Cellar Beer

Cellar Beer

Cellar Beer

You can't talk about lagers and London in the same sentence without at least making mention of Camden Town Brewery. Back in early part of the last decade, before it sold its soul, it was such a special place. Their Hells (a beer that falls between the German Pils and Helles styles) is both conceptually awesome and tangibly crushable. The fact that it's a lager is even cooler - relaxing that liquid took up some valuable real estate under the railway arches that the brewery occupied.

The rest of their early range was just as impressive for the same reasons of tradition and simplicity: a pale ale inspired by Sierra Nevada, a wheat beer brewed with classic German malt and hops and a nitro Stout that sticks to the Dry Irish style. This was all at a time when BrewDog and others were getting into some weird and wacky experimental stuff - the BrewDog Abstrakt series personified this, but its releases were relatively tame compared to Sink the Bismarck! (BrewDog's 40%+ Quadruple IPA).

Then 2015 came around and the soul-selling took place. Camden Town Brewing still churns out some drinkable stuff, has a fun bar and puts on a really fun Tank Party every year - but somehow, the magic is gone. So today I'm instead drinking an imported lager from Germany. Not just any lager though - today we're having Kellerbier.

Kellerbier, you probably guessed, translates to Cellar Beer. But most lagered beers probably spend lots of time in the cellar, so what gives? At a high level, Kellerbier implies a beer (usually a lager) that has been taken from the cellar and that hasn't had much more done to it. This is often generalised to "Kellerbier is an unfiltered lager" but there can sometimes be more to it than that, including open tanks, less lagering time and other quirks in the beer-making process.

Kellerbier isn't a style - so you can have Kellerbier Pilsners or Kellerbier Helleses or Kellerbier whatever-else-you're-keeping-in-your-basement. Today there's no indication of the style I'm drinking on the label, but I took a guess.

Hummel-Bräu | Merkendorfer Kellerbier

Kellerbier (Helles?) | Alc 4.9% | Best before 21.4.2021


Very clear straw gold.


Apple cores, bread, fresh flowers and honey. Like springtime in the orchard, but with a bakery in the distance.


Light, with a roundness representative of that of a Helles. The malt profile stays lower and wider across the bottom of the mouth than I'm used to though. Off-dry and even a bit sweet when it warms up. Fleeting moments of bitterness near the finish.


I did a big lager tasting last week, and this Kellerbier would've ranked up there with the best of them. The nose was really fantastic - a sniff alone and you'll be glad of the purchase. It screams Helles, but while I was struggling with the two Helles beers from last week, I find this one really approachable. Maybe it doesn't well represent the idea that Kellerbiers are unfiltered and should therefore have some haze to them, but that didn't bother me in the least.