A light-bodied nonetheless hella good limited edition lager courtesy of the mad skills of the Full Sail crew. Crisp. Golden. Ultra drinkable. Totally LTD.Diction theirs. Emphasis mine (reasons below).
It pours out like an unassuming lager--a little deeper golden than the average pilsner, topped by a fizzy, weak head. My dad would recognize it as "beer." But all is not Busch Lite about it, as you discover with a first sniff. Like the 01 bottling, this one is robust at 6.4% (strangely, the exact same alcohol content--a theme?), and I can detect in it malt-liquory nose. The palate, too, has a malt liquor quality--it's slick and alcoholic on the tongue, but has a slightly harsh alcohol kick. It's also very sweet, featuring quite mild, floral hopping that isn't adequate to the task of adding balance.
But perhaps the inspiration isn't the golden-hued forty (we called 'em "torpedoes" in the eighties), but a more regal beer. In Germany, helles (pr. "hell-ehs") means "clear" or "light." It is a style its own--a bland, mild lager not too distant from Bud. But it can also be used to modify other styles, as in helles bock. When I picked up the label and saw "hella" in the description, that's what I immediately thought of. If it's a wink to the beer geeks among us, a nice touch.
But, helles bock or no, I'm not a fan. To me, it's a little cloying and heavy. I'd like some more complexity of malt if this were going to be a bock (it tastes likes it has cereal malts--corn or rice) or some hops to offset the malt. It mainly reminds me of malt liquor, a style to which I am perhaps prejudiced. This beer doesn't thrill. Most IPA-lovin' denizens of Beervana are going to be disappointed. Further evidence, perhaps, that the LTD line was not made for them.
Not stats available yet; I'll update if they become available.