Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Bell's Brewery, Inc.Bell's Brewery, Inc.
BEER AVG
3.91/5
Based on:
98 Beers
26,958 Reviews
Place Score: 92
Reviews: 200
Visits: 648
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: 648
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)

Photo of DavidHM
4.69/5  rDev +13.6%
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. (378 characters)

Photo of clay23
4.29/5  rDev +3.9%
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. (313 characters)

Photo of King_Charles
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
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. (428 characters)

Photo of robriley
4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
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. (262 characters)

Photo of smartassboiler
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
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. (1,354 characters)

Photo of ari32
4.34/5  rDev +5.1%
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. (601 characters)

Photo of MSandahl23
4.68/5  rDev +13.3%
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! (370 characters)

Photo of SerialTicker
3.85/5  rDev -6.8%
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. (2,465 characters)

Photo of qcbrewer
4.41/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75

This is my second visit to Bell's General Store and Eccentric Cafe. This time proved to be far more entertaining, merely based on better weather, timing, and people (last time was a bit dull). Getting here isn't too bad and it's "near" the interstates in downtown Kalamazoo. Parking can be found next to the door, but just in case there is also a large parking lot less than a block away.

There are 5 main areas to Bell's: the Foyer, the Patio, the Garden, the Back Room, and the Cafe. While I spent some time in each minus the back room, I'll focus a bit more on the cafe. The Cafe (the main bar) is eccentric indeed with lots of different posters, beer adds of old, maps, random objects, and a lot of African masks. Tile flooring, aged brick walls, wooden ceiling, and wooden accents all around. Plenty of seating downstairs, as well as in the loft above. There are 6 bar stools with a nice wooden bar as the center piece. Lighting is a bit boring, but there are some very pretty stained glass windows at the far side of the room. It can be slightly loud inside, just so you know. There is also the general store (merch) around the corner (but you can't take a beer there to peruse).

Tonight there are 21 beers on tap, with all the classics, as well as some awesome seasonals/rarities (Oracle, Wild One, Exp Hop series). Bell's is a classic overall in my book, and creates a very solid, quality beer, nearly regardless of style. Personal favorites of mine are Two Hearted, Hopslam, Oracle, Porter, and Kalamazoo Stout.

Overall, I like this place a lot more than the first time. I can say I'm not a huge fan of the Cafe atmosphere, but I usually like a brewery that stands out as original and Bell's certainly does. The patio and garden areas are really nice, peaceful, and relaxing so if the weather permits I'd drink there after seeing the Cafe. Seeings how I think Bell's is a classic in beer, you should absolutely visit if near by, at least once - it's worth the experience. (1,983 characters)

Photo of henrichsj
5/5  rDev +21.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

I was lucky enough to visit Founders and Bell's on my way home from a family vacation. Didn't think Founders could be topped, then we pulled into Kalamazoo! I was a bit biased going in, because Bell's is my overall favorite beer. The taproom is eclectic with a huge offering of regular Bell beers and special taproom-only offerings. My wife loved her Wedding Ale and Raspberry Ale while I had to get a Two Hearted. I also wanted to try something I could only try at Bell's, so I went with a Larry's Latest Pale. It was awesome! Just wish I could have taken some home! The food was great (Spinach dip and Buffalo Chicken dip - with awesome pitas) and the beer garden provided a place for our children to stretch their legs. I had this place built up in my mind, and it didn't disappoint. (786 characters)

Photo of Lunny777
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 3.25

Really cool atmosphere, but it feels a bit cluttered - they have several rooms, but it feels tight in spots; outdoors is cool, but it's not serviced at all; etc. The service was fine, but I was there on a Tuesday evening and the place was packed, so I feel bad for the servers but they were under a ton of pressure. It's strange that they didn't have servers at the actual tables for such an incredibly busy place - just 3 bartenders taking drink and food orders. The selection was amazing. At least 21 beers on tap - several staples, all the seasonal offerings, and about 12 unique/one-off beers. Just incredible. The food menu is tiny, and I got the pretzels. They were pricey for not being fresh - just crunchy pretzels from a bag mostly, and the dips were good but not fresh made. Price was right for all beers, I got a flight for a good deal. (847 characters)

Photo of SportsandJorts
5/5  rDev +21.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

Atmosphere: awesome places, very eccentric as expected by the name. nice laid back feeling. love the beer garden and outdoor area. haven't ever seen it to busy.

Quality: the quality of the beers they bottle is hard to beat. add that to the even higher quality experimentals and pub exclusives and its unbeatable

Service: it is go up to the bar service but i have never had a problem. when there is a long line you can usually catch a server at the side and skip the line

selection: all beer are quality. i could go here every night and order 2 or 3 and never get sick of what they have on tap. they really but some good stuff up there

food: simple but delicious. i have had the jambalya and pulled pork sandwiches. both were great

Overall: Bell's is easy one of my favorite places to drink. and possibly my favorite. I wouldn't change a single thing about the place (870 characters)

Photo of orangesol
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Stopped in here last weekend while I was in town for the Michigan Mile. Figured it was a ten hour trip, might as well drive another twenty minutes and check out one of my longtime most wanted places.

Atmosphere is a little chaotic but in a sorta good way. People are all over the place drinking, eating and just hanging out. We must have hit the jackpot as we got a parking spot right out front, got served at the bar with no wait, and got a nice table just a few feet away all in the span of five minutes. Lots of cool stuff hanging on the walls from all over the world, its just a really cool place to have a beer. Service was good. It was a little hard to get their attention but once I got it I had no problems. Quality was pretty high all things considered. The beers are top notch and the food was solid.

Selection was pretty large. I tried about 7-8 of them and they were all at least solid. The Larry's Latest DIPA I tried was incredible. We got an order of chips and some buffalo dip, both were excellent. My only knock on the food is that the menu seemed a little small but it was more than enough for a snack or two. Everything was priced pretty well. Beers were a touch high but I was expecting them to be that way since most of them weren't your everyday Bell's beers.

Overall I am glad I made the side trip over here. It is exactly what I expected and more. I look forward to returning in the future and spending a bit more time, hopefully out on the deck. (1,473 characters)

Photo of camartin27
3.91/5  rDev -5.3%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.25

My only experience at the Eccentric Café was on St. Pat's day -- so I am not sure I got a good glimpse of what was happening. We had an excellent full day there. Lots of tastings. Great choices of their session ales. It was a good choice for me - but I wonder what its like on a noncrazy day. (293 characters)

Photo of bobbyr5
3.95/5  rDev -4.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | food: 2

Atmosphere - pretty cool place. Turned a old looking warehouse into a bar and have a large field with stage for concert events in the back.

Quality- Bell's is one of the best and the beer showed it. Got a cool sampler and tried Mead for the first time.

Service- Not so good but they are trying to accommodate a pretty large set up

Food- Don't come here for food because there isn't really anything to choose from.

Value- A little pricey but I'd say its worth it. (468 characters)

Photo of HarmonMW
4.24/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

I've been to Bell's several times and would highly recommend it to anyone that's a fan of their brews. Always lots of options on tap, and several of them are one-offs unique to the brewpub. As far as food, I've only had the pub dip which is always excellent. I can't really comment on the rest of the food. It's always a good time though, and the beer is, just as expected, superb. Very nice gift shop next door as well. Must visit if you're going through Kzoo. (461 characters)

Photo of hotsudge
3.53/5  rDev -14.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 2

You go here for the beer. Incredible venue - super cool, I mean really cool building but quite small so we had to stand for 30 minutes before seats opened up.

The beer was great. Great selection and great tasting. Food... well there wasn't much selection and it was unusual that after we ordered it you have to go to the little window to get it. Anyhow the food was fine but overall you don't go there for the food.

The shop next door was fantastic, some of the best brew pub swag around. We bought lots of beer - as much as good from the limited choice left.

Can't wait to go again! (589 characters)

Photo of craft_shannie
4.61/5  rDev +11.6%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Visited early on a Saturday morning & took the brewery tour. beautiful building/facility. the taproom is a bit on the small side: bar seats maybe a dozen, small selection of tables (10-12) with a crows nest space that allows for additional limited seating. there is an outdoor stage in a well manicured courtyard that provides additional space/seating - a perfect spot for a family picnic. company store has a separate entrance & carries typical swag, reserve bottles, and home brewing supplies. employees (pub, tour, and store) are top notch in their knowledge, passion, and enthusiasm. sampled two hearted, larry's latest lager trial, le pianiste, trumpeter's stout, le contrebassiste, and bear hug. really enjoyed the tour - you don't cover a lot of ground by any means, but the guide was extremely knowledgeable & you get to see the tanks where the small batches are made. also get to see some vintage bottles from back when they reused bottles & did so by hand. awesome, awesome spot: lots of history & kickass beer. (1,021 characters)

Photo of meanmutt
3.9/5  rDev -5.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3

Visited Bell's Eccentric Cafe while in Kalamazoo as a stop on a beer-centric road trip.

My wife and I got there at about 6:30 pm on a Saturday night. The cafe is kinda small and was crowded. No empty spots at the bar (which only has about a dozen bar stools), but we got one of the few remaining empty tables.

You have to go to the bar to place your order, but despite the crowd, they did a pretty good job. There were 5 or 6 bartenders constantly getting beers, so the line at the bar moved pretty quickly.

The wife and I both started off with a Two Hearted, which is one of our favorite beers. I was excited to see that they had several beers on tap that I hadn't had before. The Raspberry Wild One was pretty tasty and so was the Dagger Stout, but my favorite beer of the night was Black Note...awesome stuff.

The food was just OK. I had a catfish po'boy and I thought it was pretty meh. My wife didn't really like her turkey avocado sandwich either.

Overall, I'd visit Bell's again, but I'd probably skip the food. (1,024 characters)

Photo of sapples
3.91/5  rDev -5.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Great tap selection. They had black note, a really tasty mead, and lots of great exclusives. However they waited a half an hour to inform me what I ordered to eat was out for the night, then there was no bar tender to be found for the same amount of time. Everything was great but the service didn't match. (306 characters)

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