Good news for home beer makers, Bell’s Brewery, which now makes 500,000 barrels of beer a year, began in a 15 gallon soup pot in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The company has grown from an experiment in Larry Bell’s kitchen to a brewery that distributes in eighteen states. At this rate, their beer will soon be available in Timbuktu!
As they have expanded, they have not only increased beer production, but starting in 2008, they began growing their own two-row barley for use in their Midwestern Pale Ale, Christmas Ale and Harvest Ale. If those beers don’t get your mouth watering, check out the menu for the Eccentric Café, where you can eat good food, drink good beer, and enjoy music and entertainment. Who could ask for anything more?
With a mild haziness and a fine carbonation, this beer pours an aptly named amber in color. The nose was subtle with hints of citrus, pine, and malt sweetness. The taste brought out some of the sweetness on top of a gritty texture, with an overall pleasant finish.
The brown ale was equally well-named for its color. The haziness reminded us of our beloved fall beverage, cider, while a pairing of coal and caramel aromas gave us one last taste of a summer campfire. Light in body, this beer went down easily.
A coffee-colored brew, the roasted barley and dark baking chocolate aromas did not surprise us. Similar to other Bell's beers, the porter had a fine body and light carbonation. Wholesome to the taste, finishing off with a roasted quality, this beer effectively balanced sweet with bitter.
The stout showed us what Kalamazoo is all about. It poured an off-black with a tan head. Though the man on the label (a portrait done by a local Michigan artist) does not look too happy, we were very pleased with the chocolate and raisin nose. With a creamy quality, the taste packed a robust punch with an oak finish and lingering bitterness.
Well-known by beer enthusiasts, we're glad Bell's has the heart to brew this single IPA. It pours like a ray of sunshine, clear, golden, and light. The nose hits you with the hops, with a solid medley of pine, floral, and citrus. Overall very well balanced flavor with a bitter, citrus-tart finish.