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Bell's Brewery, Inc.
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Active Beers: 75
Beer Ratings: 46,078
Beer Avg: 3.9
Taps: 20 / Bottles: 12
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
$$ - reasonable
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]
355 E. Kalamazoo Ave.
phone: (269) 382-2332
Bell's does not sell growlers of their beer at the Eccentric Café & Beergarden.
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$
Ah, Bell's. A favorite of mine, and many others, over the past few years, from my first year of craft beer drinking until now. This has been on my radar forever, and I'm glad I finally got a chance to try it.
Overall, it was a lot smaller than I thought it was going to be, but that probably stems from my ridiculously overblown and grandiose expectations, and I don't know why those were even implanted from the start.
What I realized after looking at the tap list, and which confirmed what I already know about myself: summer is the worst season for beer. I know Bell's has done special days for the Eccentric Ale and whatnot, but I was slightly disappointed with what they had on tap. Most of the regulars, and a few others like Poolside, which was had and I thought was tasty. But no HopSlam? No casks? Not sure when I'll get up there again, but I was hoping there'd be some kind of gem to try that I hasn't previously. Alas, that was not the case.
The place is clean, spacious, there's lots of room. We found a table by the bar for 7 people or so that was fine. Didn't try the food. But we had good company and tasty beers, and that was enough.
The bar's also cash only, so I'm glad I had cash. The bartenders were quick and attentive, though, and that's always a plus too.
I'd go back, but this place didn't blow my mind. That said, I'd rather be able to keep drinking good Bell's brews, and unfortunately I'll have to do that outside of Kalamazoo anyway.
08-04-2010 18:41:05 |
More by asabreed
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3 | $
Bell's Eccentric Cafe is a wide-open, old brick building addorned with an ecclectic mix of art. Bell's has about ten beers on tap. The beer list was mostly the basic Bell's lineup, as if that's a bad thing.
Food is available at a pickup window by the bar. I just had an order of veggies & hoummus. It was a good sized portion and pretty decent. It's okay for snack when your at the bar, but it wouldn't be a great choice for a nice dinner.
If you are a fan of Bell's beers, you should stop at the Eccentric Cafe.
04-30-2006 19:20:34 |
More by frazbri
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $
We stopped off at Bell's for a quick visit on the evening before Dark Lord Day. Our first stop was at the very nice General Store. Just a ton of Bell's merch in here to be had as well as fresh six packs of their beer and some home brewing supplies. Next we walked over to the Eccentric Café. It was a little before 9 pm and they had a band going on in a little bit, so we got charged a $5 cover. We weren't too happy about that since we had no interest in the band but what are you going to do? The vibe in here is actually pretty cool and definitely earns its name. Lots of junky knickknacks and eclectic art hanging all over the place (some themed to various Bell's beers) and there seemed to be a prevalent African theme as well, giving off a sort of eccentric Adventurers Club atmosphere at times. It also looked like they had a pretty happening back deck to hang out on as well. All in all, it was a pretty cool vibe for hanging out and drinking some beers.
That had an awesome selection of beers here with 11 total on tap and a bunch more in bottles. Everything from staple beers (like Oberon, Two-Hearted, and Java Stout) to "exclusives" (like their Poolside Cherry Wheat, Scotch Ale, and a American Wild Ale called appropriately enough, the Wild One). The also had on a couple of heavy hitters on as well in the form of the 9% Batch 8,000 and everyone's favorite Hopslam. What really impressed me though were the prices. Anywhere from $2.50 to $5.00 for a 12-16 oz glass depending on what it was and some of the lower ABV stuff (like Oberon) was going for $4 for 20 oz. And this was on a Friday night. Great prices! We didn't try any food but it did look like they had a kitchen off to the right side of the bar and the service that we got was prompt and spot on.
Now this is the kind of setup that we expect to see when we visit a brewery. A well stock merchandise store, a brewpub with a fun atmosphere and exclusive beers, and most importantly, cheap beer right at the source! Whether you're a Bell's fan or a beer fan in general, this is a must hit if your passing through K-Zoo.
05-16-2008 12:01:53 |
More by Kegatron
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 5 | $
Stopped here yesterday for lunch with my buddy as we were in town to pick up his new waverunner. We weren't sure what to expect, but this was nothing like any other brewery-related establishment I'd been to.
This had a "mom and pop" type feel that was very refreshing. It was in an old building that really didn't seem to scream "we are owned by one of the biggest breweries in the US,". The building certainly had charm, on the outside it looked more like the towns old general store from the late 1800's, but the inside looked more
like a rural farmhouse with a bar.
The bar was small- maybe room for 8 to 10 stools, and the 6 to 8 tables were haphazardly littered along the walls. We sat at the bar when we walked in-- and didn't even know there was upstairs. The website had not been updated, although the date
showing was correct, the beers were all wrong-- they did have a decent variety, including;
milk stout, Kalamazoo ipa, bells pale ale, Oberon, and about 6 others to pick from. It was something for everyone.
The kitchen was small, about the size of a walk closet. I didn't even finish reading their menu, because the first thing listed was Rueben sandwich. Who could resist the lure of such deliciousness??? The food took quite a while, but it was worth the wait. It was fantastic.
We then went and sat outside-- what a great
little beer garden area. The path was under construction, but there was a flagstone path leading out into the middle of a large lawn with picnic tables strewn about. At the end of the yard was a funky little pavillion-styled stage. It was a nice sunny afternoon, with families there eating and kids running around having a great time. If I lived closer, I would certainly bring my kids here regularly.
The bartenders and kitchen staff were very friendly and not shy about pouring samples.
If your looking for fancy or formal, try a steakhouse... If you want a family friendly place with lots of charm and character-- hit up the Eccentric Cafe, but don't forget about the giftshop/general store. This would be a great place to take the kids, take a date, take your friends, or just take some time to yourself.
04-11-2010 13:02:32 |
More by AleWatcher
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
We made a trip up to Kalamazoo this weekend just to check out Bells. We found the place with no real problems, although i had anticipated it being poorly marked and it was. Very impressed with the place. Inside it is very spacious and bright with lots of tables available. We had a meal inside (Ostrich for me, black bean burger for my wife, and a burger and fish tacos for the other two with us). Beer selection was fantastic. About 8 on tap (all bells) including Consecrator Dopplebock, 2 hearted, rye stout, bells beer, and winter wheat (which was a buck for any size because they're trying to get rid of it before it goes bad). Can get most beers in any of three sizes. In addition, you can get pretty much any other Bells beer in a bottle from the cooler behind the bar so that extends what you can drink considerably. still had a lot of the wheat series in bottles and expedition and others. After eating we went out to the beer garden which was great because it was nice and sunny. Drank a bunch of those $1 winter wheats and got good and tipsy. Later we hit up the general store and loaded up on the mix and match bottles and a couple of t-shirts. i will go back, despite the long drive.
04-24-2006 18:00:40 |
More by aforbes10
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5 | $$
This is now located at the edge of the area the city is slowly reclaiming. This was not always the case. Since I've seen the cafe over the last 10 or so years, it's interesting to have seen the building and beer garden kind of change in the same way, as Bell's has grown in stature.
The old brick building has been renovated with nice wood, glass, artwork and local paraphenalia like old maps. Many tables with checkers/chess boards built in. Upper level indoor "deck" is a nice little out of the way place. Beer garden has a cement slab area with benches, then an open grass area where you could sit with a blanket or whatever. Good bluegrass/laid back music at times.
This place used to REALLY be a hippie hangout, now maybe 75% hippie hangout. The food kind of reflects that, healthy simple sandwiches and side dishes. They have a grill outside that they walk out and grill burgers(blackbean?)on. Service has always been hit or miss. When I first went here was great because my friends older brother knew many of the workers. Later on it seemed a bit indifferent, recently a little better. Cash only is extreamly odd, to me this is being done on purpose to keep what I like to call the "Phish" vibe going on or something.
The only complaint in my opinion is that you really have to hit the right time to get something unique. You're pretty much just going to get their bottled beer offerings. They need to keep more of their special offerings at home like other brewers seem to do. This helps their servers not needing to be all that knowledgeable I guess. Reward the locals, but then again that drives me nuts as well, so keep distributing it.
05-05-2009 05:07:04 |
More by Bung
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 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
Stopped here (I thought for dinner) during a brewery road trip ending with Dark Lord Day
When I arrived, the place was packed, and I ended up waiting a little while for a bar seat to open up. But after about 20 minutes, the place cleared out.
Tap line-up was good, I had the Hell Hath No Fury, Hop Slam, and a pale ale. All were great except for the pale ale, but thats because I always didn't like it but didn't remember that until after I ordered it.
I was going to order food, but you have to place your order at a little window adjacent to the bar, and I just didn't want to lose my seat.
Overall, this really ended up being a gem of a night. I made some fast friends with some locals at the bar, and we ended up leaving Bell's and they showed me all the spots the locals hang out at. But I really wanted to take home a growler of Hell Hath No Fury, and it hurt even more that they didn't have any six packs of it for sale. But oh well.
05-01-2007 19:10:56 |
More by leftmindedrighty
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: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
I really like the inside and outside of the Bell's brew pub. Big and spacious with high ceilings and an upper area with some cool decor. The beergarden in the back was enormous. This is a roomy place.
The draught beer selection was good but did lack some of the beers I really aniticipated trying however did have a few on that aren't bottled. I liked the idea also that they have a cellared beer cooler to have beers at cellar temperature. The stouts and old ale on draught were way too cold.
The food we got was good and fairly priced. I thought service was good compared to some other reviews. Would love to return in the near future. Highly recommended.
07-09-2006 20:56:23 |
More by mcallister
Bell's Brewery, Inc. in Kalamazoo, MI