Monday, March 8, 2010

Bell's Two Hearted Ale


4.4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Chad9976 (599) - Albany, USA - MAR 11, 2010


People always ask me why I love the India Pale Ale style of beer as much as I do. To truly answer that question I’d simply give them a beer like Bell’s Two Hearted Ale to try for themselves. How can you not like a beer that’s this tasty and highly drinkable? Sure, some beers are for acquired tastes, but this is the kind of beer anyone could enjoy.

APPEARANCE AND AROMA

I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. Upon my initial pour I found the color of bright orange to be really attractive. It formed a generous, thick, frothy head and the lacing was equally impressive. The aroma was quite strong with a clean citrusy scent with subtle floral notes as well. This is exactly the kind of IPA I can "drink with my eyes."

TASTE

This is the tale of two beers in one (well, sorta). Since my 10oz tulip glass doesn’t hold the entire bottle’s contents I experienced two slightly different flavors from Bell’s Two Hearted Ale. The initial pour was clear, crisp, clean-smelling and quite tropical. The flavor was refreshing with a strong, tart palette of grapefruit . The finish seemed a bit richer, stickier and piney. The aftertaste, interestingly enough, reverted back to the crisp citrus notes. In fact, it was rather sweet like candy.

After I poured the remaining contents into the glass I noticed the body suddenly became extremely hazy due to yeast settling to the bottom of the bottle. I was curious to see if this would affect the flavor. What was crisp and tart was now a little duller, although the sweetness remained. The flavor seemed a little more dry and the hops seemed less citrusy and more pine-like. It left a slightly dry aftertaste as the hops begin to loiter on my tongue a bit longer than they used to.

Overall, the flavor is really satisfying, but perhaps a tad milder than I’d prefer.

DRINKABILITY
Many of the highly-acclaimed American IPAs tend to be so robust they’re for hopheads only. I wouldn’t say that’s true of Bell’s Two Hearted Ale. The mouthfeel is surprisingly lighter and thinner than you’d expect, and the finish is certainly cleaner. While there is a hop bite, the beer still goes down extremely smooth and is so tasty it’s difficult not to quaff it all down.

At 7% ABV this is what I would consider average potency for an IPA. I drank a bottle on a fairly empty stomach and felt only a slight buzz. The body didn’t seem to weigh me down at all. Therefore, I’m inclined to believe this beer would pair well with dinner or function as a session beer since it tastes just as good at the end as it does at the beginning, therefore, temperature changes over time is not an issue.

FINAL THOUGHTS

While not the best IPA I’ve ever had, I’d definitely say Bell’s Two Hearted Ale was one of the most impressive. I really enjoyed how it combines aspects of the West and East Coast styles to make for one tasty, drinkable beer. This would be a mainstay in my fridge if it were available here.

(note: Bell’s beers are not distributed where I live in upstate New York. This bottle was sent to me from a friend in Michigan so I cannot comment on the price. However, I’d say this would be well worth a purchasing price of upwards of $12 a six-pack.)

Grade: 9/10