Hath No Fury, our new 4.4% Helles Lager, primarily looks to capture a vibe and broadcast it on all channels: Yes, we can agree that 2020 was universally terrible. Granted, we have a lot to complain about in these trying times, but let’s not forget to afford ourselves time for comfort and relaxation. Many of the simple pleasures still very much exist, and a clean and crispHelles Lager is definitely one of them.
As lagers go, our Helles is a spotlight on technique, accuracy and process management, allowing simple things such as grain quality to shine unimpeded. As a result of a slow and steady fermentation process and an extended period of cold maturation, we get subtle notes of honey, bread and a touch of carefully balanced bitterness in the background. This is really all you need; so sit down, kick back and let the beer flow as we roll into 2021.
Let’s break down what a ‘Helles Lager‘ is first. Firstly, ‘Helles‘ or sometimes just ‘Hell‘ is the German term for pale-coloured. (So already, we’re primed in the UK here for an Anglo-German pun involving pale coloured beer and debauchery… if you think you’ve come up with something funny, it’s probably been done).
Hailing from Munich, they are typically clean, light, malt-driven session beers and despite being simple on paper, they are a lofty aim for any brewer looking to match the Germans on quality.
With a pale lager, your mistakes are more important than your successes. In most other styles of beer, natural complexity will always help to mask any minor errors. Whether it’s a rich ester profile from yeast, tropical aroma/ bitterness from hops or chocolate and coffee notes from malt, there is usually some sense of background noise that can be pushed and pulled in either direction without making too much of a difference.
Here, we have a blank canvas that is supposed to stay blank. It absolutely must be error free brewing in its purest form. Finesse is required, and above all, control and understanding of your process. Making a mistake here, whether that is to do with fermentation control, yeast pitch rate or not allowing sufficient lagering, would be like leaving a tiny smudge on the white wall you just finished painting. It’s going to bug you. People won’t look at your lovely white wall – they’ll look at the smudge.
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