Saturday, September 6, 2008

Beer Review: Hoffman Helles

Climax Brewing Company Hoffman Helles Lager

Finally, I found a place in Jersey City that sells Climax beers. This is a pretty great liquor store called The Palisade, offering make your own sixes and a ton of craft beer. My only complaint is that I wish they had the climax growlers in the fridge rather than sitting out near the register. This is also my first helles beer and I am glad that my intro is coming from such a great brewing team. The Hoffmans have yet to disappoint me. I was usually hesitant to buy these because I know they are somewhat similar in style to pilsners which I am not crazy about. Doing some research I discovered that helles lagers were developed by German brewers in Munich to counter the growing threat of the Czech pilsner, brewed to be more malty and still have the hop bite of a pilsner. Pours a cloudy pale gold color with a non existent head. I don't know what I am doing wrong but I almost never manage to get a good head out of growlers. Any ideas?

The flavor was really surprising. I expected to get a pilsner but got something new and exciting. The body is definitely more bulked up. I get more pale malt so that the hop spiciness is in a nice balance. The hops are still in full effect though. Its really a floral spiciness that stands out and grabs your tongue. This is the kind of beer that really takes a master to produce. Any small defect would be immediately apparent and wouldn't be covered up by a heavy body. This is a naked beer with hops and malt on full display.

This is a great summer seasonal and has opened my eyes to the world of Munich style helles lagers. I will try some more examples in the future but I would really be surprised if anything could top this. Dave and Kirk know their shit and they really show it off. If you love hops and a good malt body this is a beer for you. Climax has a true fan in Jersey City. Worth every fucking penny.

Final Score: 92% (Kicks Some Pilzen Ass)

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