Velas Helles | Smoky Mountain Brewery & Restaurant

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Velas HellesVelas Helles
95 Ratings
Velas HellesVelas Helles

Brewed by:
Smoky Mountain Brewery & Restaurant
Tennessee, United States

Style: Munich Helles Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-06-2003

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 95 |  Reviews: 37
Photo of elkinbrown
3.5/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of tnflyguy
2.5/5  rDev -24.5%

Photo of mwar
4.25/5  rDev +28.4%

Photo of hollywood_15063
3/5  rDev -9.4%

Photo of GeoCait
3.75/5  rDev +13.3%

Photo of Dragon17
3.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of elBecko
3.5/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of NickCurley
4.5/5  rDev +36%

Photo of Chaney
2.61/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I had this on tap at the Pigeon Forge location.

A: Poured a crystal clear, gold color, without much head and minimal visible carbonation.

S: Absolutely nothing.... No Bavarian quality whatsoever.

T: Whoa! This had an over-the-top saaz component that wasn't very drinkable.

M: The carbonation was fine and the lacing was virtually non-existent.

O: This is one of the most uninspiring Helles I've tried in a long time.

 421 characters

Photo of Yjt2
3.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of crobinso
3/5  rDev -9.4%

Photo of deadhero
3/5  rDev -9.4%

Photo of pheelingIt
4/5  rDev +20.8%

Photo of tfsimpkins
3.5/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of barleyroad
2.24/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Light gold in appearance, very clear. The Smell lacks in any detectable aromas. The mouthfeel is crisp on the way in and then it is done. Taste is very uneventful and lacks any true charateristic, disappointing. Overall we have found this lacking in any real beer flavor.

 271 characters

Photo of khargro2
4.5/5  rDev +36%

Photo of Lawnboy33
4/5  rDev +20.8%

Photo of Swill5786
3.75/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A golden brew with slight appearance of a head reduced to a thin cap in a flash. Smell brings a gentle hoppy presence - spicy hops. Good, not distinctive. Mild malt sweetness, almost perfectly balanced with mild hop bitterness. Gentle, mild, slight... These words above are the description of the overall. And the mouthfeel? Guess! Light. High drinkability due to the balanced ease with which the Velas Hellespont presents itself. Good.

 436 characters

Photo of Schwarzwald
3.55/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Lacks a lot of the luster of a true Munich Lager. This is a good beer and God knows that I had plenty to sample. I ordered the large (seems like 35-40oz) of this stuff. No head when it arrived but the temp and smell was great. It lacked a lot of depth but was overall very easy to drink and enjoyable. like this style when it is done well and this is a GOOD version, not GREAT.

Give it a try, I was a little sick of it after finishing the large size.


 459 characters

Photo of austinhensley
3.83/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Almost inch thick creamy like head. Tastes very similar to the German style beers that it is modeled after. Great lacing, looked like spider webs down the sides of the glass. Appearance was golden yellow. Didn't bother to smell it. Mouthfeel is how I believe a beer should be. Very drinkable, let's just say I had more than one. The bartender gave me a shot of Cherokee Red after I told him how bad it was when I tryed it, still tasted like shit.

 446 characters

Photo of chiefydawg
4.28/5  rDev +29.3%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks again skully...
This seems to be the same beer as the Calhoun, which strangely has a higher average. A C+ for a GABF gold? Let's see...

Very clear yellowish-gold with thin white head. Decent carbonation to style. Some lacing. Admittedly, I poured it like a sissy; but nothing too impressive to look at. However, it is light, clear, and with white head at least.

Fragrant Graininess. Malty cereal sweetness. Underlying German hoppiness. Clean and elegant in it's light malty simplicity. Love the scent of this beer first to last sip! It is how I imagine Germany's best would be on their home turf or if the elements that be did not skunk the stuff sent to the states. Technically, it smells like a Bock yeast.

Crisp yet malty. Fresh raw pretzel dough. Some spicy, woodsy hop spiciness. Tastes hoppier than the malty smell (which keeps inviting me for another drink). Some lightly fruity honey. Malty without being sweet sticking to the breadiness. Warm sourdough biscuit center Pils with some balancing, spicy tang keeping it all in check.

Overall, this is one hell of a balanced, clean, grainy, hop-appropriated Helles. Some stickiness to the very end; but like the Pils (which I recall has a lot in common with this) it is a pleasant aftertaste. Should it cleanse the palate totally? I don't know because I have never been to a Deuschland Biergarten drinking the Bavarian greats, but I like the un-American-light-lager-residual. This would go nicely in one of my Corny kegs!

 1,487 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.53/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, deep yellow body with a soapy, sudsy, white head.

Smell: An unassuming nose, smelling lightly of German malts and notes of floral hops and honey which come together to convey a slight honeysuckle scent.

Taste: A taste of Pils malt layered with a coating of sweet-tasting honey. Small hint of bread dough. Faint floral hop character kindly imparts no more than a light bitterness. A bit of honeyed sweetness remains on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Velas is a tidy, tasty, refreshing Helles that's quite drinkable.

 585 characters

Photo of ThaBobfather
3.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a solidly translucent golden color with a few thin ring of whiteish head.
Smell is strongly of yeast and some bread.
Taste is actually a smidgen complex, it has a strong grain, banana bread flavor that transits into a yeasty finish.
A light grainy after taste with a little malt flavor gives it an ok finish.
Drinks solidly as it is intended to.

 351 characters

Photo of EarlNobdy
3.78/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I'm a Lager Guy. Given the choice as to what single beer I would drink on a desert island for the rest of my life, I would probably have to say the Velas Helles Lager from the Smoky Mtn Brewery in Gatlinburg, TN. This was the beer I grew up on as a beer drinker. Imagine Thom as a younger man taking a year's leave of absence from college. He heads back South and moves back in with his mom and dad. And after dicking around for about six months, his mom finally tells him he needs to get a job. So he goes into the first place that has a Help Wanted sign on the door, which happens to be an Italian Pizzeria (though in the South, such a place is pronounced Eye-Talian, just so you know.)

Drift with him if you will, through six more months of waiting tables and counting tips. Smoking joints out back with the cooks and overall gaining a full-body hatred for the food service industry which makes his decision to return to college the next semester a no brainer, and is just as his parents had hoped it would be when he initially made the announcement he was taking time off from school. Nothing is more sobering than sobriety. And the Real World comes crashing down like a ton of bricks. Young Adults of the world, stay in school as long as you can. Earn as many majors and degrees as the time and money will allow. Become a professor--do whatever it takes to avoid leaving those ivory towers and hallowed halls until the gravy train absolutely 100% runs out of road.

The one shining light in that entire six month experience was that after I got off from work each evening and punched the clock and hung up my apron, there directly across the street, blazing like a beacon in the night was the Smoky Mtn Brewery. And glory halleluia their Last Call wasn't for another two hours.

Now, kids, I know I just gave you the advice to stay in school and all, but upon second thought and careful consideration, I'm also going to give you the much sounder advice to not listen to a single word of advice that I ever offer you. Because I could stand here and tell you not to drink to excess or to smoke (at all), but what good would that do? It's not like I ever listened when someone who had been there and done that was trying to stop me from making the same mistakes they made. I wanted to go out there and make the mistakes for myself. I had to. How else was I ever going to learn what not to do the next time. That is if I ever managed to make it through my youth. Which I did, miraculously, and I'm here to tell you the larger part of our survival is pure bald-faced luck. But then again there's no reason to stack the odds against you if you don't have to.

All of which is to say that this was back when they still allowed smoking in bars. And what I did was I smoked like chimney. Which, I'm not proud of. And which I'm not entirely ashamed of, either. I have since quit smoking, only recently, actually, and am to date some 25 weeks clean of that demon weed. Though not a day goes by that I wouldn't like to light up and be there at the bar of the Smoky Mtn Brewery with a 40 oz stein of Velas Helles there before me.

It's how I got through 6 months of Purgatory, and I wouldn't recommend it for everyone, but it worked for me. It got the job done when I needed it most. And I mean, talk about the world staying the same while you're the only thing that changes. I blew through there like a blur. And the next Spring semester found me safely back in the loving arms of Alma Mater. But I'll never forget that taste. Anytime I'm back in town, I always have to swing by for a stein or two, or now that I'm a daddy, maybe just a pint or two with dinner. No more cigarettes. No more joints out in the alley. But the beer still remains. That's the one thing I haven't allowed them to take away from me.

"Certain things they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone. I know that's impossible, but it's too bad, anyway." (The Catcher in the Rye, pg. 122)

And that's why I'm a Lager Guy. Not because I have no palette and can't appreciate anything except fizzy, yellow beer. I enjoy my share of hops and sours and fruit and funk, but when you get right down to it, food is a nostalgic experience as opposed to a collector's or academic one. Eat what you like. Drink what you like. Lager-ists (lageristas?) appreciate the subtle nuance of form. We don't need big bold bombs going off in our mouths or extreme heat ABV to get us into bed. Bring us the graded shades of taste, and we'll supply the rest.

 4,581 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.08/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A solid pour into my 25cl glass yields a billowing, initially four-finger thick, pale, off-white colored head. The beer is a clear, gold copper color that shows an almost brilliantly clear, lighter version of the same color when held up to the light. The aroma is a mix of herbal honey malt notes, a touch of grassiness and a lemon herb hop character. There is a touch of grassy grain in the finish as well. This has a fairly nice aroma for a Helles that is pretty spot on for the style (except for that herbal honey note perhaps).

This beer is dry tasting up front, with an almost tart note that lingers into the finish. There is a light bitterness that mingles with the tartness in the finish; the tartness seems to be just a bit more noticeable than the hop bitterness though. The beer is also a bit over-carbonated, which is why it started to foam up as soon as I popped the cap, the effervescence is a bit too much for this beer to stand up to, but luckily this is easily remedied. A touch of tart green apple flavors up front seem to be what the herbal honey notes in the nose have turned into. This is quite light bodied, though not out of style.

The tartness in this beer is quite light, but it is distinct, this would certainly point to an infection of some sort (the over-carbonation could be a sign of this as well), and it certainly does take this beer out of style. As the beer warms up the honey notes in the nose start to take on a bit more fruitiness. Not bad, but certainly not what I was expecting or hoping for; in many ways it reminds me of a Berliner Weiss, it is not quite there though as the sourness would need to be a bit more gripping. Actually if this was labled as a Berliner Weiss I would have enjoyed it quite a bit more as it does have a nice, clean tartness to it.

 1,798 characters

Velas Helles from Smoky Mountain Brewery & Restaurant
Beer rating: 3.31 out of 5 with 95 ratings