Bell’s Brewery, of Kalamazoo, Michigan (and lately also Comstock, Michigan) has long been one of the finest breweries in the country whose beer I couldn’t get. Their expansion to Texas, which has been rumored to be just around the corner for years, was finally and officially slated for this month. I was still skeptical, both because of a history of unfounded rumors about Bell’s and because even official announcements of expanded distribution are frequently subject to delay. But before February was even out, I happened to spot Bell’s Two Hearted Ale on the beer store shelf, and now there are four different Bell’s beers in my refrigerator and I’m struggling to fit food into it. Do I have any regrets? No. I absolutely don’t have any regrets. This shit’s delicious, all of it.
Now, I originally had a different beer review, a local, planned for today. And if we’d just gotten the regular Bell’s lineup this week, and nothing more, I’d have had no real reason to deviate from that plan. Bell’s threw me a curveball, though: To mark their entry into the Texas market, Bell’s brewed a one-time-only IPA, for sale exclusively in Texas. And because I’m your beer blogger of record, I felt it my solemn duty to review this mayfly of a beer for you as soon—and as fresh—as possible.
Bell’s Am I Right or Amarillo is a clear, bright, golden-orange beer. The head is fairly thin, but fluffy, and it clings nicely to the sides of the glass. In other words, it looks like an IPA, which is good, because it’s definitely what I was expecting and it’s also what the label says. Am I Right smells like grainy malts with a punch of orange-peel bitterness, and when you taste it, it’s not an aggressively hoppy beer. There’s a steadly, softly caramel-like malt base, and the hops come through as resinous and sticky and mildly fruity but definitely not overwhelming. One of the best features of the Bell’s flagship IPA, Two Hearted Ale, has always been its well-rounded and satisfying malt base, and Am I Right is in a very similar mold, very much a pre-arms race IPA. Relatively low in alcohol at 6% and very easy to toss back, this may not be a session IPA, but it’s one you could drink all day without it wearing out its welcome.
lady snow says: It’s kind of rich for an IPA.
make it snow says: Oh, yeah? How do you mean?
lady snow says: It’s kind of creamy on the tongue. It feels that way, anyway, it doesn’t really taste creamy.
make it snow says: It’s heavy for you, then?
lady snow says: I’d say smooth. It feels kind of like eating yogurt, but it doesn’t taste like yogurt in the way a Berliner weisse often does.
make it snow says: I felt like it was something I could drink a lot of. Would you agree with that, or is it too rich?
lady snow says: I would definitely agree. You want to drink more of it because it feels so good in your mouth.
make it snow says: Our innuendo levels are off the charts right now.
lady snow says: Definitely.
tl;dr: Do not buttchug; it’s way easier to just drink.
make it snow is an alot of beer and movies non-expert who can’t stop drinking Bell’s Two Hearted Ale. He drank two and a half bottles of Bell’s Am I Right or Amarillo while writing this review, and lady snow drank half a bottle. Stay tuned for a post-mortem of his Oscar predictions.