Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Bell's Brewery, Inc.Bell's Brewery, Inc.
BEER AVG
3.91/5
Based on:
98 Beers
26,968 Reviews
Place Score: 92
Reviews: 200
Visits: 649
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: n/a
Taps: 20
Bottles: 12
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

355 E. Kalamazoo Ave.
Kalamazoo, Michigan, 49007-3807
United States
phone: (269) 382-2332

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @bellsbrewery

Notes:
Place added by: BeerAdvocate

Bell's does not sell growlers of their beer at the Eccentric Café & Beergarden.

Bell's does sell growlers at their General Store.
Place: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 200 | Visits: 649
Photo of 98green
3.96/5  rDev -4.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4 | food: 3

Place is a lot smaller than you'd think (pre-expansion). Had a seat at the bar with all the bar orders on my shoulder. Quality and price was solid tho. (151 characters)

Photo of beatenbyjacks
4.78/5  rDev +15.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

wow was I impressed with Bell's Eccentric Cafe! Coming from Colorado I might be really hard on breweries, but this place blew me away.

Vibe - First off the place is gorgeous. Old building reclaimed properly. MASSIVE outdoor patio and a side garden area, amazing. Live band was setting up, just WOW.

Quality - I only had 2 beers and wasn't the largest fan of one, so I knocked the quality down a smidgen, but it was still spot on.

Service - I am hit or miss with the order at the bar thing, especially with such a small area to order and it being Bell's and there was a line. Look forward to what the remodel does for them.

Selection - YES! Another place that has more on tap that they play around with than package. I love places that just brew and experiment and see what people think. Might not all be makes, but at least you are trying. I understand when you are new that is all you do, but once you get to Bell's size quite a few places stop experimenting as often. (982 characters)

Photo of king75
4.55/5  rDev +10.2%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.25

The vibe of the place is the only thing I can knock them on as it felt like a rummage sale with just different things all over the walls with not rhyme, reason or theme. The beers I had were all very solid. I really liked Wild One, Bull in a China shop, and the Baltic Porter were all solid. Saturn was okay but was extremely boozy and felt a bit unbalanced. The sandwich I had was very good but a bit on the pricey side. (421 characters)

Photo of bassfishingguy
4.69/5  rDev +13.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

We decided to make a day trip to Bell's being that we've never been here and live about 40min NE. We really like atmosphere of the place and the number of offerings. The food was pretty good as well. We split the brisket sandwich and the 'crack' appetizer.

I was a little bummed that Expedition wasn't on tap anymore as I really like it, but they had plenty of other solid choices that I hadn't previously had. We will definitely be back. (439 characters)

Photo of core42
4.58/5  rDev +10.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3.75

Food is really good but not a lot of options right now. They are expanding to include a new, full kitchen area which will change my food rating.
They always have tons of beer options including a lot of brewery only selections (226 characters)

Photo of Suds_Suds
4.5/5  rDev +9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Great selection of beers; had fresh Hopslam on tap. The bartenders were super friendly and the food selection was great. Very vegetarian friendly and much better than regular bar food. (184 characters)

Photo of jasonpeckins32
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Nearly as good of a music venue as it is a brewery. A nice facility is split in 2 sides, one for dinner and great beer, and the other for great beer and good tunes. Good selection of their beers available. Its one of the go-to stops if you're ever in Kalamazoo. (265 characters)

Photo of chinchill
4.36/5  rDev +5.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

What a great place! It has a large selection and variety of quality beers (very large for a single source repertoire), a variety of spaces for customers, and loads of friendly beer aficionados. In addition, there's a performance venue under the same roof with a secondary, smaller bar. Unfortunately, I didn't get to the store just across the parking lot since it closed much earlier. (388 characters)

Photo of Longhorn2750
4.01/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4

This was my second trip to Bells, as always a great selection on tap. The food was much improved from my previous visit. As always there were some brews that were very impressive and others I did not care for. The double cream stout was by far the stand out of my most recent visit and the cherry stout was a big let down. Bells is a great stop just off I-94 on my way from Texas to Detroit. (392 characters)

Photo of Slick50
2.39/5  rDev -42.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 1.5 | selection: 2.75 | food: 1.25

First trip there for Black Note was a cluster. I'm used to "shit shows" but it was stupid. Drove there, stood in the cold. Was like #10. Two case max. Got in, one case max. Pissed, I took it and left. Found out three hours later (after the 4hour drive) they made a mistake and it was back to 2 cases about 30 minutes after I left. And the lack of food is relative to my rating. Sorry to say it but it is what it is. (424 characters)

Photo of docoman
3.6/5  rDev -12.8%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Overall not as I had hoped for their taproom. It is pretty much self serve and seating is just come as you go and layout not so great with the up stairs too far from bar area to order beer and food. Beer selection of course is really good and food was good. (259 characters)

Photo of almostjay
4.5/5  rDev +9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Lives up to the hype. Not pretentious at all. Obviously great beer. Really good pub style food. Big, open, and inviting. One of the best breweries in the country. Love it. (171 characters)

Photo of AlexM
4.75/5  rDev +15%

Visited Bell's Eccentric Cafe in Kalamazoo ... not much to gripe about here ... cool vibe, great beers (really appreciate the tasting flights), great brew-pub only beers, neat decor, chill vibe, etc ... really a must visit if you are in the area. (246 characters)

Photo of PPIV
5/5  rDev +21.1%

I cut my teeth here in the mid 90's. After working for the Grand Rapids Brewing Co I fell in love with the micro brews. Luckily I knew some people that worked in the Eccentric Cafe and I got beers quicker than the unlucky bastards that had to seemingly wait in line for a refill. The ambiance of the cafe has changed a lot over the years. No more fish tank or ping pong. The beer remains fresh and as awesome as the first time I had it though! I reach for Bell's beer first, out of any in a cooler full of exciting micros. (531 characters)

Photo of stouts4me
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

I like this place, everyone will tell you to make a visit. Great beer, atmosphere, food. The General Store is awesome after your time in the bar. Too many beers that are on the great beer list for me to name, look 'me up yourself, just don't miss this place on your beer Mecca. (277 characters)

Photo of cb500rider
3.86/5  rDev -6.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

The Gastro Pub at the original site of Bell's Brewery is a great little place. Raw stonework inside, beer garden out back. They also have concerts and a swag shop. They have a great selection of Bell's beers, including many that are not commercially available. Sadly, the kitchen had closed by the time I got there, so I was not able to eat anything. More room for beer!!! (372 characters)

Photo of Mothergoose03
4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25

The vibe in this brewpub is near perfect in my mind. The only thing that I don't like is the cramped area and typical line-up for ordering your food and beer at the bar. But that's a minor issue since everything else is outstanding. The beer list always has a bunch of the standard menu year-round beers, and a bunch of seasonals, specialty and experimental beers. And there is never a brewing flaw to be found. The food menu is not lengthy, but there are enough choices to satisfy most people, especially if pub food with an upward twist is okay with you. This pub is a must-visit for any craft beer lover. (607 characters)

Photo of Jackofallbrews
3.93/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4

This is for Bells Eccentric Cafe in Kalamazoo. If you haven't tried some Bells beers you might just be a hermit living in a cave. The café itself is a small tasting room with loads of old beer signs, posters, and tribal art on the walls. The small bar serves up many Bells favorites like Two Hearted (way better fresh on tap here than when it gets to MN in the bottle). They also have several pub only smaller experimental batches on tap. Sj and I ordered two samplers and shared so we could try as many as possible. Just like Latitude 42 and Acadia, we still didn't try everything! My favorite at the time was the Experimental Hop 2014 number 2 that had a bright melon-like flavor and a light and refreshing session feel. They also have a small kitchen to fulfill your eating needs., but I didn't get a chance to try that out.

The general store is right around the corner, selling beer, homebrew supplies and swag. (917 characters)

Photo of raleigh_blue
3.4/5  rDev -17.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 3

Atmosphere: They kick children out at 8PM. There are queues for beer, queues for food and no table service. I'm a Kalamazoo native and at one time I lived at bells. Nowadays, I find it to be a nice place to visit, but only if you are there with other adults. Since I have two kids, this place isn't high on my list. The beer kitch is cool, the stained glass is cool, the beer garden is cool, the wood work is beautiful and yet, it reeks of ruined beer and yeast.

Quality: Bells beer quality is great.

Service: Lousy. No table service, no table food service, no busing.

Selection: Several taps, several not distributed.

Food: It's okay. Had a fajita thing and french dip thing. Not impressed with either. Middling at best, especially compared to it's regional peers (Founders/New Holland).

Value: Value is as expected

Overall: Bells still thinks that it's the only powerhouse brewery in the region. They have a lingering sense of entitlement that is unwarranted at this time. Their competition is passing them by. (1,020 characters)

Photo of guityler83
4.19/5  rDev +1.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

My first stop on the way to NHC in Grand Rapids was the Bell's tap room - Bell's General Store. Not to be confused with the production brewery down the road, which did have a cool impromptu tour I joined, but no tap room.

I arrived around 2pm on a Wednesday and there was a good crowd already, spotted a few other NHC bound folks. I found a spot at the bar and was greeted with a huge list of beers in front of me varying from the main stays (two hearted, oberon, amber, etc) and one off varieties, a smash beer with a new, unnamed hop variety, session ipa and a few barrel aged beers. The bar tender was prompt at asking what I would like - 2 hearted.. of course. Extremely fresh and bright but still the balance you expect from the beer.. nice. Also ordered a Reuben sandwich which turned out to be a very good compliment to the beer with a spicey sauce on it.

The decore/atmosphere of the place was a mix of nautical, african masks, antique signage, very cool and random. After finishing off the two hearted I went for the experimental hop ipa, meh.. needs work. the hop didn't come off like it was ment to be used in an IPA format, very mild and floral. not the huge citrus and pine you usually get in the style.

Overall a nice stop, there is also a homebrew supply store in the front with all kinds of fun stuff. If you are driving to Grand Rapids or Detroit its worth a detour. (1,386 characters)

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

The famous Bell’s! Finally… We stumbled in here after visiting Olde Peninsula and the Beer Exchange. Bell’s is quite a big complex, with a factory, bar, store and an ample patio.

Surprisingly empty on a Thursday night, as opposed to the busy Beer Exchange and Shakespeare Pub.

The bar itself is rather expansive, with high ceilings, lots of tables, wood everywhere and a cozy atmosphere. Chill, nice.

Quick service at the bar and free tastings! No surprises on tap, despite a couple of pub-only brews: Experimental Hop 2014 1+2 (Black IPA+Session Red), Bull in a China Shop (a barleywine with hops), Consecrator, Baltic Porter, Berry Ale, Larry’s Latest Lager Trial, Smitten Ale, Larry’s Latest Pale Ale, Larry’s Latest Bock Trial, Expedition, Double Cream.

Don’t get me wrong, those are cool brewery-exclusive beers, but I guess I was hoping for special stuff like barrel-aged releases so I wasn’t enormously impressed by all those experimental lagers and black IPA’s.

Prices ain’t bad: nine dollars for 12 ounces of Expedition, 10 ounces of Two Hearted and a bunch of free tastings… 21 taps total and one firkin (Two Hearted).

Bell’s is cool, we had a good time, but… I don’t know, I don’t feel an urge to revisit again. (1,264 characters)

Photo of braggheim
4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I've been to Bell's several times now and have always enjoyed my visit. I was there yesterday and it was my first warm weather experience in the beer garden. This is really a great atmosphere for a relaxing drink with friends. I saw families bringing their young children to play while Mom and Dad had a beer. Beers are always solid and there is usually something on the list I haven't tried before that impresses me. Everything I have eaten there has been decent or better and the price isn't breaking the bank. I will continue to visit anytime time allows and I would suggest anyone who can, do the same. (606 characters)

Photo of SteveSly
4.6/5  rDev +11.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

Bell’s is the gem of the Kalamazoo brew scene which continues to grow year by year. Bell’s original brewery (now called The Eccentric Café) is in the heart of downtown Kalamazoo. They did some major renovations on it last year. The original drinking space remains about the same, but they have added a very nice live music venue on the other side, a patioed outdoor picnic table area and the grassy beer garden, which also hosts live music in the summer. The beer selection is always top notch and they often feature several beers that are experimental in nature or cannot be found in bars / stores. The food is mostly sandwiches, but they are all really good quality. The crowd at Bell’s ranges from college kids to senior citizens and everything in between. It is literally an all ages kind of place that everyone can feel comfortable at. If you are a beer fan, Bell’s is a MUST visit when in Kalamazoo. (914 characters)

Photo of PaulyB83
4.58/5  rDev +10.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.5

I live in Kalamazoo, well technically Portage, and I frequent Bell's at least twice a month. My favorite thing about it besides the beer is the atmosphere. It is a very warming place to be all the wood and eccentric stuff all over the walls. I am also very happy that every time I go there there is always a selection of music that I love, I usually hear Radiohead and Bon Iver at least once when I'm there.

The food is mostly house smoked meats, turkey, pork, brisket, salami. And it is always very delicious but at times I find myself wishing for something that doesn't have that smoked flavor in it. And the ordering system is such that you go up to the bar where people are ordering beer and sitting and enjoying their beer and order your food there then get a buzzer and pick up your food at a pick up window. I have found that when the place is busy it can get really confusing what line people are in and exactly who is in front of who. The bartenders do tend to pour your beer and take your order quickly though.

The selection of beer is top notch. There is always somewhere between 6-10 different beers you can only get at the brewery, which is too bad for those who don't live close enough to frequent the brewery often. As far as selection of styles go they mostly do pale ales, ipas, and stouts but at least a couple lagers are always on-tap. Sours and barrel aged offerings can be kind of a crap shoot to find, they don't really alert when they tap Black Note or anything. They do have an online tap cam but I have that I will look it up then go down to the brewery for something specifically and they will tell me it tapped earlier in the day or the day before. So I don't know if something is off with the way the tap cam updates of what.

Beers are usually very reasonably priced and about 1 or 2 dollars cheaper than you would find at a bar that's not having a special or something. The food is reasonably priced, a dinner is usually around 12-14 dollars and a sandwich around 9-11. The portions are very nice.

During the summer they have a very nice outdoor patio area were people can take their beers, they have to give them to you in a plastic cup, and on weekends they usually have a ticketed concert.

The General Store is attached to the building but has an entrance around the corner from the brewery. Everyone there is very helpful and no that I've started to do some homebrews, I'm able to sort of talk shop about brewing. They recently added a counter pressure fill growler station and it is very nice, they only have 4 beers at a time on it though.

So in conclusion, Bell's Brewery and General Store is a very comfortable and professional place with some of the best beers in the world. When you go here you won't feel like you're in the taproom for one of the biggest craft brewers in the country but rather like you're in someone's home. It should be on every beer lovers list of breweries to visit. (2,940 characters)

Photo of 3fdread
4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5

When I was there they did a tribute to all saints day and made it all stouts day(awesome). Has a college kind of vibe to it. Place was wall to wall people, but they knew how to handle it. The beer chicks will give the proper amount of sass which always makes for a good time. Outdoor area has the feel of a big backyard party. Wish the store/shop was a little bigger, but it was packed with all kinds of goodies. When in Michigan, forget a tigers game and go to Kalamazoo for some Bells! (487 characters)

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Bell's Brewery, Inc. in Kalamazoo, MI
92 out of 100 based on 200 ratings.