Back in Ohio, my summer afternoons were spent lounging in the sun sipping on one of my favorite beers, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, often a friend beside me enjoying a bottle of their famous summer brew, Oberon. I have long lamented the Michigan-based Bell’s Brewery’s absence from the New York beer market, so imagine my delight when they entered the local beer scene earlier this month just in time for summer or at least the weekend’s reprieve from the Polar Vortex, Part Bajillion. With many local bodegas stocking up on six-packs, brew oases like The Sampler and Hops and Hocks filling growlers with the stuff, and Pine Box Rock Shop rocking their brews on its tap list, consider Bell’s Brewery’s New York invasion here to stay.
Turn Wednesday’s snowstorm into a stay-in date: grab a six-pack of Bell’s brews and spend the night catching up on House of Cards/Game of Thrones/Mad Men. Here’s a look at what I’m drinking:
Amber Ale: If you’re not looking for something too boundary pushing, Bell’s Amber is a good bet. It a copper amber in the glass with a thick white head and bread-y aroma. It drinks biscuit-y and caramel-y and has a nice hint of crisp bittering hops for balance. At an alcohol percentage of 5.8%, this still will have you feeling pleasantly fuzzy-headed as the snow starts blurring the view out your window.
Two Hearted Ale: This IPA may be a game-changer for reluctant converts to this hoppy style. According to one disciple on BeerAdvocate the go-to site for crowd-sourced beer reviews Two Hearted “converted my girl to an IPA fan.” It pours a golden amber with a wonderful sharp aroma that’s big on pine and also on grapefruit. It’s sweet and bitter and smooth and a solid 7%.
Hopslam Ale: Bell’s ballsy double IPA is a real kicker. It’s a light orange and has a grassy smell up front that’s really quite sweet as this beer is brewed with honey, yum! It’s got a lot of tangerine and sweet fruits that go hand-in hand with the honey.
Bell’s Brewery is based in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It started as a home brew shop in 1983 and within two years was serving their own brews. They’ve grown ever since as their killer brews have gained momentum. They even have an 80-acre farm where they grow their own barley for some of their beers. They’re the real deal – Midwesterners rejoice, all others, jump on the bandwagon!
Bell’s Brewery’s New York Invasion gets 4/5 stars, 1 for superb balance in some of their finest brews, 1 for their badass IPAs, and 2 for finally hooking NYC up with their delicious brews.
You can find Bell’s beers at many local establishments. Garden Deli & Grill, the bodega where I snagged my six-pack, is located at 185 Starr St. The Amber Ale was $2.25/bottle, the Two Hearted was $2.49, and the Hopslam was $3.49. From personal experience they seem to be open 24/7.
Bushwick Brews is a weekly column dedicated to the exploration of Bushwick’s finest beers written and curated by brewista Erin Wicks. Let her know what you’re drinking and where via Twitter and Instagram, hashtag #bushwickbrews.