If Two Hearted isn’t in your area....

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by gopens44, Oct 5, 2019.

  1. gopens44

    gopens44 Poo-Bah (2,021) Aug 9, 2010 Virginia

    A little while back our state’s only Bell’s distro Loveland sold to Premium, a Reyes company. Unfortunately, Bell’s does not wish to do business with a Reyes company, thus without legal intervention or transfer of brewey distro rights to another house, I am without Two Hearted (amongst others) unless I pull a Bandit and bootleg it from Maryland or NC.

    I decided to ask our local shopkeeps what they thought came closest to Two Hearted, and was told the following:

    Founders Centennial, Troegs Field Study and Ballad Brewing Balladeer.

    So for the sake of everyone in this great land who hasn’t access to Two Hearted, I decided to do a side by side squared.


    From left to right, Two Hearted, Centennial (nationally available), Field Study (regionally available) and Balladeer (locally available)

    As color goes, the only one on a completely different spectrum is the pale yellow Field Study, otherwise the other two share Two Hearted’s burnt orange.


    Two Hearted has a distinctive tangerine, Juicy Fruit, Froot Loops with a nice malt driven sweetness

    Centennial - slightly fruity, more spicy but same sweetness

    Field Study - grassy, touch of dandelion and minimal sweetness

    Balladeer - sweetness up front, followed by weak citrus

    Taste and feel (cleansed palate with water and a few plain kettle chips....because I like chips...)

    Two Hearted is as bright as it is deep. Brilliant citrus is immediately joined by the perfect blend of bitterness and sweetness with just a touch of caramel. Overall the light to medium bodied beer leaves slightly wet but very little aftertaste, save for a lingering bitterness

    Centennial - certainly some tangerine in there, accompanied by the spicy hop from the aroma. Something just slightly more earthy with this one when compared. Drier than Two Hearted also

    Field Study - more lemony and immediately grassy. Not a bad beer in it’s own right but for this exercise it’s DQ’d. Nice beer but certainly nowhere near any Two Hearted signature.

    Balladeer - starts out promising with an immediate wave of Juicy Fruit but it falls off towards malt pretty quickly and thins out impressively quick. Nothing lingering at all, super thin and waters out

    So my conclusion is that Centennial maybe in a pinch if you are really in need of something similar, and maaaaaybe Balladeer on draught if you are just looking to wash a few down with dinner. Enjoy Field Study on its own merits, please.

    Meanwhile, let’s hope Bell’s makes its way back into lands left behind or never served to begin with!
  2. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,938) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    Founders Centennial imo is so very close, it’s a great beer, but Two Hearted here is always fresher.
  3. islay

    islay Aspirant (288) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota

    Two Hearted Ale is a very well-executed Centennial showcase with a solid malt backbone. Centennial-oriented IPAs used to be very common but now seem to be rare in much of the country, and many of the remaining ones are West Coast IPAs instead of Midwest IPAs (I'm referring to the substyles, not the region of origin). Yeah, I'd guess that Founders Centennial is going to be the best and often only reasonable (if inevitably imperfect) substitute in most of the country. To brewers: More Centennial-oriented and Midwest IPAs, please!
  4. Steve_Studnuts

    Steve_Studnuts Disciple (322) Apr 21, 2015 Pennsylvania

    Cool, useful post. Founders Centennial used to be my go-to IPA. Now it seems much harder to find fresh. Or maybe I'm just buying more seasonal stuff as it appears because I know it's fresh without having to check the label.

    Side note: LOVE your Dead Guy Ale glass. Need to get me one of those.
  5. ScaryEd

    ScaryEd Poo-Bah (1,943) Feb 19, 2012 New Hampshire

    Founders Centennial is still one of my all-time faves. It was one of the first IPA's I ever loved.

    Come to think of it, I haven't had that beer in quite some time.

    I'm happy I can get 12 packs of Two Hearted fresh. Always a great purchase.
    Tucquan, bigstar87, Junior and 2 others like this.
  6. Milktoast75

    Milktoast75 Devotee (463) Oct 27, 2012 Wisconsin

    Huge kudos on a well done side by side by side by side. Have enjoyed Two Hearted for years and now curious abut the others.
    Again, thanks for doing my homework. Must have been grueling. :wink:
    Edit: How great is it to have knowledgeable, local shop keepers?
    PapaGoose03 likes this.
  7. laketang

    laketang Meyvn (1,126) Mar 22, 2015 Illinois

    While i can get two hearted when i want, i agree centennial is a good alternative.
  8. ScaryEd

    ScaryEd Poo-Bah (1,943) Feb 19, 2012 New Hampshire

    If you can get it fresh, Big Eye from Ballast Point is somewhat similar. It's not 100% Centennial hops but I've always considered it a similar beer (when fresh!!!)
  9. Rajaholick

    Rajaholick Initiate (146) Jan 9, 2011 Minnesota

    I grew up in Michigan and I feel like most of my friends who were into craft beer after we reached drinking age were either 2H, centennial or Short's humalupalicious people. Huma isn't very similar to the others but also had a solid malt presence that's reminiscent of the others.

    I prefer two hearted and most Bell's beers, especially ales, to the founders alternative which is probably because of the yeast strains Bell's uses. I say this specifically because of how similar centennial and 2H are otherwise.

    Time for hyperbole: Two hearted is a national treasure.
  10. ScaryEd

    ScaryEd Poo-Bah (1,943) Feb 19, 2012 New Hampshire

    Not hyperbole. In a world of hazy juicebombs (that I love btw) Two Hearted is a welcome reminder of subtlety and balance, while still punching you in the face with hops.

    Nothing beats a fresh, West coast style IPA on draft. Having Two Hearted and Sculpin on draft changed me. The fact I can get Two Hearted fresh in cans in f'ng New Hampshire just blows my mind.
  11. islay

    islay Aspirant (288) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota

    Two Hearted is practically the quintessential Midwest IPA. I'd never call it a West Coast IPA, if that's what you're implying. I agree that it's a great beer.

    Tucquan likes this.
  12. GOBLIN

    GOBLIN Meyvn (1,131) Mar 3, 2013 Ohio

    Two Hearted is a fantastic beer ... I love it !
    But for $2 less I can buy CBC ipa and it is an equally good beer in my opinion.
    bstyle likes this.
  13. Sheppard

    Sheppard Meyvn (1,059) Mar 16, 2013 Virginia

    What is the rule on distribution hiatus before Bell's can re-enter? I think they have an ongoing legal situation with Reyes too now that they've dropped out.

    I'm fortunate enough to be close enough to DC that I can get Two Hearted if I really want to.
  14. PA-Michigander

    PA-Michigander Meyvn (1,403) Nov 10, 2013 Pennsylvania

    I thought the post was going to be ‘move to another area’.
    stevepat likes this.
  15. JediMasterLenin

    JediMasterLenin Initiate (152) Dec 25, 2018 District of Columbia

    It's been a while since I had it, but New Holland Mad Hatter might be worth a shot. Similar in style to Two Hearted, though Centennial is only one of three hops used.
    miwestcoaster and islay like this.
  16. BrewsOverHoes

    BrewsOverHoes Crusader (795) Nov 17, 2013 Georgia
    Society Trader

    Nice to see Ballad Brewing getting some air time. My hometown; they do a nice job for where they are.
  17. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,938) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    I can find it under 30 days in grocery stores here, it’s really tough to beat the quality, freshness, price ratio it deliverers, and Imo better on tap, but not by much.
  18. BenHoppy

    BenHoppy Zealot (549) Nov 15, 2017 Michigan

    I always felt Centennial and Two Hearted were similar in flavor, however I always choose Centennial over 2 reasons. 1 Centennial tends to be cheaper at $15 a 15pk vs $17.99 12pk for two hearted. Now you can get a case of Two Hearted at $33 from Costco which becomes $8.25 a 6pk but $15 for 15pk of Centennial is a $1 per beer so I find Centennial to be a better value.

    2nd Centennial can age whereas Two Hearted can't. Two Hearted has a shelf life of 120 days and is always best fresh. Centennial is best fresh but at a year aged it turns into a completely different beer that has a honey forward barleywine flavor in which a year later centennial is still drinkable. Two Hearted is a near drain pour after a year. To me Centennial wins on these two reasons. But what makes Two Hearted great is its tangerine hop flavor however I'm more a fan of pine flavored hops which is more prevalent in Centennial.
    JediMasterLenin, Tucquan and stevepat like this.
  19. ScaryEd

    ScaryEd Poo-Bah (1,943) Feb 19, 2012 New Hampshire

    Well sure, if we want to further split hairs it's a "Midwest IPA". But it utilizes hops harvested in the Pacific Northwest and is a relatively bitter IPA with a nice malt balance. For a guy in New England, it's a West Coast IPA.
  20. islay

    islay Aspirant (288) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota

    New England IPAs also mostly use hops harvested in the Pacific Northwest. Midwest IPAs are heavily influenced by both late 20th century West Coast IPAs and old-school East Coast IPAs about which hardly anyone seems to talk anymore, and they also have a multi-decade independent evolution from cross-brewery influence within the substyle (hence the many western Michigan Midwest IPAs). There's actually quite a bit of variation within the substyle, with the golden Two Hearted Ale and the dark amber Surly Furious often held up as the two pillars, but Midwest IPAs always emphasis both the malt character (unlike West Coast IPAs) and bitter hoppiness with West Coast American hops and thus often are praised as well-balanced and flavorful. It's a great substyle that too often gets ignored because it doesn't fit into simplistic narratives about the American IPA and because it's little represented in the population and media centers of the east and west coasts.
    Tucquan likes this.
  21. ScaryEd

    ScaryEd Poo-Bah (1,943) Feb 19, 2012 New Hampshire

    Honestly I'm not going to argue with you because I absolutely love the beer. And Founders. And Toppling Goliath.

    Good IPA's are good.
    Rajaholick and stevepat like this.
  22. DrumKid003

    DrumKid003 Aspirant (227) Aug 10, 2013 Oklahoma

    Founders Centennial IPA is the only one of those four beers that is distributed around here, but I am not a fan of it. I will continue to buy Two Hearted when I go to MO, and stick with COOP F5 for my local IPA.
  23. ESHBG

    ESHBG Aspirant (274) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I can see why Founders was suggested but Field Study is way different and agreed that in the end it doesn't belong here.

    I like TH and Founders but neither are really my favorite and to me the Founders is a bit harsher with more bite and more pine and less perfume, a beer I think most old-school IPA folks would enjoy more.
    drtth likes this.
  24. joerooster

    joerooster Initiate (41) May 15, 2018 Virginia

    I live in VA, don't miss two hearted at all or any other Bells products. Just feel like there are almost too many choices and one less brewery to have to wade through in the sea of shelf turds is a plus imo.
  25. donspublic

    donspublic Poo-Bah (1,781) Aug 4, 2014 Texas
    Society Trader

    Don't drink Two Hearted much anymore, but was poured one by accident when I ordered the Double Two Hearted at a restaurant. They offered to take it back and I said no, glad I did. Still a solid beer after all these years
  26. gatornation

    gatornation Poo-Bah (5,145) Apr 18, 2007 Minnesota

    I always liked 2Hearted , the freshest i can find it in Minneapolis is 5 weeks out but mostly 8 , what are your freshness dates?
  27. Kadonny

    Kadonny Meyvn (1,359) Sep 5, 2007 Pennsylvania

    To this day I still love fresh Two Hearted.....and to this day I don't think Centennial IPA from Founders is anywhere near as good nor really all that similar other than they both use centennial hops.
  28. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,938) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    I wouldn’t call 2H a shelf turd, not even close. I can find it between 2-4 weeks old fairly routinely so it most definitely turns quickly, so it’s obvious it’s selling well. It’s still a tough beer to beat for one so common and it’s very consistent.
    BenHoppy likes this.
  29. Sheppard

    Sheppard Meyvn (1,059) Mar 16, 2013 Virginia

    That's true. I would add though that Two Hearted is one of those beers you can take to a party/get together where you're going to share the beer and not have to explain what it is to others. I feel like that's the primary purpose Two Hearted filled for me.
  30. ThisWangsChung

    ThisWangsChung Poo-Bah (2,815) Oct 15, 2011 Maryland

    Two Hearted is a fine IPA. I'll never refuse one, ever - it's a classic for a reason. My only problem: I can never seem to find it fresh near me, while I can find too many locals that aren't three months old.
    beertrip likes this.