Thursday, February 01, 2007

Two Hearted Ale - a review

Bell's Brewery (formerly Kalamazoo Brewery) of Kalamazoo, MI, has recently established a salient for its beers here in the DC/VA area. (An earlier post of mine concerned Larry Bell and his encounter with a large midwestern distributor.)

Of Bells' roster of beers, I have particularly enjoyed the Two Hearted Ale. It's a strong American Pale Ale at 7% abv (although, lists it as 6%).

Two Hearted Ale has an orangey hue, and pours with a big white mousse. There's a lovely yet restrained nose of pear, apricot, ripe pineapple, and - de rigeuer for American pale ales - citrus.

The flavor follows suit. The malt is there, but as a slight sweetness.

Many big pale ales only highlight the bittering tannins of hops rather than their herbal quality. But Two Hearted Ale also emphasizes the hops' herbal aromatics. In that manner, it shares a brewer's emphasis similar to that of Clipper City's Loose Cannon Hop3 Ale.

Two Hearted Ale also brings to mind Tuppers Hop Pocket Ale from Old Dominion Brewing in Virginia - but with a softer finish and more of a fruity nose. That's not a value judgment; the two beers show different - and valid - brewers' interpretations of the American Pale Ale style.

There may be a less-than-six-degrees-of-separation connection here: the production manager for Bells is John Mallett. More than a decade ago, he was one of the original brewers for Old Dominion. He remains today one of the truly talented brewing technicians of the US craft beer world. (Rob Mullins was the brewer who actually formulated Tuppers at Dominion for Bob and Ellie Tupper. But Rob had worked under John Mallet.)

Don't get me started about whether Two Hearted Ale is a Pale Ale, IPA, double IPA, or a ... WHATEVER. That's the boring domain of obsessive nit-picking beer-style hop-lites.

Instead, simply relax and enjoy this delicious beer!

My samples were purchased at my local Whole Foods grocer; they had the code 7781 printed on their back labels.

1 comment:

  1. I was in Kzoo visiting relatives for Thanksgiving and was very impressed with Bell's Two Hearted Ale.

    Being a homebrewer I'm hoping I can find a clone recipe so I can brew it here at my home brewery in Nashville, TN.

    Now what kind of hops were those, hmmmm?


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