Beer of the Week March 11th – My Helles Light

Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised at the origin of this weeks BotW. You won’t find this beer on Untappd, Beer People, Rate Beer, or Beer Advocate. Unless you’re a personal friend of a guy named Paul Anderson, you’ll probably never get to try this beer. Does this make me a beer snob? Maybe, a little. I think it makes me lucky.

I had the pleasure of judging Paul Anderson’s American Light Lager during the St Cloud Cloudy Town Brewers March Mashness BJCP Homebrew Competition this weekend. After six sessions over three days, this was the last category to be judged. Out of a flight of 8 beers, Paul’s beer was such a standout, both myself and the other judge couldn’t find much improve his beer. We both thought this beer was far better than the suggested commercial comparisons for the style (Coors Light, Bud Light, etc).

The malt profile was excellent. A little grainy, a little sweet, but perfectly balanced and touch on the high side for style. The hops were just as balanced with an earthy/spicy mix (would guess German noble hops – Hallertau and Saaz?) that again, was noticeable, balanced, and a bit on the higher side of the style guidelines. Absolutely no off flavors of sulfur, aceteldahyde, diacytl, or other phenolics – a super clean fermentation.

We both agreed this beer pushed the upper scales for the flavor profile, but what makes this different and notable is both were done perfectly in balance. It took us a while to quantify that character and what made us both simply a bit dumbfounded on how to explain why it was so great. If you took Coors light, upped the flavors to the highest end of the style (without making it an American Lager), this is what you get. Amazing flavor, superbly clean and refreshing taste, and you want more. More, more, more.

Before we shared our initial scores, my judging partner, a seasoned certified judge, looked at me quizzically and said, “I don’t think I’ve ever scored a beer that high.”  I whole heartedly agreed with him. Our scores were identical, our notes nearly the same. I mentioned that I would choose this beer on tap at any craft beer bar and drink it all day long. Even over super-hopped and hazy IPAs, and Russian Imperial Stouts. Well, maybe not the RIS 😉

This also highlights a fact that’s becoming more common in beer competitions: the quality of the entries, the skills of the brewers, and dedication to not only the latest and greatest craze beers but good old fashioned beer is increasing. This mean more people are making better beer and the world is better for it.

Congratulations to Paul for winning the gold in American Pale Beers and providing us judges with such a quality beer as to rethink or perceptions of homebrew.


(photo is of the winners in attendance at the Cloudy Town Home Brewers 2018 March Mashness Competition. Though I thought about it, I did not take a pic of Paul’s entry. )