Helen Yeah Golden Ale | ABV 5.0%
BJCP Style: Blonde Ale (Kolsch style)
Hops: Unknown (Noble – Hallertau & Tettnang most common)
Malts: German Pilsner
Brewery: Cherry Street Brewing
City: Cumming, GA – 5817 South Vickery St., Cumming, GA 30040
Appearance: Brilliant, clear gold. Frothy white head with very good retention. Fast rising bubbles
Aroma: Herbal, fresh cut grass, grainy
Flavor & Aftertaste: Herbal, grainy and biscuit. Restrained bitterness. Low sweetness
Palate: Medium bodied, with low carbonation and a medium length dry finish.
Most craft beer enthusiasts are familiar with two broad classifications of beer styles – ale and lager. The distinction being, generally, ales are top fermented at temperatures ranging from 68 to 72 °F (20 to 22 °C) using ale yeast strains and lagers are bottom fermented at temperatures ranging from 45 to 55 °F (7 to 13 °C) using lager yeast trains. The end result being ales tend to have subtle fruity aromas called esters and phenols. The next time you drink a German Hefeweizen, pay attention to the banana and bubble gum like aromas and flavors. Those are ale yeast characteristics. Lagers, by contrast, have clean profiles, like a blank canvass to work from. Next time you drink a Paulaner Original Munich Lager or an Ayinger Bavarian Pils, pour the glass about 1/3 full and take a few sniffs (ignore the odd looks you may get from your Bud Light drinking friends). Those herbal/spicy aromas are the noble hops you smell over the clean lager backdrop. Simple right? Not always. Then there are hybrids, like some Cream Ales or Blonde Ales made with ale yeast, but lagered (cold conditioned) for short period of time. German Kolsch is another great example. This brings me to my latest craft beer review, Cherry Street Brewing Helen Yeah Golden Ale.
Cherry Street Brewing, which is located literally right down the road from me in Cumming, GA (they also recently opened a second, upscale location at Halcyon in Alpharetta), is a local brewpub founded in 2012 by Nick Tanner. They’ve made their niche brewing a combination of tasty Stouts, IPAs, Sours and Barrel Aged beers. As part of their commitment to supporting the preservation of the local Chattahoochee River watershed, they have released Helen Yeah Golden Ale. A percentage of the proceeds from sales of the beer is going to support Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. While labeled a Golden Ale, this beer is one that tends to blur the line between ale and lager. It is made in the Kolsch tradition using German Pilsner malt, noble hops and ale yeast; then cold conditioned (lagered) for a short period of time to round out and soften it.
In order to truly appreciate Helen Yeah, you need to properly pour it into a Pilsner glass or, even better, a traditional tall Stange glass. You’ll note it’s clear brilliant gold color and frothy white head with good retention. A quick couple of whiffs of it will reveal subtle herbal and fresh cut grass hops aromas plus grainy malt. Once you dive in, you’ll find matching herbal and grainy notes with added biscuit, as well. It is dry and bitterness is initially restrained; but will build a bit as you enjoy it, then linger a bit into the finish. It may look light; but it has a medium body to it and finishes crisp and clean.
As I write this review, it is still early Spring in Georgia; however we are already experiencing temps in the high 70 °F’s and low 80 °F’s. The Golden Ale/Kolsch style is perfectly suited for the hot, humid summers in the Southeast U.S. This beer was a seasonal release; however, I would love to see Cherry Street bring back in July – September. It will be an excellent companion for cookouts and pool/beach side (that’s assuming we’re out from under the restricted activity recommendations of the CDC). I’ll definitely be seeking out another couple of four packs to stash for the warmer months before they are all gone.
More on Cherry Street Brewing: Cherry Street is an award winning brewpub out of the north metro Atlanta, GA area. The were recognized as the 2017 US Beer Open Grand National Champions with six different beers receiving recognition in their respective categories. In 2018, they placed four different beers in the top three in their respective categories during the U.S. Beer Open.
Thanks for reading, until next time…Let Us Drink Beer!