Starr Hill Brewery’s Basketcase American Helles, part of their Heavy Rotation Series, promises a musical symphony of beer styles throughout the year. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pilsner glass, this American twist on a traditional German Helles boasts a 5.4% ABV and a full-bodied profile enriched with Cascade hops for a unique flavor experience.

A Clear Pour with Quirky Foam: The Visual Prelude

Examining this Basketcase American Helles from a 12 oz. glass bottle (packaging date 8/8/16) reveals a clear, light golden hue. The soda-like foam at the top, though finicky and dwindling, sets the stage for what’s to come.

Aroma: Neutral Notes with a Twist

The aroma is a tale of neutrality with hints of white sugar and faint orange marmalade. Despite experimenting with different glassware, subtle notes of lemon dish soap linger in the background. The scent, though not overpowering, sets the expectations for what follows.

Flavor Harmony: Rock Solid, Yet Missing Some Beats

In the flavor department, this American Helles hits the right chords for its style. The body is rich and fulfilling, avoiding the pitfalls of stickiness or alcoholic undertones. While hop character takes a back seat, the beer maintains a well-balanced and highly drinkable profile. Dominated by flavors reminiscent of fresh muffins and orange marmalade, the finish introduces a slightly oily texture, and the overall body carries unexpected pound cake nuances. “Smooth” is the recurring theme in this flavor symphony.

The Encore: Overall Impression

Overall, Starr Hill’s Basketcase American Helles earns its place in the limelight for adhering to the stylistic norms. Clean, drinkable, and well-crafted, it successfully embodies the basics of a malt-forward, golden German lager. While a wish for heightened carbonation and a more pronounced hop character lingers, the beer stands as a commendable choice for those seeking a malt-centric, highly drinkable option. Suited for everyday consumption during outdoor activities, one can’t help but wonder if its potential could be further unlocked by migrating to aluminum cans. Cheers to the basics done right!