Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

Two Hearted Ale

Other reviews for this beer:
Eddie Glick one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer read it ›
Bell’s Brewery, Inc.
Galesburg, MI

Style: India Pale Ale (IPA)
ABV: 7.0%

Nigel’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (World class.)

Many of you loyal Beer Dorks who closely follow your good friend Nigel's long, nonsensical, rarely-to-the-point beer reviews (this is assuming that there is someone out there who actually does this, which is highly unlikely, but let me have my moment) may be thinking, "dammit, Nigel, just because a beer is hoppy doesn't mean it's good". This is so true. Good beer comes in all shapes and sizes, and some of the best beer I've ever had has come from styles very different than the IPA's I typically favor. And, like any other beer style, the IPA has its fair share of duds. Off the top of my head, I would list New Holland (previously reviewed in this space), Sprecher (a bit of a shocker), Flying Dog (Nigel definitely isn't a fan of this Denver micro), and Mendocino in California ( NoCal Beer Dorks). So why is it that Nigel's beer reviews tend to be so favorable, particularly when it comes to hoppy brews, with very few one, two, or even three mug ratings having been passed out? Well friends, I am a Beer Dork, and therefore, I like GOOD beer. Thus, I tend to select some of the finer brews out there to review, regardless of style, and they usually get the royal treatment. Perhaps my New Year's resolution should be to review more bad beers, but we'll see.

One thing I can say for sure is that this particular review will most certainly not be the first from a new Nigel, a Nigel who mimics that pathetic British-wannabe judge Simon from that idiotic TV show "American Karaoke" who rips on everything to compensate for his small...uh, you know. Bell's Two Hearted Ale is undoubtedly one of the finest brews out there...period. Regardless of style, regardless of nationality, regardless of anything, this is the epitome of what a fine craft brew should be. Yes, I have raved about many other fine brews in previous reviews, but none, and I mean none, can touch the overall, across-the-board quality of Bell's Two Hearted Ale. And, just to rub it in to any Chicagoland Beer Dorks out there, Nigel lives in a magical land (no, not Michigan) where Bell's is distributed freely, where the women are plump and juicy, and where nothing is what it seems.

Bell's Two Hearted pours a beautiful cloudy golden brown color, a bit lighter than many craft IPA's, but not unusual for the style. The initial head is slightly foamier than normal, but it quickly dissipates as it should, leaving a light cream lace for the remainder of the glass. The smell is fantastic--very hoppy, but not that pungent, bitter smell that heavily hopped beers sometimes tend to have. This is a light, very floral hop aroma, one of the finer beer aromas I've experienced, though certainly not the strongest. The taste is fantastic. No, not fantastic--orgasmic. First of all, this is not an over-the-top example of the style, one that's trying to be hoppy for the sake of being hoppy. To put it another way, this is not a beer with short-man's syndrome. That's right, some craft IPA's suffer from this typically human affliction, one which causes 30 or 40 something year old males under 5'10", most of whom are balding, to buy fancy cars and the latest in technology, which they feel allows them to be stuck up dicks, all in order to give the impression that they are still young and hip, which they most certainly are not. In the beer world, this means adding so many bitter, tongue-burning hops to a brew that you can't tell whether it sucks or not. Yes, Two Hearted Ale is hoppy...very hoppy, but by no means intolerable in the bitterness department. The hops are very flavorful, with a nice citrus zest coming through, aided by a bit more carbonation than you typically find in an IPA. A good amount of caramel malt balances the flavor, and the perfect amount of spice makes for a medium-bodied, very smooth, and very drinkable brew. Few craft IPA's can be considered session brews, but this is certainly one, with a perfectly balanced flavor that makes you salivate after the first in anticipation of the next, and at 6% abv, it's a fairly tempered craft IPA. The aftertaste is, well--has there ever been such a thing as a good aftertaste? This one is strong, but not overwhelming. All in all, this is a phenomenal brew, one that I believe any craft beer drinker, regardless of personal taste, would definitely enjoy and it will continue to be at the top of Nigel's list for years to come. Too bad I have to go a whole three blocks to get it. Cheers, Chicago!

Reviewed by Nigel Tanner on January 19, 2007.
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