I traveled across America's Heartland last week and sampled a couple of excellent beers. Bell's Brewing's Two Hearted Ale, an IPA, was a gem I found on tap at a hotel restaurant. Two Hearts is subtle and flavorful, with more complexity than most IPAs, but it still has enough bitterness to satisfy someone craving hops. This beer is now available in California, but old dates on the bottles I have seen have prevented me from buying it. Now that I have tried it and know how good it is, I'll keep my looking for recently brewed batches of Two Hearted Ale.
I had dinner at the Cleveland outpost of Fat Head's Brewery and Saloon and enjoyed its Head Hunter IPA. This is a classic, big-hopped West Coast IPA, and a superb beer. Nothing in Fat Head's is subtle, and Head Hunter is hopped bigger than many DIPAs, while still remaining balanced. Fat Head's food choices are a Californian's stereotypic expectations of a Midwestern restaurant - huge, unhealthy portions of awesomeness. I tried the Head Banger, a sort of sandwich with 8 oz of banger sausage, topped with a fried egg, bacon, mozzarella, and sharp cheddar. No, I'm not telling my cardiologist, I'll just drink more beer over the next few weeks to thin my arteries.