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We love Two Hearted Ale brewed by Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, MI.  Larry Bell, founder of the brewery, has a unique and varied past.  In the late 1970’s, Larry moved to Kalamazoo to attend college, and took a job at the original Sarkozy Bakery, which is where he began his interest with yeast.  According to an article in the local Kalamazoo newspaper, brewing beer had been outlawed during prohibition, and had not returned since.  And so, Larry’s vision of a local brewery, eatery, event venue began.

In 1983, Larry opened a homebrew supply store in downtown Kalamazoo, under the name Kalamazoo Brewing Supply Co. This was the precursor to the brewery. On September 19, 1995, using a 15-gallon soup pot, Larry made and sold his first commercial beer. He named it Great Lakes Amber Ale and is now known simply as Amber Ale.

In 1986 his beer production reached 135 barrels or 4,185 gallons all of which he originally not only brewed; but distributed as well. And for the next four-years he and a small staff of nine, continued to brew and distribute the beer.

As the 80’s went on, he continued to develop and brew different beers, and in 1997 he debuted Two Hearted Ale as a winter seasonal brew, and in 2003 it became a year-round offering.  It is an Indian Pale Ale Brewed with 100% Centennial hops from the Pacific Northwest and named after the Two Hearted River in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This IPA is bursting with hop aromas ranging from pine to grapefruit due to massive hop additions in both the kettle and the fermenter. It is perfectly balanced with a malt backbone and combined with the signature fruity aromas of Bell’s house yeast. This beer is remarkably drinkable and well suited for adventures everywhere.

One reviewer on The Beer Advocate gives is 4.59 out of 5 and describes it like this:

“Pours light, clear bronze with patchy, short lived head that coats the glass in lace trails. Grapefruit, lemon, pine needles and caramel malt in the nose. Lots of citrusy hops burst in the taste. Delicate biscuity malts provide just enough balance. Medium bodied with creamy, textured carbonation. Medium bitterness and lots of citrusy hop flavor in the long finish. A masterclass in IPA balance – forget all the new-fangled hop varieties, centennial alone can more than get the job done. A classic and a must try.”

But don’t rely on others to tell you what Two Hearted Ale is like. Stop into El Toro Gourmet Meats and pick up a bottle or two of your own.  Check out all the other great craft beers in our selection, and chat it up with Bobby Bacca, store General Manager and Craft Beer Curator.

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Bottom’s Up!




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