Brewery: Ninkasi Brewing Company
Beer: Helles Belles
Style: Munich Helles Lager
Character: Brewed as a traditional German-style lager that is made with premium pilsner malt and bittered with Hallertau hops.
Ratings at the time of Review: BA: 83 | RB: 46
Metal Connection: AC/DC – Hells Bells
BeerMetalDude Ration: 3.75/5
I recently reconnected with my buddy, Will Cook, a brewer at Fair Winds Brewing Company, and part of the MetalHeads website. We chatted beer, and Metal, and we decided to do a small trade. This is one of the beers he sent me. This beer was named in tribute to one of my favorite Rock ‘n Roll bands of all time, AC/DC. I have had the privilege and pleasure of having a few different beers by Ninkasi Brewing Company, including their most metal beer they released, Sleigh’r, a beer in tribute to the band, Slayer. I was also able to have Dawn of the Red, and Maiden the Shade, which both are also Metal related. Of course, when I found out about Helles Belles, I knew I wanted to have this beer. Thanks to the awesome Will Cook, this was possible! Cheers, my friend!
The art for this beer has seen some changes recently, and to be honest, while I do like the new label art, I really liked the old simple music equipment case look with AC/DC logo font as seen here. The new label is light blue with a faint sunburst as the background. The focus of the art is on a lot of different clip art style pieces consisting of barley, lightning bolts, tattoo-like sparrows, devil horns, large bells, and lots of hop cones. Most of the art is set in a rustic looking gold color, while the hops are bright green. The antique style font used for the name of the beer is a nice touch.
I used a Branchline Brewing Company Shady Oak Blonde Ale pint glass for this session. Upon the initial pour of this beer, the appearance was a clear bright yellow that was topped with a full inch wide white foamy head. The head quickly disappeared though, leaving little spots of lacing, almost nothing at all.
Right up front on the aroma, I caught some notes of sweet sugar, then to some light toasted malts. There was a nice typical German lager aroma. Nice floral and bready aroma, overall. There was hints of lemon, hay/straw, sweet cream corn, and marshmallow.
The taste is overall, a typical German lager with sweet notes, bready malts, sweet cream corn, hay/straw. There was a nice light toasted malt taste, along with hints of lemon, creamy marshmallow, sweet sugar rock candy. There was a lingering earthiness, and sweet sugary pilsner malt taste in the aftertaste.
The body was on the medium side of heavy with a slick mouthfeel with very low carbonation. Helles Belles had a mouth coating finish.
Overall, I will say that this beer was very enjoyable. It was a nice tribute to the gods of Bar brawling Rock ‘n Roll, AC/DC. In this day, the Craft Beer world has been taken over by extreme beers with the addition of a shit ton of hops to the weirdest food items imaginable. It is nice to revisit an old classic style such as a Helles Lager. Just like with any other beer style, each brewery makes their Helles Lagers different. Some are not so good, and unfortunately it’s those bad ones that make people go right back into the heavy populated IPA or some other style of beer. I give it up to Ninkasi for this beer being a mighty fine brew in appearance, and all flavor aspects. “It’s a Long way to the Top, if you want to Brew a Good Beer!”
Metal (Rock ‘n Roll) Connection: I had no choice but to choose the perfectly fitting song, “Hells Bells” by AC/DC as the Metal Connection, or Rock ‘n Roll Connection, in this case. Growing up with just my Mom’s side of the family, I was really close to my Uncle George, who was a Rocker, and he was the one who introduced me to a lot of bands when I was a kid. He took me to my first big arena Rock concert, which was Skid Row and Bon Jovi. We attended several concerts together, including several AC/DC shows. These guys always put on an impressive, big show with a large stage and awesome tunes. “Hells Bells” is such an important song in the long and wild history of the band. This song was the first song listed on 1980’s full length album, Back in Black. This was the first album to feature vocalist, Brian Johnson, who replaced famed Bon Scott who had past away in79. AC/DC did not skip a step, as Johnson’s vocal style was eerily similar to that of Scott’s. Some people out there argue that there is no difference at all between the two, but I won’t get into that debate on here. I will just say that I am a huge fan of this band, and every single album they have released. In order to capture the awesomeness of AC/DC, I linked a live version of the song, which was recorded live at Madrid’s Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas for their No Bull Live Video release.