Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Active Beers: 108
Beer Ratings: 62,021
Beer Avg: 3.84
Taps: 20 / Bottles: 12
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 300 | Reviews: 177 | Show All Ratings:
4.83/5 rDev +13.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.75 | 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.
03-26-2014 05:31:04 | More by PaulyB83
4.43/5 rDev +4%
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!
03-13-2014 23:51:29 | More by 3fdread
4.69/5 rDev +10.1%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75 | $$
What a fantastic value! Ambience, service, food, and beer were all excellent and the price was reasonable. What more could one want? If there was any griping to be done it was that they were out of my second beer selection and there was a slight chip on one of my glasses. Those were the only things keeping me from giving them a higher score. Btw- loved the African themed bar.
03-03-2014 20:13:26 | More by DavidHM
4.29/5 rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25 | $$
The general store is a great place to pick up beers for later. The opportunity to get flights is a great option inside the bar area and the availability of trying rare and experimental beers should seal the deal. The staff was really helpful and friendly. Overall its a must stop along the Michigan brewery trail.
02-11-2014 01:40:14 | More by clay23
4.3/5 rDev +0.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3 | $$
Don't even think about skipping this place if you're in Kalamazoo. Great beers, great food, and great service. With exception to 1 or 2 newer bartenders, the knowledge of the staff runs deep. Same goes for the staff in the general store. Cant recommend it enough.
If you can manage to go right after the official "Eccentric Day," check to see if you can get some of the older beer they've kept in the cellar...very worthwhile.
12-27-2013 01:40:30 | More by King_Charles
4.4/5 rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5 | $$
Bells is one of the best breweries I have ever been to. From the quality of their beers to the overall atmosphere of the building, everything is pretty much perfect. Really enjoy the beer garden in summer along with some of the special events like Eccentric Day.
10-19-2013 20:45:15 | More by robriley
4.3/5 rDev +0.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5 | $$
I did a quick MI brewery tour on my way to Founders KBS Day, and we stopped at Bell's third.
The Atmosphere is really nice. They have a small, quaint Eccentric Cafe that seats a decent amount of people downstairs, and they also have a small upstairs area as well with extra tables. That's the best place to look when it's crowded because it seems like not everyone knows to check up there. The place was jammed when we got there around 5 on a Friday night, but we found a table upstairs.
The Quality is great. They make top-notch beers and serve really good food.
The Service was good. You have to go up and get everything yourself, but they have multiple people taking beer orders, and they have a separate line for food. It can get really crowded, but they crank through the line at a good pace.
The Selection is fantastic. They had over 20 of their beers available on tap, and they offer up some draft-only versions as well. They still had Hopslam on tap, and the 2nd time I visited they were pouring The Wild One.
The Food was delicious. I had an absolutely amazing grilled cheese sandwich, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed what they ordered. I liked their menu and would go back multiple times to try different things.
Bell's is one of the best brewpubs I've been to thanks mainly to the selection of beer and great food. I highly recommend it.
09-24-2013 15:06:49 | More by smartassboiler
4.34/5 rDev +1.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.75 | $$
They had quite a selection of beers on tap with a decent amount of brewpub-only beers. Most of them were good. The place seems kind of small, but apparently there's a second bar in the back that wasn't open the day I visited. The food was pretty good, but nothing amazing. The staff was good and extremely helpful. They tried to help me and my friend pick out some beers that we would like based on our favorite styles and did a pretty good job. They also helped us locate a decent bottle shop and then find the quickest path to the freeway from there so we could continue our journey to Grand Rapids.
09-16-2013 20:44:28 | More by ari32
4.68/5 rDev +9.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4 | $$
Visited the brewery and general store and went on the tour and it is a must! The staff was very friendly and knowledgeable(big shock there right :) And the one offs in the tap room could have kept me there all day if we didn't have plans later that day in Grand Rapids. Had the Wild one for the first time and it was the highlight of the trip for me beer-wise. Loved it!
09-01-2013 18:30:02 | More by MSandahl23
3.85/5 rDev -9.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.75 | $$
*From my Yelp profile*
I was torn between a four and a five for the Eccentric Cafe. Eh... I guess take this as a 4.75/5, if that shit matters at all.
I got here at about noon or so on a Friday (July 5th to be exact) and I still had to wait about 10-15 minutes in line. Considering it was lunch time, I'm actually kind of surprised I didn't have to wait longer. Got to the front of the line (which is at the bar, oddly enough), ordered a paddle, and the reuben sandwich. I was given one of those -- for the lack of a better word -- vibrators, and sat down at an open table with my beer. All six that I had sampled were average or better. My personal favorite was the Quinannan Falls Lager... holy hell that stuff is great. I know. "Lager". Just trust me, it's fantastic.
To my surprise, the Eccentric Cafe is *somewhat* small... there are probably a few less than two dozen tables. For those that want to, there's the option to sit outside. Well, during Spring until maybe Fall... who the hell would want to sit in the snow and drink.
Alright, okay, the reuben. The price of the sandwich escapes me, but it was between $8-$10... which turned out to be a super fair price. There was about an inch of meat on the sandwich, which is A-OK with me. The sandwich also came with some really tasty chips... I'm not sure if they make them at the cafe, or if they're store bought, but the seasoning on it was pre' good. I also had a taste of the sausage from the jambalaya and thought that was well above average. I should also add that the $10 (?) jambalaya comes in a pretty big bowl. Just sayin'.
Bell's Eccentric Cafe is a great place. I had the option of going here or to Arcadia in Battle Creek on my way to Chicago... is there really a comparison (as far as beer is concerned)? No. No there isn't.
I only have one minor gripe with the Eccentric Cafe, if you can really call it that. Is there no waitressing? The way this place is run is somewhat unusual to me. Order drinks *and* food at the bar. Get your drink(s). Wait awhile. Get buzzed in for your food. Pick up your food... nobody comes to your table. If you want a refill, you have to go up and get one yourself. Oh yeah, and that wait can take quite a little while.
Despite that, this is a must visit for a beer fan. I came here with a couple other people that have zero interest in craft beer (SHAME ON THEM!), but they really liked their food as well. I'd definitely come back if I'm in Kalamazoo again.
08-29-2013 00:16:06 | More by Alextricity
Bell's Brewery, Inc. in Kalamazoo, MI
95 out of 100 based on 300 ratings.