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Bell's Brewery, Inc.
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Active Beers: 75
Beer Ratings: 45,981
Beer Avg: 3.9
Taps: 20 / Bottles: 12
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]
355 E. Kalamazoo Ave.
phone: (269) 382-2332
Bell's does not sell growlers of their beer at the Eccentric Café & Beergarden.
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3 | $$
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: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3 | $$
Based on a visit there 10 15 09. Review from limited notes, mainly memory.
Atmosphere Well I visited the gift shop which was extensive as well as the Eccentric Café. In its own right, the Eccentric Café had a very college, indy band brew pub feel to it and I understand that it is on the site of the former brewery. It was just fine I guess but I was not enamored with it. They have this set up where you go to a window, place a food order, get a pager and then wait for your pager to go off. When it does you go back to the same window, pick up your food which invariably is located within a basket before taking it yourself back to your table. I did like the large chalkboard with the day's current beer selections. This is a place that has a regular line up of nightly bands and indeed when we arrived (rather early in the evening) they asked us if we had arrived to see the band or to eat dinner. The presence of a nearly nightly band is a plus. 4.0
Quality Just fine. I have almost always liked Bell's beers and I think that the gift shop and the Eccentric Café live up to the quality that I find in their bottled beers. 3.5
Service Well I did not appreciate the wait staff free system as described above but what interaction I did have with the staff was just fine. 3.0
Selection As stated, I have always liked Bell's beers so since they were featured the selection is at least good. I did enjoy several pub exclusives as well. 4.5
Food Just fair. I got a chicken salad sandwich and while I am no expert, they have a limited menu. My wife and I talked about how we should have eaten at Arcadia Brewing Company with their wood burning stove instead of holding out for this place. 3.0
Value Fair to good. I do not think that it was very expensive at all.
11-24-2009 05:32:11 |
More by adamette
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: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3 | $$
I really wanted to love my time at the Eccentric Cafe. Unfortunately it was not the case.
This review reflects my opinion of the cafe, not my opinion of Bell's fine beers.
We were there at open and it was our first stop on the second day of our Michigan brewery run. We were the only customers in the place.
Service was ok, the bartender was attentive enough, however some old weathered hippy that worked there kept rudely trying to help my wife with a crossword puzzle and making rude comments to her about her skill with the puzzle. It may seem like a silly complaint, but it really bugged me at the time.
Food was unimpressive. I ordered a black bean burger and it was just a standard frozen patty warmed and served on a bun far to bug for the sandwich size.
The beer was top notch with a few cafe only releases. I only wish they had growler fills. I think that it is the first place of its kind that I have been to that does not offer that service.
I would like to go some evening and give them another chance.
04-18-2009 13:44:53 |
More by moshea
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $
Another stop in my MI trip. Lack of a brewery tour is not made up by the cafe, but it's decent.
I like the vibe and feel, but too many suits in there for lunch to make it really comfortable. A lot of the staff was huddled around the bar two feet away - arguing while we ate - so that was a downer.
Bartender was friendly, but way too busy to be really attentive. This is not a good way to get acquainted with the Bell's brand.
The highlight for sure is the availability of experimentals (brewed across the street) on draught. I had a sour ale that tasted like nothing I've ever experienced. I'm not even sure if I liked it, but I certainly appreciated the opportunity to sample it.
07-24-2009 16:59:50 |
More by troywhittaker
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | $$
This was the fourth stop on our beer tour of Michigan. Review is from notes taken on 6/19/2010. Overall, I have to say that I feel this place is a little overhyped and possibly overrated. It was good, but it really didn't blow my mind or make me say, "oh man, I totally have to come back here."
Atmosphere: It was solid -- albeit a little smaller than I thought it was going to be. A nice bar with a few tables around it, it seemed to cater to the greener population in Kalamazoo and they had great contemporary bluegrass and alt country playing the whole time. It was also nice because they had games you could play (we played chess).
Quality: I mean, come on... Bell's beers are known for being solid and I don't really think they would have something bad on tap :) It was definitely cool.
Service: The bartender didn't know anything about beer or how anything was brewed. I had a question about one of their brewpub exclusives and he looked at me like a deer in headlights. Beyond that, he did do a fine job at keeping my glass full.
Selection: Pretty decent, and the best part was they had 3 brewpub exclusives on tap (Smoked Lager, Wheat Love and Kalamazoo IPA). Beyond that it was standard Bell's offerings.
Food: Didn't try it because we were holding out for our next stop. I kind of wish I would have tried it though as it all looked really good when I saw others eating it.
Value: Reasonable -- you get what you pay for and it was well priced. I paid $7.50 for a 12 oz. beer and a 16 oz. beer -- can't complain.
06-20-2010 21:34:12 |
More by bamadog
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5 | $$$
My first visit to the Eccentric Cafe on the way to our annual summer vacation spot on Lake Michigan.
Spacious indoor bar with stone and tile floor, very high ceilings, decorated with plenty of cute items and antique maps. Awfully small bar, plenty of tables all around, and a small dance floor. Food order counter separate from the bar.
Outdoors, a fabulous yard, combination of brick and stone patio and open grassy area with a stage for live bands. Plenty of picnic benches and small tables and lots of foliage.
Unfortunate flimsy plastic cup rule for the outside which makes no sense, since the floor indoors is hard stone exactly like the patio deck. How does walking out that door make any difference? Why not dixie cups inside too? They ought to be ashamed to serve beer in frat party cups, frankly. If some law made them use plastic, why not then rigid acrylic tumblers like at beer gardens, Octoberfests, etc.? Shameful, huge hit against atmosphere.
Bartender seemed completely disinterested in serving; only because the place was practically empty was there a chance for service.
Big selection of their beers that seems to rotate often--already their daily-updated online tap list is quite a bit different from my visit 3 days ago. Their July 5 selection is much nicer than the July 2 lineup. This excellent rotation would definitely keep me coming back often if I were a local.
Food was great for the sophisticated eater, my picky vegan partner had trouble picking between the inviting menu items. I kind of missed that I couldn't get a fried shrimp basket or other crummy pub food--but had to settle for a delicious burger.
Cash only, no credit cards policy is also a hit; like the dixie cups, amateurish.
They put a lot into this place, plenty of love from the owners, but their staff are hit or miss as far as service goes, the plastic cup rule is grotesque. Very mixed review on a place that could be near all fives.
07-05-2008 16:07:54 |
More by BattleRoadBrewer
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | $$
I just had to make the trek to Bell's in Kalamazoo. Actually, I printed off the directions that were previously on here and I ended up at an off site brewing facility owned by Bell's...not the Eccentric Cafe. No matter, another 25 minutes and I was where I needed to be in Kalamazoo. Good thing he told me it was near the railroad tracks or I would've kept going.
Atmosphere seemed pretty down to earth. A big fish on the wall, a fish tank, advertisement posters, a fish tank...you get the feeling. Music was blaring with the Kalamazoo college crowd singing along. I haven't seen this many hippies since Burlington, VT.
The quality of the beer was nice. Fresh from the source.
The service was friendly, as the bartender helped get me from the other facility to the brewpub. He was a nice guy but got caught up with talking to people he knew in there. He said that he couldn't do anything for me as far as food is concerned b/c the kitchen had closed. He couldn't let me get anything from the gift shop either, as they had closed for the night. He did, however; offer me some chex mix. It was snowing and he had to go outside and shovel and salt, leading me to wait even longer this time. They don't have anyone else that can do that other than the only on-duty bartender???
Selection was decent. Plenty of the brews on tap but nothing that wasn't available in bottles. I've been meaning to get out here but I was staying near Detroit and drove a while to get to Kalamazoo. Not a fun trip and a bit of let down but I'm glad I made the journey.
12-07-2005 22:55:41 |
More by weeare138
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5 | $$
Stop 3 during the Michigan trip. A quick stop for a bite to eat and a pint (or two, or three).
Atmosphere: Bell's has both indoor and outdoor seating. We chose indoor and soon discovered the bar service only, as well as the cash only rules. Bar service only dinged Dark Horse, so it dings Bell's as well. Lots of rustic maps and old breweriana on the walls.
Quality: Good beers and decent food. Bathrooms were generally clean, so little complaint there.
Service: Bar service only and a weird ordering process. The bar is cash only too, so don't bring your credit.
Selection: Here we have a winner with a good number of one-off brews available along with a complete bottle line. I had the Golden Funk and Kal-Haven, both of which I'd recommend.
Food: Food was sparse and just alright. I'd visit again for the beer offerings.
07-19-2009 23:02:05 |
More by akorsak
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$$
I love coming here. The problem is that it can be pretty hit or miss. When they bust out something crazy, it can be pretty nice. Sometimes they have the wild one, or raspberry wild one, or other one - time only beers that are super excellent. On eccentric day, they normally have 3 or 4 crazy beers, like batch 7000 (2008 eccentric night) or bourbon barrel hell hath no fury (eccentric night 2009). Other times, their tap list can definitely be less than impressive. It is slightly overpriced in my opinion (I paid $6.50 for a Hopslam last night..), but definitely a great place to check out. The beer garden is nice on a sunny day, the food is great, and there is normally vegetarian fare. The biggest compliment that I can give the Eccentric Cafe is the atmosphere. Old maps, awesome stained glass art, old newspaper clippings, hop wreaths, you name it, it's there. Sometimes the service sucks, because they can only have like 2 bartenders on a night when they are slammed. Cash only, no growlers.
05-21-2010 22:04:21 |
More by sloppymoose
Bell's Brewery, Inc. in Kalamazoo, MI