Editor’s note: I’m proud to introduce a new beer writer on TaylorEason.com, Robb Larsen. Robb has been a homebrewer since 1996 and I wrote a piece about making beer with him back in 2008. Read about him and his skills.
Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
Brewery: Bell’s (Kalamazoo, Michigan)
Style: American IPA
Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 7%
Most people either love or hate India Pale Ales (IPA), particularly the bitter, hop filled, citrus packed American IPA. India Pale Ales have their roots in England, where during the late 18th century breweries began to use hops to preserve beer on the voyage to the colonies in India. Of course, there was no refrigeration or pasteurization back in those days so the only defense against spoilage — and lost income for the brewers — was, you guessed it, hops and alcohol. Hops were added to the pale ales, then more hops, then well…more hops, and the mighty IPA was born.
Today’s contestant is Bell’s Two Hearted Ale. This dusky orange-colored 7.0 ABV heavyweight beer from renowned Bell’s Brewery pours flawlessly into the pint glass, leaving cascades of bubbles and a loose, foamy head. As the glass wafts near the nose, the floral aromas and orange and grapefruit-like hops smell amazing. The first taste is of hops — floral and citrus — with a hint of pine. Light and medium caramel malt flavors follow along with a medium and pleasant IPA bitterness.
Some American India Pale Ales really punch the drinker in the mouth, sadistically daring him/her to take another sip. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale is not one of those — it’s drinkable and approachable. This one is more refined, more balanced, more pleasant, and more drinkable than most. It stands refreshingly well on its own especially on a hot summer day and will pair well with any barbecue, like most IPAs.
Who’ll Like This Beer: Hopheads will, of course, rejoice. Aspiring beer geeks who have graduated to brews like Bud’s American Ale or Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale should want to try this.
Little Known Fact: Centennial Hops are the only hops used in Bells Two Hearted Ale.
The Verdict: This hop-filled, medium-bodied gem is well balanced, delicious, and perhaps the quintessential American IPA.
Rating: 10/10 Mugs