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Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Bell's Brewery, Inc.Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Based on:
114 Beers
87,956 Hads
Place Score: 93
Reviews: 204
Visits: 673
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 204 | Visits: 673
Photo of CortexBomb
4.14/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Bell's is my Kalamazoo local favourite, by far, and the value of going down to the Eccentric Cafe has been going up consistently over the years.

The basics: this is a releatively small, wood heavy, quirky atmosphered tap room with a handful of Bell's beers on tap. No televisions, just some music for entertainment. Historically, they haven't had a lot of specials available, but the last time I visited they had a number of them including Cyser, Mrs. Bell's Pale, and a collection of 3 experimental pales, each brewed with the same base but different hops. If they can keep that sort of special range on tap I might have to stop by more often in the future!

In the summer, the atmosphere is improved by their rather large beer garden outside, in the winter, the inside is decent, but it tends to be fairly cold with several tables and the bar available for seating.

Prices on the beers are generally reasonable, 2-3$ for a small glass, a bit more for a pint. Bell's, unfortunately, do not sell growlers.

The staff is generally exceptional though,and are quite familiar with the beers that are available.

Overall: if you like Bell's beer, this is a necessary pilgrimage, particularly given the tap room only offerings that have been popping up lately.

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Photo of thanatos2948
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

This was a favorite college hangout. Great atmosphere in which to enjoy Bell's quality brews. A dark, woodsy type of place that reminds me of an old church with the stain glass windows. Nothing fancy, just a lowkey place where you can enjoy beer and converse, or do as I did and study in the loft with a two-hearted ale. They have an eclectic variety of music most nights of the week. Sometimes good, sometimes not so good but always interesting. Also, great beer garden for enjoying Oberon on a muggy, summer afternoon in Michigan.

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Photo of DaveFL1976
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

A big, open, airy bar area with heaps of African artifacts on the back wall. I liked the bar area. It seemed welcoming. Big yet cozy. Outside, there's a large beergarden with a pagoda, a large grassy area, a pagoda and a BBQ. Really cool place.
The beer is really good. I consider Bell's one of my favorite Michigan microbrews, and the beer available here is as fresh as you'll get. My wife and I stopped by for lunch on a Friday about noon. She had a turkey and avacado sandwich and I ordered a pulled pork sandwich. Both were excellent. I'd recommend stopping by if you're in the area, and plan to do the same myself.

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Photo of FightingEntropy
4.6/5  rDev +10.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Bell's Eccentric Cafe was a very fun stop after a long drive through Chicago (from Minnesota) to stop for the night. The building is brick, and not overly furnished. Some nice beer pieces on the wall, but almost has the feel of a buddy's decorated basement, comfortable and easy to drink all night in. Except, it isn't air conditioned, and even w/ many of the people outside listening to the band, it was very hot in spite of being 8:00 at night when I arrived. A visit in other than summer might be better, but the beer is well worth the sweat.

Being from Minnesota, I get the standard Bell's beers, but think I'm missing out on many others. I started with a Belgian Dubbel--Hell Hath No Fury, a high alcohol malty Belgian that went straight to my head. Very good. Followed that w/ Two Hearted from the Firkin, which was also excellent, and a fine treat to have Bell's on cask. Finished the tasting with barleywine, simply known as Old Ale. Again, a high alcohol but extremely smooth beer that I sipped for a long time.

Staff was extremely helpful, and really knew how to handle and pour a beer--the kind of love of presentation that makes drinking feel like an event. Food looked good. You order at a window, and get it yourself. Many people were eating, but I was a bit late and kitchen had just closed.

If you can conjure up an excuse to drive through Kalamazoo for any reason, stop and hit Bell's.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Stopped by the Eccentric Cafe on my way home from the Michigan Summer Beer Festival. Being a long time lover of Bell's brews I was excited to finally get out here. The outside of the building is sorta like a colorful warehouse with a tower in the middle featuring a big American flag. Signage is a little unassuming and it took us a bit to figure out where to park and enter. Once inside you walk into a big room with the bar staring you in the face and a loft area overhead. The fishtank catches your eye right off the bat with some really big, cool fish swimming around. Interesting artifacts can be found all over the walls, along with some wonderful stained glass work on the wall to the left of the bar. Quite eccentric indeed!!

Our bartender greeted us as soon as we sat down at the bar. I looked up at the chalkboard and marvelled at the selection of 12, yes 12, fresh Bell's brews on tap. From the Pale Ale to Two Hearted to Hell Hath No Fury to Bell's Beer to the Porter and on and on. 12oz pours ranged from $1.75 to at most $3.50...cheap! They also had cellar temperature bottles of Batch 7000, Cherry Stout, Expedition and Third Coast Old Ale. Basically, any Bell's beer you could want to drink at that moment was available. Bartender was very nice and chatted us up about the Michigan fest and beer in general. Our glasses were always kept full as soon as they were empty.

If you go outside to the big, lovely beer garden, you'll be forced to use a plastic cup. But really, this is a small inconvience in the grand scheme of keeping broken glass off the ground. I like the 3 tiered pricing that let's you choose between 12oz glass, 16oz plastic and 24oz glass. I enjoyed the Bell's Beer and then moved onto some wonderfully fresh Two Hearted. We didn't try the food at all, but that just gives me a reason to make a trip back to the Eccentric Cafe before too long. If you love Bell's beer then you must venture out here. Good music on the stereo, cool people, laid back ambiance and some of the best fresh brew you can get. Overall I had a great time here.

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Photo of scoobybrew
3.65/5  rDev -12.5%
vibe: 2 | quality: 5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2

Okay, I've labored about how to review my experience at Bell's to give a fair opinion. So...here goes:

In short - go for the beer and the beer only. Eat somewhere else first.

The beer at Bell's was outstanding. I don't think I've enjoyed such good beer fresh at the source from the CASK, not just a carbonated keg. I've always enjoyed Bell's offerings from the bottle, but these were incredible. Ok, that's the good (and best) part.

First off, as we walked in there was a $5 cover charge for the band that was to be playing. Okay…I feel old at this point. I haven’t paid to get into a bar since college. But, I dutifully pay, as I don’t want to cause a scene and be a square. But I did come for the beer, not the band.

The food has something to be desired. The special of the evening was 'blackened tofu'. Now, I try to eat healthy all right, but I find tofu pretty disgusting. Personal preference perhaps, but not usually what I consider an appetizing bar/grill dish.

The service was good, but you always had to go to the bar inside or the mini bar outside to get a drink. There was no wait staff walking around filling up empty drinks. I hear this place can get really busy on some nights with the college crowd, but this was the middle of the summer and it wasn't very busy. Don't get me wrong, I always got my glass filled promptly at the bar, but there's something to be said for having someone come by and fill you up. Which somewhat leads to the next point...seating.

There was a large disparity of seating in the joint. The inside floor space had less than a 1/4 of the tables that could have been there. Also, the beer garden was very nice, but had a large expanse of concrete with very few picnic tables. My wife and our friends sat on a concrete planter while I enjoyed my beer standing. Again, I'm told that Bell's gets really packed and this whole area has been filled with people all standing and chatting and enjoying their beer. This night was not the case, so fair warning.

Plastic cups outside - plastic cups outside was the rule. You couldn't have a glass out, probably because in the past too many people got a little tipsy and busted them on the concrete. Fortunately the beer was SOOO good, that it didn't seem to diminish the experience, but...fair warning.

The crowd was fairly diverse, but skewed somewhat to the eccentric 20-something crowd. Being an old man of 32, I was in the minority, but not completely out-of-sorts as there were other 'old' people there. However, I came with my wife and friends, so big deal. I think this place is more of an alternative for young people to the discotech/college bar scene. Good for them (just get the old man a chair please...).

To sum it all up, I had some of the best fresh beer ever here. It is definitely worth a visit and a return visit. Just don't expect a typical brewpub (and some of the comforts therein), I suppose after all it is the Eccentric Cafe.

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Photo of se7enchurches
4.55/5  rDev +9.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Visited here last month with the same friend I mentioned in my New Holland review. I *love* this place. The atmosphere just about couldn't be better for a brewpub... spacious, open bar area inside and a huge biergarten outside. The food was interesting; sandwiches and burgers with some oddball choices. I got an ostrich burger which was quite tasty. They keep about 15 beers on tap at a time, and they have many more of their beers handy in the bottle. They don't have a sampler as an option, but the bartender there said I could have free tasters of anything I wanted. In addition to a couple of those, I had a Wedding Ale and a Rye Stout, both of which were excellent on tap. The Bell's Store across the way has just about every beer of theirs that hasn't been retired ready for purchase. They said they were looking into further distribution and may be heading into Georgia soon; I cannot wait for this if it's true. This was a fantastic beer experience, and a must stop for anyone in the Kalamazoo area.

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Photo of pixel
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

This was the second stop on a recent beer trip to Michigan. The significant other and I had almost decided to just skip the place based on some poor reviews (I've never been a fan of snobby establishments) and lack of time but we left a day early and decided to go anyway, and I'm really glad we did. We arrived on a Thursday evening around 7. The place is NICE inside...High ceilings, brick walls, lit with natural light, and quite spacious. There were various forms of art on the walls that gave the place a sort of Jamaican-bohemian feel. Reggae was playing over the speakers. I expected to find snobby bartenders here, but they were actually pretty nice and helpful. I was immediately given a sample while I was trying to plan out my beers to order. I ordered a Rye Stout and Hell Hath No Fury (which was absolutely delicious) and took a seat to have a look at the menu. The food choices were definitely above par when it comes to "bar food". I didn't really care for the ordering process; you have to go up to a window to place an order for food and they give you a pager so you can come pick it up when it's done, but it was quick and the food was good. I had a pretty tasty portabella mushroom sandwich. While I didn't think the place was very busy when I was inside my mind was immediately changed when I walked out to the outside to check out "beer garden". That's where everyone was at, and I didn't blame then because it was a beautiful day outside and the garden was cozy and BIG! People were playing chess at tables and sitting in the glass while hanging out. I would have liked to stay out there but unfortunately they only allowed you plastic cups if you stepped outside. If I lived nearby and had went to the place often I'd be more flexible, but on this trip I couldn't bring myself to drink my beer out of a plastic cup so we went back inside. I'm really happy I got to Visit Bells, and if I lived nearby I'd definitely become a regular not only for the beer but for the laid back down to earth atmosphere. The only major disappointment was that they don't sell growers...

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Photo of mcallister
3.83/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

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Photo of shivtim
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

People always have trouble finding this place, and the door isn't well marked so I can see how they get confused. Park around back and go in the door at the top of the ramp.
Once inside it's a big bright open space with lots of dark wood and exposed brick. There's a cozy elevated loft space that overlooks the main floor. Fixed to the walls are a mish-mash of decorations, mostly relating to beer, fish, and Africa. There are a few amazing pieces produced by local artists, including an oberon painting and four spectacular stained glass windows, one with two beer bottles built right in. Outside is a very popular and roomy beer garden, great for summer nights (although beware of the plastic cups they give you if you're going outside). The tap selection varies, but when I went this week there were 10 on tap, and a few more available in bottles. The food is above average pub food, nothing too fancy but there are quite a few unique items and it's all reasonably priced. You have to order up at the kitchen window then pay at the bar; it's a system that actually works quite well. Overall a very enjoyable place to hang out. Great for a relaxed lunch, and also fun on packed Saturday nights with live music.

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Photo of tempest
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I'm in Kalamazoo a few times every year and finally made it to Bell's. What a cool place to have a beer. Masks all over the walls with wood floors, feel cozy but uncramped. Great service, bartender was quick with samples and we were able to buy cheap 12 oz servings of Bell's beers. With a couple friends we made it through 4 beers all of which tasted very fresh. They even had cellar temp bottles of some of their stronger brews not on tap. Like everyone says, its a little tough to find, but by far the best place in Kalamazoo to have a beer as far as I'm concerned.

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Photo of elmocoso
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

I was a little put off by the trouble finding this place. The brewery was easy to find and the cafe was accessed off the same parking lot, but it was unmarked and luckily a customer came out of the joint as we were about to leave.

Once inside, i enjoyed it a lot. Great Decor, with a mask motif on the wall. great architecture, with old exposed brick and wood beams.

The help was prompt and the food was decent. They also had a nice selection of beers on tap, and other offers in the bottle. If i lived in KZ i would definitely visit again, especially now that i know how to get there.

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Photo of BigDaddyWil
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Stopped by the Eccentric Cafe on my way down to the Dark Lord release in Indiana. Met fellow BA d2thom, there for a few pints. Good directions via the Mapquest and the Bell's website. Nice old town feeling to this place. High ceilings and wood floors give it that rustic feeling. Room for about eight to ten people at the bar. About a dozen or so tables. A nice fish tank in the corner, with a giant Oscar living in it. A door, at the back which leads outside to the beergarden. Food is ordered at a walk up window towards the back of the bar. Excellent prices for draft beer, nothing over four or five dollars for 20oz. I sampled their Cyser beer at 8.1%, darn good, Oberon of course, Early Rizer their light beer, and ended with the WInter White Ale. On sale for $1 for any size draft, awesome!!! I didn't have any food, just beer. I would love to spend an evening here. Becareful 16oz. servings are served in plastic cups, so make sure you tell them what size you are ordering. Out back is the general store for shirts and swag. A cool place to visit. I most certainly will return!

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Photo of nflmvp
4.28/5  rDev +2.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Made it to the Brewery/Cafe after the DL party on 4/29/06.

The atmosphere is nice and, as the name indicates, a little eccentric. High ceiling and wood floors with interesting decor. There's a nice little out door area.

Quality was good. The beers were all very fresh and the selection was great. They also had a small fridge for "cellar temperature" beers, including Batch 7000...sure would have been nice to find that one on tap.

Would love to revisit the place if I get back to the area in the future.

Edited to reflect subsequent visits in '07, '08 and '09.

I've now eaten here twice and I enjoyed my sandwiches very much. The selection of beers has been different each time I've been here and I appreciate that, quite a bit.

I've also updated my review to indicate value as reasonable. It's certainly not unreasonable and very much in line with what you'd expect to pay at any other brewpub.

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Photo of frazbri
3.83/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

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Photo of aforbes10
4.65/5  rDev +11.5%
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.

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

Took a small detour on my way from Cleveland to Chicago. I am quite glad I made the trip. Not horribly hard to find, drove past once, but hit side street, and came around back. Walked in, through a large entryway into a very open, airy bar area. they had a few tables, a small stage, and the bar that seat 7-10 people. The bartender was quite friendly, and helpful in selections as well as willing to allow us to try a few samples. The food is ordered from a walk up window, no wait staff other than bartender. Food was quite good, I had the angus buger, my friend enjoyed the bison, both cooked quite well.
The beer....oh the beer. I would guess 7beers on tap at the time, with special release bottles available.
The general store had a great selection of their beers, available in 6 packs, cases, or by the bottle. Store also doubles as a homebrew store.
Overall this is a place i would drive out of my way for again. Will enjoy the beers I brought back for a few months.

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Photo of beerinator
4.4/5  rDev +5.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I was tempted to skip on the Eccentric Cafe after reading some of these beerfly reviews. But, boy am I glad I did not miss this one!

First off... Finding the entry door is not easy. The signs are all facing Kalamazoo Ave. But those are the signs for the building, not for the Eccentric Cafe. Underneath those signs appear to be the Bell's Brewery offices. You can't eat in there... Go around the back onto Porter Street to find a parking lot and the entrance to both the General Store and the Eccentric Cafe. Neither entrance is marked very well.

I was prepared for "locals only" type of service here after reading a lot of these reviews. And I was totally suprised when I received great bar and food service. Each pint came quickly, even though the place was slightly crowded. The bartenders were helpful and even provided us a sample of the Cyser and answered a few questions about it when we asked.

There were 12 taps, all full of juicy Bell's products. The Cyser and Hell Hath No Fury were the only two that I've never seen before. But you have to enjoy a place that's offering you $3 to $3.50 Imperial Pints of Kalamazoo (the locals say "kay-zoo"), Two Hearted and Java Stout! Mmmm.

The food was good. I had the Ostrich Burger (tastes like buffalo!) and my wife had the Cobb Salad. Both were tasty, next time I'm trying the Rabbit and Rattlesnake Sausage Kabobs. Don't worry they still have regular cheese burgers and normal type fare, but it's nice to see interesting/eccentric offerings in a beer joint.

Service was great, selection was great, prices were great and the atmosphere is casual. Oh, and no smoke! You have to love leaving a place like this satisfied and smelling like the beer you drooled down your chin rather than the smoke from the guy sitting down the bar.

Eccentric Cafe, I'll be back.

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Photo of tonedef131
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This is only about a hour and a half drive to the northwest for me. So since I had some time off I actually went up there twice in the past week (The second time I was going snowboarding, but stopped since it wasn't really out of the way).

The building is in an older industrial part of town and is not very well advertised. I had actually been to Kraftbrau brewery for a concert in the past and didn't even see Bell's which is directly across the street. But once you get around back you will see the parking lot and make your way into the pub. The inside is nice, the brick walls and the high wood ceiling feel very warm. The establishment seems to mostly employ my generations replacement for hippies. So as you might expect there is usually some kind of jam band or bluegrass music playing noticibly but not obnoxiously in the background. I found it quite enjoyible, it fit the atmosphere perfectly. I will definatly be going a few times this summer to check out the beer garden, but it wan't quite warm enough to do in January. My only real complaint is that it is a cash only bar, so bring money along or expect to have your bank account raped by their resident ATM.

Their menu consists of mostly organic meats, cheeses, and breads that are supplied completely by Michigan farmers. Prices are moderate, about $6 for a burger. I have tried their Angus, Osritch, and Bison burgers as well as the Grouper sandwich. All were very good and the grouper might be the best fish sandwich I have ever had. They also have great snack foods if you don't feel like a whole meal. I was in heaven eating a basket of pretzel rods dipped in roasted garlic cheese spread and washing it down with a kalamazoo stout. Also make sure you try the beer barrel mustard they make there, I picked up a jar of it in the general store to take home with me.

As you might guess, the beers are great. They had most of their seasonals and regular ales on tap. The raspberry ale and the Hell hath no fury... were the only two being served that I have never seen bottled. I had no interest in the raspberry, but the I was quite disappointed when the bartender told me they don't do growlers. I really would have loved to take a growler of the Hell hath no fury... home, at 10%abv it would have been dangerous to drink any more of it than I already had. You can order draft beers in 12oz (Weizen Glass or Snifter for the specialty brews) 16oz (plastic cup) and 20oz (Nonic pint glass) or buy 12oz bottles of pretty much anything they brew.

The general store is worth stopping by on your way out. They had lots of cool posters, stickers, clothes, hats...all that kind of stuff. Also worthy of note is a walk in humidor with a good number of fresh cigars within and a large variety of home brew supplies. My dad who is an avid disc golfer was also very impressed with their selection of discs, he found the exact one he was looking for. They very in weight and design and have the logos from most of their popular beers on them. There is also stacks of six packs of beer, warm or cold, and you can do mix and match six packs. This was very cool because I got to try a lot of the ones that I hadn't gotten around to buying six packs of yet. That and I might have been upset if I had bought a whole six pack of Java Stout.

Overall it is a good experience and I will definatly be going back often. If you live nearby or are in the area, check it out. Some of the stuff these brewers come up with is amongst my favorites and is some of the most original in the world.

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Photo of weeare138
3.8/5  rDev -8.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

I just had to make the trek to Bell's in Kalamazoo. Actually, I printed off the directions that were previously on here and I ended up at an off site brewing facility owned by Bell's...not the Eccentric Cafe. No matter, another 25 minutes and I was where I needed to be in Kalamazoo. Good thing he told me it was near the railroad tracks or I would've kept going.
Atmosphere seemed pretty down to earth. A big fish on the wall, a fish tank, advertisement posters, a fish tank...you get the feeling. Music was blaring with the Kalamazoo college crowd singing along. I haven't seen this many hippies since Burlington, VT.
The quality of the beer was nice. Fresh from the source.
The service was friendly, as the bartender helped get me from the other facility to the brewpub. He was a nice guy but got caught up with talking to people he knew in there. He said that he couldn't do anything for me as far as food is concerned b/c the kitchen had closed. He couldn't let me get anything from the gift shop either, as they had closed for the night. He did, however; offer me some chex mix. It was snowing and he had to go outside and shovel and salt, leading me to wait even longer this time. They don't have anyone else that can do that other than the only on-duty bartender???
Selection was decent. Plenty of the brews on tap but nothing that wasn't available in bottles. I've been meaning to get out here but I was staying near Detroit and drove a while to get to Kalamazoo. Not a fun trip and a bit of let down but I'm glad I made the journey.

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Photo of slander
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Another perfectly timed excursion. (Evil) Davo wanted the 6 AM flight out of LaGuardia but I talked him into the 7:30, then retrieval of luggage, a short bus to the rental car lot, and an hour and change on the highway heading West, landing us at Bells pretty much right when we were supposed to be there. A short two hour tour (we got the abridged version because we're beer people) of an absolutely incredible brewery left me hankering to sample the wares...

A little ways away can be found the Eccentric Cafe, unassuming and easy to miss if you didn't know what you were looking for. It's a two room deal split by the remnants of a roll down door. The bar side holds a 7 seat straight bar and a handful of tables. To the front is a perch with a half dozen tables and a couch overlooking the rooms. The other room has a stage platform for bands against the large windows to the rear, and a half dozen checkerboard patterned tables riddled about. Big brick walls with wood slat lower trim, 20 foot high ceilings, alternating burgundy, gray & maroon slate floors, duct work and ceiling fans, drop & spot lighting, a few large and a few small stained glass window panels. Tapestries, a 48 star flag, a map, framed Bells posters & prints, painting, wood sculpture pieces mounted and placed in some corners, framed butterfly and insect displays.

Behind the bar, a blackboard listing the tap selections, a smaller "Bells bottles" board, and a small cooler with sodas and teas. Bar towels, tribal masks, a map of Africa, a Bells label display, trophies, old beer ads, and a fishtank in the corner.

11 taps a-happenin', served in 12 ounce glasses (for as little as $2), 16 ounce plastic cups, and 20 ounce imperial pints. The Cherry Wheat was deeply sweet, the Oberon Ale just fantastic on tap, the Two Hearted Ale wonderfully, amazingly hoppy, the Oatmeal Stout rich & smooth, the Hell Hath No Fury (Belgian double) a deep color, nicely toffee, with an alcohol aroma, the Java Stout (one of my favorites) was perfectly all espresso, the Cyser strangely apple & honey, the Old Ale real damn good as well.

Interesting food scene. You place your food order through a small window to the front and then you pay the bartender when you go collect your food. Mostly sandwiches, salads, and other snacks, I did a cheddar bacon Angus burger on an onion bun.

Out back or out front or I don't know where you'd call it but it's outside, they've got a beer garden, cement & good brick work with keg ashtrays and around the bend a large courtyard with a gazebo, a bandshell, tables and awnings. Lots of room to move around out there. Great beer, tunes, and let me go grab a smoke from the shop in the back. Don't get much better than this.

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Photo of granger10
4.33/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

It's amazing that this was my first time to Bell's actual brewery. The beer produced by Larry Bell is absolutely outstanding and being that I live only an hour away I figured it was time to get off my ass and go there. Parking and entrance are hard to find, you kind of have to go off the main street to get in. This place is basically one huge ass room and a smaller upstairs and then the beer garden. I thought the beer garden was awesome and would be a really cool way to spend a nice summer afternoon. Bartender was nice and gave me many free samples. They had like 3 or 4 non bottled beers on tap and then the rest of the line. A few wines and some pop as well. This place has two worlds to it. Kind of a dark place on the inside and grimmy but chill and then very bright and pretty on the outside. Food definitely was eccentric and I really want to try that ostrich burger next time I go but I had already eaten so no food this time. Definitely a must visit if in K-Zoo

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev -4.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

If you can find the place it is well worth the hunt. A little beer keg hanging from a pole has Bell's painted on it and the door is around the back of the building.

The bar is very eclectic with old maps, masks for other cultures and some amazing stain glass windows. This is a wonderful place that I'm sure gets packed on the weekends. I was about the only one of about two dozen costumer that wasn't wearing Tevas/flip-flops and hair below my collar but I will dress appropriately next time.

The quality was very good but they didn't have casks but plenty of taps and bottles.

The service was very low-key but I felt welcome and the bartender gave me the "Intro to the Eccentric Cafe" speech without any prompting.

They have a great selection on tap and non-seasonals in bottles that you can take home aswell. Very nice beers and one cyser and 2 wines that they make aswell.

The food is from a small kitchen off to the side of the bar and it has soups and sandwiches that seem very hip but don't quite have the basics. Like country style chicken salad sandwiches or tempeh rubens, however the bread was pretty stale. The other food coming out of the kitchen looked pretty tastes so I will have to try other things.

It was a great bar and a good price I will definitely go back to try the other seasons when I'm in K-zoo.

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Photo of Gaisgeil
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

First off, I'm not sure why people have such a hard time finding the place, my friend and I passed by it once before we caught a street number to get our bearings, but at that point it just became a matter of counting. But I digress... Also the address in this listing is for the main brewery in Galesburg, NOT the cafe which is in downtown Kalamazoo itself.

The pub address is:
355 E. Kalamazoo Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49007

The spot is located in an old industrial building, very local, I like it. For a company so large I half expected it to be a huge immaculate beer palace, and while it is well decorated (beautiful stained glass and tilework!) it seems fairly rooted in the company's past, instead of giving in to their own success and straying from what got them there in the first place. I can admire that. The place is certainly eccentric, and it seems some people are put off by the fact that they simply don't run their place in a kiss up sort of way to their customers, to me, that is just simply admirable. They are what they are and not always what you might like them to be. Accept it or don't. The beer selection was quite good, with Bell's Amber, Oatmeal Stout, Batch 6000, Cyser (cider/mead), Paddy O'Furniture (St. Patty's day brew), Best Brown, Two-Hearted and a few others including Bell's red wine.

Service was good, the bartender quick to keep glasses filled and was helpful in explaining some of the beers. The food, while it took a little while to get, was really really good. I had a bowl of broccolli and portebello soup that was extremely good along with a BBQ and coconut chicken sandwich. We also hit up the general store which was cool with some out of season selections available along with some Bell's clothing and glasses.

Overall we had a great visit, I was highly impressed and I'm sure I'll be back again when in town.


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Photo of StonedRugger
3.84/5  rDev -7.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I've read some pretty bad reviews of this bar with the same themes running through most of them; service was bad, selection was limited, and it was hard to find. After having gone while in Kalamazoo for a rugby tournament, I can say that this bar was probably being looked at in a vacuum rather than for what it is...

With my friends and I being from 200+ miles away we had a cab pick us up and take us to the place. 9 bucks wasn't a bad price to pay each way for 3 people who would have gotten lost and it nullified the parking situation.

There was a $4 dollar cover for the Saturday night band which was celtic in style. The place was somewhat full when we came in, but we got served fairly quickly at the bar and were able to find a table on the balcony upstairs. I had the Third Coast Old Ale and the Kalamazoo Stout. Prices were pretty decent and patrons were offered a choice of 12 and 20oz pours of the brew on tap. Bell's Beer, Two Hearted, a wine, and perhaps one other bell's beer plus a few imports, or maybe the imports were bottles only. Either way, having read the reviews, knowing the season and having a limit on what I was going to spend I made out quite nicely.

The band was Called Fonnmohr, by the way, and were local to the area. Their playing and the Floggin Molly played while they were off combined with an enthusiastic crowd, made for a great atmoshphere and 3 hours flew by.

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