Tasting the Bell’s Two Hearted Ale

October 5, 2010

The American India Pale Ale, or American-Style India Pale Ale has become one of the most popular, widespread, and brewed beers in North America. The rich pale malt backbone found in the depths of an aromatically bitter and hop-crisp beer has enchanted people all across the continent. There is only one problem with this – there are probably close to 1,800 breweries in NA, and there are probably about 2,000 different Pale Ales! The Pale Ale craze is becoming a bit overwhelming; whether it is an IPA, Pale Ale, American version or a hybrid, there are just too many pale ales out there.

So what’s a beer lover to do!? Well, obviously taste them all and find your favorites. Because that may take to long, I’m going to start you off in the right direction with one of the most well rounded and best constructed American IPA’s on the planet. The Bell’s Two Hearted Ale. Too many pales are either one sided, to aggressively hopped, not hopped enough, or are poorly built. The Two Hearted Ale is at the top of my list because it hits all the right notes in perfect harmony. It doesn’t get carried away with this or that, it is just plain good. Read the rest of this entry »

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Defined: American Pale Ale

September 21, 2010

Aroma: Usually moderate to strong hop aroma from dry hopping or late kettle additions of American hop varieties.  A citrusy hop character is very common, but not required. Low to moderate maltiness supports the hop presentation, and may optionally show small amounts of specialty malt character (bready, toasty, biscuity).  Fruity esters vary from moderate to none.  No diacetyl.  Dry hopping (if used) may add grassy notes, although this character should not be excessive.

Appearance: Pale golden to deep amber.  Moderately large white to off-white head with good retention.  Generally quite clear, although dry-hopped versions may be slightly hazy.

Flavor: Usually a moderate to high hop flavor, often showing a citrusy American hop character (although other hop varieties may be used).  Low to moderately high clean malt character supports the hop presentation, and may optionally show small amounts of specialty malt character (bready, toasty, biscuity).   Read the rest of this entry »


Tasting Anchor Brewing’s Liberty Ale

July 16, 2010

Everyone should have a go-to beer for that very specific moment which runs over and over again and requires something just totally perfect. Of course experimenting with new beers is amazing and fun, but you always need that one beer which you know will never let you down and will always perform exactly the way you want it to. Its hot outside, your palate is dry, and you are thirsty for a beer – my go-to is, and for a very long time has been, the Liberty Ale by Anchor Brewing. And for good reason.

There are lots, actually tons of thirst quenching IPAs, Pale Ales, Pilsners, Weissebiers, etc which will all quench your palate exceptionally well. But the Liberty Ale is my staple beyond any other beer I have ever tried when I have this specific goal in mind. Its immaculate balance, complex yet sublime simplicity, and elegant flavors come together to create a beer which is exactly what I need when I need it – really nothing else would do the trick; and there are several reasons for this… Read the rest of this entry »


Tasting the Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale… Are you worthy?

April 9, 2010

After being teased by Stone’s Oakquinox festival which I cannot attend, and happens to be on my birthday, I have been in a Stone mood. So lets take a look at one of the most outrageous beer labels to exist, and also one of Americas best selling pale ales, the Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale.

Stone certainly does not beat around the bush with this one. This is what is printed quite clearly on the back of the bottle:

“This is an aggressive beer. You probably won’t like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to be able to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth. We would suggest that you stick to a safer and more familiar territory – maybe something with a multi-million dollar ad campaign aimed at convincing you it’s made in a little brewery, or one that implies that their tasteless fizzy yellow beer will give you more sex appeal. Perhaps you think multi-million dollar ad campaigns will make a beer taste better. Perhaps you’re mouthing you words as you read this.” Read the rest of this entry »