Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ballast Point Longfin Lager

type: Helles lager
origin: San Diego, CA
price: $10/6 pack
ABV: 4.6%
NSP: 9.8

As with most of the German language, the term Helles (pronounced something like "hell-us") is menacing and harsh.  In terms of beer, lager specifically, it makes you worried you might be in for a palate destruction, or another Baltika 9 trainwreck.  But this style is meant to be as light and delicate on the tongue as translucent straw-like appearance suggests.  Longfin has ultra crisp cereal/grain flavors, essentially nonexistent hop-presence, and a perfect level of carbonation: a true Helles style.

BP's interpretation of the style is right on the mark, something which I can't say of their "Kolsch" (Yellowtail).  With such subtle flavors, though, this must be quite difficult to pull off; that's precisely where purists would detract, claiming the cereal-type flavors are not an "authentic" Helles from Munich, or some other #grumpycat type shit.  In reality, this is eaaaasy drinking, and could handily pass the workday ABV requirement, as Fractional IPA does.  No, it's not my favorite lager ever, but if it were a bit cheaper and more readily available (for now it's brewery only), I would say goodbye to my beloved Bud Heavy, aka Funweiser.  That's a claim I don't make lightly.

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