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Drank: Lucky As Helles (Breakside Brewery)

When I lived in Germany, "ein Helles" was my fallback order, and I spent many afternoons in leafy beer gardens sipping at half-liters while squeezing excessive mustard onto my bratwurst. But outside of Germany's borders, the golden-hued lager—"hell" means light, which refers to the color rather than the caloric content—isn't so easy to find. That's in part because it's a tougher beer to brew well. It requires time to age and careful cold-conditioning, and lack of balance can't be covered up with pumpkin or pepper: Bavarian lagers include only hops, malt, yeast and water. With Lucky As Helles, Breakside showcases its brewers' patience and their precision. The beer is refreshing, clean and slightly grassy, with a mild bitterness that lingers as amiably as the fading sun. It puts Breakside on track to meet its goal of brewing 100 different beers in 2013, and it's also on the literal tracks of Portland Meadows—Lucky As Helles will be on draft there all summer. Lucky you. Recommended.