he Mahr’s pub, or Ausschank – with its old wooden floors, low wood-beamed ceilings, warm, heavy beachwood tables, big traditional tiled stove, and of course the dour contingent of wizened, smoking, regulars – is one of the best places in the universe to have a large number of beers. In the summer, the action shifts outside to the classic biergarten under the chestnut trees.
The beer that most people who come to Mahr’s love best is the basic Hell, a light-golden lager. A Hell, or Hellesbier, is a Bavarian specialty, not to be confused with the omnipresent Pils that nearly every brewery, from the far North to the Alpine South, has on offer. The Helles bier is squarely focused on malt – rich, sweet, Munich malt with an impossibly fresh new-mown hay flavor — and doesn’t have a whole lot to do with hops. (There are hops in there, but you don’t taste them much.) This is a deep and faceted beer, but not a challenging one. It is welcoming, satisfying, and perfectly refreshing. The stuff in the bottle (which is unpasteurized, keeping flavor alive) will transport you straight to Germany. This Hell is pure heaven.