11:55 AM, Aug 10, 2004
Two Hearted Ale
tagged with dotw
I went to Minneapolis, this past weekend, to celebrate my birthday with some friends and relatives. I turned 26 at midnight on Saturday night, and I was treated by my cousin Vince, and his roommate Mike, to a night on the town. We went to The Independent, a second-floor bar in Minneapolis' Uptown neighborhood. I walked toward the bar, and was hassled away by Vince and Mike, who told me to sit my newly-26-year-old ass down, and await my sponsored drink.
It came in the form of a Jager and Red Bull shot, and a glass of one of my favorite beers available on tap in Minnesota: Bell's
Two Hearted Ale, produced in Kalamazoo, MI, by one of the oldest "great" breweries in America.(yes, 1983 is old for great american beer).
The beer is a delicious-looking deep orange when poured, and it doesn't look at all like its flavor. They don't call it one, but it's been termed an IPA(India Pale Ale), by the beer-drinking community, because of its extremely hoppy characteristics. An IPA gets its name from the beers of roughly the same style that were brewed for the long nautical voyage from Great Britain to India, which in those days took mariners all the way around Africa. On a trip of this length, beer would generally taste pretty lousy by the end of the journey, so brewers in Britain had to come up with a special beer, to keep the crew's spirits up.
The result was a beer that was heavily fortified with alcohol and hops, making it especially bitter, but very long-lived in a wooden cask. Today, the beer style made in homage to those days is the modern-day IPA. Some people love it, and some people hate it. I thought I hated it, until I tried Two Hearted Ale, on the advice of a clerk at Gomer's
, late in 2003. Now, it's one of my favorite beer styles, and this is my favorite IPA. That's definitely saying something.
Even though it's a different table, this is still the same glass.
After about four or five of these, and another Jager Red Bull shot, we all got chased out of the closing Independent, and Mike went and grabbed some girl's boob.
Ratings (out of ten):
Flavor: 9 (This is my absolute favorite IPA. The hops are in your face, and the bitterness dominates the flavor.)
Body: 8 (Bites every part of your mouth that detects flavor, and keeps biting well after you've swallowed.)
Aroma: 8 (It smells almost as hoppy as it tastes.)
Smoothness: 4 (Sometimes, smoothness needs to be ignored, in favor of bite, flavor, and finish.)
Price: 10 (It was my birthday, and hence cost me nothing. It doesn't get any better-priced than that.)