Beer Flights – A Helton Brewing Beer Review
Brian Helton opened Helton Brewing a year ago in the midst of Phoenix’s rapid growing beer scene. While many breweries need several months to work out the kinks with their recipes and equipment, Helton Brewing opened their doors with taps pouring well thought out and brewed beers – thanks to Helton’s decades long career as a store brewer and then regional brewer with Rock Bottom Brewery (he even racked up a few GABF medals during that time).
While the mention of any corporate driven brewery may cause beer nerds to snub their nose, Helton’s experience with Rock Bottom provided him with the education and training to refine his recipes. There was no figuring out flagships but offering customers six quality beers from the very beginning. That’s not to say that Helton Brewing doesn’t experiment on occasion. Helton left the stiff structure of Rock Bottom for that ability to be creative and experiment, but with a master’s touch.
ABV – 4.9%; IBU – 15
A classic, well brewed pilsner. The nose delivers more of a candied, breaded malt than expected for those comparing Helton Brewing’s Pilsner to most false conceptions of what a pilsner is. The beer drinks bright and fresh and finishes clean and dry. It’s true brewer’s beer.
ABV – 5.6%; IBU – 25
There’s no wow factor to this beer. Then again, is there a wow factor to any amber ale? The beer is brewed to drink like an amber is intended to drink with mostly caramel malts accentuated with a slight toastiness. The finish is clean and floral. Pair this beer with a cheese plate from Helton Brewing’s in-house Charcuterie.
Dark Munich Lager
ABV – 6.2%; IBU – 20
The Dark Munich Lager adds an excitement to the beer flight. The malts bring flavors of caramel with more than slight hints of chocolate and hazelnut. The hop profile is just enough so you know you’re drinking a lager.
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ABV – 7%; IBU – 30
Malt fans would rejoice in this true-to-style Scottish Ale. Flavors of figs and raisin dance on top of rich caramel and tobacco notes. A slight booziness is felt on the finish that perhaps could have used a bit more hops to complete the beer.
Rye Pale Ale
ABV – 5.4%; IBU – 45
Like the rest of Helton Brewing’s offerings, the Rye Pale Ale is extremely well balanced. Tangerine and grapefruit come to the forefruit with notes of pine. The finish delivers slight spiciness from the rye. It’s a complete beer through and through.
ABV – 6.5%; IBU – 35
Truly the star of the Helton Brewing show. The Milk Stout is rich and silky on the mouth with a beautiful blend of chocolate and coffee. While many milk stouts offer a roastiness, Helton Brewing’s Milk Stout offers a bright sweetness that allows this to be a year-round offering in Phoenix’s hot desert climate.
Stop into Helton Brewing, located between Arcadia and Uptown Phoenix, for a flight of beer. While you’re there, nosh on a selection of Belgian Waffles, Paninis, or Charcuterie – all items Cicerone certified Helton chose to pair with his brewery’s beers.
Check out the rest of my posts on the Phoenix’s food and craft beer scene!
Plan a Phoenix Beercation!
The Phoenix craft beer scene is booming! Since I was there last year, it’s almost unrecognizable. Start planning your Phoenix Beercation by checking out the latest hotel reviews on TripAdvisor. There are plenty of resorts like the Arizona Biltmore Waldorf Astoria and JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort and Spa to make it a true vacation.
Visit the breweries worry free with Arizona Brewery Tours. These guys took me around and they really know their stuff.
For non-food and drink travel related suggestions, I recommend Moon’s recently updated Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Sedona Travel Guide.