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Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Bell's Brewery, Inc.Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Based on:
106 Beers
86,512 Hads
Place Score: 93
Reviews: 204
Visits: 663
Avg: 4.17
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

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: 204 | Visits: 663
Photo of tripledbrew
3.59/5  rDev -13.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4

The vibe was a little too "I'm so special cause I am here". The beers I had were good, however their service was not that great. To their credit , they were very busy and may have been a little under staffed. The beer selection was very good. I would not go out of my way to visit them again.

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Photo of arizcards
4.43/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25

Vibe was pretty solid. We chose the outdoor seating area (not the pub or beer garden).

Quality of the beer available was world class. They had approximately 30 brews on tap that included their regular lineup, the seasonals, and the specialties!

Service was solid, the server or her sidekick were very timely!

Selection of the brews was awesome! World class beers dotted the menu including Two Hearted, Expo Stout, 30th Anniversary, etc!

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Photo of CardinalKen
4.59/5  rDev +10.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Very nice ambiance in the expanded Eccentric Cafe. Bar and restaurant seating are slightly separated, which is appropriate. Open and airy with soaring ceilings. Decent beer garden. Very interesting architectural details were used in the design of the space. Parking is tricky. Wait staff is well-versed on the product offerings and very, very friendly. (P.S. -- get the 30th Anniversary Ale before it's all gone)

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Photo of SHDoyle
4.48/5  rDev +7.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Stopped in here on my way to Grand Rapids. The exterior is unremarkable, which is quite a contrast to the interior. Twenty-foot ceilings, great woodwork and stained glass. Food was a bit pricey but otherwise good as was the service. I was hoping that they'd have a little more selection on tap and I felt that for the most part I could find everything at any respectable bottle store. I held out a snowball's chance in Hell that there would be some Black Note but was willing to settle for some Expedition Stout; unfortunately skunked on both accounts. Settled for a Uranus, which was not a bad consolation prize at all.

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Photo of 98green
3.96/5  rDev -5%
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.

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Photo of beatenbyjacks
4.78/5  rDev +14.6%
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.

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Photo of king75
4.55/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

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Photo of bassfishingguy
4.69/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

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Photo of core42
4.58/5  rDev +9.8%
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

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Photo of Suds_Suds
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

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Photo of jasonpeckins32
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
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.

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Photo of chinchill
4.36/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

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Photo of Longhorn2750
4.01/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

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Photo of Slick50
2.39/5  rDev -42.7%
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.

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Photo of docoman
3.6/5  rDev -13.7%
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.

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Photo of almostjay
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

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Photo of AlexM
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%

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.

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Photo of PPIV
5/5  rDev +19.9%

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.

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Photo of stouts4me
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

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.

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Photo of cb500rider
3.86/5  rDev -7.4%
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!!!

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Photo of Mothergoose03
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

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Photo of Jackofallbrews
3.93/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

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Photo of raleigh_blue
3.4/5  rDev -18.5%
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.

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Photo of guityler83
4.19/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

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Bell's Brewery, Inc. in Kalamazoo, MI
93 out of 100 based on 204 ratings.