Hells Lager London
Not quite a Pilsner, not quite a Helles, Camden Town’s Hells Lager is inspired by both styles and designed as a lager for London, where the name is a mash of Helles and Pils, not a reference to darker places.
Hells takes the dry, light body of German Pilsners and mixes it with the light hopping of Helles to give a beer that is both very approachable and yet still really flavorsome. A lemony, lively, little hop aroma pokes out above a delicate Pilsner malt base before the dry, crisp finish, which has a peppery bitterness to it. It’s got complexity if you look out for it, but subtlety if you don’t. If you’re in London, then go to the brewery, as they have a bar on site where you can get an unfiltered version of Hells, which is smoother, creamier, and has a bigger hop finish-I reckon that’s Britain’s best lager.
Knappstein Reserve Lager
It takes a lot of good beer to make good wine, so the remark on the famous thirst of winemakers goes, which means that it makes sense for a winery also to open a brewery and cut out the middle man.
And that’s what Knappstein did. They only make one beer, but then you only need one when it’s this good. Inspired by Bavarian lagers, this isn’t a typical Helles and instead is hopped using the outrageously fruity Nelson Sauvin from New Zealand, so called for its similarity to the gooseberry and passion fruit flavor of Sauvignon grapes. The fragrant lychee, honeyed mango, and tropical hop aromas lift out of the glass, a bready basket of pale malt wraps it together, and a pithy bitterness grips as it goes down.
Reserve Lager shows the elegance and balance of a wine-drinker’s sip, made for a beer-drinker’s gulp.
Regerve Victory V Lager
Hallertauer rasping hop bitterness, up to big, bold Doppelbocks, via some single-hopped time brewing in Munich before Victory was born, it’s no surprise that they do such a good job with bottom-fermenting brews. V Lager is a beer that shows off the skill of bready base with subtle malt, a balancing hop flavor that gives a grassy and citrus-pith bite, and a bitterness that’s making you crave more. Philadelphia was where the first lager was brewed in America Victory make a great range of lagers, from Prima Pils’ burst of aroma and lagers showcasing classic hop varieties. With one of the founders spending the Victory brewers in packing a delicate beer with flavor without overpowering it. A dazzling gold color, it’s got a COMPANY light but dominates the finish, and it’s where some of the best are still made, thanks to Victory.
Tuatara Helles Waikanae
Like New Zealand Pilsner, this uses the lush fruitiness of Kiwi hop varieties to give Helles a New World flavor. This is one of those ever-reliable fridge beers, like a trusty wingman when you need something cold, quenching, and tasty. Clean, dry, and refreshing, there’s a little bready malt in the middle and a great spread of hop flavor, ranging from grassy to peachy to orange pith, all from local varieties and all subtly balanced against the paleLAST WORD D malt. Tuatara Brewing is named after an ancient reptile dating back to dinosaur days, which is now only found in New Zealand (it looks like a cute micro-dinosaur with sharp spikes down its back). If your throat is Jurassically dry and your thirst is more voracious than a Velociraptor’s, then Tuatara Helles will sort you out.
Cervejaria Way Premium Lager Pinhais
In a country of pale lager, Cervejaria Way’s Premium Lager lights things up like a yellow-shirted soccer player breaking through the red and green back line of global lagers. Way’s Premium Lager is made with a mix of German, Czech, and American hops which give earthy, floral, and citrus flavors to counter the clean malt middle of this beer. It’s different from the lackluster lagers that you need to serve ice-cold to enjoy, in that it’s packed with flavor and character, and more fun than a booty-shaking samba dancer.