Summer Helles
New Belgium Brewing Company

Summer HellesSummer Helles
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German Helles
3.48 | pDev: 14.08%
New Belgium Brewing Company
Colorado, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Summer HellesSummer Helles
Reviews: 83 | Ratings: 623 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Libeertarian
3.56/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Slightly cloudy, mostly clear banana-yellow. Imagine twelve ounces of Mellow Yellow and one ounce of milk, well-stirred. Pure white wispy head of quickly-waning retention. Smells crackery, grassy. Grainy, bready palate, strangely peanut-like, but not bad. Possible yeast quality? Maybe just the malt. Different enough to be good, in my opinion. Finishes very clean. Degree of citric hopping and then almost nothing, maybe dry grass, and minimal peppercorn retro-olfaction. Light-bodied but towards medium, full of tingling and then smoothing carbonation, crisp.

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Photo of BeerWithMike
3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled this evening on 4/29/15 while grilling on the upper patio deck. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured in to a handled-glass stein.

Brew pours a pale straw-yellow in color with a good 2-finger foamy white head that stayed around for a bit. A good amount of sticky lacing is seen when sipped. The aroma is of grass and sweet malts for the most part. Bit more was going on with the taste with some some pepper, light citrus (lemon zest?) and floral hops in the mix also. Slightly dry for the finish. Medium-bodied with good carbonation. Overall, it was just another OK one-time brew for me. Nothing exciting.

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.87/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Single 12 oz. bottle poured into a pilsner glass. Very pale straw color (notably pale!) with a finger of sudsy bright white head. Great head retention.

Aroma is at once brightly grassy and sweetly malty. Popcorn, white bread, a whiff of white grapes and lemon. Laid back, sedate, but not dull.

Palate largely reflects the nose. Buttered bread, Ovaltine malt beverage. Softly maltiness with an emergent sweetness. Noble hops are doing just enough to cut the sweetness, providing some grass notes with hints of licorice, lemon, pepper, and white chocolate. Slight sulfur note from the yeast and a low-key graininess. Dare I say the carbonation is too high for the malty softness that this style is supposed to encapsulate although the flavors are bang on. Resoundingly medium bodied with a sweet malty finish.

I'm going to proclaim this a good Helles, minor mouthfeel issues notwithstanding. This is supposed to be a low hop flavor style. Great German malt flavor. The overall "Okay" designation provided here is a mystery.

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Photo of SteveJeremy
3.25/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Solid lager across the board, simple, complex, the hop bite is present but not overbearing, and thoroughly drinkable. Wish it was seventy degrees warmer.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.22/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a pint glass. This Helles pours bright and light in color. Light straw with good clarity and a half inch of white foam. Looks like a Bud Lt. Touch of funky hop notes on the nose, not much variety but a pleasant hop and grain sense.

Taste brings some lemon and a balancing pils malt light bready character. Pleasant finish, slightly sweet. Simple style done fairly well though still just an old school all malt lager with a slightly more complex mouthfeel. Easy and unobtrusive.

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Photo of ronniebruner
2.75/5  rDev -21%

Brew pours a very light yellowish color. Taste is plain and unimpressive. Bland label/package. Beer pours with a decent amount of foam and a bit too much head. This beer does not taste fresh and it is
very unoriginal. Leaves a pungent taste on the tongue similar to a Budweiser. Not recommended at all, but on that note, this beer could have been way worse!

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Photo of rlee1390
3.25/5  rDev -6.6%

A-Clear as day light yellow, not carbonation, one finger head.

S-Wheat, some pale malt, not much else. Bland and boring.

T-Bland and some odd malt flavors. Nothing else though.

M-Lighter, no carbonation, semi crisp though.

O-Just not a very good beer.

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Photo of bwood06
3.29/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

A - Very clear pale straw in color with a thin frothy white head that dissipates quickly. High carbonation. Initial head dissipates but half a finger is retained. 3.75/5

S - Aroma reminds me of a light pilsner. Malty with just a touch of sweetness. A bit of grassy hops. Biscuit. A hair peppery. 3.5/5

T - Very light malty, bready flavor. Slight pepper note. Grassy herbal hop finish. Light lingering bitterness. Sourdough aftertaste. Sourdough and hop bitterness combination is somewhat unpleasant for my taste. 3/5

M - High carbonation. Very light and dry. Finishes very dry. 3.75/5

O - Aftertaste throws me for a loop. A decent helles lager. Fairly true to style. Light. 3.25/5

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Photo of kojevergas
3.09/5  rDev -11.2%

BOTTLE: 12 fl oz brown glass with a branded red pry-off pressure cap. Purchased at Whole Foods HQ in Austin.

Served cold into a snifter at low altitude in Austin, TX. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average given the brewery and format; I tend to like their seasonals much better than their Lips of Faith series beers. 5% ABV. "Enjoy by: 02NOV."

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: Half a finger wide. Dull off-white colour. Fairly thin. Not at all creamy. The head recedes to a floater ring within 20 seconds, and the ring itself fades within a minute, leaving no lacing. Suggests a weak beer.

BODY: A clear pale yellow of average vibrance. Has a supple glow to it redolent of fruit skin. It's clean; no yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Overall, it's a pretty typical looking helles. Doesn't stand out in any way.

AROMA: Weak helles malts, pilsner malt, grassy hops (maybe Noble or Saaz?), Munich malt, hay, and grains. The grains are mismatched with the other aromatics, and seem like they belong in an adjunct lager, not a helles. There's a kiss of sourdough, which is nice. It doesn't seem too sweet or too bitter.

A generally pleasant aroma of average strength. No overt alcohol or other off-notes are detectable.

TASTE: Simple yet pleasant. Munich malts, helles malts, and pilsner malts comprise the basic foundation, with some grassy hop notes lending it a bit of needed complexity. A wisp of sourdough lends it some nice albeit reticent yeast character. Maybe even a bit of green apple? Sure, I like this, but there's no intricacy or subtlety of note. It's a plain beer, but an enjoyable one.

It's decently balanced, but its simplicity makes that much easier. It's a cohesive build for a helles, but it's not a gestalt brew. I'm glad it's not too sweet, but I do find it tends towards graininess a bit too much.

TEXTURE: Standard helles lager. Smooth, wet, a bit overcarbonated, and refreshing. Lends itself naturally to going down easy. The texture does a decent job at complementing the taste, but there's no real nuance to coax out, and the texture could be softer and crisper. There's definite room for improvement.

OVERALL: It's to style in the sense that it's easy to drink, but there's nothing here for the discerning drinker. I'll be sticking to traditional German offerings, but this is by no means a bad brew. Just an unremarkable one. Above average, in any case. I wouldn't buy it again as part of a 6 pack or anything, but I wouldn't be annoyed to see it in a New Belgium variety box. I see why this was popular at a summer music festival, but I can't recommend it to friends.


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Photo of everythingiszen
3.25/5  rDev -6.6%

Hay colored and crystal clear. A bit light on flavor, and ABV for the style, but not a bad overall experience. Mildly refreshing. Not all that different from living the High Life. Wish it had a bit more head.

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Photo of REVZEB
3.2/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

It is like New Belgium was not content with the helles lager and tried to brighten it up with pepper, lemon, and a straw like yeast. Not a god mix with the malts and hops of the style. Left tasting confused, bitter, and unnecessarily sour on the finish. I understand trying to lighten it up for summer, but it did not come across as crisp or refreshing, just jumbled.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.34/5  rDev -4%

Let's see what New Belgium has to offer in the Lager category.

Serving style : As always, 12 oz glass bottle poured for appearance.

Appearance (3.5) : Crisp apple juice body, alive with bubbles. Transparent but thick enough to show character. 1 finger soapy head that diminishes rather quickly. Some residual flecks of lacing are left on the glass as the beer disappears.

Smell (3.75) : Fresh peach, corn, some orange spice (like a wit), not-quite-musty grains, all alive with freshness and crispness. The bottle presents some floral character, too.

Taste (3.25) : Pretty decent but not groundbreaking. It's got this twisted corn kernel flavor intertwined with sour wheat and hops; which then morphs into a bitter lightly syrupy feel and ends with a pleasant fresh cornbread flavor.

Mouthfeel (3) : Smooth, carbonated, and lightly creamy. Light bodied and the creaminess ever so slightly bumps it closer to a light-medium body.

Overall (3.3) : This beer started off promising and kind of did a landslide from there. I would say that this is like an advanced, slightly craftier Miller High Life. Except for the fact that High Life is perfectly good on its own, so why bother? Summer Helles is probably better than some beers in the Lager category, but you may as well pick up a macro because you aren't gaining much here.

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Photo of flagmantho
3.75/5  rDev +7.8%

I had this on-tap in a New Belgium pint glass at Special Brews in Lynnwood, WA.

Appearance: clear golden hue with a light effervescence. Head is a thin layer of frothy white foam. Looks refreshing!

Smell: rather sweet malt aroma with a light, orchardy fruitiness and a lightly floral hop character. Pretty enticing!

Taste: sweet and fruity malt flavor right off the bat. Hops are floral, fruity and perhaps a little bit noble in character. It's fresh and sweet, although maybe a little more so than the traditional formula. Still, it is among the better non-sour New Belgium offerings I've had.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a moderate carbonation but a pretty nice creaminess. I like it.

Overall: a highly drinkable lager. Maybe a little sweet, but I could probably knock back quite a few of these. I'd definitely have this again.

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Photo of Flounder57
3.5/5  rDev +0.6%

12 oz bottle was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: A one finger head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is a golden straw yellow with great clarity and vision of bubbles coming up through the glass.

Smell: Bready pilsner malts, some sweetness, cereal grain, and Noble hops.

Taste: You get more sweetness in the taste than the nose. Bready and toasted still hops in the rear.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, crisp, refreshing, light bodied, and medium carbonation.

Overall: Pretty nice helles lager. Pretty nice for this humid Orlando weather.

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Photo of patre_tim
3.75/5  rDev +7.8%

A: Straw, clear filtered with some small white particles floating within, 3 fingers of white head. Little carbonation.

S: Corn, snow, white grapes, white wine, light golden malts.

T: Light golden malts, corn, white grapes and white wine, then a fresh dough bomb hits you. Light bitter hops on the end.

M: Light medium body, medium carbonation, dry finish.

O: Well done lager by New Belgium. Got this one at Krogers in Frankenmuth, MI in May, drank in New Hamburg, ON, Aug 19th, 2014.

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Photo of BigCheese
3.7/5  rDev +6.3%

Bought a Six Pack in Nashville

Its quite clear, very light in color.

Its a refreshing lager, duh. A little lacking on the spicey/noble hop character. Got a nice cereal malt character though. It is what it is. I've had better summer lagers (Gansett, Victory) and the german varieties are definitely superior. Youd be hard pressed to strongly detest this beer though.

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Photo of Slatetank
4/5  rDev +14.9%

I tried this on tap at 45th street taphouse in Ocean City MD, served chilled in a standard pint.

The color is golden pale with straw like sunny appearance visibly carbonated with white head and fine bead. The smell has light floral hop odor with mild pilsner malt aroma and subtle yeast with a mild sulfur element in the background. The feel is very good though lighter than average carbonation with gentle bitterness and subtle sweetness with mostly dry finish.

The taste has a mildly toasted malt character with gentle sweetness and light spice from the yeast with a floral flavor from the hops with a slight yeast flavor continuing into the finish with some mineral accents. I consider this a pretty decent lager in the sense it fits the style - not great but certainly worth a try, it is drinkable and good for summer drinking.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.82/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

12 oz bottle into a wine glass.

A: Pours a clear straw color. There's a finger worth of white-colored head, with a nice creaminess to the texture. Retention is pretty solid, too. A nice ring of lacing remains on the glass, creating even more aesthetic appeal.

S: It's not quite as hoppy as I like from a lager, then again the helles lager isn't known for its hopping (sadly :() Actually, the nose is rather bland in general. There isn't much here besides a touch of malt, a kiss of noble hopping...and that's it. Basically, it's inoffensive and middle-of-the-road in every way possible.

T: Since it's a helles lager, it's low on noble hops - not devoid of them, thankfully - but compensates with an additional fruity/bubblegum note. I feel like the biscuity house character of this brewery clashes somewhat with the lightness of this beer, leaving it somewhat imbalanced.

M: No real complaints here: it's crisp, light, and dry like I expect from a good lager. Sure, it's a bit beefier feeling, but it's not exactly a pilsner, either. Plenty of carbonation lets this go down easily.

O: Let it be said, NB *can* make a rock-solid lager (Blue Paddle, anyone?) This, on the other hand, is rather meh. It isn't horrible, it just isn't giving me much of a reason to want it over other lagers (German, 'Murican, or otherwise). If nothing else, at least it beats the hell out of Budweiser...

2.8/5: Boring lager is boring

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Photo of SliceofKimbo
4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

If you poured this into a glass and entered it into a multi-sample, blind taste test against actual Helles lagers from Germany, this one would feel right at home. I've served pints of this to my friends from Munich, and they were all impressed at how well New Belgium pulled off their favorite and familiar style.

It smells (tinny lemongrass) and looks (clear and pale) like the lagers flowing in a Paulaner or Augustiner Bräuhaus in downtown Munich, but most importantly, it tastes almost as good.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.47/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours a clear, seethru golden body with minimal head and lace streak down glass. Aroma is pils malt and grain and not much else but isn't bad. Beer is light bodied, not watery but close, crisp with a touch of fruit sweetness and hoppy bitterness but mostly I get a grainy maltiness to the beer. An easy to drink light German beer but that isn't bad but there are much better versions of this beer out there.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.45/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Best by November 16 2014, poured into a pint

A- pours a crystal clear pale yellow color with a small foamy and creamy white head that retains fairly well

S- faint flowery and grassy hops, crackery malt with some clean earthy aromas

T- floral and grassy hops up front are complimented by toasted cracker, slightly sweet malty finish

M- light-medium body with low carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel and a smooth finish

O- easy drinking summer bee, not on the level of the German originals, but very drinkable

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Photo of DrewsBrews450
3.09/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

At the beach so I been drinking adjunct lager for the most part of the day ( budweiser).. but had to have a six pack of craft.. the pour is clear with slight lace.. the smell is slight grass with a biscuit.. the taste is smooth slight sweet barley.. biscuit.. overall really not much different then the bud I been drinking all week just without the adjunct taste when it warms.. its slighty better then the bud but really the crazy price I payed here at the beach (9.99).. I rather just buy some more bud.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.71/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Served in a tumbler.

It's summer, so why the hell not have a new NB seasonal? This one pours a clear straw topped by a half-finger or so of lightly off-white foam. The nose comprises thick grass, mild greenery, and dry, flaky white bread. The taste brings in more of the same, the bread subduing the grass a bit, though not enough to take control of the situation (nor to actually achieve much of a character of its own, despite its best efforts). The body is a hefty light, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta/kinda drying finish. Overall, not a bad little helles, really. I could see drinking more, though it wouldn't likely be the first bottle I reach for in such a situation.

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Photo of SitkaSteve
3.75/5  rDev +7.8%

I had this in a pilsener glass.
The appearance was a cloudy golden yellow color with a soft three finger white foamy head that dissipated within about a minute leaving some light lacing sticking but also sliding into the beer.
The smell started off with a sweet maltiness and then having some light citrus and then a light sweet corn.
The taste was basically the same.
The mouthfeel had a creamy sessionable quality running over my mouth and tongue, nice and gentle.
Overall, I say this was a pretty good beer that I would have again.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.54/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Geez New Belgium, another replacement for your summer brew? This year it's Summer Helles (and perhaps next year can be kolsch with American hops). Because I have a ticker mentality, I'm naturally sucked into trying a bottle. From a 12 ounce bottle, on to the beer:

A thin soapy head forms on top this pale yellow lager. On looks, it appears more like a Coors Light than an Augustiner. At least the bubble show in its body is fun to watch. On aroma, the mark is hit. It's very grassy with notes of earth. Slighty sweet with honeysuckle. It tastes like a classic helles, albeit with a stronger earthy aspect. A kiss of grass lingers in its aftertaste. THe beer is light bodied and very refreshing.

Good for summer, absolutely. Better than Rolle Bolle or even Skinny Dip? I'm not so sure.

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Summer Helles from New Belgium Brewing Company
Beer rating: 79 out of 100 with 623 ratings