10 Best Helles Lagers of 2022
So far in 2022 we've covered a wide range of styles from the 17 Best Pilsners to the 15 Best Pastry Stouts to the 11 Best Berliner Weisses to the 12 Best American IPAs. Overall, it's a list that has been heavily dominated by ales.
As most of you probably know from this classic, ubiquitous Pop Chart Lab poster of beer families, at the very highest point beer is split into two categories: ale and lager.
Ale being a type of beer made using a top-fermenting yeast that usually enjoys warmer temperatures. While lager is a beer made using a bottom-fermenting yeast that loves cooler climates.
It's under each of these matriarchs that you'll find all the various beer styles we've come to know and love. For example, hazies and imperial stouts classify as ales. While pilsners and helles (pronounced Hell-us) classify as lagers.
The latter is a fantastic German-style beer that happens to be one of the most approachable versions of a lager. But, what exactly is a helles? And why is it worth exploring?
Let's dig in.
What Is a Helles Lager?
Literally translating from German into English as pale or bright, helles pours a beautiful bright, pale yellow in color.
Consider helles like the ultimate well-composed beer with a definitive malt backbone balanced by a noble hop brilliance. Traditionally, a Bavarian yeast will bring a distinct character and clarity to helles.
Expect notes of bread, biscuit, and character supported by a soft floral finish from the noble hops.
Like most German styles of beer, helles have a true thirst-quenching and refreshing quality that makes these golden lagers highly crushable.
Take one sip of a helles and you'll immediately go back for more.
Helles are all about that keyword: balance. For a great helles, neither the malt nor the hops will shine. Rather, they walk the tightrope together hand in hand.
This can be a very tricky feat for brewers. So it's probably one of the reasons you'll find the list below dominated by German breweries, with archetypes like Augustiner Helles and Weihenstephaner Original leading the way.
It's undeniable that the traditional German breweries just brew helles best.
And while helles may not top the charts as the most popular beer style in the United States, it is a historically highly respected style around the world. And worth trying a few.
Here are Untappd's 10 Highest-Rated Helles Lagers of 2022
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