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Bell's Brewery, Inc.
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Active Beers: 75
Beer Ratings: 45,738
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.
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vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5
Bell's was a mecca-like journey made this past summer en route to a Wilco concert in Detroit.
I was lucky to stumble upon the brewery, but have read that many people had a major problem finding it. I was almost off-put by its monolithic bleached white appearance.
The first stop we made was at the gift shop. They've got a decent selection of Bell's by the case and six-pack, at retail prices. There are also some nice Bell's glasses to be had, as well as some good brewing books.
We made it over to the pub hoping to find some seriously hoppy beers. Unfortunately, they only keep 3 or 4 beers on tap at once. At this point, they were all very malty and relatively high in alcohol. The interior was nice, but again suffered from the TGIFriday's junky-sign obsession.
Everything seemed shiny and new, and it was nice to visit a pub where smoking is only allowed outside in the beer garden. You really get the feel for how much money they are bringing in, as well.
I was a bit off-put by the service, as they seem to not like non-locals at all. Also, I got the feeling that I was loitering there after only 15 minutes.
If you nearby, you have to make the stop. But Bell's was just not the mecca-journey I hoped it would be.
07-20-2004 16:26:53 |
More by GreenWBush
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5
Well, I've lived in Kalamazoo nearly all my life, and this weekend was the first time I've had the chance to experience the legendary Eccentric Cafe and Beergarden. If it wasn't for the sound of live music emanating from the establishment, and massive amounts of cars parked around, I would think that KBC was nothing more than an old abandoned warehouse. Upon walking into the building, (and paying the $3 cover charge) you are instantly subjected the very !Eccentric! decor that adorns the walls of this fine brewery. Very unique and 70's hippie-ish. Of course; I was more interested in the beer selection than admiring the building(can you blame me?). Their brews are written on chalk boards. Without much thought, I immediately went for the Expedition Stout. It's out of season, so no draft for me. The friendly bartender asked if I would be going to the Beergarden to enjoy my treat. Well, I had planned on it, but wondered why she would be asking. She proceded to tell me that I would have to use a plastic cup if I would be going outside(understandable yet disappointing). I bowed my head in shame and agreed to do so. It was quite dark when I stepped out through the back door on my way to the Beergarden, so I fear that I didn't get the full effect. I could make out a couple of picnic tables on my way through the ivy-covered lattice archway to the stage. Beautifuly constructed stage with what resembled a copper forged Oberon logo. I only wish that the band had been talented enough to make me want to stay for a second round. Blah! Sometime this week during the daytime, I plan to visit the Beergarden once more, and also make a trip to the "General Store", which sells Bell's beer, merchandise, and homebrewing supplies(?). Overall, I was genuinely impressed with Kalamazoo Brewing Company.
07-13-2004 03:23:13 |
More by noclue
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4
My friends and I went to Kalamazoo solely for the purpose of going to the Eccentric Cafe & Beergarden, and was it a treat! It was hard to find at first, we were in the right area, there is just no sign for the entrance to the bar. I was suprised by the size the of the bar as i walked in, very high sealings, nice furnished wood flooring. I was a little skeptical of the beer selection they were going to be offering, since most of the reveiws on BA i read before i left for the trip mentioned only having 5 to 7 beers on tap. Fortunately the reviews were wrong, there were 11 beers on tap, It was a great selection, barley wine, stout, double IPA, Two-Hearted Ale. We ordered some food and ate inside, nice music was playing, and the food was not bad. The best part of it was the beergarden, the outside was really nice, luckly the weather was great too. Lots of picnic tables, well groomed shrubs green grass, it was great! My advice is that if you are in the Kalamazoo area go the Bells Eccentric Cafe!
07-04-2004 20:31:31 |
More by seanthornton152
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 2.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5
We stopped in here for a beer on our way out of town. Pretty cool college atmosphere with alot of neat stuff to look at and a pretty cool setup. You had to go to the bar for beer, which was OK, since it wasn't crowded. The selection was also good, with several of Bell's available beers on tap. What chapped my ass was that the beer was served in plastic cups, even though it was pretty slow. Add to this the fact that I'm not a huge fan of Bell's and their quality takes a hit. Overall an OK place that I will visit again if I'm passing through.
06-01-2004 14:39:52 |
More by nortmand
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4
While on a minor league/major league baseball park tour last summer I was in Grand Rapids (Whitecaps) and heading to Detroit to see Comerica Park and attend the summer brew festival in Ypsilanti. I had heard so much of Kalamazoo Brewing and Bell's that I decided to head south (a little out of my way) before making the turn eastward. I'm glad I did. After enjoying the food at a downtown event called "A Taste of Kalamazoo", where they were serving Bell's ale, I was ready for the visit and to wash down the fine food. The place had no visible signs out front and I was not sure I even had the right address. I decided to walk around back and lo and behold, this was the place. It was very rustic. Not too many frills. A rather small bar too. I sampled a few beers (each one was delicious). I purchased a pint glass as a reminder that I had been to an icon of beer folklore, the place where the famous Two-Hearted Ale is brewed. I'm ready to go back and sample other tasty brews.
01-02-2004 07:56:17 |
More by ChappyCubsFan
vibe: 2 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 2
I've got to say I was a little disappointed. Having somehow managed to miss trying any Bell's beers, I thought this would be a happenin' place. Of course I did stop by on a Sunday with both playoff baseball and a Lions game on, to a place with no TVs. But it just seemed dead. This is one of those warehouse spaces where the exposed brick just made it feel cold. They only had six Bell's beers on tap, with more in a cooler. The drafts I tried just weren't up to snuff; perhaps it's better to get it bottled and let it condition a while. I wanted to buy some sixpacks from their store, but "the girl was sick." Decor seems too "art student" style. However, I will come back on a warmer day next year and give it another shot.
10-20-2003 13:56:25 |
More by DrunkMcDermott
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5
A summer visit while in Kalamazoo for a wedding.
Wow, this place is hard to find. The white building is non-descript and looks like an empty warehouse. We drove past three times, each time having obtained directions from a nearby gas-station or pedestrian. Each time we were pointed to the pub "down this road, just a couple blocks that way". We STILL couldn't find it. Eventually we pulled over to get our bearings and happened to park beneath a small beer barrel suspended from a pole that said "Bell's Brewery". Parking in their lot was limited and a police officer was ticketing cars on the street as we searched for a spot. Not a good start.
Eventually, we got inside and were pleasantly surprised. There were a few tables in the bar-room and a few more down a few steps by a stage. I did not check out the seating upstairs, instead heading outside to the beer-garden. Despite being in an industrial portion of Kalamazoo, the beer garden was a relaxing place. A number of cheery people were crowded around a paved area where a not-so-good blues band played. A number of picnic tables and a gazebo (spelling?) offered places to sit. The other customers were friendly and conversations between groups started readily. While in the garden I drank an Amber (formerly called Sol-Sun) and an Oberon (wheat). The Amber was fantastic! Dark amber in color, nice malt, medium body, and a pleasantly powerful and flowery hop flavor (if you think a bottle of Bell's anmber is good...try one fresh from the brewery). The Oberon was a light carmel color, medium body, a mild spice, although I thought a bit yeasty. They had about a half dozen other beers available, but I was not able to try them because of limited time. I would have preferred being served in a glass glass, but instead received plastic cups, because I was drinking outside. Altogether, a nice atmosphere where one can get some great beer at a reasonable price.
09-05-2003 22:56:24 |
More by mentor
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4
As Wildman said, from the outside the brewery/bar is non-descript. A parking lot separartes two buildings joined by a tall wooden fence. Inside, a simple, yet inviting brick interior welcomes you. The bar isn't very long, yet looks comfortable. Beer selections are handwritten behind the bar. If you choose to visit the beer garden out back, you'll be given your beer in a plastic cup as opposed to glass inside. The inside of the bar is non-smoking. I drank the Kalamazoo Stout and Oberon on my visit while smoking a Padron 2000 in the Beer Garden next to the arbor/trelis. There was a wedding party that had stopped in to imbibe a few, a guy reading a book of poetry, and a couple getting to know each other, all whilst drinking so fine beer. Its easy to forget you are in an industrialized neighborhood of K'zoo while out in the beer garden. Stop by and grab a few, you won't regret it.
11-07-2002 18:14:22 |
More by proc
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5
This brewery is in an old white brick building that you could easily miss if you weren't looking for it. Kraftbrau Brewery across the street from it looks similar, but does a better job of advertising it's location. The Eccentric Cafe, was towards the back of the brewery, as was the small shop where you could purchase Bell's beer and merchandise. The brewpub was done in wood panel with old pictures of Michigan maps and beer logos hanging. The space was fairly open with few tables with a front area reserved for bands that play there on the weekend. There was a small second level where people could also sit. The bar was fairly small, which surprised me for such a popular brewery. They had a good selection of their beers on tap which were currently: Bell's Amber Ale, Two Hearted Ale, Kalamazoo Stout, Third Coast Ale, Deb's Red Ale and Oberon Ale. The food was pub sandwiches and similar attempts on other foods to put a different eclectic spin on them. The food was strictly pickup at a window after you ordered it from the same spot. They had an enclosed outdoor area where you could go where picnic table were set up. In order to go outside however, you were required to put your beer in a plastic cup. I was there on a Saturday night and I did not think it was busy enough to warrant that policy. That would have to be my one major disappointment with an other wise pleasant experience. The flowering hop arbor was a nice touch.
10-03-2002 16:13:46 |
More by Wildman
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Bell's Brewery, Inc. in Kalamazoo, MI