German Food Guide
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Also Known As:   Hell, Helles Lager, Helles Export, Munich Light

"Hell" is the German word for "light," while "Helles" means "a light one." This refers only to the beer's pale color, not to its calories or its alcoholic strength.

Depending on the brewery, this beer style is sold under various names on the label. Because the Munich Helles is historically the first Munich blond lager, it is also sometimes marketed under the name "Munich Original Lager." A higher-alcohol Helles, with an alcohol content above 5%, is often referred to as Export on the label. A Urhell or Urtyp-Helles refers to an original blend. A Spezial Helles refers to a seasonal beer or one that is considered especially good.

Photo: © Deutscher Brauer-Bund
Classification:  Vollbier

Type of Beer:  Lager

Alcohol Content:  4.6-5.6%

Extract Value:  10-14% / Export 12%

Region:  Mainly in Bavaria (Bayern), Baden-Württemberg, and in the Ruhrgebiet in North Rhine-Westphalia (Nordrhein-Westfalen)

Well Known Brands

Beer Characteristics
Straw-blond, sparkling-light. Full-bodied. No upfront bitterness, but it is mildly malt-accented. Dry in the finish but not harsh. Tall, creamy head.

Serving Suggestions
Optimal serving temperature is 46° F (8° C).

Food Pairings
Traditionally served with a Weisswurst and Pretzel.

Helles Lager was first created in March 1894 by the Spaten Brewery of Munich (München). 


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