BREWER: Camden Town Brewery, North London
VESSEL: 330ml bottle
Think craft lagers and it’s almost certain that Camden’s Hells will be one of the first to spring to mind, if not the very first. So is it deserved of that reputation?
The pilsner notes first appear on the nose, which isn’t unappealing, especially for a lager (which at times can be indistinctive at best and at worst, nasty). As you gulp down the first sip, those pilsner notes quickly pack a punch on the taste buds and you are left in no doubt that Hells is most definitely a lager with pilsner origins. But what’s clever about this lager, is that if you don’t like the pilsner brewing, it doesn’t mean you won’t like this. And that’s because the initial hit is followed by sweeter larger notes, which wash away the original pilsner punch. The problem is that the end result is very confused…
It all comes wrapped up in that very distinctive packaging which is distinctively from the Camden Town Brewery, which in turn is distinctively London.
Hells seems to know what it is from the outside but gets lost once untethered from its strong branding and, dare I say it, gets lost. So, here we have a beer that is good…but not great. It doesn’t have its foot firmly in any one camp and it’s a little lost as to where it should be. I know I’m going against a tide of popularity here – but that’s the way it is!
Sammy’s Rating: 71%
Camden Town Brewery let me take my hat off to you. Not necessarily for the beer (as I’ve not actually opened it yet) and not for the look of the bottle, as I don’t particularly like it if I’m honest. But for the name…
For months I’ve had reviewing this beer in the back of my head. The review was going to start with what on earth is this name all about then?? Helles is spelt Helles not Hells! And can it even be a Helles if it’s brewed in flippin North London?? If it is trying to be a Helles why is it misspelt?!! And if it’s not a Helles, it’s pretty misleading don’t you think CamBrew?? Huh, huh??!!
Then I read the label.
It’s a Helles / Pilsner hybrid, hence HELLS…. Brilliant, just brilliant!
Right, time to lift that lid… I am actually excited now.
Powerful yet light, flavoursome yet dry.. A very nice lager.
Now normally a lager that is weighing in at less than 5% I’m wary of. It’s not that I want that strong hit as such it’s just historically if it is less than 5% it just doesn’t taste that great (with the odd exception of course). CH is only 4.6% but has the flavour of something between 5 and 6%. It’s great, it really is.
Starting off a scorching hot BBQ based Saturday with a few of these crisp beauties would be just dreamy.
Great work CTB, great work indeed.
Jymi’s Rating: 79%
MUSE ON BOOZE RATING: 74.5%
MOB review next weekend: YU LU by SIREN CRAFT BREW
FOR THE NEXT GIN UP WE’RE TAKING A TRIP TO THE LOVELY ISLE OF GUERNSEY WHERE THE MIGHTY BLUE BOTTLE DRY AWAITS