New Belgium Brewing has released Summer Helles, the brewery’s summer seasonal. It was originally created to celebrate the 40th anniversary of both Telluride’s famed Bluegrass Festival and Rockygrass Festival. Due to its popularity at those events, New Belgium decided to give more people a chance to enjoy Summer Helles and made it the latest seasonal.
The beer style, Helles, was born in the 1890’s in a Munich brewery and means “light” or “bright” in German. Summer Helles, a traditional German-style lager, is definitely light but has a substantial body with delicate malty flavors, perfect for summer.
The aroma is full of fresh grains, spicy hops and sweet corn and honey reminiscent of Honey Comb cereal. New Belgium added some lager yeast to the brewing process to create a crisp finish with slightly fruity, apple-like esters that don’t mask the spicy, herbal hops and toasty malts. Summer Helles pours a bright gold color with a slight sheen and nice white foam.
“Helles is a style we’ve always enjoyed playing around with,” said Grady Hull, New Belgium’s Assistant Brewmaster. “People really loved it in the festival setting because the drinkability is hard to beat. It pairs well with spicy and savory foods but you could also chase down a butter rum ice cream cone with equally great results.”
For additional food pairings, you can match Summer Helles with a dish like pork chops and peaches served with couscous. The bright, bold and sweet flavors in this dish are the perfect fit for the malty sweetness of the beer. Grilled trout and potato salad pair nicely as well, along with a squeeze of lemon to accentuate the flavors of the fish and counterpart the beer.
Summer Helles carries the pleasant sweetness of pale and German Pils malts, and levels off with the light and noble bitterness of Hallertau and Tettnang hops. It is 5 percent ABV and 21 IBUs, finishing crisp and dry. Summer Helles is available in 12-oz. bottles and on draft now through July, or while supplies last.