Sunday, June 2, 2013
The Brew Kettle–Dark Helmet (7/10)
If you're not familiar with the Mel Brooks movie "Spaceballs" you may not understand the name of Strongsville, Ohio's The Brew Kettle's Dark Helmet. The movie is a spoof of science fiction films like Star Wars, and features a villain named Dark Helmet (who is patterned after Darth Vader in Star Wars, and played by Rick Moranis). Being a science fiction and Mel Brooks fan, I couldn't resist this beer when I saw it on the shelf. But given that it's an Imperial Schwarzbier (with "The Schwartz" being Spaceballs' equivalent to Star Wars' "The Force"), I only bought one bottle since "Imperial" is often a code word for "hoppier than it needs to be".
Poured into the glass, Dark Helmet lives up to its name. It's dark brown, almost black, but not opaque. It's relatively clear for its color, and you can see through the edges of it. There is very little head, and it's an off-white color. It dissipates in a minute or so.
The aroma is malty, with a strong coffee scent to it. A bit of dark chocolate is also present.
The flavor is consistent throughout the sip. The hops presence is far milder than I'd expect for something with "imperial" in the name. The main flavor component is a dark-roasted malt, balanced with an equal amount of hops, resulting in a very balanced beer. It's smooth, and quite easy to drink. There is a slight hops aftertaste but it's not unpleasant.
Beer Advocate rates Dark Helmet 84/100 or "good". That's very close to my own 7/10 rating for this beer. It's a nice beer, and one I can imagine purchasing again or drinking at a beer festival.
At the time I purchased this in May, Dark Helmet was available at a number of shops around Columbus. I've seen it at The Andersons near 161 and Sawmill, Kenny Road Market, Ale Wine & Spirits of Powell, Palmer's Beverage Center, and Weiland's Gourmet Market.