Bell’s Light Hearted Ale pours a clear orange-gold to nearly amber hue, forming a substantial, enduring, cream-colored head that lingers for a commendable three-minute stint. The can’s retro design is worth noting, as it’s a true standout in terms of aesthetics.


Upon delving into the olfactory realm, Light Hearted makes a vibrant entrance with the invigorating scent of zesty orange peel and juicy orange segments. As it warms, a delightful aroma of orange marmalade cake emerges, delivering a dessert-like bouquet that’s nothing short of divine.


However, when it comes to the palate, Light Hearted Ale grapples with the challenge of combining heightened bitterness and intense dryness. This low-calorie brew’s lack of sugar imparts an extreme dryness akin to a Mexican lager, complete with its characteristic graininess and a crisply abrupt finish. Yet, what truly sets it apart is the bold citrus hop punch, a rarity in the realm of low-calorie IPAs. On the bitterness scale, it doesn’t pull any punches, but without sufficient sweetness to balance it out, the bitterness can sometimes come across as harsh, even bordering on soapy and stinging. Nevertheless, despite these shortcomings, there’s an undeniable allure that beckons you back for another sip. Light Hearted presents a unique recipe that demands a learning curve. The more time you spend with it, the more its merits become apparent.


The mouthfeel of Light Hearted Ale can best be described as dry, almost to a fault. Its scarcity of residual sugar leaves it with the texture reminiscent of a Mexican lager, featuring that signature gritty quality and a bracingly crisp finish.


Bell’s Light Hearted Ale evokes mixed feelings. On the positive side, it manages to encapsulate the true essence of an IPA far more faithfully than any other contender in the low-calorie category. While its rivals have gravitated toward hazy IPAs for this niche, Light Hearted stands its ground, exuding the appearance and aroma of a classic, clear, light amber IPA, with citrus hops commanding both scent and taste. However, the overall experience tips towards imbalance, with some unwelcome harshness in the bitterness department and an exceedingly dry mouthfeel. In comparison to other low-calorie IPAs on the market, Light Hearted may not deliver the same level of brightness or refreshment. Nevertheless, with nearly half the alcohol content and carbs of the regular Two Hearted Ale, it offers a reasonable trade-off for those seeking their IPA fix while keeping an eye on calorie intake. Looking back on this beer, it’s genuinely impressive how Bell’s managed to achieve so much with so little.

Similar Beers

For more options at this alcohol level, refer to my Low-Calorie IPA Blind Test. Even Founder’s All Day Session IPA, a close competitor, boasts a slightly higher alcohol percentage, making it not quite a true substitute.