With Bud Light, Coors Light, Michelob Ultra Light, and Miller Lite, consistently topping the list for best-selling beers in the nation, it’s obvious that Americans would rather just reduce some calories than give up their beer all together…but what about taste? For many ale aficionados, losing those calories also means losing some of the complexity and flavor, and it’s not a leap they are willing to make. That is what makes the release of Bell’s Light Hearted Ale an exciting moment for beer lovers.
Inspired by the incredibly popular Two Hearted Ale, which has 212 calories, 16.7 carbs and a 7.0% ABV, this low-cal IPA has only 110 calories and 8.7 carbs with a with a 3.7% ABV. It is the newest year-round release from the popular West Michigan craft brewer, and is a welcome addition to the craft beer scene, which has been decidedly devoid of lighter options.
“We did not just set out to make a lighter version of Two Hearted. We wanted to brew the best tasting, low-cal IPA we could. It all begins with quality ingredients. Balance, hoppiness and aroma are all there,” said Larry Bell, Bell’s president and founder.
Obviously, changes have to be made to a recipe in order to reduce the calories, but when you base your lighter beer on a well-known name and flavor that has topped as many best brews lists as Two Hearted has, you have to be very careful about what you create in its image.
That’s why Light Hearted was first released in Bell’s General Store Exclusive Series, which means it was originally only available at Bell’s pub, the Eccentric Cafe, and its General Store. The series serves as a testing ground for new recipes, small batch re-releases of fan favorites and other experimental brews. In addition to being a solid way to determine which new brews might have staying power among consumers, it’s also an excellent reason for beer lovers to make a road trip to Kalamazoo.
While the exact recipe varies, the lighter version definitely shares a flavor profile with its big brother.
“One thing we did not do, was take a shortcut; no corn and no rice. Our goal was to deliver the same quality you would expect from a Bell’s beer, but with a lower ABV and with less calories,” Bell said.
Light Hearted is brewed with Centennial and Galaxy hops. The goal is to cut down on the things many beer drinkers don’t want, but keep everything about Two Hearted that they love. It is now available in canned 6-packs and on draft. Look for 12-packs to become available around the state later in the year.