Category Archives: commercial beer

Hop Shortage Ideas

With the ongoing hop shortage people are looking for other ways to bitter their beer.  Here’s an interesting idea from the East Germans as documented in the New York Times back in 1991.

“They convinced us that to be competitive, we had to brew under the German beer purity law,” Mr. Funk said. “And they created marketing and advertising concepts for our products. Before unity we used to put cattle bile in our beer to give it the bitter flavor of hops, which we couldn’t always get.” The brewery now spends $533,333 annually on advertising, compared with $6,666 under Communism.

Cattle bile does sound bitter.

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Bell’s Two Hearted Ale

Bell’s Two Hearted Ale

Colin brought me back some Bell’s Two Hearted Ale on his last trip to visit his parents in St. Louis. He’s a genius. I think he told me about the beer sometime around New Years. I picked it up last week. Did I mention that Colin is a genius? You’d think that someone as obsessed with beer as I am would make time to go pick up some free beer that I have been dying to taste — especially since his house is basically on my way home from work. I like to think that at the end of the day I really want to get home to see Stephanie and Jonathan.

He sent me home with some other beer as well, so I have some additional fodder for beer tasting. You’ll see it here soon enough. Stay tuned.

I’ve even been trying to talk Becca and my parents into shipping me beer from Minneapolis and Philadelphia respectively that I can’t get in Nashville. Minneapolis is only a short distance to Wisconsin, where New Glarus is brewed and sold. I’d love to taste any of their beer, but I am especially interested in their sour ales. Philadelphia is home to a number of respected breweries and is the American home of Belgian beer. My parents are going to end up with a list of places they need to visit for me. I should probably just take a trip to visit them and take an extra suitcase. Anyone else out there interested in a beer trade, let me know. I’m definitely game.

Anyway, Bell’s Brewery is located in Michigan and isn’t distributed in Nashville, so I this might be the only Two Hearted Ale I drink in a long time. It’s the first time I’ve tasted it. Two Hearted Ale is Bell’s American IPA. Rate Beer gives Two Hearted Ale a 4.05 out of 5, and stunning score.

Here are my tasting notes. I’m definitely not an expert and I purposefully wrote these without looking at the comments at Rate Beer first. I want my comments to be my own. I’d like to learn about tasting beer as much as I can, and I don’t think it helps to look at a cheat sheet like Rate Beer before I have even tasted the beer. I want to trust my own palate and learn about what I am tasting by comparing my notes over a variety of beers.

Poured a cloudy and tarnished pale brass color, with a substantial head that has a greenish tinge and dropped quickly. A very strong floral hop aroma is apparent, definitely not citrusy like I expected from an American IPA. Two Hearted Ale has a very sharp, crisp opening taste that increases slowly in bitterness to a strong tingling bitterness on the tip of the tongue. This is the most focused bitterness I have tasted in a beer. The bitterness fades quickly after swallowing, leaving a greener taste than other IPAs I have had, which tend to have an earthier, browner bitter aftertaste. I think I can detect the floral aroma in the aftertaste as well, but I’m not really sure how to describe the flavor. I am surprised by the clean aftertaste. The bitterness is focused on the tongue and doesn’t effect the mouth as much as other very bitter beers. IPAs generally leave my mouth feeling puffy or swollen in the tongue and cheeks, sort of cotton-mouthed, but Two Hearted Ale doesn’t produce this sensation. I don’t really know how to grade a beer, but I’d definitely like another one and would certainly buy more were I in the mood for an IPA.

So if anyone out there wants to mail me a 6 pack of Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, feel free.

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