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
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.