Thursday, 11 August 2016

Beer Review: Das Helle

I have a mower and I can mow the lawn. Rarrgh! Fear me! Also, in so doing, I may well have murdered the lawn and anything living within or near it. Hmm. It took a bit of doing too, rather tough (as one would expect given how it has been about two years since I last did it - long story). Anyway, none of that need detain us here as we embark on another review of ale except insofar as to explain why it was that I came to be sitting with the Boy rather late in the evening having tea in the garden and relaxing with a chilled ale from a rather nice bottle, which I shall be keeping because it is an awesome bottle. I am referring to Das Helle by Schwaben Brau whom I suspect are from the middle area of Germany known as Schwabia. I once knew a fine lass from those parts who was most interesting.

Anyway, this isn't my first time at this particular rodeo it's just the first time I have got round to reviewing it on here. When I had some of this last year I was most impressed and bought in about half a dozen, but then forgot to review it. Then when I saw it again I bought in a couple. Now it's gone again. It was from Aldi, if you see it, it's totally worth trying. Would you like to know more?

The pictured bottle was chilled in preparation for this moment, after the success I've had with the hot days doing that and losing none of the flavour, and so behaved quite differently from my usual experience with this ale. Usually there's a quick and fizzy head, putting me in mind of the rather good Speciale from Brampton Brewery (see me test this with a Belgian here), with a good straw coloured underbelly. There was still plenty of carbonation on this one and the colour, clearly, remains, but there was less of a head and it behaved more like I have seen lager do. Mind you, that is a good colour for the weather and the smell was perfect. There are garden hops here and the mown grass aroma was perfectly fitting with the fact that I'd just mown the lawn. I am reasonably surprised to find that I was correct in the smell when I first noted it last year! There is a malt to it too that works nicely.

That malt offers the main part of the opening on the tongue, the light malt dominating proceedings with a slight bitter hoppy aside that is more herb garden than floral or citrus. There's a dash of heather on the tongue in fact, like wild heath and highland with the fragrant sense of something warm and fuzzy on the breeze, which after the sweat and the effort of the day was welcome and bright and different. I can't say I was eating healthily either (steak pasty) but this was a good complement. Down the sides there's freshness and a lightness to it all, like drinking the sunlight rather than the heat that was bearing down in the garden. Eminently quaffable and the sort of ale that is quite dangerous because, at 5.3% ABV, it will try to make you forget the strength and makes you think its weighing in far lighter. It behaves very much like a proper Belgian ale, come to think of it, despite being firmly from the German side of the equation.

It is spicy enough for a meal but easily light enough for the summer afternoon that I have been enjoying to the full. And, on that note, this is not a bad brew at all. I shall confess that I picked it up the first time, last year, because it was cheap. But I have been back and bought these again at full price because they are very much worth it. All that and you get a natty little bottle that I shall be using for my next rumoured batch of home brew (though that may not happen this summer, may have to wait until around Christmas time now). My only regret is that, in reviewing it, I have used my last bottle of this that I have on standby and they are no longer in stock locally. I shall have to wait until next year now to get in more.

Enjoy this best at a mealtime, either lunch or evening meal, on a summer's day when the humidity is high and there is barely a ruffle in the green leaves. Sit in the garden and soak up the rays and the heat with this on hand to take the sting from the burn. Share company but don't go so far as to talk, no, just enjoy the companionship and the weather, sit back and even close your eyes on the sip. Quaff if you must, but sipping allows for a second and third whereas quaffing is liable to get you squiffy a little too quickly to get into several more. Sessionable, certainly, and, as the bottle claims, das bier fur jeden tag - it's not joking.

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