Beer of the Month: Victory Brewing Helios
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
This is Victory's makeover of its old Saison, and the nose does have a yeasty note reminiscent of many a Belgian or northern French saison. It's a big, mouth-filling golden ale with a fair amount of carbonation from bottle-conditioning.
The most impressive part is the suave balance on the palate. It's appreciably malty (though lager-gold in color) and also a bit hoppy, but creamy carbonation takes on part of the work of balancing the malty sweetness. This neat balance lasts through a fairly long finish, ultimately with a dry effect, magically accomplished without a very sharp bite of hops.
When it comes to food, Helios' particular degree of sweetness makes this the ideal beer for ham — anything from a ham sandwich to a baked ham with all the trimmings.
Style: Big but sophisticated, a rich ale that makes a long goodbye without overstaying its welcome
Price: About $5.70 for 22 ounces
Where to find it: Total Wine & More stores (Northridge, Brea, Tustin and Rancho Cucamonga), Beverages & More stores (for locations, visit http://www.bevmo.com) and Wade's Wines in Westlake Village