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Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Active Beers: 96
Beer Ratings: 54,076
Beer Avg: 3.86
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.
(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Ratings & Reviews
| Reviews: 172 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4 | $
Visited Bell's on a recent road trip with the girlfriend.
Bell's eccentric cafe is very aptly named. The place almost looks like a church... a beer church. Stained glass windows on the walls, a fountain outside, and tables that could pass for prayer areas. The atmosphere overall is very chill and laid back though. Definitely a very relaxed atmosphere without a whole ton of hustle and bustle which I like.
Beer was served in the correct glassware at the right temperature. Not much else to say except that the place was unusually clean, so extra points for that.
Service was pretty standard. This is pretty much a serve yourself place. You place the food and drink orders and you go pick them up when the bell rings to signal that your item is ready.
Selection was a tad disappointing. They had pretty much all their standard offerings on tap but there was nothing really out of the ordinary. Even though the raspberry ale was being served in the gift shop, it wasn't available to order at the cafe... Slightly above average just for how good their beers are overall though.
Food was decent. My girlfriend got the bean and bacon soup and I got the roast beef sandwich. Both really solid and the grilled red peppers in the roast beef sandwich really made it.
I think their regular offerings were $2.75 for a pint and the most expensive was $3.25 for a pint. Those are less than happy hour prices in my neck of the woods.
Definitely worth a visit in my opinion. Its not what I expected given the known output of the brewery but the place is really wonderful. A great place just to kick back, relax, and have a beer or three.
08-02-2011 15:47:47 |
More by SpeedwayJim
vibe: 2 | quality: 5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2 | $$
Okay, I've labored about how to review my experience at Bell's to give a fair opinion. So...here goes:
In short - go for the beer and the beer only. Eat somewhere else first.
The beer at Bell's was outstanding. I don't think I've enjoyed such good beer fresh at the source from the CASK, not just a carbonated keg. I've always enjoyed Bell's offerings from the bottle, but these were incredible. Ok, that's the good (and best) part.
First off, as we walked in there was a $5 cover charge for the band that was to be playing. Okay I feel old at this point. I havent paid to get into a bar since college. But, I dutifully pay, as I dont want to cause a scene and be a square. But I did come for the beer, not the band.
The food has something to be desired. The special of the evening was 'blackened tofu'. Now, I try to eat healthy all right, but I find tofu pretty disgusting. Personal preference perhaps, but not usually what I consider an appetizing bar/grill dish.
The service was good, but you always had to go to the bar inside or the mini bar outside to get a drink. There was no wait staff walking around filling up empty drinks. I hear this place can get really busy on some nights with the college crowd, but this was the middle of the summer and it wasn't very busy. Don't get me wrong, I always got my glass filled promptly at the bar, but there's something to be said for having someone come by and fill you up. Which somewhat leads to the next point...seating.
There was a large disparity of seating in the joint. The inside floor space had less than a 1/4 of the tables that could have been there. Also, the beer garden was very nice, but had a large expanse of concrete with very few picnic tables. My wife and our friends sat on a concrete planter while I enjoyed my beer standing. Again, I'm told that Bell's gets really packed and this whole area has been filled with people all standing and chatting and enjoying their beer. This night was not the case, so fair warning.
Plastic cups outside - plastic cups outside was the rule. You couldn't have a glass out, probably because in the past too many people got a little tipsy and busted them on the concrete. Fortunately the beer was SOOO good, that it didn't seem to diminish the experience, but...fair warning.
The crowd was fairly diverse, but skewed somewhat to the eccentric 20-something crowd. Being an old man of 32, I was in the minority, but not completely out-of-sorts as there were other 'old' people there. However, I came with my wife and friends, so big deal. I think this place is more of an alternative for young people to the discotech/college bar scene. Good for them (just get the old man a chair please...).
To sum it all up, I had some of the best fresh beer ever here. It is definitely worth a visit and a return visit. Just don't expect a typical brewpub (and some of the comforts therein), I suppose after all it is the Eccentric Cafe.
07-24-2006 17:12:00 |
More by scoobybrew
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3 | $$
Have been here many times but most recently for All Stouts Day.
I really like the new expansion here. Beautiful wood interior with plenty of space for many. Weather permitting the outdoor seating has room for a hundred or more people. They do not have table service here, so you order food and drinks at the bar. The food menu is not extensive but was decent. The service can be slow at times when they are busy so don't plan on being in a hurry. They keep the place quite clean, which must be a chore for the number of customers they have. Overall a nice place to spend a few hours drinking great Michigan beer.
11-07-2011 18:35:32 |
More by jale
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
not easy to find for an out of towner (don't use mapquest to find this place!), this was a big, open bar/restaurant with high ceilings and an 1800's hunter-type decor. no beer menu. every beer bell's makes is available and is written on the chalkboard behind the bar with a short description. prices on beer and food were reasonable. no guest beers, but still plenty to choose from, also numerous bell's bottles. food was basic sandwiches and pub appetizers which you had to order at a window and pick up yourself. there were no servers so you had to go to the bar to get a beer, which kinda sucked as there can be lines at times. another inconvenience is that they don't take plastic. they have a general store/homebrew supply shop here also, i found sixers of hopslam for a few bucks cheaper, the other stuff was priced the same as elsewhere.
02-19-2008 05:54:56 |
More by MrMcGibblets
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 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | $$$
We stopped in here on a Saturday night. The atmosphere was certainly very interesting with quite engaging artwork covering the walls. I loved the high ceilings and the lovely warm wood. Quality of beer is good, Bells does a good job on quality. The service was fine as we just had beer from the bar. I felt the selection wasn't quite what I was looking for. I am a big fan of a couple of Bells beers and they weren't on tap that night :( My absolute favorite brown ale on planet Earth is Bells and it wasn't on. Now, the beers were reasonably priced, and that you can order different sizes makes this a reasonable price for beer. But unfortunately, we were stuck paying $12 to get in the door (2 covers) considering we were only there for the beer not the POS band making noise in the yard. We didn't hear the band we paid the cover for as we were happily ensconced inside. So... I felt that they <should> have charged the cover to walk outside and listen to the "band."
09-22-2009 02:02:01 |
More by Reneejane
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 2 | $$
You go here for the beer. Incredible venue - super cool, I mean really cool building but quite small so we had to stand for 30 minutes before seats opened up.
The beer was great. Great selection and great tasting. Food... well there wasn't much selection and it was unusual that after we ordered it you have to go to the little window to get it. Anyhow the food was fine but overall you don't go there for the food.
The shop next door was fantastic, some of the best brew pub swag around. We bought lots of beer - as much as good from the limited choice left.
Can't wait to go again!
05-12-2013 23:26:34 |
More by hotsudge
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3 | $
As I came looking for this place I had to rely nearly solely on my directions as the building doesnt seem to be that well marked. I saw one sign painted on the side of a building and parking lot behind it. Once there, there werent any signs to confirm that I had made it to Bells. So, I hesitantly strolled inside and found that I was indeed in a bar with some booming reggae music playing. I had made it.
The room had extraordinarily high ceilings with a second floor balcony overlooking it all. The bar was rather small along one wall and turned into the small kitchen area. One the walls were all sorts of decorations to include a series of African masks with one Dr. Seuss character head that some jerk decided to shoot and stuff. A Fitgers sign caught my eye too. In the corner was a giant fish in a tank whose species I could not identify. My favorite was the stained glass windows with depictions of nature lighting up the room. Out the back was a beergarden which I didnt explore. It was an attractive place for sure that seems like a lot of fun on a busy night.
The bar tender was a bit slow as they seemed to be getting everything squared away for the day. But due to the six people there, I think he could have tried a little harder. Then it got a bit weird for me. I asked for a menu and he pointed to a window by the kitchen side of the bar and said I had to order there and they would bring my food out to me. It was do it yourself. Later, I asked for a water and again I was told there was a water cooler with cups that I could fill up my self. Service? I guess there wasnt much service. So the names the Eccentric Café? How about Eccentric Cafeteria? Its far more suiting.
My buffalo chicken burger came out and it was all right. Nothing special at all. Actually a bit boring, but it sustained me.
With a huge slew of Bells beers on tap, I had more than enough to choose from, (10-12 beers?) I went for the 8K. It was nice to see such a selection and the prices were far lower than expected.
Over all, Im not sure if this is a road trip destination unless it was over a weekend evening where the place would be a little more lively and you had some friends to keep you company.
08-18-2007 20:54:43 |
More by DarkerTheBetter
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 2 | $
The taproom (they call it a pub, but I think that is pushing it a bit) is located in an old brick building with high ceilings and an impressive collection of crap on the walls. It has a great relaxed, comfortable atmosphere.
The beer was good and the prices were reasonable, but the selection was a bit disappointing. Only two stouts on tap and a total of maby 7 or 8 different beers. I was hopeing to see more taps and maby a couple of things that I couldn't get anywhere else, as it was the only unusual thing they had that day was a terrible mead.
Service was walkup to the bar and get it yourself, which was fine with me. The food was a bit disappointing. I paid about $8 for a bland ostrich burger that came with corn chips and what was easily the worst salsa I have ever had.
In the end it was a pleasant experiance and I would definitely go back to drink, but I would go out of my way to find somewhere else to eat.
07-11-2007 23:18:44 |
More by nickfl
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 2.5 | $$
Popped in while on a roadtrip and grabbed a sampler of beers. Surprisingly they didn't have all of their regular beers on tap. Nothing really special on tap either here with the exception of their Mead. Grabbed some nachos as well. Cool place but as a brewpub it is not the best. Looks like they are planning on re-doing it though so maybe it will get better. I have been here a couple times and you just have to know what to expect if you go there. The food is just ok, there are no servers walking around, and they have special stuff on tap sometimes. The building is really cool though and the stained glass is beautiful.
08-23-2010 19:18:41 |
More by kbutler1
Bell's Brewery, Inc. in Kalamazoo, MI
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