Weekly Beer Geek: Hell’s Half Mile Lager
- Written by Luke G
- May 3, 2012
Hell’s Half Mile German Style Helles Lager
Tri-City Brewing Company
The Beginning: Oh the delights of being relentlessly dark. With my penchant for dark brews I get to savor plenty of stouts and porters. Black ales are my playground. And even now, when I have to ease up on the beer throttle, I still get to go dark with the name. Hell’s half-mile sounds devious. It sounds dark and grim. It sounds… like apparently some kind of old-timey German settlement, at least based on the label. Oh well, if it’s German, there’s still some good opportunity for evil.
The Brewer’s Pitch: Woa, there, Tri-City, you can’t just give a beer a name like “Hell’s Half-Mile” and not explain it. Sure, you tell me that the mark of a Helles Lager is a pale gold glittering beer with a creamy head- Helles is German for bright, after all. With a pleasant smell of grain about it and a light, sweetly malted taste that finishes well-balanced by noble hops, this may seem like a lightweight. Don’t be fooled though, as Tri-City will be the first to tell you that for a light beer the body is full and complex, with varied layers and a refreshing taste.
The Beer: Hell’s Half-Acre is really more of a pale amber than yellow, tinging more orange in the center. It poured with a huge head, nearly 3 fingers worth of dense velvety white, showing no indication of fading on its own. The smell is crisp and sharp - there are notes of grain, yes, as well as a sweeter bit like citric acid. The first taste is a heavily grainy beer. Sure enough it is full-bodied and hits the tongue fairly hard, coating it with the initial flavor of liquefied grain and alcohol. This lingers and blends slowly into the finish, which has a delicate hops touch to keep it simple and finish clean.
The Breakdown: I’ve long said that Lagers seem the most “beer-y” of beers to me. They are at their best when they are simple and clean and Hell’s Half-Mile does that. Still, something seems a little off. Maybe it’s the over-powering grain taste. It fades slightly in the second half of the bottle and reveals a touch of the more delicate sweetness that could have been the center of a really great beer, but is overpowering for too long. Beyond that, it’s a solid Lager. If you like a very heavy dose of grain (and to be fair, it is a pretty interesting layered taste) and not too much hops, then go for it.
The Bottom Line: Since I’m less of a tease than the brewery, I can tell you that Hell’s Half-Mile is a stretch of saloons in Bay City, MI during the lumber boom. *The More You Know!*