Bell’s Brewery | Two Hearted Ale
ABV: 7% | IBU: 55
For most new to beer, and a sizable number of those well-versed in the various styles beer has to offer, trying an IPA is like sneaking a swig of your dad’s whiskey after everyone has gone to bed. It is an unpleasant rite of passage into the craft beer world that I, simply put, did not agree with. There was too much out there to enjoy without forcing myself to drink something I didn’t enjoy.
When I made the leap (I mean Hulk-sized leap) from Smirnoff Ice and Amaretto sours to beer, it was to the malt filled British-styles. I favored the more tolerant brown ales, scotch ales and the occasional maibock. In fact, my go-to quickly become Newcastle Brown Ale. Over the next few years, I toured the more popular gamut of European imports while dabbling in America’s finer beers like Rogue Dead Guy, Samuel Adams Boston Lager and Fat Tire. All the while, I never understood how anyone could enjoy an IPA.
So, when asked what I’d like to drink while sitting at a Mellow Mushroom in downtown Augusta, Georgia back in 2010, I did what I always do and scan the menu for anything I hadn’t tried before. I asked for the first beer that fit this bill, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale – not IPA, it said “Ale” – and was blown away by the balance and drinkability of what instantly became my first and favorite IPA.
To this day, Two Hearted Ale is an IPA that is not out to get you. You want to play two-hand touch football in the backyard? Two Hearted Ale is fine with that; it is not that jackass that decides in-game we are all of a sudden playing tackle – leave those shenanigans to Stone.
Trust me. Close your eyes and let this fine IPA transport you to a relaxing late morning in the wilderness. The aroma hits the nose and reminds me of floral pollens drifting through the air around me, while the flavor has only a modest bitterness that dissipates with the beer, leaving citrus notes behind. (Press play below – you will know what I mean.)
Two Hearted Ale is, insistently, brewed with a single hop variant. Using solely Centennial hops (a common hop addition for American beers), Bell’s has solidified a brand in Two Hearted that is dependably drinkable and doesn’t bully anyone into forcing down a pint. Instead, it sits there on tap walls around the country humbly inviting imbibers to try a glass.
This was the first IPA that I actually enjoyed and a gateway into so many other IPAs that were absolutely delicious. No longer intimidated by the daunting acronym of IPA, I gave more and more a chance and now, thanks to a seemingly flooded market, the style nearly dominates my Beer History on Untappd.