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Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Bell's Brewery, Inc.Bell's Brewery, Inc.
BEER AVG
3.9/5
Based on:
100 Beers
27,138 Reviews
Place Score: 92
Reviews: 200
Visits: 652
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: 652
Photo of PPIV
5/5  rDev +21.1%

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

Photo of 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 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 Azumel
5/5  rDev +21.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4

It had been a few years since I've been in here and it was nice to be back. The selection of beers on tap was decent, they even had a few of their 'experimental' beers on tap which was a nice suprise. The Kal-Haven was one of those beers and I have to say, it was one of my favorites. We went on a cold and rainy Wednesday afternoon, it wasn't packed by any stretch, but it was full and the outside area was pretty sparse also. For the money, it was a great visit, around $4 for any drink, had the following 11 beers on tap (had never heard of a few of them). Oberon, Poolside, Oarsman, Golden Rye, Debs Red, Kal-Haven, Kalamazoo stout, Oatmeal stout, hell hath no fury and Third Coast. A great place to visit with some great beers! (732 characters)

Photo of MikeyRx
4.95/5  rDev +19.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Located on the edge of downtown Kalamazoo, the building may sneak up on you and parking is a bit of a mess.

The atmosphere is excellent! Decor is interesting, beautiful stained glass, and the new expansion and renovations make for a wonderful facility. The new patio and beer garden are great for soaking in the West Michigan sun as you down your brews! The staff has never been anything but friendly and helpful to me.

Bell's brews are of the highest quality and they've had about 20 on tap each time I've been in recently. 3-5 of those beers are brewed and only available on-tap at the Eccentric Cafe. They have great examples of many styles and many in-between/alt styles to choose from.

The food menu is limited but ever changing. What I've had has been good. The guacamole is delicious and the pretzel rods are a great value!

Other:
Bell's does not fill growlers. They don't want a growler of their beer going cross-country and the flat, warm result giving them a bad name. I don't love this, but I get it. Also, the promise of the 750ml series to be available only at the attached Bell's General Store will soon remedy this issue.

In my experience Bell's has always been CASH ONLY... so bring cash or hit the ATM just inside the doors so as not to ruin your day. (1,273 characters)

Photo of cpetrone84
4.86/5  rDev +17.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Being in PA, I see Bell's beer everywhere. So, when I went to the Eccentric Cafe I assumed a huge restaurant that has lost that small brew pub atmosphere. I was so wrong!

Bell's has the coolest little Bar Room with some upstairs seeting and some on the bar floor. They play live music on the weekends and have a huge beer garden in the back (it was like 40 degrees so nothing happening but it is probably awesome in the summmer.

The decor on the wall was of some seriously cool tribal type gear. Masks and things of that nature. They all sorts of cool things covering the walls and the bartender told me they rotate those items to keep it "fresh." Those are my words. They also had sweet stained glass windows that looked beautiful with the sun shining through.

The bartender was totally cool and very atrractive (that was a plus in my book). The beer is obviously great. I actually did pay about the same or more for the beer as I did at some local spots so I docked them slightly for that; but their beer rocks, can't wait for hopslam!

I can't say that I ate so I can't help there. (1,087 characters)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of alleykatking
4.75/5  rDev +15%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I was at the cafe this past Sunday.

A: This is a nice big place that you sometimes don't see in some brewpubs. Had a unique touch to it with old maps and hanging boxes of what seemed like a insect geeks collections on display. It seemed a lot more home driven than most places I have been too.

Q: Everything from the beers to the food that I had or saw was pretty amazing. I couldn't have been happier with the quality of everything that was there.

S: Couldn't have asked for a better bartender. I feel bad because her name I can not remember at all. She was very knowledgeable with her beers and even helped a couple people I was with their beer recomendations.

S: Had almost any Bell's regular offering there along with a couple (4) offerings that you couldn't get anywhere else which was pretty sweet.

F: Everything I saw coming out of there looked and smelled great. Not a deepfried place for sure and I liked that aspect of it. My food that I got was very tasty.

V: Talk about deals. This has to be one of the only places that I have been too in a long while (HopCat is the only exception here) that I didn't feel like I was getting kind of ripped off. I was very impressed with seeing the prices.

Overall it pretty much looks like this Bell's equals one of the best brewpubs in terms of service and quality I have been to in a long time. (1,351 characters)

Photo of AlexM
4.75/5  rDev +15%

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

Photo of ebby82
4.7/5  rDev +13.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 3

We went here around lunch time. The building is kind of cool, and it was nice to just find somewhere to sit. We sat near, but not at the bar, which made getting anything we needed really easy.

The chalkboard of beers was extensive, and the wife and I each started with their farmhouse ales. She had the brown, which she loved, and I had the blonde, which was good.

We then had a sampler tray, pick any 6 beers for 12 dollars. It was honestly a lot more beer than I expected. The rye stout and the fresh two hearted were stand outs.

The food was average, though not bad.

The service was great, and I liked the atmosphere as well. A great place to spend a few hours and enjoy oneself. The shop also had a nice selection of beer and merchandise. (746 characters)

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

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

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

Photo of 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 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 aforbes10
4.65/5  rDev +12.6%
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. (1,195 characters)

Photo of BBP
4.63/5  rDev +12.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

A- A bit smaller than I would have guessed. It seemed to be lacking in space. We got there shortly after it opened and snagged a couple bar seats, but when we were leaving there were people lined up to the bar.

Q- The quality was quite nice. There was natural light coming in through stained glass, as well as enough cleanliness to meet my OCD enhanced standards. The washrooms were very clean as well and it almost had a feel like it had just opened.

S- I might be a bit biased as I got bar seats, but I had service which couldn't be complained about in any way. I was the DD, but they still let me try They also gave us room to breathe and weren't pushy.

S- The selection was superb. They had a lot of brews that I'd never heard of before, and I was like a kid in a candy shop. I sampled their sparkling ale in a small shot as well as one of my favorites "The Oracle". I ended up getting a 12oz of their "mild ale" as well which was not lacking despite it's 3.5%. If I had more time I would have tried their wedding ale, and farmhouse brown too.

T- The food was great, and presented very nicely. The only downside being that they replaced fries with chips. More or less a personal irk though. I got a turkey sandwich, and my friend got the pulled pork which looked disgustingly good.

V- The food was a decent value, and the drinks were priced very reasonably. I got my 12oz pour of their mild ale for 2.75, as well as 2 mini shots to try for free. My friend got a 16oz of The Oracle and a 12 oz of the brewpub IPA which I can't recall the name of for around $8.

Great experience. Very recommended. (1,611 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 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 FightingEntropy
4.6/5  rDev +11.4%
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. (1,414 characters)

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

I visited Bell's Eccentric Cafe late in my journey home. It was the third brewery of my trip but the one I was most looking for ward to. The guy checking IDs at the door was friendly and explained to me that the swag shop was closed and the bar was open. So I went to the bar.

The beer selection was quite large, lots of flavors to try. The sampler is done where you pick your beers from the menu and they give you a paddle with your beers in the appropriate slots. I had to go for the lower ABV choices because I was driving again and even then I only finished half of each sample. All the samples were to style and delicious.

The kitchen was closed which I found unfortunate. (680 characters)

Photo of seanthornton152
4.6/5  rDev +11.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 4

My friends and I went to Kalamazoo solely for the purpose of going to the Eccentric Cafe & Beergarden, and was it a treat! It was hard to find at first, we were in the right area, there is just no sign for the entrance to the bar. I was suprised by the size the of the bar as i walked in, very high sealings, nice furnished wood flooring. I was a little skeptical of the beer selection they were going to be offering, since most of the reveiws on BA i read before i left for the trip mentioned only having 5 to 7 beers on tap. Fortunately the reviews were wrong, there were 11 beers on tap, It was a great selection, barley wine, stout, double IPA, Two-Hearted Ale. We ordered some food and ate inside, nice music was playing, and the food was not bad. The best part of it was the beergarden, the outside was really nice, luckly the weather was great too. Lots of picnic tables, well groomed shrubs green grass, it was great! My advice is that if you are in the Kalamazoo area go the Bells Eccentric Cafe! (1,005 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 core42
4.58/5  rDev +10.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | food: 3.75

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

Photo of Urbancaver
4.58/5  rDev +10.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

Bells eccentric cafe is an amazing atmosphere with q top notch selection of beers (duh) ... Pretty much the only reason i wished i still lived in Kalamazoo. Pre expansion the cafe was far too packed any evening or weekend for my tast but with the new expansion the place is perfect! During the summer there is an amazing beer garden that's fun to hang out in. The original cafe has an amazing charm and the food (at least the old food) was very tasty. Overall a must stop for any beer lover in the area (502 characters)

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

Popped in Bells while on a business trip to Kzoo. Finding this place is easy enough as it is off the main street near the Amtrak line running through town. Don't make the mistake of being rerouted by your GPS to their Corporate office-factory in nearby Comstock/Galesburg.

The atmosphere of this place is great. A nice exclusive feel as you walk into a long hallway to get in. There is a fountain and a nice area to stand to enjoy a beer if you want to escape the main cafe section. The place is cozy with wood ceilings and walls. Decorated with cool nick knacks. There is a decent size bartop with plenty of seating and an upstairs area as well.

S: I was at the bar so service was quick and friendly.

Sl: I love how Bells has their taps set up. All the same design and shape minus the unique decal of the specific beer. All the current tapped beers are located on the giant chalkboard above the taps. The bartender offered samples so you could taste different beers. They carry exclusive beers to the Eccentric Cafe as well as their more popular beers.

Food: I had dinner and had no complaints. Not a massive or great menu, but you can definitely find something that you enjoy eating. The Bells porter sauce with the soft pretzels was worth noting.

If you are passing through kzoo, this is def. worth stopping in. (1,321 characters)

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

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

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