Pouring from a 16oz can into a specialty glass, Helles Schlenkerla Lagerbier Unfiltered presents itself with a clear straw color, crowned by a substantial, bleach-white foam. Despite a hint of chill haze, the beer’s clarity is commendable. The foam, resembling a bubble bath texture, persists for a notable moment before settling. While there are some sediment chunks at the bottom of the can, they don’t compromise the beer’s overall clarity.


The aromatic profile of this beer is a delightful interplay of fresh sourdough bread and applewood smoked bacon. The sweet and savory dance continues with notes of maple-glazed smoked meat, yellow apple, and green pear. As the beer warms, the aroma evolves into robust fennel pollen and captivating lavender honey. The complexity and richness in the nose make it one of the most impressive olfactory experiences.


Moving to the palate, Helles Schlenkerla unfolds as a malt-forward, silky concoction. The initial taste emphasizes salty sourdough bread, seamlessly transitioning into an assertive grassy bitterness, almost bordering on soapy. The finish introduces a growing bitterness reminiscent of tannic fruit skin, accompanied by sourdough-like acidity. The smokiness, an integral element, adds an enticing applewood smoked bacon nuance throughout. Starting with a modest 4/10 intensity, the bitterness builds to a 6/10 as the beer dries out, while sweetness maintains a balanced 5/10, providing a medium body. The smokiness, rated at 4/10, is well-integrated, steering clear of overpowering phenols or peated Scotch characteristics. The mouthfeel is exceptionally clean, rendering an endlessly drinkable experience, surpassing the complexity of typical blonde lagers.


Helles Schlenkerla Lagerbier Unfiltered epitomizes balance, subtlety, and grace in its mouthfeel. The beer’s ultra-clean and endlessly drinkable texture, coupled with its nuanced complexity, distinguishes it from other blonde lagers. It’s a beer designed for large gulps in social settings, eschewing the novelty tag associated with some of its Heller brewery siblings. As a go-to choice after a day’s work, it outshines the others, establishing itself as a desert island beer โ€“ a timeless classic.


In conclusion, Helles Schlenkerla Lagerbier Unfiltered, hailing from the beer mastery hub of Bamberg, Germany, and brought to the U.S. by B. United, stands as a testament to the lengths taken to deliver super-fresh Franconian beer. The brewing process, borrowing from the rauchbiers, imparts a unique smokiness, making it a distinctive representative of the traditional German Helles style. With its impeccable appearance, captivating aroma, well-balanced taste, and clean, endlessly drinkable mouthfeel, this beer earns its place as the pinnacle of Brauerei Heller’s offerings. It transcends novelty, securing its position as a perennial favorite โ€“ the ultimate reward after a day’s toil and a beer to be cherished for its timeless appeal.