale Lager from Atwater Brewery
Beer rating: 3.13 out of 5 with 36 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.