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Saltaire brews a Helles of a good lager

Added: Tuesday, May 4th 2021

Saltaire Helles

If you like sourdough bread – and what’s not to like – you will love this new beer from Saltaire Brewery in Shipley, West Yorkshire. Its Helles (5 per cent) is brewed strictly along the lines of the renowned Bavarian beer style where Helles means pale or light.

It’s tempting to say Helles is the everyday beer of Munich as it packs a punch with a strength of between 4.5 and 5 per cent but Muncheners and Bavarians tend to drink stronger Pilseners on special occasions while Helles is their daily tipple.

I still recall many years ago, on my first trip to Munich, drinking Spaten Helles in the Englischer Garten and realising I hadn’t appreciated just how good proper lager beer can be. I could be forgiven, for in those days what passed for lager in Britain were the likes of Hofmeister, Skol and the British-brewed version of Heineken.

The recipe for Saltaire Helles was designed by brewer Rob Cooke, who previously worked at BrewDog. Along with pale malt, Magnum hops are used for bittering while the more delicate Saphir and Huell Melon varieties give subtle hoppy aroma and flavour.

Most importantly, the beer is cold conditioned or lagered for six weeks in order to enjoy a slow, cool second fermentation. That’s in sharp distinction to global so-called lagers that are pushed through the brewery in just a few days.

Saltaire Helles has a fresh toasted malt aroma with a spicy/cinnamon and yeasty note and floral hops. Lemon fruit, grassy and floral hops dominate the palate followed by a clean, crisp finish with toasted malt, tangy fruit and spicy hops. It’s wonderfully refreshing.

• Saltaire Brewery was launched in 2006 in a former Victorian power station: the name comes from Saltaire model village nearby. The brewery had a major upgrade in 2018, with expansion of brewing capacity. It supplies more than 600 pubs across West Yorkshire and the North of England.