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Bell's Brewery, Inc.
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Active Beers: 75
Beer Ratings: 47,200
Beer Avg: 3.9
Taps: 20 / Bottles: 12
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]
355 E. Kalamazoo Ave.
phone: (269) 382-2332
Bell's does not sell growlers of their beer at the Eccentric Café & Beergarden.
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
My wife and I visited the Ecentric Cafe for dinner and a few drinks. Atmosphere is cool - they have lots of outdoor seating at picnic tables, and they the inside is nice too. Two rooms, one where they serve food, and the other where they have a stage for bands. Rustic wood look.
Beers were great as expected, and they had a big lineup that included 4 or 5 brewpub only beers.
Bartenders were fine, you have to order your food at the bar and then pick it up when your pager goes off.
The only downside was that they do not serve any non-beer alcohol. My wife was bummed they didn't have their Mead or anything else for non beer drinkers.
06-12-2012 22:23:31 |
More by jmdrpi
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
The cafe isn't all that eccentric. Like, maybe in the mid 90s it might have been a little kooky--maybe just a skoosh bizarre or a wee bit off--but now, in this rotten year of our lord 2012, this place is downright normal. A little like a hunting lodge, yes. And filled with some interesting vintage prints and old things made of wood, but still pretty normal. The vibe, thankfully, is very adult. Its unique, but entirely unhip, unpretentious, and therefore quite easy for a late-twentysomething fellow like myself to stomach.
Everything was quite reasonably priced. They only offered a small handful of beers that you couldn't get out of state, which was a little disappointing, but their offerings were expansive and uniformly solid (you don't need me to describe Bell's beers to you, do you?). No growlers, but since there's little here you can't get in a sixer that's really not much of a problem.
Outside featured a big wooden deck that functioned as a charmless, but highly functional, beer garden. Unfortunately they don't allow glass outside, so if you want to enjoy the sun you'll have to take your Hopslam in a plastic cup. The gigantic homebrew/beer/schwag store is pretty nice.
Uhh, what else... The food was good. And also probably the most eccentric part of the place (although it wasn't really *that* eccentric). They had TONS of vegetarian options, which I consider a big plus, and most of the dishes had some quirk about them. I ordered the grilled cheese and it came with jalapenos and pineapples and was really tasty.
The bar was staffed with enough people so there was practically no line, and everyone in the place just seemed in a really good mood. Still, I don't know if this is really a must-see kind of place. Bell's has been around so long and as seen so much success that pretty much every American beer person is already familiar with their beers and their ethos, so going in an experiencing the place won't clue you in to anything new. It's still a nice place to stop, though.
06-11-2012 14:06:44 |
More by mynie
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
I stopped by this joint last Sunday thinking that I would be able to get a tour. Wrong. The place was freaking packed. I went to the store and got a couple bottles and was going to leave when I seen the bloated tour group leaving. That cleared the bar out so I could actually get a seat. I hate busy places because the service is usually lacking.
It is a walk up and order bar which I don't mind because that way I didn't have to wait on a server. I got a pint of rye stout to start out with then got a 6 beer sampler. There were 5 beers on tap that are not available in bottles. All were stouts.
They Eccentric Cafe is not a big place. I did not check out the patio since it was over 90 degrees outside. They had some stained glass windows and a loft seating area. I ordered tempeh tacos and pretzel rods. There are a lot of vegetarian options. I am not a vegetarian, but I do like to try new things. The tacos were surprisingly good to this carnivore.
It wasn't a bad place, but I wasn't impressed. I love their beer, but there is just nothing special about the pub.
06-03-2012 22:55:30 |
More by buschbeer
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
After stopping by Dark Horse, I dropped by Bell's on my way back to South Bend.
The Eccentric Cafe is pretty great. At roughly 2pm on a Friday, this place was busy. There were a good amount of people inside, but on a beautiful Michigan day, there were a ton of people chillin' on the patio.
The beer list was ridiculous... They had all of their standout regulars with a bunch of different one offs on draft. (Raspberry Wild One, Hopslam, Experimental 2011-2, Experimental 2012-2, etc.) They offer a sampler platter of six beers for $13 bucks, and you choose which six you want to try. In hindsight, I should had gotten that.
The wait staff were incredibly friendly, and very knowledgeable. I over heard them giving recommendations to many of the customers who wanted the sampler.
The next time I'm in Kalamazoo (who knows when that will be) Bell's is the first stop on my list. Cool place.
05-19-2012 22:20:49 |
More by trxxpaxxs
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
Took a trip to K'zoo to visit Bell's and was happy that I did. The bar is a cool place that is clean, has a unique atmosphere and just the right size to still feel cozy while not being too small.
The taps were great - with a great selection or regular offerings, seasonal offerings and a few experimental beers. Roundhouse Red was probably my favourite tap room only beer that I had but it was great to finally try Hopslam on tap as well. The experimental beers that I tasted were great as well.
Only disappointment was not finding Expedition on tap.
03-16-2012 02:15:30 |
More by TheSevenDuffs
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
Popped in Bells while on a business trip to Kzoo. Finding this place is easy enough as it is off the main street near the Amtrak line running through town. Don't make the mistake of being rerouted by your GPS to their Corporate office-factory in nearby Comstock/Galesburg.
The atmosphere of this place is great. A nice exclusive feel as you walk into a long hallway to get in. There is a fountain and a nice area to stand to enjoy a beer if you want to escape the main cafe section. The place is cozy with wood ceilings and walls. Decorated with cool nick knacks. There is a decent size bartop with plenty of seating and an upstairs area as well.
S: I was at the bar so service was quick and friendly.
Sl: I love how Bells has their taps set up. All the same design and shape minus the unique decal of the specific beer. All the current tapped beers are located on the giant chalkboard above the taps. The bartender offered samples so you could taste different beers. They carry exclusive beers to the Eccentric Cafe as well as their more popular beers.
Food: I had dinner and had no complaints. Not a massive or great menu, but you can definitely find something that you enjoy eating. The Bells porter sauce with the soft pretzels was worth noting.
If you are passing through kzoo, this is def. worth stopping in.
03-08-2012 21:22:37 |
More by cagocubs
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 3 | $
There are few cooler sights than seeing 20 Bell's taps alongside each other. Their options range from the easy-to-find Two-Hearted, to the rarest, like Eccentric Ale. Their Cafe is located in the middle of a forgotten railroad town, where the locals avidly support their jeweled export. The atmosphere is warm, even in the winter, as it is decorated like a Midwestern ski lodge. The food is OK; mostly slightly unique sandwiches with chips. And the souvenir shop nextdoor is packed with homebrewing supplies and memorabilia. If you are a fan of their beer at all, you will cherish your time spent at the Cafe.
02-22-2012 02:41:00 |
More by dorianmarley
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
I've visited Bell's a couple of times driving through Michigan on various beer-cations and it is always a quality stop. I thoroughly enjoy the fact that the building is an old train depot and they've done an excellent job restoring it to a quality brewery.
The service is usually hit or miss depending on how many locals are there compared to visitors. I often feel like folks get offended when they visit a place and people don't bend over backwards to make their experience memorable; however, I can appreciate that Larry Bell and his staff at the brewery are extremely loyal to local enthusiasts/regulars. There is something to be said for that and I really enjoy seeing a bartender start pouring a guys beer as soon as he walks in the door before he's even opened his mouth. With that said, if it is "crowded", just sit back, relax, and enjoy your time there - no need to harsh on Bell's for their commitment to locals. If it bugs you that much, simply move to Kalamazoo and start visiting regularly!
The selection is usually pretty quality as I dig a lot of their beers (generally speaking). Two Hearted on-tap is one of my favorites, but they also switch it up from time-to-time with one-off surprises. I enjoyed a small snack during my first visit here and it was quite tasty - reasonably priced and good to pair with a brew. Decent menu from what I recall, but remember...this is a brewery!
My final point is that I really enjoy the fact that they have board games available to people. There is something to be said for losing track of time enamoured in a game of chess with a friend (or complete stranger) enjoying a darn tasty brew. A must stop if you are passing through the area and centrally located within the state of Michigan!
02-14-2012 12:01:44 |
More by spdyfire83
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3 | $$
Bells Brewery is a beautiful building and a very nice large courtyard/bear garden.
The staff was very friendly and informative. The food was pretty good, your everyday bar food; sanwiches and stuff like that. But who goes to a brewery for the food!?
Its all about the beer here and they have a large selection beers including some cool small batch Bells beers that you wont/can't find anywhere else. Prices are very resonable and they write them all on a very large blackboard in the bar, it's sure to make any Bells fan smile from ear to ear!
I love this place and I plan on going back in the summer!
01-19-2012 04:28:35 |
More by C2H5
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3 | $
I just want to share some love for the hometown brewery… But, of course, it’s not just any brewery—it’s Bell’s, and their reputation is rightly deserved.
Since the last time I visited Bell’s has remodeled, expanded, and begun to offer tours of the original brewhouse (in the back of the Eccentric Café). So, naturally, I had to experience as much as I could!
The tour is small, , especially compared to similar-sized breweries, lasting maybe 30 minutes tops, but it’s impressive—and, dare I say, inspiring—to see the humble beginnings from which Larry Bell started.
The tap selection has grown, possibly doubling in size so there’s always a half-a-dozen or more rarities/brews unique to the Eccentric Café. They will also offer you tasters if you are undecided—or just want a taste of something different in between your pints of Two Hearted. Which brings me to my next point—the waitstaff is great. Knowledgeable and informative and more than friendly too. Their enthusiasm for Bell’s beer is contagious.
They offer a number of vegetarian options and the food is decent, but that’s not the reason why you’re here.
A must-visit. If only to drink fresh Bell’s on tap!
12-28-2011 04:52:01 |
More by elNopalero
Bell's Brewery, Inc. in Kalamazoo, MI