The Motherlode: Bell’s Two Hearted Ale

Due to the hopelessly arcane three-tier beer distribution system, there are thousands of incredible breweries that are not available to me in the Central New York region. Founders, Russian River, Three Floyd’s, New Belgium, New Glarus, Pyramid, Alesmith, Cigar City, Hair of the Dog, Surly, 21st Amendment … the list of beers to which I have no access literally goes on and on.

So when the forces of the free market are superseded by the thuggish influence of stringent state laws and special interests, you do what you gotta do. In this case, that includes taking the search online. To the internets!

For a very reasonable price, I split a large sum of unavailable beer with my erstwhile fellow blogger Javen. One of the beers that I decided we must have was Two Hearted Ale, an IPA from Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, MI.

For fans of Stone’s Ruination, this one is a welcome (and likely cheaper) alternative, if you can find it near you. It pours a hazy, sunny yellow color. A nice white head, with a cloudy body reminiscent of a Belgian white.

The aroma is mostly hops at first: full of sweet citrus and flowery perfume. Lime and lemon come in with some agitation. There are some biscuity malts, but they fade into the background.

The first sip is interesting in that toasted pale malts emerge first, and the sweet hops fade into the background. The hops take on an orange peel and coriander quality. It’s very sweet, and although the hops have clearly softened up a tad, I would dare say this might qualify as a “gateway IPA.” The creamy thickness adds a nice, needed texture to keep it from being too acidic.

If this beer holds this well after being a couple weeks past its prime, I can’t imagine how it would be fresh. And since the big meanies perpetuating the three-tier system are still keeping it from me, I may never know.

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~ by William H on May 1, 2010.

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