Two Hearted Ale

Review Date 6/11/1998   Last Updated 10/22/2019  By John Staradumsky

Any serious discussion of the finest IPA's produced in America would be incomplete without including Bell's Two Hearted Ale. This dry-hopped, 7% alcohol by volume, orange colored brew decants nicely and produces a thick foamy head as well as a persistent Brussels' lace. The nose is really big, all hops, and screams Centennials at you. The palate is dominated by the hops as well, there's a powerful grapefruit character that grabs your tongue and slowly fades to a truly awesome bitterness in the finish. You won't find balance here, the malt doesn't stand a chance. Certainly one of the most intensely hoppy beers I've ever tasted. It's a sheer delight for hop lovers, and is just another incredibly bold beer from Bell's.

Update 2/14/2019: My, how times have changed. When I penned the above words on Bells Two Hearted Ale over 2 decades ago, it was a local rarity, hard to come by at the time outside of its home area. I lived in Rhode Island then, and the beer was not sold in the Ocean State. Today, Bell's Two Hearted has become almost a national brand, and I see it everywhere on tap and in cans in bottles. It's quite reasonably price ($9.49 a six-pack at Target), too.

But wait, there's more. Although the beer itself hasn't really changed, these days it is much more of a balanced beer (even though it's not). Say what Bruguru? Compared to today's thin malty IPAs, Two Hearted Ale has a strong malty presence that still yields to the hops but does provide a form backbone for the beer.

Earthy and herbal, citrusy and malty, infused with delightful grassy hops and a splendid bitter finish, this is an amazing beer indeed.

Update 10/22/2019: Headed back to our hotel after an afternoon and evening of German food, beer, and music in Helen, Georgia, my sons and I stopped at Bigg Daddy's tavern for a nightcap. How about a fill of my souvenir mug with Bell's Two Hearted Ale for just $6? This IPA, a real IPA, made the perfect counterpoint to the lovely German beers I had been drinking.

And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.

*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.