Kulshan Brewing is hosting an event on February 17th that is all about helles lager.
Last weekend I was at Chuck’s Hop Shop in Seattle for a special event when a shipment of new beer arrived: someone rolled in with a hand truck loaded with cases of Helles Lager from Gold Dot Beer. I kind of freaked out. Not just because Gold Dot Beer (McMinnville, OR) is an outstanding producer of lager-style beers, but also because I’m a huge fan of this particular style: helles lager. Kulshan Brewing in Bellingham is also a big fan of helles.
On Saturday, February 17, Kulshan Brewing invites you to enjoy a selection of intentionally chosen helles lagers from a select group of breweries. Think of it as an invitational beer festival focussed on helles lager: the third-annual Night of the Helles. We share the list of invitees below along with the event details.
“We’ve got one hell of an event planned,” said the announcement from Kulshan Brewing. “The third annual Night of the Helles is just a couple weeks away. Join us on Saturday, Feb. 17th at the Roosevelt (K2) Taproom from 5:00-9:00 P.M. to celebrate Helles! For one night only we’ll be featuring this All-Star lineup with tasting flights, custom glassware, and live music!”
In addition to its own award-winning helles, Kulshan has invited the following breweries to share their beer:
- Otherlands Beer
- Chuckanut Brewery
- Larrabee Lager Co.
- pFriem Family Brewers
- Gold Dot Beer
- Structures Brewing
What the Helles?
At first glance, it may seem simple: a golden, light-bodied lager. But helles lager is a particularly tricky beer style for a brewer to get right. Brewing a helles is a bit like performing a highwire act. Standing alone above the crowd, there’s no place for the brewer to hide and every movement is subtle and carefully considered.
Continuing the highwire metaphor, it’s all about balance. If the brewer leans too heavily on the malt or the hops, they’ll fall to the ground as the crowd gasps and shrieks in horror. Or, more likely, the crowd might mistake the beer for a different style.
Helles lager is most often associated with the southern regions of Germany, particularly Munich. The style has enjoyed increasing popularity in the U.S. as craft breweries have begun to delve deeper into the art of brewing lager-style beers.
Typically, helles clocks in between 4.8 and 5.6 percent ABV and 18 to 25 IBU. Bright golden and often filtered for clarity. The beer relies heavily on the character of the malted barley, which is then balanced with subtle amounts of hop character most often provided by noble, old-world hop varieties.
So why does Kulshan Brewing host an event focused on this one style of beer? Partly, it’s because the brewery excels at brewing helles lager. Kulshan has won some impressive awards for its helles, including not exclusively two medals at the Great American Beer Festival (2020, 2021) and a medal at the North American Beer Awards (2019).
Check out the Washington Beer Blog’s events page for more beer-related events around Washington.