Total Score: 8.15/10
Back to the Schlenkerla: it’s a film idea I had about a mad scientist who invents a barley kiln that can travel back in time… or not. Brauerei Heller-Trum Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier is pretty much the last Schlenkerla I have to review, which makes me sad because I really will miss the feeling of opening a new Schlenkerla, the child-like surprise at the smoky goodness within. Oh well, this Bavarian Helles Lager is their brew that “doesn’t have smoked malt but tastes smoky anyway because nothing within a kilometre of the Schlenkerla brauhaus can shake away the smoke”. Haven’t reviewed a proper Helles in a while either, I’m looking forward to this with bacon breath… or bated breath, one of those 2 things.
Poured from a 500ml bottle into a stein.
A: Clear golden-straw body with a massive 1 inch white head that slowly dies back leaving plenty of sticky lace inside the glass. This looks, and forgive my Aussie tongue here; you beaut mate! 9/10.
S: That irrepressible Schlenkerla beechwood smoke comes through with less gusto than usual, yet it’s still quite smoky for this (their un-smoked) brew. Light notes of bread, honey, and a herbal touch come through as well – all classic Munich Helles characters. Still cannot escape how smoky this beer is. 8/10.
T: This is Schlenkerla’s light beer for those of us who are unaccustomed to the Rauchbier (Smoke Beer) world. Flavour profile is all Munich/all Helles with notes of: bread yeast, hints of honey, light cut grass, smoked ham (of course) and a long dry finish that is punctuated by herbal note at the finish. Very flavoursome for a 4.3% ABV brew, this gets my award for “the almost mid-strength beer that actually has flavour”… I’m working on a better title [till then: deal]. Aftertaste has a lingering bitterness that the smoke accentuates, this is a nuanced brew indeed. 8/10.
M: Surprisingly full-bodied too for a 4.3% brew, oh my Schlenkerla you are full of surprises. Medium bodied with a light but dense carbonation, sehr gut! 9/10.
D: I mean this is another great beer from Schlenkerla, the only hard thing to swallow (in comparison to their Fastenbier and more-so their Urbock) is the price: exactly the same as Fastenbier and Urbock at my local. Really if I’m spending $10 on a Rauchbier it’s got to be the Urbock. This however is a nice example of a brewery diversifying their range without alienating the punters, a tasty Lager incursion from those smoky chaps at Schlenkerla, prost! 8/10.
Food match: If it’s pork and stuffed inside it’s own intestine (i.e. a sausage) go for it.