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
Reviews: 81 | Ratings: 621
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 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.

 898 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
3.54/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a finger and half of head on a clear light straw colored body. Lots of bubbles.
The aroma is lots of grain and a little lemon and orange.
The taste is fairly mild to start, the middle has a mild to moderate bit of lemon and grapefruit bitterness. The finish is short and sweet.
The body is light with a good fizz to it.
Enjoyable. Nice for a warm day.

 357 characters

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.

 822 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 Mojo
3.55/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle -> New Belgium globe glass

A - crystal clear pale gold with a fully two inch head, decent retention, and good lacing.

S - very weak in the nose department, mostly some bready notes

T - Very easy drinking, very crisp, with an apple tartness that is sort of understated and a dry yeasty finish.

M - thin with average carbonation

O - fairly refreshing easy to drink offering that is fairly non-descript. A good summer beer for a hot day.

 458 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 JuicesFlowing
3.41/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a New Belgium globe glass.

Look: Clear light straw color, almost champagne-esque with gently rising bubbles. A white head calms to a large wispy circle on top, while random spots if lacing dot the glass.

Aroma: Slightly sweet, with grassy notes.

Taste: A subdued malt backbone with clean grains and dry grassiness.

Mouthfeel: Thin and sharp.

Overall: I didn't think the malts held this up enough. It felt too sharp and carbonated at times. Watery.

 465 characters

Photo of Beejay
3.59/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Very pale yellow. Like a watered down chardonnay, bud light would wonder how it is so light. Exceptionally clear. Nice full head of bright white foam that quickly turns into a rocky texture.

S: Light grain, A touch of herbal, and that distinct lager yeast smell. Perhaps a touch of a biscuity sell in there as well. The smell is light and crisp.

T: Crisp light and refreshing. Grain flavors with a hint at herbal hops. The finish is light, and slightly fruity.

M: Super light, and high carbonation. Soft feeling beer, but there is a little bit of carbonic bite at the end. A slight linger as you finish the sip.

O: Overall it is quite a tasty beer, although I wish it had just a little more character. My initial thought was that NB finally managed to brew a beer Bud would be proud of. On second thought though I think it is a good summer brew, and might bring in some people who would normally pass on the Micro market.

 932 characters

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.

 336 characters

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.

 695 characters

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.

 967 characters

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.

 1,077 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 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 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 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.

 362 characters

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.

 1,057 characters

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.

 459 characters

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.

 771 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 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.

 388 characters

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.

 891 characters

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.

 327 characters

Photo of jjamadorphd
3.46/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

A decent offering from New Begium just in time for the summer. This brew is overall is spectacular, but certainly pretty good and very sessionable. What I wasn't overly wow'ed with were it's appearance (standard golden beer color) and its taste (just slightly better than your run-of-the-mill lager.) I did find its strong, yeasty smell very appealing (reminding me of the good ol'big, fat yeast roll) and it was one of the smoothest beers I've had in a while. So, not the best I've had from New Belgium, but certainly good enough to go out and partake of some more.

 566 characters

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.