Monday, October 31, 2011

Bells - Two Hearted Ale Review

Brewery: Bells (MI)
Style: IPA
ABV: 7.0%
Grade: A-


Bells is another fantastic brewery that sadly isn't available in New York. Fortunately, I only have to travel as far as Pennsylvania to find a select few of their beers, and since I'm from PA, that's not too much to ask. Two Hearted has a reputation as one of the classic American IPAs, and for good reason.

If my sources are correct, Two Hearted is a single-hopped IPA, showcasing centennial hops. Centennial imparts a rich, fruity flavor, which this beer is bursting with. This is easily one of the smoother, juicer variations on the style, as there's no attempt to add a harsh backend here. It's all fruit, with a lick of malts that are very well balanced (ie, not particularly sweet or noticeable.) Two Hearted is rich and clean, much more drinkable than most IPAs its size. There's a nice crisp finish and an almost piney, musty aroma from the hops. As it's easier drinking and more savory than other, harsher IPAs, I'd venture to say this would be a perfect summer beer. Pack some along on your next fishing venture or BBQ.

Of course, a single-hopped beer is going to lack complexity, if you count such things as shortcomings. It's certainly not an issue here, and centennial holds its own very well, but this isn't the most unique IPA you'll find. It's a very, very solid IPA, but reminiscent of many others that rely on cascade and centennial hops. As an embodiment of one side of the American IPA spectrum, though, you really can't do much better than this. If I had regular access to it, this would probably be one of my go-to commercial beers.

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