Yeah, I know. This is the Pennsylvania Beer and Brewing Guide. But my youngest son came to visit this week and in his honor I picked up a variety pack from my beer distributor.
About Bell's. This is taken directly from their website:
"Bell's Brewery, Inc. formerly Kalamazoo Brewing Company, founded by Larry Bell as a home-brewing supply shop in 1983, sold its first beer in 1985. Originally brewing in a 15-gallon soup kettle, the company has grown remarkably from its production of 135 barrels (1 bbl = 31 gal.) in 1986 to over 90,000 barrels in 2007. Bell's Brewery has grown from a tiny operation renting part of a former plumbing supply warehouse to a bustling, regional craft brewery. Over twenty years of brewing, Bell's Brewery has built a nationwide reputation as a creative and talented brewery, playing a significant role in changing the beerscape of the nation.
Although the "microbrewery" revolution began on the West Coast in the 1970s, the Midwest saw this brewing development much later. Bell's Brewery stands as the oldest craft-brewer east of Boulder, Colorado. Originally self-distributed, Larry and crew brewed, bottled and delivered all of the beer to market for the company's first four years. By 1989, Bell's was shipping over 500 barrels annually and assigned its first wholesaler to further establish itself across the State of Michigan. After struggling several years to produce and sell robust, full-bodied ales against a tide of a mass-market domestic beer, Bell's began to see the demand for craft beer grow dramatically. Bell's soon ventured outside Michigan, continuing its solid growth and developing a reputation across the Midwest for the unique style and flavor of its Bell's brands. The brewery currently sells its beer across a fifteen-state area, through a network of over fifty quality wholesalers.
In 2003, Bell's proudly opened a new production brewery in nearby Comstock, Michigan. The new brewery has now seen three major additions and encompasses 60,000 square feet of building on a 24 acre site The Quality Assurance department has thrived in the new facilities, implementing procedures and techniques that assure that Bell's is consistently putting out the very best beer possible. Total brewing capacity now stands at 140,000 bbls. At the Kalamazoo Avenue location, an historical rehabilitation has brought about a pleasant architectural change to the city landscape.
Our ongoing goal is to brew thoughtfully, creatively and artistically. We strive to bring an authentic and pleasant experience to all of our customers through our unique ales and beers. We look forward to sharing our beers with you."
The variety pack I picked up had an Amber Ale, Kalamazoo stout, Oberon a wheat beer, and a pale ale. I gave a friend the pale ale, I am just not a pale ale kind of guy, though I did drink one with him. It was very pale ale-y. I LOVED the Oberon wheat. And I am not a wheat fan. The mouth feel was very smooth, with just the right amount of hoppiness in the back taste. The Amber Ale I just finished. It will be one that I will try to replicate as I start making my own amber this fall and winter. And lastly, the Kalamazoo Stout. It is very good, but with an almost burnt carmel flavor to it. That burnt caramel flavor is kind of off-putting, though the whole package is very nice.
To conclude, Bell's is a brewery that is putting out products that are definitely worth the effort to find. They are making very good beers at a very good price.
Next week, we are back to drinking beer from Pennsylvania. Troegs Brewing to be exact.