Kalamazoo Beer Exchange
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Taps: 28 / Bottles: 42
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 16 | Reviews: 12 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by minterro:
4.64/5 rDev +10.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $
Went after rock climbing in kzoo on a Monday night.
Based on it being Monday the place had a pretty good vibe going. Kitchen was open late. They had an up and downstairs areas. I didn’t ever go downstairs, but from what I could see they had a few pool tables and a bar down there. Upstairs they had a bar and a kitchen and tables.
The unique thing about this bar is the stock market themed beer prices. They have a huge electronic board in both the upstairs and downstairs that reads out prices of their beers on tap. Every 15 minutes the prices of the beer either goes up (beer is being bought), down (if the beer hasn’t been bought in a while), or stays the same. I personally found this to be the BEST IDEA EVER! What better way to keep people from buying the beer that isn’t selling well or to keep people from buying the place out of stock of popular items. It also keeps you interest and coming back. It’s a win-win for the business and the customers. And it probably keeps the kegs in the place pretty fresh.
I didn’t partake in any of the food they served, but my roommates had some of their nachos. They said there were pretty good but a bit over priced.
I order short's sustenance black bear first for the mere price of $2.75. After everyone was done eating and drinking we were gathering our things ready to go when a very loud whistle comes out of nowhere. My first thought was it was some kind of signal that the kitchen was closed, but to my astonishment when I looked up at the board 3/4 of the beers drop significantly in price. Our waitress immediately came over to our table and explained the circumstances. Of course none of us were able to resistance those tempting prices so even though it was getting late, we were all exhausted from the climb earlier, and still had a 30 min drive back we decided to stay longer. I order a $2.25 triple.
Overall a very, very good experience and I’m looking forward to coming back on Sunday.
*Since my original rating I've gone back to this place many times all on mondays and I can't be more happy. I've got to know the owner John, hes a great guy and a msu grad so I have this bar back 100%, it is literally the best bar I have ever been to.
06-17-2011 16:47:37 | More by minterro
More User Reviews:
3.97/5 rDev -5.7%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.25 | $$
KBE was running a fine line between beer geek haven to frat boy saloon.
It's a great location, a block from Bell's, has plenty of parking, fantastic building, multiple levels, wow. On the basement level, they have a couple pool tables and a dart board.
The upper level is where the kitchen is, with seating for about 25 people, and another 12 at the bar.
The idea behind the bar is that the prices are based upon what people order...you order more, the price goes up, and every so often (15 minutes or so), the market will refresh with new prices. Kind of a cool idea. At one point during the night, the market crashed and everything goes down to the cheapest price or cost, I'm not really sure. They go way down.
What it breaks down to is they had a really good tap selection, and some of them were a great price. If you're a beer geek, check it out. I'd say find a seat on the upper level.
The bartender didn't seem to overly knowledgeable about beer...
Solid Kalamazoo stop.
02-28-2013 19:25:06 | More by MarcatGSB
3.78/5 rDev -10.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $
I visited with a group over the 2012 winter holidays. My party had—simply put—the world’s greatest server! She was amazing—friendly, professional, and knowledgeable. We spanned the gambit from beer geek (me) to teetotaler and she juggled all our interests and inquiries. Wish I had her name because she made our night. This would be a completely glowing review if it wasn’t for the fact that her shift ended and the counter service was just plain rude to the point of being surly. Don’t think that I didn’t notice the eye-rolling, buddy—along with a couple of folks in my group. KBE, you’re still a mixed bag in my book.
Previous: I have visited here a handful of times since they opened. My visits were all about six months apart so I’ve had the opportunity to see some limited changes, mostly having to do with the crowd and beers available. This last visit felt like there was much more of an emphasis not just on Michigan beers but also regional breweries from this part of the state. And the crowd went from what seems like groups of college- or recently-graduated students to ever-so-slightly older. (I didn’t feel quite as out of place!) The server I had was friendly, and offered tastes of some of the beers I had never heard of. (Not a surprise as they have quite a few on the board.) Plus, thanks to the ‘market’ pricing you can get away with some steals on good beers.
BUT… two things that, while they won’t keep me from visiting again, put a damper on my night. Sitting at the bar I noticed a ‘bring back’ on an order. I’m guessing the server poured the wrong cider or just had a mix-up with the waitstaff. But instead of either dumping, drinking, or comping someone I watched the server place the mystery drink in one of the energy drink fridges… and pull it out maybe 15 minutes later and give it to a waiter who served it to an unsuspecting customer. That’s a serious service foul in my book.
The other negative experience was something that the KBE has no control over, where a patron I had been enjoying a friendly barstool conversation with casually referred to Mexicans as ‘spics.’ I bristled at this and it cut my enjoyable evening short. Nothing like being racially insulted while enjoying a few beers to ruin a good time. All in all a mixed bag.
01-22-2013 08:26:32 | More by elNopalero
4.25/5 rDev +1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $
A really unique and interesting place. I know this place is not the only one around with this concept, but it was the first I had visited, which made the experience even more unique.
The tap list seemed to be about 25-30 strong with a decent list that was a little light on "big" beers and seasonal offerings in my opinion but still solid.
The service was outstanding - we actually had a fellow BA as our server who gave us great insight on some of the local taps and also chatted to us about beer in general for a while. The food was very good as well.
If you aren't too picky, you can really drink for cheap.
03-16-2012 02:18:45 | More by TheSevenDuffs
4.38/5 rDev +4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
I didn't get a chance to participate in the "Market," as I went for lunch, but I can review the quality of selection at the Exchange. They stock on tap some of the rarest Michigan beers around, from sundry brewers. If you are into Michigan beer, the Exchange will have some beers you will be excited to try. They also carry a number of good beers from other areas of the country, as well. The food is pretty good, and is slightly unique American fare. And the service is very knowledgeable and friendly.
02-22-2012 02:46:03 | More by dorianmarley
4.15/5 rDev -1.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
KBE resides in one of the best buildings in town. It's a multi-level bar that is very open. They always have a lot of decent beer on draft, and tend to turn their taps over relatively quickly. They used to have a nice Michigan bottle selection, but this has recently been significantly reduced. They do offer 1/2 off bottles from 3 to 6 on weekdays. The main attraction is the "exchange" that starts at 6. The exchange uses a stock market style pricing system that adjusts the price of the beer base on demand every 20 minutes. One to two times per night there is a "stock market crash" where all the beer prices fall significantly.
The food here is above average, and their Piedmontese burger and chicken pot pie are highly recommended. The bartenders are some of the best in town, and the waitstaff are usually quite good as well.
My only complaint is that if you go before 6pm on a weekday, you have no way of knowing how much the beer costs or even what is all on draft currently. They also tend to change over a high number of taps right at 6, so be prepared to be flexible with your choices.
KBE is only about a block from Bell's, so if you are in Kalamazoo, I would highly recommend a stop at KBE.
02-15-2012 02:56:40 | More by adamdd
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Kalamazoo Beer Exchange in Kalamazoo, MI
92 out of 100 based on 16 user ratings.