Summer Helles | New Belgium Brewing

81 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Summer HellesSummer Helles

Brewed by:
New Belgium Brewing
Colorado, United States

Style: Munich Helles Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by JohnGalt1 on 03-26-2014

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 81 | Ratings: 621
Photo of TheFlern
4.66/5  rDev +33.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

What a fantastic beer. Light, drinkable, flavorful, and all around perfect for a sunny day.

Appearance: light straw color very clear. plain white head with only okay lacing.

smells just like you want a summer session lager to smell like. light, a bit hoppy, soft sweet malt notes, but most of all refreshing smelling.

taste follows the nose.

mouthfeel, you could probably drink this instead of water if you needed to.

overall: pick this beer up and enjoy it already.

 473 characters

Photo of Mitchster
4.34/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brewed with Pale malt and Schill Pils malt. Hopped with Target, Tettnang, and Hallertau. Lager yeast.
5.0 ABV, 31 IBU's, 155kcal/12oz

Pours out to a very very pale straw golden, forming a bone white head with very good retention and lacing. Carbonation is moderate. The aroma is great....delicate cereal grain, a touch of DMS (as a helles should be), floral noble German hops, great German lager yeast character, beautifully clean. The mouthfeel is eminently crisp and super clean with a light body. The taste is much a recap of the aroma...slight corn flavor from the DMS with delicate malts over a well balanced bitterness which makes you want to drink more. The finish is dry, but not bracing or tart, leaving a delicate floral hop flavor lingering on the tongue.

This is just an awesome beer, and a fantastic example of the style. It takes some exceptional skill to brew a beer so delicate without any obvious flaws. I've been buying 6 packs of this throughout the summer and just keep going back to it. HIGHLY recommended.

 1,029 characters

Photo of mjurney
4.23/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Straw color, clear. Lots of small bubbles rising to the top. Small soapy head.

Rich, sweet grass, biscuit, bready, a little spicy hops.

Rich, bready, biscuit, grainy, grassy, hint of honey. Hop bitterness is mild, spicy-herbal, just a touch of earthy. Finish is crisp, clean, a little dry. Body is soft, a little creamy, crisp, refreshing.

It's an excellent beer.

 413 characters

Photo of MattyG85
4.05/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a New Belgium Globe glass. Bottle says enjoy by September 21st, 2014.

Appearance: Pours a bright and clear straw golden orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. About two fingers of white head that recede into a thin patchy layer. Leaves a good amount of lacing.

Smell: A crisp, bready, and zesty malt forward aroma with good hints of grains, biscuit, and grass. Pale malt with hints of grains, cereal, straw, biscuit, and lager yeast. Some hints of honey like sweetness. Earthy and herbal hop presence with hints of grass and slight pine spice. Light fruity hints of lemon. A pretty solid light lager aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a crisp and bready malt driven taste with good notes of grains, biscuit, and grassy hops. Upfront pale malt with notes of grains, wheat, straw, cereal, biscuit, and lager yeast. Subtle notes of lemon fruit and honey like sweetness. Solid backing presence of earthy and herbal hops with light notes of grass and spicy pine. Very crisp and solid lager taste.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Crisp, clean, and very smooth with a fairly drying bitter finish.

Overall: A pretty solid light summer pale lager. Good grainy malt notes with a nice bitter backing of hops.

 1,268 characters

Photo of ZAP
4.03/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Very impressive clarity to this beer. Light gold and clean and clear.

S-I know this does not have wheat in it but I get a big "cream of wheat" cereal impression.

T-More of a true Pils type malt flavor upfront and a nice noble hop dimension as well.

M-Light side of medium bodied...relatively crisp.

O-Excellent summer beer. Lacks the depth and complexity of some in this style but a great drinker for the summer.

 418 characters

Photo of Brenden
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one is a bright, very pale gold color, about as light as yellow get. It begins with a chill haze that fades quickly to show complete clarity. The head is perfectly white, a fluffy pillow one finger tall that falls slowly to a layer that's possibly contributed to by carbonation slowly but constantly rising from the bottom of the glass. Lacing remains in broken rings and patches.
This beer has all the trademarks of the style: the grass/hay component (in this one more of a dried grass), mild sulfuric notes, a light mineral quality, and crackery malts with grains lying underneath. it's got a hint of leaf, too, and is appropriately dry, crisp and clean with mild bitterness, as the style dictates.
It's dry in its light but deep body, nice and smooth with as much of a clean feel as taste, lightly but very consistently carbonated and crisp all the way.
Say what you will about the style, this beer gets it right in every aspect.

 937 characters

Photo of Redneckwine
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Cold 12oz bottle into pint glass

Appearance - Pours a clear, pale gold. Not much in the head development or retention area.

Smell - Subtle yet refreshing. Smells like summer air in a glass. Super clean floral hop aroma, lightly sweet fruity esters, mild biscuit malt.

Taste - Follows the nose to a T. With some tasty lingering of floral/herbal hops and light breadiness on the finish.

Feel - Spot on for me. Super smooth, creamy, mediumlight body, gentle but ample carb. Refreshment embodied!

Overall - NB knocked this one out of the park. Its so easy to knock these back! Great brew, a solid offering any time of the year as far as I can see, but perfect for a hot summer day.

 683 characters

Photo of Phocion
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle with an enjoy by date of November 23rd, 2014. Poured into a footed Stella pilsner glass a pale, clear, gold color with a moderate amount of visible carbonation shooting upwards. Finger of creamy head which dissipates quickly, but leaves very sticky white lacing.

Grainy Pilsner malts are definitely evident. Semi-sweet with a bit of DMS/creamed corn. Spicy noble hops and a clean, neutral yeast.

Malts dominate, but it is definitely not too sweet. Grainy with a spicy/floral hoppiness for balance. Very clean finish.

Light-medium bodied and medium-high carbonation. Light, crisp, clean, refreshing, and very bright.

Overall, this is an outstanding version of a Munich Helles lager. Moderately malt-forward but very well-balanced. DMS is a normal byproduct of brewing with Pilsner malts and acceptable in the style, but a little overboard on the nose here. Otherwise, a great beer when rated to style and a very drinkable summer beer.

 954 characters

Photo of Slatetank
4/5  rDev +14.6%

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.

 836 characters

Photo of SliceofKimbo
4/5  rDev +14.6%
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.

 500 characters

Photo of garymuchow
3.97/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed several of these on the 4th.
Nice easy drinking lager. Soft grainy aroma. Pale cloudy appearance with white head that settles out. Nice and pleasing flavors. Crunchy grain that blends very well with the crackling (yet soft) hops making a flavor mix that is hard to separate buts sits so nicely. Lower than average carbonation for a lager works fine in this case, making it an easy drinker. Also warms up nicely (not as nice as an ale, but certainly created another experience of the flavors).
Thanks LInda.

 514 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
3.9/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Enjoy by Sept 28th on the label. I thought I'd drink a brew with Summer in the name. Hint , hint, Old Man Winter.

A sparkling light golden coloured brew that brings a couple of fingers of foam. I reckon that when the foam dies down, the usual excellence in lacing for the brewery will show itself.

There are some pretty strong notes of grain in the nose along with a slight hop character and mineral water type thing going on.

The taste for me differs a bit from the smell. Some grain is there but I'm getting more of a malty and lightly lemony hoppy flavour going on. The finish is kind of on the neutral side with hints of biscuit.

Light bodied with medium carbonation, it has a nice smooth mouthfeel.

It sure is smooth and tasty enough for me to enjoy. I like.

 769 characters

Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.87/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

 1,026 characters

Photo of jimmah120
3.85/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with a best by date on it.

This is exactly what I was looking for. The look is unimportant, is corny new Belgium yeast. This is a light, crisp, watery lager with just the right amount of corn and sweet malt. Hops are a bit flat and medicinal, otherwise this is great.

 280 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.84/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


12oz picked up at the COOP a couple nights ago... Pours a crystal clear light golden... 1" sudsy white head... great retention and good lacing.

Nose shows expected grainy maltiness... grassy hops... something weird that I associate with graham crackers that doesn't quite jive along style guidelines, but isn't off-putting.

crisp malt with just enough bitterness to balance.. malt/hop balance is fine, but a residual crackery essence that appeared on the aroma is odd to me.

Great body and carbonation... pretty darn drinkable... I will buy it again.

Cool to see a big brewery doing something like a Helles... It could be cleaner without the residual malt impact, but it is still well done.


 708 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.82/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appears fizzy and yellow, but it's all grain and it's lighter than most typical German Helles lagers out there. Pale straw golden with a billowing pillow white head, fine speckled lacing left behind poured into a nonic pint glass not the best choice but I was pouring two bottles so it worked. Aroma has biscuit malts bread dough, hint of powdered yeast, slight citric grassy character, that's simple enough. Flavor is great clean refreshing bready malts, citric/grassy hop one, two combo. No fireworks just super pale, malts with flavor this is fancy white bread. Very enjoyable session beer don't expect much complexity just a malt driven lager with many positive attributes...I'm a fan of the light body pale color and tasty malt bill. I could use a tad more hops, but there are some nice herbal grassy characteristics going on. Overall, what a refreshing Summer Helles should definitely deliver...a thirst quenching characteristic lawnmower style beer.

 956 characters

Photo of jwc215
3.81/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours golden with a small, steady bubbles rising to the top forming a white head that settles and stays, leaving rings of lacing.

The smell is of grain, bread, hint of honey with subtle floral noble hops.

The taste is of sweet grain, cracker-like bread with a touch of lemon. There is a mild balance floral hop dryness in the finish.

It is crisp and refreshing. Certainly smooth and easy-to-drink.

A basic, well-made refreshing helles. An enjoyable "session" brew!

 468 characters

Photo of jadpsu
3.81/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a crystal clear, Pale straw yellow with a generous pure white head. This beers white head has superior retention and clinging glass side lace.
Smell: lots of grass, and grains, along with a little scent of lemon but I do not get much else.
Taste; Clean, light, refreshing. Good for a summer, thirst quencher, beer, lager, so true to its origin, which positively effected these rateing.

 391 characters

Photo of allengarvin
3.77/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint single, this is a very bright clear gold beer, with a head of foam that nearly immediately dissipates, leaving a nearly clean top. The nose is clean and malty, with a faint dusting aroma of hops--appropriate to style. The flavor is also dead-on for the style, is a mix of lightly sweet malt and medium-low hops. That's pretty much it. What do you expect from a Helles, probably the single most boring style above "lite lager". It's drinkable, but when it's over, it's completely forgettable.

Non-review rant: NB used to make some really interesting summer beers. In the late 90s, they had their nicely-hopped, low alcohol actual Belgian-styled Porch Swing Single. Then there was their delicious Loft, with wheat and coriander and kaffir leaf. The recipe was tweaked into Skinny Dip, which was still good. But the last 5 years they have declined very sharply in interest.

 891 characters

Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.75/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

New Belgium Summer Helles has a rather thin, white head, a clear, bubbly, straw appearance, and a bit of lacing left behind. The aroma is of pungent, sweet, bready, barley malt, and the flavor is of biscuit, sweet malt, and not particularly bitter hops (I would have never guessed 31 IBU). Mouthfeel is medium, and New Belgium Summer Helles finishes crisp, refreshing, and drinkable. A very nice beer, yet, I can't say that it's any better than, say, Budweiser or Coors, so that has to be taken into consideration with a purchasing decision.


 547 characters

Photo of patre_tim
3.75/5  rDev +7.4%

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.

 497 characters

Photo of flagmantho
3.75/5  rDev +7.4%

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.

 846 characters

Photo of SitkaSteve
3.75/5  rDev +7.4%

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.

 540 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.71/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

 690 characters

Photo of BigCheese
3.7/5  rDev +6%

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.

 368 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Summer Helles from New Belgium Brewing
3.49 out of 5 based on 621 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

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