As usual, I’m late to the party.
Years after most people (those who like beer, at least) discovered Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale, I’ve finally come around.
It may be the best beer I’ve ever had.
At least, it’s in the top two, the other being Bishops Finger, an absolutely fantastic brew that showed up in a number of Minneapolis bars and liquor stores around 1996 and abruptly disappeared after a few months and is unfindable anywhere. (From Google I learned that the brewery signed a deal with a Michigan importer in 1996, but I can’t find the importer on the web. There’s no other mention of US imports via Google or the brewer’s web site.) As I haven’t had Bishops Finger in over ten years, it’s hard to make a comparison.
So. Two-Hearted Ale is one of my two favorite beers, and since I can’t get the other one without international travel (maybe Canada? Never thought of that) I may as well give it the crown.
It’s good enough in fact, that it may actually get me to start brewing again, something I did frequently for a fairly short period a couple of years ago. I stopped when I had an inventory of about 12 cases backed up; I was brewing far more than I was–or should’ve been–drinking. That inventory consisted of a series of good-but-not-great IPA varieties followed up with a pretty mediocre Scotch Ale. A little disappointed with my beer results, and absolutely out of room to brew any more, I stopped brewing for a while. ‘A while’ has turned into a couple of years.
Now however, I find a beer I absolutely love, with several clone recipes on the Internets, and it just happens to be bottle conditioned, which means that I can harvest and culture yeast right from the bottle (the yeast strain actually being the most important variable in a beer’s taste). I also have about ten cases of empties. Looks like the time might be right.
As a matter of fact, now that I’m thinking about it, I can hardly wait to get started. If I got going right now, I could probably even get an Octoberfest ready before it’s November, then on to a winter ale, then maybe try a bock before adventuring into the land of lagers late-winter in order to be done for spring . . .
If you like beer, keep an eye on this space. In a few months I may be looking for volunteers to help me drink up my inventory.