Drink This Now: Beer Geek Helles, by Jack’s Abby & New England Brewing Co.
Beer geeks, unite! You now have a lager to call your own. Today, local favorite Jack’s Abby releases a new beer called Beer Geek Helles. The hoppy lager is brewed in collaboration with New England Brewing Company out of Woodbridge, Conn.,
Can we get a helles yeah?
Helles, meaning “bright” in German, is a particular style of light lager. Jack’s Abby co-owner and brewer Jack Hendler had an idea to do a few unusual things with the style: He wanted to experiment with a typically time-consuming brewing practice, called decoction; he wanted to dry-hop his helles, and he wanted to use some unique ingredients. Hendler thought this geeky idea would be a ripe opportunity to work with his friend Matt Westfall, head brewer at the Connecticut company known for hard-to-find IPAs like G-Bot and Fuzzy Baby Ducks.
Decoction a step in the brewing process that enhances a beer’s flavor. It involves taking a portion of the mash and boiling it in a separate pot, then recombining it with the original wort to impart richer malt qualities, Hendler explains. It’s a practice he has done at Jack’s Abby before, but he says it’s often tedious for most brewers to do it.
For Beer Geek Helles, Hendler decided to do it twice. And the result was worth the time it took.
“It’s a very light and sessionable beer, but you just have this huge malt flavor you would expect from a stronger beer,” Hendler says.
The two brewers created the lager using custom malts from New England company Stone Path Malt. And for hops, they chose two varieties, Nelson Sauvin and Hallertau Blanc, that have only been commercially available for the past few years, Hendler says.
The beer is also the first non-core beer Jack’s Abby has ever canned. Beer Geek Helles is now available on draft and in 16-ounce 4-packs at Jack’s Abby’s brewery, and it will hit area bars and stores in the coming days. To celebrate the release, Jack’s Abby and New England Brewing Co. are hosting a number of events across New England, including a launch party tonight at Brewer’s Fork in Charlestown.
But if you’re the ultimate Jack’s Abby fanatic, you can try it and more at a tap takeover at Meadhall in Kendall Square on Wednesday, July 27. That night, Hendler and his team are tapping 50 (yes, five-zero) Jack’s Abby beers, including Beer Geek Helles, to toast to the company’s fifth anniversary.
“I got a lot of dirty looks when I first suggested that, but I kept pushing,” Hendler says. “Meadhall has been a great supporter of the brand, but they’re also one of the few places that can do 50 beers for a tap takeover and make that happen.”
The brewery will tap close to a dozen different barrel-aged and sour beers that night, alongside most of its flagship lagers and Framinghammer series releases. Hendler is particularly excited to tap three beers that have never been on draft at the taproom: a maple barrel-aged Framinghammer, a golden apricot sour, and an ABS variation, brewed with currants.
Hendler expects most of the special kegs to kick that night, but those that don’t will stick around Meadhall for a few days after the event. But if you’re considering stopping by, or are curious about those three small-batch beers, heed Hendler’s advice:
“The only place you’ll ever be able to get those three beers will be at this event.”
Jack’s Abby, 100 Clinton St., Framingham, 508-872-0900, jacksabby.com.