Spaten Munchner Hell

Review Date 11/2/2019   By John Staradumsky

What’s in a name? A lot when that name is Spaten Premium Lager, aka Spaten Münchner Hell. The latter here is the name of a tasty, malty lager from Germany’s Spaten brewery, a beer for the American market they refer to as the former. Perhaps the Germans didn’t care for the meaning of the word hell in English? In German it means light or pale, which is a fine description of the appearance of this tasty, satisfying brew.

Münchner helles is not just a beer, it’s an entire style, one that we can thank Spaten for. As they tell it on their website:

SPATEN – Das erste Münchner Hell

Am 21. März 1894 , zu einer Zeit, als man in München und bundesweit ausschließlich dunkles, süß-malziges Bier genoss, braute Spaten als Vorreiter der Kategorie das erste Münchner Hell.

Or, if you don’t speak German:

SPATEN - The first Munich Hell

On March 21, 1894, at a time when only dark, sweet-malty beer was enjoyed in Munich and nationwide, Spaten brewed the first Munich Hell as a pioneer in the category.

Likely inspired by the Czech (and later German) pilsners that originated around 1842, Munich Helles is indeed pale in color, soft golden like a pilsner but with more bready malt and less hops. Spaten Munchner Hell is the perfect example of the style. It’s a beer that Munich can call it’s own (not that there are a shortage of styles the fine folks in Munich can say that about).

Spaten Münchner Hell has an alcohol content of 5.2% by volume. I have enjoyed it many times in bottles, but just the other night had it on tap at Taco Mac for the very first time. It’s sold at Total Wine for $8.99 a six-pack, and I paid a very reasonable $6.08 for a 23-ounce mug at Taco Mac, which included a nifty Fransziskaner draw string bag to boot.

My mug of Spaten Münchner Hell arrived a pale golden color with a modferate sized cap of foam and a delightful soft and bready malt nose. Taking a sip, the palate offers more fresh bread and malt akin to chewing a handful that’s been lightly kilned. A gentle grassy bitterness balances nicely.

This one is pure bliss, folks. The gentle, bready-biscuity malt is incredibly moreish, and the light hop bitterness keeps the malt honest while still allowing it to be the star of the show.

A native of Munich might tell you “Laß Dir raten, trinke Spaten!” (Let me tell you, drink Spaten!”. Sounds like good advice to me….


And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.

*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.

(B)=Bottled, Canned