Beer Review 0014: Bell’s Two Hearted Ale

Two Hearted Ale, an American-style India Pale Ale, is brewed by Bell’s Brewery, located in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Bell’s was started by a guy named Larry Bell, who opened a home brewing supply shop in 1983 under the Kalamazoo Brewing Company moniker.

A couple years later, the shop began selling its own beer, which was brewed in 15 gallon soup kettles covered with Saran Wrap. Today, Bell’s has two separate brewing facilities and a brewpub. They still sell home brewing supplies, encouraging the most avid among beer lovers.

Most of Bell’s beers are of the seasonal variety, but Two Hearted Ale falls under the year-round umbrella. Bell’s also makes what is called a “millennial” beer, which is a unique concoction that celebrates every 1000 batches produced. It should be noted that Bell’s has a nice feature on its website which allows you to input a batch number found on a bottle of beer to determine its freshness. (You can also gauge when the next millennial release is coming based on these numbers.)

Two Hearted Ale is advertised as an IPA that uses hops in massive from the Pacific Northwest, but is balanced with a malty body and Bell’s own house yeast.

I palate-tested a bottle of this fantastically packaged ale on February 6 (the bottle and cardboard packaging features a fish swimming underwater; the color scheme is both lovely and strange). The bottle had a batch code of 10166, which meant it was bottled on January 4.

Two Hearted poured with an enormous head that lasted a good long while, forming a nice foamy cap over the top of the glass and reducing to a fairly thick layer that remained throughout the drink. The head was frothy and rocky, while the lacing it left behind was of fair amount at first, then sporadic towards the conclusion. This beer had light sediment floating throughout its golden-amber-orangish color with a clear body. Nice looking brew.

The aromatics were hop dominated; first nose reveals heavy floral and citrus aromas with an undertone of pine and resin. If you revel in hops, you will love this — the smell is perfume-like in quality but there are no perfume aromas present. Although the malts and yeast are supposed to be in there, my nose didn’t really detect any of those notes. Perhaps a bit of biscuity malt here and there.

On the palate, this beer shows the extremely crispy floral and citrus flavors, but is balanced perfectly with a creamy mouthfeel. The citrus isn’t clearly defined but leans more toward the orange end of the spectrum. The finish is quite bitter but not mouth-puckeringly so; once again, I noted the great balance between the hop crispness and the soft, creamy mouthfeel.

Two Hearted Ale scored quite well all around thanks to a good balance. This isn’t a harsh IPA by any means and I think it would score quite well with someone who is new to the style. It’s at a slightly high alcohol content (7% ABV) but I have no doubts that this ale could be quaffed all night. Easily drinkable and refreshing, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale is of very good quality.

Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, 89 points. Price: $10.99 US for six pack.

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