*I was sent a case of Hofmeister Helles lager to review – thank you HQ*

If you’re a beer lover, then Hofmeister is probably on your radar.

Or was on your radar before the beloved 80s brand ceased trading due to declining sales. The beer with the cuddly bear (whose questionable fashion sense endeared him as a Hofmeister champion) was originally a lager feted for its low strength and smooth drinkability at 3.2% ABV. It has undergone a makeover for the 21st century and is now aimed at the craft beer market. This grown up reincarnation, a Hofmeister version 2.0 if you will, is a punchier 5% ABV Helles lager. Now brewed in Bavaria by a family-run business, Hofmeister Helles lager is available nationwide.

I was sent a case to review, along with some Hofmeister merchandise (bottle opener and glasses). I love beer and find myself openly wondering why this drink isn’t given more kudos in eateries. High-end restaurants have wine-flights, where each course is wine-matched to accentuate the dish and overall dining experience. Wouldn’t it be great to have beer-matched menus, where beer lovers can indulge in perfectly matched dishes? I’ll be expanding more on this in a standalone post, for now, let’s focus on Hofmeister.

Not having tasted the original, I cannot do a “before and after” makeover special. I can however say that this drink, from its eye-catching branding, to golden body makes it feel like a very sophisticated drink. It poured well with an eventual medium-sized head, and I found it to be perfectly carbonated, as I dislike overtly fizzy drink. There were buttery soft hop notes on the swallow, and the clean finish was refreshing.

To make things even more interesting, I did a beer and curry matching in my own home. I cooked three curries over the space of a week and sipped Hofmeister Helles lager with each one.

First up was a chicken dopiaza. This curry is heavy on the onions; dopiaza literally translates to “two onions”. Hofmeister Helles lager went particularly well with the dopiaza, as it tempered the sweetness of the fragrant onions, which can sometimes feel a little sticky on the palate.

The second curry matching was chicken jalfrezi. Traditionally a dish with a thicker sauce, it felt more luxurious on the palate, especially after sipping the not-too-fizzy beer.

The third curry was butter chicken, which I cooked in the slow cooker, an underused contraption which has come out of hibernation due to the cooler and darker nights heralding the start of autumn. (I’ll be cooking more recipes in the slow cooker, so do keep your eyes peeled in the upcoming weeks.) Now, butter chicken is a creamy curry with a tangier backdrop; I used Greek yogurt which has a natural bite. This is due to the meat being marinated in yogurt and spices. I also added a generous squeeze of lemon juice during the marination process). This curry was my favourite pairing with Hofmeister Helles lager, because the beer married well with the creamy, silky texture of the sauce, and the chicken that I had browned off gave it an added depth.

Hofmeister Helles lager is great with all three curries I cooked, and I would love to see this beer choice in restaurants and eateries. Have you tried it? I would love to know how you got on. In the meantime, if you need more information about this delicious beer, hop on over (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun) to their website now.