You Can Always Go Home Again

welcome-beerIt had been a while since I stopped by my local beer shop, so I decided to pop in the other day. I used to be a regular at this place until I got a new job and my routine changed a bit. The new gig put a big beer store with a great selection and good prices on my way home, so I had been doing all of my shopping there. But I felt the need to mix it up a bit, and I wanted to see how my friends were doing at the old place. I’m glad I stopped in.

The place is called Crown Liquors, and it’s run by a fellow everyone calls “T”. T is a craft beer nut, and he always has a wonderful selection on hand, with lots of 12 oz. singles to choose from (like over 100). I love singles because they allow me to try all sorts of beers without having to risk purchasing a six-pack. It’s kind of like being an honorary member of the Brew Club.

Anyway, as I’m loading up with singles, T comes over and we start talking beer. He’s telling me about all the good stuff he’s had lately, and starts to rave about a beer not available in New Jersey. It’s called Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, an American IPA brewed in Michigan. T’s buddy had brought him a six-pack from out of state and apparently it made quite an impression.

Then T did an awesome thing. He went back into his private stash and returned with a bottle of Two Hearted Ale for me. There was no charge; it was a gift from one beer nerd to another. I gratefully accepted and hurried home to try it (after paying for all the other beers I picked up of course)…

photoSo it turns out the Bell’s Two Hearted Ale is a really special IPA. The pour was golden pale with a large frothy head and tons of lacing. The nose was dominated by lots of sweet hops and had a very pleasant floral quality to it. They should make Two Hearted Ale air fresheners, cause I could smell this stuff all day long.

The first sip was sweet-tasting IPA goodness, light and tingly on the tongue with a delightful balance of pink-grapefruit hop flavor and floral notes. There was a refinement to the taste that struck a perfect equilibrium between bitter and sweet, complexity and simple satisfaction. It finished very clean, with just a hint of pleasant bitterness. This beer is perfect for both IPA snobs and people (like my wife) who don’t usually go for IPAs. She loved this and wanted more. I slowly backed away and finished the glass!

Sometimes it’s the thought that counts, and sometimes it’s the gift. In this case it was both. I can’t tell you how impressed I am with T’s generosity and his taste in beer. I will certainly be looking out for Bell’s Two Hearted Ale in my travels out of state and I will certainly be spending more time (and money) at Crown Liquors. Who says you can’t go home again?

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Categories: Beer


Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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5 Comments on “You Can Always Go Home Again”

  1. October 28, 2009 at 4:57 pm #

    Hey Jim thanks for the love! I like places that have singles available because it really reduces the risk of picking up something you dislike. I’m not an IPA fan @ all, but many people have tole me that this IPA is the one to try. Someday, hopefully!

    • Jim
      October 28, 2009 at 5:04 pm #

      This place is in Wanaque, NJ. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend stopping by. T has a great collection of singles, which is a rare thing to find. I left there with many new beers to try for not a lot of money.

  2. October 28, 2009 at 10:21 pm #

    So nice of that guy. Funny that Bell’s is so hard to get there. I lived in Indiana and could get it any time. It’s funny how regional beers can be so coveted. By the way, Bell’s makes a good line-up. Hop Slam is pretty big for people. I love their Rye Stout…stouts are their real niche, in my opinion. When I visit Indy, I’ll look for some stuff.

    • Jim
      October 28, 2009 at 10:59 pm #

      I’ve heard about their rye stout as well. I live close to the NY border, and I think Bell’s is distributed there. I’ll have to make a special trip and see what I can find.


  1. The Beer is Great in the Badger State « Beer & Whiskey Brothers - August 6, 2010

    […] also took advantage of the fact that Bells is available here and picked up some Two Hearted Ale (quite possibly my favorite IPA) and some Oberon, which might be a bit overrated.  It’s […]

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