The 'Best Beer' In America Is About to Release a Low-Calorie, Light Version

Light Hearted Ale Bell's
Courtesy of Bell's Brewing Company

The beer that topped the Homebrewers Association's "Best Beers in America" list for the last three years is getting a new look. You frequently see variants like this with annual barrel-aged releases and occasionally flagships like New Belgium's Voodoo Ranger. But Bell's Two Hearted IPA has been a pillar of the craft beer world for a long time and has rarely seen any turns on its iconic single-hop recipe, originally released in 1997. 

The brewery will issue a light, low-calorie version of the beer, Bell's announced in conjunction with Two Hearted Day on August 15. It's called Light Hearted. That' a hell of a good name right there. The new beer will be getting a wide release in 2020. The company says Light Hearted will be year-round release available anywhere Bell's is distributed once the wider release happens.

Two Hearted already appeals to tons of beer drinkers, becoming the brewery's top-selling beer in 2013 when it surpassed Oberon. However, Light Hearted could have a special appeal for drinkers looking for sessionable and/or low-calorie alcohol (have you seen all the hard seltzer madness?). You'll find a 7% ABV on the familiar bottle, but Light Hearted will clock in at just 3.7%. The new brew's stats come in around what you'd expect from a big brewery's light beer -- PBR, Natty Light, etc. -- or a hard seltzer. It carries just 110 calories per 12-ounce can.

That's an ABV that might help Bell's chip away at Founders' All Day IPA, a high-selling sessionable IPA with an ABV of 4.7%. The session beer from the Michigan-based rival is so popular it has Colorado's Avery Brewing brewing All Day as well. (Both breweries have a 30% stake owned by Spain's Mahou San Miguel.)

Throughout the history of Two Hearted, there have been six variations on the IPA, many of which have been issued in a very limited quantity. Those include OG Twoey, a take on the original recipe; Spruce Hearted, brewed with spruce tips and birch syrup; Honey Hearted, aged in barrels and fermented with honey and champagne yeast; and New Hearted, exclusively available at Bell's Eccentric Café with a dry hopping to make it a little bit like a hazy IPA. 

They'll bring two more to that list in 2019. Light Hearted and Double Two Hearted, a double IPA that will be distributed in 12-ounce bottles later this month.

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow him @dlukenelson.