Helles Lager | Rivertown Brewing Co.

Helles LagerHelles Lager
Liked This Beer
3.41 w/ 80 Ratings
Helles LagerHelles Lager

Brewed by:
Rivertown Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States

Style: Munich Helles Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by brewdlyhooked13 on 03-04-2010

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 80 |  Reviews: 29
Photo of camartin27
3.25/5  rDev -4.7%

Photo of C_Roetting
2.5/5  rDev -26.7%

Photo of starkdog24
2.5/5  rDev -26.7%

Photo of StoutHunter
3.54/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I got a bottle of Rivertown's Helles lager a couple weeks ago from my cousin Adam. I've never had anything from Rivertown before and they don't distribute to Michigan, so I was happy when my cousin gave me a couple bottles to try out, so lets see how it goes. No visible bottling date. Poured from a shorter brown 12oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A- The label looks nice, it has a nice city scene in the background, but it's not that eye catching. It poured a slightly cloudy straw yellow color that took on a golden hue when held to the light with two fingers worth of white head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and didn't really leave any lacing behind. This is a nice looking beer, but it's a little cloudy for the style.

S- The aroma starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness followed by a good amount of malts that impart some sweet, grainy and slight biscuit like aromas with some bready aromas sticking out the most that are very similar to a slice of white bread. Up next comes a very light amount of spicy hops that are barely detectable. The aroma was nice, but I think a little more hop aroma would help balance it out a little.

T- The taste seems to be very similar to the aroma and it starts off with a medium amount of sweetness followed by loads of bready malts that impart a flavor that reminds me of Wonder Bread. Up next comes some doughy yeast flavors followed by a light amount of spicy hops. On the finish there's pretty much no bitterness just a little more sweetness with a very white bread like aftertaste that seems to stick around for a while. This was a nice tasting Helles Lager, but I thought it could use just a little more balance.

M- Very smooth, clean, pretty crisp, a little dry, on the slightly thicker side of being light bodied, with a slightly higher amount of medium carbonation. The mouthfeel was nice and I think it worked well with this beer.

Overall I thought this was a nice beer and it's an above average example of the style, the malts were very bready and it had the signature spicy hops, but I think they were just a little light for the style. This beer had good drinkability, it was pretty smooth, clean, not filling, and the flavors did a decent job at holding my attention, I wouldn't have a problem drinking a few of these and it makes for a nice beer to enjoy on those hot summer afternoons. What I liked the most about this beer was the appearance and mouthfeel they were both pretty nice. What I liked the least about this beer was the balance, I feel like a little more spicy hops would help make this truer to style and balance out all those bready malts. I would order a pint or two of this at a bar, but I don't think I would get a six pack of it and I recommend to anyone who likes easy drinking Lagers. All in all I enjoyed this beer, it was a nice easy drinking lager, but Hofbräu Original is still my favorite of the style, i think it's more balanced than this beer and it does a better job at showcasing those spicy hop flavors. This made for a decent first impression for Rivertown and i'm interested in checking out more of their beers. Thanks a lot Adam.

 3,179 characters

Photo of Rdc67
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of Cynic-ale
3.25/5  rDev -4.7%

Photo of AmishRockstar
2.75/5  rDev -19.4%

Photo of beerslushy
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of fitrock2112
3.54/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured Helles into a pint glass.

A - Pours a clear golden with a half of finger head.

S - The aroma is very light, some bread, pinch of hops. Nothing over powering or knocking my socks here.

T - Whew, the taste is much improved over the smell. More biscuit qualities, touch of hops. Nice and refreshing on a hot summer day.

M - The mouthfeel is light with medium carbonation.

O - This style isn't gonna wow anyone, but hits the spot and is worth a try. Cheers!

 466 characters

Photo of mrfrancis
3.75/5  rDev +10%

Photo of davemathews68
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of Bill235
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of Groomsy
3.31/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

*Edit, 04/26/12* - I realize now that I was a little too harsh on this, as I was unfairly expecting a hoppy German-style pils. After doing some more research on the Helles style and having another bottle of the same brew, I've decided to re-review.

12 oz. bottle poured into a pilsner glass.

Deep straw golden body with a short-lived head of foam that leaves no lacing behind. Carbonation dies down. Maybe if the brewery put a BOTTLING DATE on their merch, I would be able to tell how fresh this is, riiight?! Anyway, looks mediocre in the glass. Meh.

While the appearance and label alone would lead one to think of a fairly hopped pilsner, the Helles is more malt-forward. There's plenty of bready malt backed by a touch of roasty caramel and grain aroma. There is a subtle spicy/floral hop presence to support the malt presence here. I do, for some reason, pick up quite a bit of buttery/diacetyl aroma, but my nose may not be totally accurate. Fairly nice overall, and a nice mild smell to this lager.

A big dash of grainy, bready sweetness washes over the tongue with some caramel on the middle of the tongue. I'm still picking up the buttery flavor, which is a little offputting in this otherwise solid brew. There is a nice presence of spicy/floral hops on the finish that linger without overstaying their welcome. Pretty nice balance, and a rather tasty and refreshing brew.

Refreshing mouthfeel with crisp carbonation and a dry finish with subtle hop presence. Pretty refreshing brew.

While not as hoppy and dry as I'm used to for German-style lagers (e.g., pilsners), this was a nice break. Rivertown makes very solid attempts at traditional European styles, and the Helles is no exception... I'd rather have a pilsner, though. But a refreshing, malt-forward brew overall.

 1,787 characters

Photo of norinco
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of santa216
3.84/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clean and clear. Light straw yellow color. Big, frothy white head.

Smell: Grainy and lightly sweet aroma. Low noble hop scents and no detectable DMS.

Appearance: Clean and clear. Light straw yellow color. Big, frothy white head.

Taste: Strong pils-malt grain character. Spiciness of noble hops is present but no overwhelming bitterness is evident. Clean and crisp with slightly sweet finish.

Mouthfeel: Light body with high carbonation.

Overall: Really delicious Helles Lager. Slightly sweet with a underlying noble hop bitterness/spiciness. Very clean, crisp and refreshing beer, however with a bit too high carbonation for my taste. True German-Pils malts are prominently displayed.

 701 characters

Photo of crytion
3/5  rDev -12%

Photo of Kahmal
3/5  rDev -12%

Photo of Lukass
4/5  rDev +17.3%

Photo of RickS95
3.52/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Since I got smart and stopped drinking American macros, I've stopped enjoying this style of beer for the looks alone. Pours a dull gold. Not quite as clear as I'd have guessed, but something you can still see through. The head is bright white, a finger thick, and has only moderate retention. Attractive lace forms when swirled.

The smell was slightly complex, which was welcomed. Biscuity nose with some savory character, as well as the faintest touch of lemon.

Strong taste in that it's not watered down, malty backbone with an Earthy flavor before the hops add some savory citrus to the swallow.

Would be great in the summer, but it's cold out and it's still got a nice feel on the palate. Aggressive, crisp, flowery notes from beginning to end, with a bit of malty sweetness for balance. Crisp, acidic finish.

Overall, it's much better than I expected. More ABV would be a nice addition, but I didn't hate this and that's praise coming from me.

 952 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is a pretty good helles. Unfortunately, the carbonation is so high that it really does interfere with the flavor delivery. What I do get is a nice grainy lager with a consistent flavor profile though. A bit metallic and tangy. But it's passable.

 250 characters

Photo of Gabbyaboutipa
1.5/5  rDev -56%

Photo of Dapperticus
4/5  rDev +17.3%

Photo of BEERchitect
3.03/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

With the waining popularity of industrial domestic lagers, it seems that the trend it to offer all-malt varieties that resemble the original recipes that has been bastardized by American macrobreweries. Still, many microbreweries and brewpubs both hit and miss when it comes to these time honored European styles- how does Rivertown's light lager fare?...

Its pour delivers a slighly hazed deep straw color with particulates of yeast dropping to the bottom of the glass. A partly-froth, partly-fizz head forms on the beer with fair retention and mild lace. The beer does little to seduce the eye but even an underwhelming appearance suits par.

Rich malt components provide a dense aroma of baking bread, yeast, dough, and a buttery scent that hinges on caramel. The scent of corn and apples also make headway with a richer and vegital nose. Light herbal, perhaps floral, hops struggle to rise from the dense aromas from malt and yeast contingencies.

Butterscotch, pilsner grain, and light bready malt provides the caramelly and grainy-sweet taste that's normally relegated to Bohemian pilsners of the Czech Republic. Corn and butter swirl around the malts and provide a fuller taste than "helles" lagers perscribe while also impeding the zesty hops from delivering the near-fruity middle palate or the peppery bitterness to finish.

The fuller taste manifests in fuller textures as well as the buttery profile coats the mouth and won't allow for the clean, crisp, or refreshing properties that reside in beers such as Spaten Helles.

Call it a kellerbier or a bohemian lager and I'm going to buy that much better than a helles, but even then the heightened taste and texture of corn and bitter prove too much for any lager beer.

 1,731 characters

Photo of LJWalker
3.5/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of raznug
2.79/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: It pours a clear straw golden color and is topped if a solid 3” of snow white head that really lingers.
Smell: There is a typical bready aroma that most German lagers smell like and this one doesn’t disappoint. It smell of mostly malt and light hops that hang in the background.
Taste: I taste the bready malt flavor to go along side of aroma but this beer is a little over carbonated and the bubbles blast the palate and make it kind of hard to drink.
Mouthfeel: The body of the beer is well balanced and middle of the road but I can’t get past the carbonation it is just too much.

 601 characters

Helles Lager from Rivertown Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 32.5% out of 100 with 80 ratings
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