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Bell's Two Hearted Ale: What It Is, and Why It's So Popular

Two Hearted Ale is one of the best beers you can buy without having to wait in line for hours.

bells two hearted ale
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Everything you need to know about the most iconic beers in history from grocery staples to cult favorites. This time: Bell's Two Hearted Ale, one of the best beers you can buy, period.

In 2020, Zymurgy magazine, a publication from the American Homebrewers Association, named Bells Brewery's Two Hearted Ale the best beer in America. This wasn't its first time taking home the distinction. It wasn't even its second or third time. For the fourth year in a row, a beer that was first brewed in 1997 had earned one of the top beer honors in the country. Here's what you should know about Bell's Two Hearted Ale, an iconic beer that's on nearly every grocery store shelf in the country.

What is Bell's Two Hearted Ale?

Bell's Two Hearted Ale is an American IPA-style beer brewed completely with Centennial hops. While the predominant IPA style of today is the hazy IPA, Two Hearted is more in line with West Coast-style IPAs, which are piney, malty and bitter-forward. The 7-percent ABV beer is named after the Two Hearted River in Michigan, which is where Bell's Brewery is located.

Bell's first debuted Two Hearted in the 1980s, but its recipe was different than the Two Hearted we know today. Then, it was brewed with English malt and Wisconsin-grown hops, which Bell's referred to as the two hearts in its beer, and was closer to an English ale. It wasn't until 1997 that Bell's released the formulation of Two Hearted Ale that we still drink today, and even then it was a winter seasonal. Two Hearted didn't become a permanent addition to the lineup util 2003.

bell's brewery two hearted ale original can
Bell’s Brewery first released Two Hearted Ale in the 1980s, but it was a pale ale and not the IPA it is today.
Bell's Brewery

Who makes Bell's Two Hearted Ale?

Bell's Brewery is behind the popular Two Hearted Ale. Larry Bell founded the Michigan-based brewery 1983 under the name Kalamazoo Brewing Supply Co., though Bell sold home-brewing supplies, and not beer. In 1985, Bell sold his first commercial beer, changed the name to Bell's Brewery, and the rest is beer history.

Where can you buy Bell's Two Hearted Ale?

Bell's is just seven states shy of nationwide distribution. The brewery doesn't distribute to Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, Montana, Oregon, Utah or Washington, and it only covers the lower half of California. Use the brewery's beer finder to see where exactly you can find its beers, especially Two Hearted Ale, near you. Two Hearted Ale can be found in most grocery stores, available in 12-ounce cans or bottles, tallboys (16-ounces cans) and stovepipes (19-ounce cans), as well as on tap in bars and restaurants.

Why is Bell's Two Hearted Ale so popular?

Two Hearted Ale has a score of 95 out of 100 rating based on nearly 4,000 reviews on Beer Advocate. The style of beer is known for being overwhelmingly bitter, but Bell's created an IPA that balances that bitterness with citrus, pine and malt flavor. It's also very easy to find, so its appeal is far and wide reaching.

How many calories are in Bell's Two Hearted Ale?

A 12-ounce serving of Bell's Two Hearted Ale has 212 calories and 16.7 grams of carbs, which is consistent with the IPA style and higher ABV.

What fish is on Bell's Two Hearted Ale?

The Two Hearted River in Michigan, the beer's namesake, is popular destination for fly fishing, and it's teeming with trout. Trout also happen to have two hearts, which is probably why it adorns the Two Hearted Ale label. The Trout Look, a blog about trout, notes that the trout's primary heart pumps the blood and the second heart blood from the tail back into the primary heart. The more you know.

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