Beer Review: Sudwerk Münchener Helles Lager
Style: Munich Helles Lager
MSRP: $8.54 per six pack
Drink if you like: Great light beer, football, your German ancestors, sticking it to “the man”.
What’s in your beer? With all of the mass-produced concoctions in our big-business culture, this answer might be more elaborate than you would think. In addition to the standard of water, barley, and hops, Macrobrewers commonly use adjuncts including rice and corn in their beers as a cost-cutting method. These supplements ferment readily with alcohol, but do very little in the way of taste. They “Americanize” our beer with diluted flavors; favoring quantity over quality. With these cost savings, BudMillerCoors is able to spend millions on Super Bowl ads containing giant horses and funny dogs in an attempt to infiltrate our brains and have us believe their beers are “premium.” Admittedly, these commercials are occasionally witty, but did we learn nothing from Animal Farm?
In stark contrast, there are a small number of brewers out there that still adhere to the German Beer Purity Law called “Reinheitsgebot” (hastily pronounced with a scowl). This law, enacted in 1487, was introduced, primarily, to prevent price competition with bakers for wheat and rye.
Reinheitsgebot stated that the only ingredients that could be used in the production of beer were water, barley, and hops. Wheat was later adopted as the fourth acceptable ingredient. The law stayed in effect for some 500 years before being lifted in 1988, but breweries such as Sudwerk in Davis, California, preserve this German heritage by creating wonderful beers with these limited ingredients.
Purity and Simplicity…at its finest.
Sudwerk Münchener Helles Lager is a Munich-style Lager, which was the German answer to the then popular lagers of Plzen – a beer that drinks very crisp, is a thirst quencher and contains delicious pale malts ad spicy hops. Sudwerk Lager pours a bright, golden-yellow, medium body with a sturdy, thick, two-finger head. This beer has the appearance of many run-of-the-mill Macro lagers, but the similarities end here. The smell of pale malt and a hint of toasted grain and apples are overtly evident. The taste fully embodies that of a very well-balanced beer. A perfect expanse of light bready malts balanced with grassy and slight citrus hop bitterness. This beer is an embodiment of a proper Helles; very crisp and highly drinkable. It’s ideal for long tailgate parties and hot afternoons. A great light beer that doesn’t rely on quadrapedal pitch men to generate appeal. Sudwerk Lager is what Macrobrews want to be when they grow up.
It may be worth noting we had a special guest at out last tasting – let’s call him “Dr. Beer.” He’s a real doctor, and according to him, he can make up his own nicknames. This particular beer came out as one of the top beers for that tasting, so it gets the coveted “Dr. Beer Recommends!”
You can find this beer at the following locations:
Colonial Wine & Spirits – Little Rock
Tri Lake Spirits – Hot Springs
Liquor Mart and Wine Shoppe – Fayetteville
Lake Liquors – Maumelle
Judicious Spirits – Mountain Home
Shamrock Liquor Warehouse – Fort Smith
We gave this beer 4.5 Diamonds