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 UCLABrewN84
3.56/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoy by 9/14/14.

Pours a clear light yellow with a foamy white head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, hay, and grass aromas. Taste is much the same with grain and grass flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is fairly refreshing and easy to drink.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.45/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

just not a very interesting beer here, and nothing like the helles beers of europe. this is impossibly light in both color and flavor, definitely taking on a watered down vibe, but being refreshing enough and certainly sessionable enough if you can keep from getting bored by it. pale pale yellow in color, but holds a decent inch of white fluff on top as the bubbles run to the surface. the nose is a little sweet, and then full of pilsener and pale malts, but ithe malty nose doesnt carry to the flavor, where the front end of this is almost entirely tasteless. more excitement in the finish, as the grains are pretty fresh tasting and some simple but well timed hops enter the equation. its very drinkable stuff, but rather devoid of flavor, and falls into that low medium level so many of these new belgium seasonals have fallen to. zero body and a lot of bubbles is nice for warm weather, but i need my beer to taste like beer, and this barely gets there for me.

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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 superspak
3.58/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into lager glass, best before 9/21/2014. Pours fairly crystal clear pale straw color with a 1 finger dense white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings down the glass, with a light amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of lemon, cracker, bread, herbal, floral, grass, light fruitiness, and yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance of pale malt, earthy hop, and yeast ester notes; with solid strength. Taste of lemon, cracker, bread, herbal, floral, grass, light fruitiness, and yeast earthiness. Minimal earthy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of lemon, cracker, bread, herbal, floral, grass, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a short bit. Good balance of pale malt, earthy hops, and light-moderate yeast ester flavors; with solid robustness and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and light-medium bodied; with a very smooth and crisp mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with zero warming present after the finish as expected of 5%. Overall this is a very solid Munich helles style. Well balanced pale malt, earthy hops, and light-moderate yeast ester flavors with solid robustness; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A pleasantly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of mactrail
3.56/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

I rinsed out the New Belgium snifter for a dose of this. It's a pale golden in color with a white foam and streaming bubbles. The aroma is a warm grain and straw with a flowery hint. Very light mouthfeel but the carbonation gives it that refreshing tang.

There is an interesting crackery taste with a hint of lemon. It's like a Kolsch that turned grainy and corn-fed along the way, but the aromatics are really perfumey in an unusual way. This is rather sweet, kind of like a malt liquor, but there's a tang that makes it quite drinkable. Aftertaste has a bitter edge and a touch of resins.

I'm always hoping for more lighter brews that provide some flavor. This one is more subtle and adds a different twist to the summer beer lineup. While this isn't one of my favorites, it's yet another utterly clean and well-engineered beer from New Belgium. From the 12 oz bottle purchased at Trader Joes.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.58/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a crystal clear pale yellow in color with significant amounts of fine active visible carbonation quickly rising from the bottom of the glass and some hints of lemon yellow highlights. The beer has a two finger tall dense foamy bright white head that slowly reduces to a large patch of very thick film surrounded by a very thin film and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of pale and grainy malts with a lighter aroma of hay and grassy hops.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of wheat and grainy malts with very little sweetness. That is followed by light flavors of hay and a light to moderate amount of grassy hops which contribute a light amount of bitterness which fades quickly.

M: Light bodied with a moderate to heavy amount of carbonation. Slightly crisp and slightly thin/watery.

O: Refreshing and easy to drink with a light flavor and body which makes it great for the hot summer weather. Matches well with the turkey hot dogs and baked beans I'm having for dinner tonight.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.65/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The summer Helles from New Belgium is a great offering. The beer poured a pure clear yellow with white head that is lacing down the entire glass. The scent carries mostly graining hops. The taste is close to a pilsner...light and crisp with grass and grain flare. The mouthfeel is lighter in body with good carbonation. Overall this is a nice summer session ale.

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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!

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.54/5  rDev +1.4%
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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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.

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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.


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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 clayrock81
3.47/5  rDev -0.6%
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 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.

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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 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.

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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 StoutHunter
3.45/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I picked up a twelve pack of New Belgium's Summer Helles at Meijer a couple days ago. I've never tried this beer before and since the weather is finally starting to become more Helles Lager friendly I decided to take a chance on it, so lets see how it goes. Best by September 2nd 2014. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a imperial pint glass.

A- The label looks ok, it's got a hammock with some type of guitar in it, I think it's a little plain looking so it isn't too eye catching. It poured a pretty clear pale yellow color that took on more of a golden hue when held to the light with two fingers worth of slightly creamy white head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and it left some spotty lacing behind. This was a nice looking beer that looked true to style.

S- The aroma starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness followed by the malts being the first to show up and they impart a bready, grainy and sweet malt like aroma with the bready malts sticking out the most and there's some doughy yeast aromas in the background along with a creamy malt aroma. Up next comes the hops which are pretty light and impart a light earthy and spicy hop aromas. This beer had a nice aroma, it was pretty true to style.

T- The taste seems to be pretty similar to the aroma and it starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness followed by the malts still being the first to show up, but this time it's the grainy, bready and sweet malt aspects that stick out the most and the doughy yeast seems to stick out just a little bit more then it did it the aroma. Up next comes the hops which are a little lighter then they were in the aroma and they impart that same light earthy and spicy hops aspects with the spicy hops seeming to stick out the most. On the finish there's a light amount of bitterness with a grainy, bready, and sweet malt like aftertaste. This was a nice tasting beer, it seemed to be pretty true to style.

M- Smooth, clean, crisp, on the thicker side of being light bodied with a slightly higher amount of medium carbonation. The mouthfeel was nice and true to style.

Overall I thought this was a decent beer and a nice example of the style, it had most of the aspects that I look for in the style, but I think a little less sweetness and a little bit more hop flavor would help this beer out and make it stand out a little. This beer had nice drinkability, it was smooth, crisp, clean, not filling. but the taste didn't do the best job at holding my attention, I think two would be my limit, i might get bored with it after that. What I like the most about this beer was the how true to style it was, it had most of the aspects that I expect from the style. What I like the least about this beer was the it was a little bland, I know this style doesn't have the most flavor, but this one seemed a little blander then some of the better Helles Lagers. I wouldn't buy this beer again, there's a few other sessionable lager that I would rather have, I don't know if I recommend it, but if you wanted an easy drinking beer I would say give it a shot. All in all i thought this was decent beer, there wasn't anything off or wrong with it and the it seemed to be pretty true to style so in my eyes this is a fairly solid example of the style. Thanks for another solid easy drinking beer New Belgium.

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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 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.

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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.

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Photo of JamieDuncan
3.69/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

My beer guru have me a couple of these to try but did not give it a ringing endorsement. I can see why. Nothing special here but secondly not bad either. Not much to look at and no smell of note. But tasty beer although not that interesting, overall I enjoyed it, glad he gave me two. Good beer for a quantity over quality night, but certainly not a beer I would go out of my way to have.

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