Saturday, January 14, 2012

Bell's Two Hearted Ale Review

Brewery: Bell's Brewery, Inc. | Beer: Two Hearted Ale
Style: American India Pale Ale | ABV: 7.0% | IBUs: ~50
Serving Method: 12 oz. bottle poured into pint glass

Highly rated beers not available here in Texas are like forbidden fruit for me. I pine for them, add them to a sad little wishlist, and wait patiently for the brewery to start distributing them here. Sometimes though, through various means I won't go into, an unavailable beer sneaks over state lines and I get my grubby little paws on a bottle or two.

That was the case with Bell's Two Hearted Ale. Bell's garner lots of buzz for a host of different beers, including a pair of IPAs: Two Hearted and Hop Slam (a Double IPA). Both have been on my wishlist for years, and a while back, a few bottles of Two Hearted found their way into my possession.

Backing up a bit, let's take a quick look at Bell's themselves. Dating back to 1985 when it was founded by Larry Bell, Bell's is one of the true pioneers of American craft brewing. The company was originally known as the Kalamazoo Brewing Company, named after the city the brewery was founded i, but changed their name to Bell's in 2005 to reflect what consumers called the brewery. They currently brew up a deep portfolio of well over 20 different beers.

Getting back to the beer at hand, it's worth noting Bell's are pretty stingy with the details here. They don't let slip the malt bill, but do note that the only hop used is the Centennial variety, which is employed during brewing, then again for a course of dry-hopping.

Bell's describe the finished product thusly:
Two Hearted Ale is defined by its intense hop aroma and malt balance. [A] remarkably drinkable American-style India Pale Ale.
Well it's been quite a wait, but let's dig into the illicitly totally legitimately sourced beer, shall we?

Appearance: A hazy golden-orange body capped by about two fingers of densely-packed off-white head that fades slowly and leaves brilliant lacing.

Aroma: Lots of juicy, citrusy, and slightly leafy hops over a caramel malt body. It sounds strange, but I get shades or fresh orange juice from time to time.

Taste: Up front, the mildly bitter hops lead the charge and are again juicy, citrusy, and a little leafy. Underneath, there’s a solid biscuity malt body keeping everything grounded. It’s balanced rather nicely, though the focus is (rightly) on the hops. That moderately-high alcohol content is totally masked. Biscuity malt and juicy in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with medium carbonation and a drying finish.

Drinkability: This goes back without any issue whatsoever, and would probably make a great session choice if it wasn’t for the slightly beefy alcohol content.

Verdict: It’s clear why Two Hearted has built such a great reputation; this is just a straightforward, well-crafted, and satisfying American IPA. After this introduction to Bell’s I can’t wait to try another of their beers.

Grade: A+

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I live in Indiana and my parents live in Houston. Do you want me to find you any other Bell's that you are looking for?

Chris said...

Thanks Anonymous! If it doesn't put you out, I'd love to get more Bell's for review!