Summer Helles | New Belgium Brewing

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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.

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Reviews: 81 | Ratings: 621
Photo of Beaver13
2.1/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle, enjoy by 10/5/14. Pours clear pale yellow with a medium creamy white head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is vegetal malts and floral noble hops.

The flavor is sweet vegetal malts with a spicy noble hop finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with slightly sharp carbonation.

Overall, not a great lager.

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Photo of ronniebruner
2.75/5  rDev -21.2%

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 donmonkey1
2.77/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Color is pale yellow, almost clear like water. Very little carbonation, practically no head, no lacing.

Smell: Canned corn/yeast/pizza dough

Taste: yeasty, sweet

mouthfeel: light body, feels nicely carbonated.

This beer has very little taste and is practically carbonated water, although it's perfect on a hot Summer day because it's so refreshing and easy to drink. The problem is that it's barely beer. The macros have more flavor.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
2.77/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Summer Helles pours a clear golden color, with a small but lacing head. There is a stench similar to smelly garbage and skunks. The taste is light, has strong soap flavors, but just hints of a nice crisp malt flavor. Light, watery, and borderline offensive. Overall it has hints of a nice flavor, but a lot of garbage mixed it.

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Photo of Ohiolager
2.79/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

New Belgium Summer Helles Lager 6pk bottles $8.99(OH)

12 oz odd shaped brown bottle poured into a stemless white wine glass. Freshness date marked on lower corner of label.

Pours a pale gold, almost fizzy yellow color. 2 two finger head that doesn't last long, but gives way to decent lacing.

It smells just like a Heineken. Heavy German malts, barely any hops just enough to balance it out.

It tastes just like a Heineken too. Sweet German malts, grassy doughy.

mouth feel is OK. carbonation is good. not flat not too bubbly.

Overall New Belgium is 0/3 in my book. I was expecting this to be like a hofbrau or weinhenstephaner. Why copy a Heineken, as a seasonal to boot. Heine's available year around and for cheaper. The best thing about this is the brown bottle, pretty much guaranteed a non skunked Heineken.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.82/5  rDev -19.2%
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 rawfish
2.92/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Crystal clean, straw and water, unusually light. Small cap of a half finger white bubbles with terrible retention yet decently walled lacing on the glass.

Nothing much in the way of aroma, thin grains with a light lemony tartness. Mineral quality that has some lemon/honey tea but you need to practically inhale the beer to get it.

Thin cracker grain with some unpleasant vegetative hops, lemon and earthy herbs. Quite a bit of mineral in the finish with a medicinal touch and buttery diaceytl. Doughy and flat on the palate without any hops to balance.

Easy and light body but without much carbonation. Alcohol is well hidden and a wet and nearly completely lacking in drying feel.

Flat and doughy, for a lager, this is quite lackluster, rather fresh yet still has a DMS tinge. The other New Belgium summer seasonals have been much more consistent come on guys I know you can do better.

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Photo of 19SKHJR57
2.96/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours bright clear light gold with a small head, leaving a fair amount of streaky lacing.

S - Light, bread like malt and a faint aroma of dank pears maybe?

T - Not as nice as the aroma, that's for sure...and the aroma is definitely lacking. Somewhat watery for the style, which, IMHO, is supposed to be fuller and bursting with deeper semi-sweet malts and a mildly hoppy bitter aftertaste.

M - About the right amount of carbonation for this style. Light to medium body - more on the light side. Not too dry, which is the way I believe a helles should be.

O - This lager is easy-drinking and refreshing when cold - but that's about it. Not that I was expecting this beer, as new as it, is, to be all that good. After all, which American craft beer brewer has the guts to attempt brewing a decent helles? One of the most difficult styles to get right. Nice try, NB, but I have to say this one is a dud. I suppose I'm still looking for that "holy grail" - a great, domestically brewed American helles that mimics the great helles lagers of SW Germany.

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Photo of Zorro
3/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Super pale yellow colored beer with a small white colored head. Wow that is pale for a craft beer.

Smell mostly of toasted grain. Lemony hops and some herbal scents. Some cooked cereal and some grassy hop scent.

Starts out mild malt and lemon hop taste with some hard water flavors. Medium hop bite. Wheat biscuit malt profile. More refreshing than tasty really. Like a high hop light beer.

Mouthfeel is light.

Overall an OK beer, something for a hot day.

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Photo of BeerWithMike
3/5  rDev -14%
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 McStagger
3/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a pale straw. Small amount of large bubbles. Finger of bleached head that dissipates rapidly. Moderate lacing.

S: Crackery, herbal, slightly spicy. Very subdued smell.

T: Some bit of grassy herbal quality up front. Mid palate becomes crackery malt, taking on a definitive saltine like characteristic. Finish is clean, with more of the crackery graininess carried trhough.

M: Light. Carbonation of large bubbles, but it fizzles out quickly.

O: Pretty mediocre example of the style. Hop presence is diminished, even considering the lack of hoppiness in helles. Grainy, even for the style. Simply not enough flavor to justify purchasing again.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.09/5  rDev -11.5%

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 DrewsBrews450
3.09/5  rDev -11.5%
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 twiggamortis420
3.17/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle pours a stunningly clear straw color with a fair coating of white head. Not a whole lot for retention and lace.

Nose is herbal hops, light grains and a good dose of sulfurous lager yeast. Some lemon aroma is in here too. Not nearly as delightful to sniff upon as the best German versions when fresh...the grains dont have that fresh crushed aroma and the hops are not as grassy as I would prefer.

The taste follows suit with an odd lemon-y aspect that is out of place here and the malt is nearly as light as an adjunct lager. It does have a smooth mouthfeel with a crisp snap at the end. Overall Im pretty disappointed in this one as it tastes closer to an AAL than a good, traditional German Helles. This feels rushed and just not a well thought out beer.

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Photo of TheMarkE
3.19/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Pale yellow with a small head of foam and decent lacing. Spots of bubbles from the carbonation here and there.

Smell: Grain, grass, malt.

Taste: Grain, buscuity malts, hint of lemon.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied with a hint of lemon zest in the finish.

The Verdict: It’s OK. Slightly above average maybe, thanks to the lemon zest, but not much more than that. Rather bland and lightweight. Those who prefer something on the light side may actually prefer it.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.22/5  rDev -7.7%
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 kcurran23
3.22/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

It's enjoyable. But so are so many beers which are much cheaper and more available. Nothing special here besides smoothness in my opinion, and the lacing around the beer glass makes it seem like it's more of a $10 6 pack than it tastes. Much deeper flavor than something like a Bud but not that far off.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.25/5  rDev -6.9%

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 everythingiszen
3.25/5  rDev -6.9%

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 SteveJeremy
3.25/5  rDev -6.9%
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 steveh
3.28/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Just spotted this at a local grocer. $9.50 a sixpack, but since very few "craft" brewers are attempting a straight-on Helles, I had to try it.

Enjoy by Sep. 21, 2014 nicely placed on the label.

A -- Good lager clarity, but rather light in head retention and overall color. I see macro comparisons on the horizon with the thin white head and terribly pale straw color.

S -- Very nice yeasty, bready character with some mild DMS and a malted milk ball sort of sweetness.

T -- Only lightly malty (the color telegraphing this expectation), graininess back with mild graininess that's a little lackluster to style. Some hop bitterness in the finish and some light lemon zest in the aftertaste. Where's that sweet maltiness from the nose? Hmm, grainbill says Pale and Pilsner malts. Let me guess, American 2 row pale.

M -- Mouthfeel is light to light-medium with a crisp mouthfeel.

O -- Overall, this beer could benefit with some bigger malted barley character. It's certainly light and refreshing, but it's not comparable to the better imports.

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Photo of bwood06
3.29/5  rDev -5.7%
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 The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.34/5  rDev -4.3%

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 BrandonLBC
3.35/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A--Very, very light gold with a small head that disappears quickly. Light lacing.

S--German malts huge on the front of the nose, a bit of a grass hint as well.

T--Again with malts up front, which isn't a bad thing. Followed by just a hint of hops and lemony taste at the end. Was probably a bit disappointed, because I expected a bit more of a hop hit, even from a lager.

M--Very light as expected, and just about the right amount of carbonation. Easy drinking. Great for summer.

O--Slightly disappointed. To me it tasted very similar to their Spring Blonde, though I did like this better because of the German malts. For me, Fat Tire is still my favorite New Belgium, though a lot of their more interesting beers still aren't available in this area. I'll probably have this again, but it's certainly not my favorite lager.

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Best by date of 10/19/14. 5% ABV

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Photo of Chiefy770
3.4/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 fluid ounce bottle. "Enjoy By" date of September 28th, 2014.

Poured into a Pilsener glass.

Appearance: Very light gold body. A weak foamy head tried to linger around but collapsed quickly. Plenty of bubbles circulating through this translucent body.

Smell: Grainy. Cornbread. Grass from the hops.

Taste: Grains upfront. Very weak hops try to take control of the taste but failed to do so. Bready taste all around with a bitter grassy taste that tries to balance things out.

Mouthfeel: Light body. Medium-High carbonation.

Overall: Refreshing? Yes. Complex? Not so much. It would be a nice session beer for the summer but the complexities just are not there. Very little from the hops.

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Summer Helles from New Belgium Brewing
3.49 out of 5 based on 621 ratings.
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