While in PA visiting my brother-in-law, I hit a beer store to load up for our visit. 30-pack of Labatts Blue Light cans, case of Yuengling lager cans, and then I figured, let’s look for a nice craft beer from a brewery that doesn’t distribute to MA, where I live. There were lots of choices, some from breweries I can get some beers, but not all (like Firestone Walker, which offered a sampler case), some I’ve never heard of, and then I saw Bells. They had cases of the Two Hearted Ale, which I’ve heard good things about. They also had a sampler, which I went for, which had their summer wheat, a Berliner Weisse, a pale ale, and the Two Hearted Ale.
The Two Hearted was my favorite of the bunch. Actually, the Midwestern Pale Ale did nothing for me, their “Oberon” American Wheat was mediocre, the “Oarsman” Berliner Weisse was fine, and the tartness was refreshing in the heat, but it didn’t seem worth the $46 per case price in the least. I do regret passing on the Firestone Walker mixed case, but I’d had their IPA, and a few others that reach the East Coast in bomber bottles, so I wanted something completely new.
Back to the Two Hearted Ale. It’s a very nice American IPA that stands out a bit. Not loaded with hop aroma (the bottles are over 2 months old), it’s got a good amount of hop flavor to go with an interesting, balanced malt backbone. The aroma is a bit floral, some grapefruit, and a little pine. The hop flavor matching the aroma. The malt comes off a bit more English IPA to me than US. Not sure why. A little breadiness that I don’t normally associate with AIPAs. Also, from what I understand, they use a slightly less clean (compared to Cal ale yeast) American ale yeast, so that could be contributing a bit of esters to the flavor profile.
Odd thing: I’m having one of the two bottles that I took back while writing this, and it’s not giving me quite the same hop flavor on the back of my tongue that I recall when having a couple only a few days ago. Only difference is that I poured this one into a glass vs drinking them from the bottle while in PA. That, and I’m not filling the rest of the day out with Yuenglings and Blue Lights while in the 90° sun.
A tasty brew to say the least, and it doesn’t drink like a 7% beer the label says it is. I would have guessed it to be in the lower 6% range. I figure that’s attributed to good balance and solid brewing techniques. According to their website, this is an all-Centennial hopped beer. A bit surprised I’m getting the floral aroma and flavor, but then again, I think any beers I’ve made with Centennial have always included one or two other hop varieties as well. I’m appreciating this as it gives me a great demonstration of this particular hop variety all on its own.