Community’s Texas Helles Is A Heavenly Easy Drinker.

Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we’ll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers now available in the suddenly crowded North Texas brew scene. The goal here is to look at these area beers without our local goggles on and to wonder aloud, “Is this beer good or do I just like it because it’s local?” Should be a fun experiment, no? Cheers to that!

This week, we sipped on Community Beer Company’s Texas Helles.Fast Facts on Community Beer Company Texas Helles.
Style: Munich Helles.
ABV: 5 percent.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): 18.
Color: Pale gold.
Availability: Cans  and draft.

Community has locked it down with several low-alcohol beers in its lineup, and they are all solid. At first, it was Texas Pils, a slightly hoppier version of a classic pilsner that I had my eye on. Then it was Sundial, a session IPA. Then it was its most-excellent Wit, and even Razzy, the raspberry offshoot. But lately, I have been very much enjoying Texas Helles. In fact, this six pack purchase here with me now is the third time that I have bought Texas Helles in the past couple weeks. This time, though, I’m spending enough time with it to do a review before it disappears from the fridge. Yes, I have bought this beer several times without reviewing it. Oops, I drank it! And now that I think about it, this week’s review is not entirely too far of a departure from last week’s review of Noble Rey’s Sex In A Canoe, an American light-ish lager.

Background on Munich Helles.
The Munich Helles style is a gold, light-bodied lager that can be enjoyed year-round. However, most DFW breweries like Community market this style as a summer drinker. The beer focuses on the malt, but the overall experience should be more dry than sweet. Hop additions are typically Noble in nature – meaning that they are from that old-school part of the brewing world and are known to be low in bitterness and higher in other aroma and spice character. Because of its dry finish, this beer doesn’t wear out the palate, and it remains refreshing through several servings.Appearance.
Texas Helles pours bright gold in the glass. Its firm white head remains for about half a beer, then slowly subsides. This beer is brilliantly clear, as a helles absolutely should be. Overall, it looks inviting and clean.

At the risk of sounding like a cliché-making hack, Texas Helles showcases a clean, crisp, classic lager character. It’s not that skunky Euro-douche lager situation. This is clean and bright, with hints of husky grain, a bit of malt sweetness, and the tiniest sulfur note that I sense on most lager fermentations. It smells like a low-alcohol, inviting beer, and I want it inside me right now.

Texas Helles seems to dial the hops back a little bit compared to its Community cousin, Texas Pils. Granted, these are two different styles, but also quite similar. Texas Helles has an unmistakable presence of pilsner malt, appropriate for the style. The hops are here, but the hop bitterness plays a supporting role. I do get a slight lingering herbal hop bitterness; it’s subtle and enjoyable. Mouthfeel.
For its low alcohol, clocking in at 5 percent ABV, Texas Helles keeps the body in perfect balance. It’s not watery, it’s not too thick. It plays in that space just between the two. And with its clean finish, Texas Helles leaves very little sugar behind. I move in quickly for another sip, and it’s the same enjoyable experience through the first and second pours.

Overall Impression.
I’m a big fan of this beer. A friend of mine recently told me – and I’m paraphrasing here – that he enjoys drinking everyday beers, and not so much those palate-wrecking helmet beers. I feel myself moving in that direction as we near spring here in DFW. Texas Helles is not a palate-wrecker, nor is it a helmet beer. This beer is easy to drink, it is low in alcohol and it begs to be drunk in multiples. On its can, Community states that Texas Helles is brewed using German malt and hops, a Bavarian yeast strain and that it lagers this beer for six weeks. And six weeks is a rather long time to tie up tanks. So, mad respect to Community for making a lager. It takes some rather large business cojones to roll the dice on this timeline-lingering commitment on its beer. While the DFW beer scene growth seems to be slowly reaching maturity, the lager style does not seem to be equally represented. In fact, the lager style seems a bit under-represented in the American craft scene as a whole. Maybe there’s just not a whole ton of space between the mega-saturated macro light lager market and that of the craft market.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give Community Beer Company Texas Helles a 8.
What’s happening in the area brew scene?
• Saturday, February 11. BBQ Class w/ Cattleack Barbecue at Four Corners Brewing Co.
• Sunday, February 12. Texas Craft Beer Chili Challenge at L.U.C.K.
• Tuesday, February 14. Beer My Valentine at Martin House Brewing Co.
• Saturday, February 18. Dallas Brew Bus Valentine’s Tour at Lakewood/Bitter Sisters/Noble Rey.
• Saturday, February 18. Four-Year Anniversary at Community Beer Co.
• Saturday, March 11: Tater Tots and Beer Festival at Fair Park.
• Friday, March 31-April 2: Big Texas Beer Fest at Fair Park.

Previous On Tap Reviews:
Revolver’s Sangre y Miel: 10.
Peticolas’ Royal Scandal: 10.
Community’s Mosaic IPA: 10.
Peticolas’ Velvet Hammer: 10.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Legion: 10.
Community’s Legion: 10.
BrainDead’s Fill in the Blancs: 9.5.
Oak Highlands’ Freaky Deaky: 9.5.
Deep Ellum’s Barrel Aged Four Swords: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Saint Dymphna: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Lost Epic: 9.5.
Community’s Ascension Porter: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Temptress: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Goatman: 9.5.
Community’s Public Ale: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Thrilla in Brazilla: 9.5.
• Collective Brewing Project’s SMaSHY: 9.2
• On Rotation’s Lingonberry Sahti: 9.25.
On Rotation’s Jalapeno Saison: 9.
Woodcreek’s Bourbon Barrel Bock: 9.
Lakewood’s Wild Manimal: 9.
Revolver’s Blood & Honey: 9.
Martin House’s Imperial Texan: 9.
Community’s Trinity Tripel: 9.
Peticolas’ Irish Goodbye: 9.
Four Corners’ Block Party Porter: 9.
Cedar Creek’s Belgian Dubbel: 9.
Small Brewpub’s Black Pepper Pils: 8.5.
Peticolas’ Ghost Of Alfred Brown: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Easy Peasy IPA: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Rock Ryder: 8.5.
Rahr’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Raspberry Temptress: 8.5.
• Peticolas’ Prime Minister: 8.25.
On Rotation’s Moar Blackberry: 8.
Lakewood’s Thread Spinner: 8.
Texas Ale Project 50 Ft. Jackrabbit: 8.
Texas Ale Project’s Payne Pils: 8.
Noble Rey’s Bridesmaid’s Tears: 8.
Collective Brewing’s Urban Funk House: 8.
Lakewood’s On Call: 8.
Oak Highlands’ Golden Mustache: 8.
903 Brewers’ Crackin’ Up: 8.
Deep Ellum’s Play Date: 8.
Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s 11th Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Belgian Tripel: 8.
Noble Rey’s SteamPunk: 8.
903 Brewers’ Citra On Top: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Hissy Fit: 8.
BrainDead’s Gritz: 8.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Inspiration : 8.
Cedar Creek’s Fisticuffs: 8.
Lakewood’s Punkel: 8.
Four Corners’ El Chingon IPA: 8.
Martin House’s Day Break: 8.
Deep Ellum’s GOURDzilla: 8.
Peticolas’ The Duke (Aged 12 Months): 8.
Deep Ellum’s Pale Ale: 8.
Revolver’s Bock: 8.
903 Brewers’ Sasquatch: 8.
Peticolas’ Wintervention: 8.
Armadillo Ale Works’ Brunch Money: 8.
Martin House’s Salsa Verde: 8.
Cedar Creek’s Spinning Mule Robust Porter: 8.
Lakewood’s Holiday Bonus: 8.
Lakewood’s Hop Trapp: 8.
TUPPS Full Grown Man: 7.75.
3 Nations American Wit: 7.75.
Armadillo Ale Works’ Dapper Apple: 7.75.
Legal Draft’s Accused Amber Lager: 7.5.
Grapevine’s Reserve Tart Cherry Berliner Weisse: 7.5.
Martin House’s Stars Above: 7.5.
Grapevine’s Prickly Pear Wheat Ale: 7.5.
Bitter Sisters’ Knock Out: 7.5.
Four Corners’ Notorious O.A.T.: 7.5.
Noble Rey Golden Rey With Raspberries and Ginger: 7.5.
On Rotation Saved By The Belma: 7.5.
True Vine’s Unicorn’s Revenge: 7.5.
Deep Ellum’s Hop Seeker: 7.5.
Four Corners’ El Super Bee: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Hopochondria: 7.5.
Three Nations GPA: 7.5.
Martin House’s Rubberneck Red: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Antigoon’s Revenge: 7.5.
Community’s Texas Pils: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Zomer Pils: 7.5.
Cedar Creek’s Dankosaurus: 7.5.
Noble Rey Sex In A Canoe: 7.25.
Oak Highlands Brewery’s Oktoberfest.: 7.25.
Manhattan Project’s Plutonium-239: 7.
Backcountry’s Texas IPA: 7.
Backcountry’s Double IPA: 7.
Rahr’s Visionary: 7.
Shannon Brewing’s Irish Cream Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Guava Good: 7.
TUPPS Brewery’ Northbound 75: 7.
Rahr & Sons’ Iron Joe: 7.
BrainDead’s I Like Harvey IPA: 7.
Martin House’s Turtle Power: 7.
Collective’s Petite Golden Sour: 7.
Shannon’s Chocolate Stout: 7.
BrainDead’s Red Ale: 7.
Community’s Razzy Raspberry Witbier: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway Blonde Ale: 7.
Bearded Eel’s Purple Unicorn: 7.
Noble Rey’s Off The Leash: 7.
Shannon Brewing Company’s Irish Red: 7.
Texas Ale Project’s Somethin’ Shady: 7.
Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
Cedar Creek’s The Lawn Ranger: 7.
Martin House Brewing Company’s Cellarman’s Reserve IPA (Amarillo).: 7.
Lakewood’s Till & Toil: 7.
903 Brewers’ The Chosen One: 7.
903 Brewers’ Sugar On Top: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway XPA: 7.
Armadillo Ale Work’s Quakertown Stout: 7.
Revolver’s High Brass: 7.
Community’s Pale Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Chump Change: 7.
Martin House’s River House: 7.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Sir William’s Brown Ale: 7.
Community’s Funnel Cake Ale: 7.
Audacity’s Boss Raptor IPA: 7.
Martin House’s Queen of the Mist (Prickly Pear): 6.75.
Three Nations Texas Xmas Hazelnut Ale: 6.5.
Martin House’s The Juice: 6.5.
Collective Brewing Project’s Mom Azacca: 6.5.
Four Corners’ La Lechuza: 6.5.
Revolver’s Ironhead IPA: 6.5.
903 Brewers’ Trot Line: 6.5.
Four Corners’ Celebración: 6.5.
Peticolas’ Operation Collaboration: 6.5.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Nightwatch: 6.5.
Peticolas’ The Duke: 6.5.
Deep Ellum’s Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
Wild Acre’s Tarantula Hawk: 6.
Martin House’s Kafkaesque: 6.
TUPPS’ Cotton Mill Gold: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Tweedleyum: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Off With Your Red: 6.
Cedar Creek’s Elliott’s Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Lakefire: 6
Armadillo Ale Works’ WunderMelon: 6
Deep Ellum Pale Ale: 6
Lakewood’s Troll Toll: 5.5.
Martin House’s Hell Below: 5.5.
Lakewood’s La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
Woodcreek’s Lakeside Cerveza: 5.
Martin House Cuvee Pumpkin Latte: 5.
Intrinsic’s Crunktoberfest: 5.
Martin House’s Mind On My Money: 5.
903 Brewers’ The Land Of Milk And Honey: 5.
Deep Ellum’s Numb Comfort: 5.
Four Bullets’ Black Jack Brown: 4.5.
Audacity’s Checkered Past: 4.
Four Corners Heart O’ Texas: 4.
Audacity’s Sunset Boulevard: 4.
Shannon Brewing Company’s IPA: 4.
Grapevine’s Monarch: 4.
Twin Peaks’ Dirty Blonde: 3.
Franconia Wheat: 3.
Miller Lite: 1.

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