Brauerei Heller-Trum Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier

Total Score: 8.15/10 Bread1Coriander1Smoke1Stein1

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.


Aktien Original 1857

Total Score: 7.95/10 Honeycomb1Bread1Barley1Stein1

Today’s original Doc bruview is bought to you by Bayreuther Bierbrauerei Aktien Original 1857 “Landbier” or “beer to be drunk whilst your feet are firmly on the ground”… at least that’s what I interpret “Landbier” to mean. So what do we have here? It’s a Munich Helles Lager brewed to an authentic recipe from, you guessed correctly: 1857. This style of beer generally comes across to me as thicker than modern Lager styles with a real bready character and a hint of spice. This was the style of beer designed to compete directly against Czech Pilsners, and as such drinking this particular brew should be akin to taste bud time travelling back to 1857. Let’s hope my tongue makes it back to 2016 alive and well.

Poured from a 500ml flip-top bottle into a stein.

A: Tiniest tinge of a hazed golden body with a bright white 2 centimetre head that slowly drops back to half a centimetre. It does appear as though a Lager from 1857 looks much like a Lager today – that is to say not impressive to me (I’m def a Russian Imperial Stout man when it comes to looks). 7/10.

S: Bread yeast, malt grains, a touch of honey and a hay bale note rounds out this pleasingly German Lager aroma. Let’s face facts: If you don’t like your German Lagers this is going to be a stinker for you – it’s got all the hallmarks of a dense, dank earth smelling Bavarian beast within and nary much else. 7/10.

T: Quite honeyed upfront, bread, hay and grain bonanza mid-palate, slight sour bread kick towards the end and hint of pepper in the finish – this is a classic and well-rounded Munich Helles right here! After taste leaves a slight cloying honey character, though it manages well not to be a palate wrecker. Overall these are flavours that would work well with Bavarian cuisine, köstlich! 8/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with a medium creamy/dense carbonation… pretty spot on here too. 8/10.

D: As far as Munich Helles go this is definitely one of the more decent ones I’ve had. My overall scoring is as much a reflection of my general opinion towards Lagers than it is about this one not being a shining example of the style. So if you like your Lagers, specifically German Lagers, then I highly recommend this beer. I will most certainly revisit this brew again in the future, especially if I’m chowing down on some Bavarian food. 9/10.

Food match: I think we covered this already but: Bavarian… specifically anything gazed and pork-like [or even just plain pork].


Fix Hellas

Total Score: 5.5/10 CutGrass1Barley1GreenMelon1Stein1

When did having too much beer in my fridge become a problem? *BING BING BING* Since living with flat-mates is the correct answer, now on to double jeopardy where the scores can really change [to borrow a semi-obscure Die Hard reference]. So yeah, Fix Hellas, sounds like the sort of beer you buy your plumber in a classic Trappist Ale shaped bottle too – perhaps that is to get his/her* hopes up before they open the bottle to discover a boring Lager… who knows.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a stein.

A: Clear golden body, ho-hum, with a thin soap-bubble white head *yawn*. Standard cheap Lager shenanigans I can assure you. I’ve nary seen a head so quick to leave in a long while. 4/10.

S: Grainy nose, with an intriguing sweet hospital disinfectant note to it – never noticed that in a beer before – proving that even with your bajillionth macro Lager tasting you may still note something unique. Huh there’s almost a honeydew melon character as well. 5/10.

T: Not the worst macro Lager I’ve had. This one is inoffensive, but a bit on the meandering side. Flavours of cereal grains, cut grass and a light honeydew note, with a finish that is reasonably dry and bready with a slight touch of bitterness. Again I’ve had much, much worse *cough*VB*cough*. 6/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with an almost flat carbonation. Needs a bit more carbonation to classify itself as a Lager. 4/10.

D: Overall it wasn’t a nasty surprise, though it’s not something I will probably ever see again. If I recall correctly I preferred Mythos if we’re talking about crappy Greek macro Lagers, but in the absence of any other beer whilst holidaying in Corfu I wouldn’t make a fuss drinking this. It’s one of your typical hot weather Lagers in that it needs to be drunk ice cold and quickly to slake that budgie smuggling beach going thirst ASAP [!!!]. So yeah, avoid mostly except in hot – Greek – weather where you have little access to anything else, a winner in my books! 6/10.

Food match: Get into a spanakopita already ya monkey! Seriously thinking about a fried haloumi Gyros right now – damn you awesome Greek food!

*Women can be plumbers too, though I’ve yet to see one I imagine they have bum cracks to show off as well.


Mornington Lager

Total Score: 7.1/10 GreenApple1Honeycomb1CutGrass1Stein1

Good mornington Viet… Australia! After reviewing like 10 billion (fact!) Dark Ales/Stouts/Porters I felt that I needed to have at least one lighter coloured brew, so here we have Mornington Lager – done in what I believe to be a Munich Helles (German for bright) Lager style. Although Mornington and I have been quite chummy of late with their Tinnage releases, getting a Lager done right… perhaps “right” is the wrong word “well” that’s the one… getting a Lager done well is a tall order in my books (at least with so many brewers stuff it up it must be a challenging thing to brew). What will I be looking for? Sweet/crisp malts, touch of bread, hint of hops and a decent (not weak!) body – that is a Helles to a tee.

Poured from a 330ml can into a stein.

A: Hazed goldenrod body with a 1 centimetre white sea foam head that quickly dissipates to a spotty lace blanket. Now I love a cloudy beer, but stylistically a Helles or Lagers in general should not be hazed or cloudy, sorry Mornington. 5/10.

S: Cider apples, bread yeast and a hint of honey round out a classic Helles aroma – top notch stuff. The fact that I can smell this beer at all coming off the back of a cold is pretty compelling to me – I can’t stand watery bland Lagers and this one has the boldness of a true Munich brewed Helles, looking forward to the ‘T’. 8/10.

T: Hits the palate with a slight medicinal hop bitterness which helps cut through those cider apples, bread yeast and honey, before finishing with a cut grass hop character. Balance is there, maybe a little bit too much hop bitterness for novice beer drinkers, but to me the balance between sweet/bitter is spot on. Aftertaste is slightly grainy, and the crisp finish helps cut down on it a little. 7/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with medium carbonation and a bit of creaminess in the texture – as a good Helles should have. 7/10.

D: Decent effort from Mornington – this is a Lager that simply works as a Lager should: Refreshing, crisp, hints of complexity, with a general lackadaisical sensibility about itself. Mornington Lager looks at you, smiles and adds “You’ve had a hard slog today, put your feet up and suck down on a cold one”. You take the can, nod, kick off your work boots, swing the footrest up on your Lazy-boy and knock back a Mornington Lager, guzzling like you’re on a mission from Bacchus (God of wine… and other fermented beverages: The Romans weren’t fond of beer). End scene. 7/10.

Food match: Bianco pizza with pumpkin, goat’s cheese, onion and balsamic.


Matilda Bay Big Helga

Total Score: 6.95/10 Peach1 Malt1 CutGrass1 Stein1

Another Matilda Bay brew, I first had this on recommendation of a customer when I was doing a stint working at a bottleshop (I know – a recommendation from a customer!). This brew is styled as a Munich Helles (German for ‘light’ colour) which is a popular Lager style with a long dry finish.

Poured from a 345ml bottle into a Guinness glass [use a Stein instead].

A: Golden with a slight copper colour to the body. The blonde head began at around 2cm and dissipated to fine lacing. 6/10.

S: There is a sizable stone fruit aroma from the hops, the malt adds a slightly sweet fragrance but obviously is going to be taking a back seat on this ride. 7/10.

T: There’s a rich sweet malt character that surrenders to the stone fruit hops, but the finish is dry and gives off that “one more drink” sensation. It’s not a complex tasting beer by any stretch of the imagination but it works well. As far as it compares to the style; it’s been a while since I’ve had a Helles (last Oktoberfest I believe) but it’s a decent enough imitator. 7/10.

M: A bit light on carbonation from what I was expecting… in fact too light, however I’ve had this beer before and it’s been much fizzier so I’m not sure what happened to this bottle. The body is good however. 5/10.

D: As far as styles go Munich Helles is probably my favourite Lager style. This is a very decent representation of the things I love in a good Helles – dry but hoppy, full bodied with a moreish quality, as such I have in fact rated it (slightly) higher than Fat Yak. This is easy to drink with enough flavour to know it’s not your average Lager, go Matilda Bay! 8/10.

Food match: Seafood is a perfect match for this Lager – calamari, shellfish and lightly battered hoki would go great with Big Helga.