Saturday, July 28, 2007

New Glarus Hop Hearty Ale & Bell's Two Hearted Ale

Starting with the New Glarus Hop Hearty Ale. According to New Glarus this is "the Wisconsin I.P.A. I've been thirstin’ for." Unfortunately, after tasting it, I can tell you it wasn't. This beer poured a nice and dark amber to light brown in color, with a nicely formed fluffy and slightly rocky head. I didn't snap the picture till I'd gotten down almost to the end, so I couldn't document its nice pour. The initial whiff was very nice, with hops as I was expecting. In addition to that there was also a bit of citrus and sweet malt in the aroma as well. After that initial whiff though the hops were on vacation. This was the furthest thing from "cleanly bitter and aromatic" that you could find. What did actually come through though were lots of caramel malt, toasted malt flavor, and just enough hops to balance that out. It tasted like a REALLY GOOD amber ale. Honestly, if they just renamed this beer New Glarus Malt Hearty Ale it would be praised by people all over. Instead they call it an IPA and it gets good but not great reviews on BA. Honestly, I know they are putting somewhat of an English spin on this beer, using some "old world hops" like East Kent Goldings, it still doesn't come out bright enough in flavor or aroma to match up with even the English IPA's. Either way, I'm not saying don't drink this beer, it is tasty. It just doesn't taste like an IPA. I had to give it a 3.15 on BA. When New Glarus starts promoting this as an amber ale I will immediately switch my score to a 4.5.

Next up was Bell's Two Hearted Ale. I had high hopes for this beer given that it is pretty darn popular in the Midwest. This beer pours a rich golden in color with your standard frothy IPA head that lingers for a few minutes (I also snapped it's picture a little late). The smell doesn't jump out at you at all really. If you search you can get a bit of hops, but not pungent at all (as we are use to on the West Coast). The taste is fairly quenching. Sweet malts mixed with citrus in the beginning, and a nice lingering bitterness in the finish. It's not an overly aggressive IPA, but there's nothing wrong with that. Sometimes you don't always feel like a Green Flash West Coast IPA, or Bear Republic Racer 5. Bell's Two Hearted has it's place and it asserts itself as an IPA, so you can't complain. I gave it a 3.9 on BA.

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