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Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Not Rated.
Bell's Brewery, Inc.Bell's Brewery, Inc.
BEER AVG
3.81/5
Based on:
117 Beers
78,610 Ratings
Place Score: 97
Ratings: 577
Reviews: 194
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 12.18%
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:
Bell's does not sell growlers of their beer at the Eccentric Café & Beergarden.

Bell's does sell growlers at their General Store.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 577 | Reviews: 194 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of slander
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

Photo of emerge077
4/5  rDev -8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Stopped at the Eccentric Cafe & General Store today. The vibe at the cafe was different, families and special interest groups were holding court, people of all shapes & sizes.

Had a snifter of Uberon (barrel aged Oberon), which was pretty interesting. There seemed to be a good selection of pub-only exclusives, plus their regular stuff in bottles. Service was quick and attentive on a sunday afternoon. The outdoor garden was a really cool place, a roofed wooden lattice held mature hop bines with large leaves swaying in the breeze. There was a tapbox out there, pouring 4 standards, although it wasn't in use at the time. There was also an amphitheater stage for live music.

Indoors, lots of breweriana, naturalist ephemera, tribal masks, etc. The bathrooms were located near the entrance in a tiled hall, and reminded me of being in a park fieldhouse (could have been cleaner).

Remember CASH only, ATM on-site.

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.03/5  rDev -7.4%
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.

Photo of Billolick
4.1/5  rDev -5.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I agree with the laast reviewer, WOW, what a great place! Bells clearly runs the show in southwest Michigan, they turn out tons of fine beer, they give back to the community and they obviously have fun doing it. Gotta love a place that has live Grateful Dead playing when you walk in. 12 selections on tap, one cask, bottles to drink or to go available. I enjoyed a nice BBQ tofu sandwedge with mango salsa...eccentric, fun place, nice wood bar in the large front area, great, funky, large outdoor area around back, gift shop/general store with more then a few bottle selections, assorted merchandise and home brew supplies in the front. Just go if you are in the area. You likely will have alot of fun, drink great beer and enjoy tasty food treats. Great athmosphere and they even make a sour beer...

Photo of Sammy
3.84/5  rDev -11.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

An ordinary town, although some eccentric names of stores. A retail store with many of the regular classics. The bar itself is fine as long as you get here before 4 pm, when people must line up to get beer. A great patio, but you carry beer, in big plastic cups over. A good selection of beers on tap, although I was not crazy about the carbonation, which was Enoz salty. Some of the classics, I think, are better in the bottle. Pretty friendly though. Bartendress went through some training. I would like more details about the beers in the literature available to us.
I was expecting more.

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

At long last I've made the trek to Bell's Eccentric Cafe. First off, I'm gonna say that I'm a huge fan of Bell's and have been for years, so my opinion of the brewery cafe may seem biased. But in all honesty this is just about the perfect brewpub for me, it just felt so inviting and accomodating.

The building has all brick walls inside and out, all kinds of funky crap stuck to it, such as a smashed piano, a Dr. Seuss-like creature with long antelopes, old mechanical contraptions looking to be dated from the 1800's, etc. And cool artwork.

There were about 10-12 taps, all the standard favorites plus a few small batch beers. If you're here it's because you like Bell's beers, and obviously you can't go wrong with most of their choices.

Next door there's a cool Bell's shop selling shirts, glasses, homebrew supplies, bottled beer, and more. The prices on the beers were really good but the prices on other merchandise seemed quite high. Stick to the basics is my rule of thumb.

Photo of MilwaukeeCrusher
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Stopped here on a Saturday night.... had to pay a cover charge for a band I wasn't interested in, but oh well. Got a flight of beers and as always great quality. A few rare beers were available, but wouldn't mind seeing a few more. The atmosphere was good with the band and all, and had a good view from the balcony. Building itself was older, but done up nice inside. Service was good as well, including in the attached general store. I think some of the Bell's clothing line is the best of all the breweries, and they make accomodations for carryouts. Unsure if they had food there. I will go back and have 5 times. This is my first review.

Photo of akorsak
3.8/5  rDev -12.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | food: 3.5

Stop 3 during the Michigan trip. A quick stop for a bite to eat and a pint (or two, or three).

Atmosphere: Bell's has both indoor and outdoor seating. We chose indoor and soon discovered the bar service only, as well as the cash only rules. Bar service only dinged Dark Horse, so it dings Bell's as well. Lots of rustic maps and old breweriana on the walls.

Quality: Good beers and decent food. Bathrooms were generally clean, so little complaint there.

Service: Bar service only and a weird ordering process. The bar is cash only too, so don't bring your credit.

Selection: Here we have a winner with a good number of one-off brews available along with a complete bottle line. I had the Golden Funk and Kal-Haven, both of which I'd recommend.

Food: Food was sparse and just alright. I'd visit again for the beer offerings.

Photo of TX-Badger
4/5  rDev -8%

Photo of spycow
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of crossovert
3.25/5  rDev -25.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

This is just as you get into Kalamazoo from the North.

The parking lot is minute so I had to park on the road.

Inside there is no wait staff for dinin, you have to go up to a window, order, go to the bar and order beer, then go to your table and wait for this buzzer to go off, then go get your food.

The taplist is long with maybe 20 Bell's beers to choose form. There is also a cooler full of bottled Bell's products.

The food was ok, I just had a bar burger, it was average. The atmosphere and quality seemed a bit lacking, but they looked to be doing good business.

The general store is around the corner from the cafe and it has a wide variety of stuff though it is somewhat pricey.

Overall it is not a bad place to stop if you are in Kalamazoo, but nothing special that you would really need to go out of the way for, and no growler fills.

Photo of david18
3.5/5  rDev -19.5%

Photo of spointon
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I visited this place a few days ago - my first pilgrimage to Bell's and the SW Michigan beer scene.

Before visiting the Eccentric Cafe, I checked out the Bell's General Store (located right in front of the Cafe). They had all sorts of cool Bell's wear (hats, shirts, sweatshirts, hockey jerseys, etc.) as well as glasses, keychains, and other souvenirs. I was especially inpressed that they had bottles of Bell's beer and homebrew supplies for sale as well.

Back to the Eccentric Cafe...the whole place is fairly small, and very, well, eccentric. Lots of weird but cool things grace the walls and there is a stage at one end of the room where they have live music at night. There was also an outdoor beer garden, but beers have to be transferred to plastic cups before going out there.

Surprisingly they do not accept any payment but cash and there was no table service. Oh well, that is probably the reason the beers were so cheap! Most of their lineup could be had on tap for $2.50-$3.00 per 12oz pour. I was thrilled to see that the draught list was at least a dozen strong and almost completely comprised of rarer and seasonal beers (not the usual lineup we see in bottles). I was able to try 2 different sour beers I had never even heard of prior to my visit. They also had 12oz bottles of the "regular" stuff avaiable as well. Beers on tap could be had in 12/16/20 ounce quantities with appropriate pricing.

We had to order our food from a small window and then take the order slip to the bar to pay (in cash). The food was quite good and also inexpensive. Plus there was a lot of it!

All in all, this is a great place to hang out and I wish I lived near enough to do just that on a weekly basis.

Photo of BillRoth
4/5  rDev -8%

Photo of beerwolf77
4.04/5  rDev -7.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

On our way to the Winter beer fest in GR we stopped at all the pertinent places. This was our first stop.

Pretty much had the usual brew pub setting. Huge open space. Moderately sized bar. Small seating area in front of the bar and a balcony wiht more tables. A fairly large stage for such a small place but I like it loud so I wouldn't complain.

All the usual Bell's suspects were on tap. Along with some special pub only offerings. I opted for one of the latter. My stout was served ice cold and poured all the way to the top of the glass. Allowing for no head and some serious hand warming.

The food looked decent from what I saw but we didn't eat so I can't comment on it.

Overall a bit underwhelming considering the legendary status of the brewery. Nice place but I wouldn't make it a must stop on my next journey out there.

Photo of Bung
3.88/5  rDev -10.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5

This is now located at the edge of the area the city is slowly reclaiming. This was not always the case. Since I've seen the cafe over the last 10 or so years, it's interesting to have seen the building and beer garden kind of change in the same way, as Bell's has grown in stature.
The old brick building has been renovated with nice wood, glass, artwork and local paraphenalia like old maps. Many tables with checkers/chess boards built in. Upper level indoor "deck" is a nice little out of the way place. Beer garden has a cement slab area with benches, then an open grass area where you could sit with a blanket or whatever. Good bluegrass/laid back music at times.
This place used to REALLY be a hippie hangout, now maybe 75% hippie hangout. The food kind of reflects that, healthy simple sandwiches and side dishes. They have a grill outside that they walk out and grill burgers(blackbean?)on. Service has always been hit or miss. When I first went here was great because my friends older brother knew many of the workers. Later on it seemed a bit indifferent, recently a little better. Cash only is extreamly odd, to me this is being done on purpose to keep what I like to call the "Phish" vibe going on or something.
The only complaint in my opinion is that you really have to hit the right time to get something unique. You're pretty much just going to get their bottled beer offerings. They need to keep more of their special offerings at home like other brewers seem to do. This helps their servers not needing to be all that knowledgeable I guess. Reward the locals, but then again that drives me nuts as well, so keep distributing it.

Photo of jmdrpi
4.08/5  rDev -6.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

My wife and I visited the Ecentric Cafe for dinner and a few drinks. Atmosphere is cool - they have lots of outdoor seating at picnic tables, and they the inside is nice too. Two rooms, one where they serve food, and the other where they have a stage for bands. Rustic wood look.

Beers were great as expected, and they had a big lineup that included 4 or 5 brewpub only beers.

Bartenders were fine, you have to order your food at the bar and then pick it up when your pager goes off.

The only downside was that they do not serve any non-beer alcohol. My wife was bummed they didn't have their Mead or anything else for non beer drinkers.

Photo of orangesol
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

Photo of nickfl
3.48/5  rDev -20%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 2

The taproom (they call it a pub, but I think that is pushing it a bit) is located in an old brick building with high ceilings and an impressive collection of crap on the walls. It has a great relaxed, comfortable atmosphere.

The beer was good and the prices were reasonable, but the selection was a bit disappointing. Only two stouts on tap and a total of maby 7 or 8 different beers. I was hopeing to see more taps and maby a couple of things that I couldn't get anywhere else, as it was the only unusual thing they had that day was a terrible mead.

Service was walkup to the bar and get it yourself, which was fine with me. The food was a bit disappointing. I paid about $8 for a bland ostrich burger that came with corn chips and what was easily the worst salsa I have ever had.

In the end it was a pleasant experiance and I would definitely go back to drink, but I would go out of my way to find somewhere else to eat.

Photo of FightingEntropy
4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

Took a trip to K'zoo to visit Bell's and was happy that I did. The bar is a cool place that is clean, has a unique atmosphere and just the right size to still feel cozy while not being too small.

The taps were great - with a great selection or regular offerings, seasonal offerings and a few experimental beers. Roundhouse Red was probably my favourite tap room only beer that I had but it was great to finally try Hopslam on tap as well. The experimental beers that I tasted were great as well.

Only disappointment was not finding Expedition on tap.

Photo of shivtim
4.35/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of GRG1313
3.45/5  rDev -20.7%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 4

A nice place with better than average beer although a bit limited in quantity presented for tasting. The selection on tap was very modest for a brewery with such a general selection and Bell's "store" was far stocked with trinkets than the beers offered for tasting. Indeed, there were a few brews available only on tap and only at Bell's. However, there was nothing remarkable in any of the beer offered. Certainly a place worth seeing and some beers worth trying. I simply expected a few things that would really be special. All in all worth the drive down from Grand Rapids. Not worth a trip of greater length in my opinion.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev -8%
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.

Photo of DrunkinYogi
3.5/5  rDev -19.5%

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Bell's Brewery, Inc. in Kalamazoo, MI
97 out of 100 based on 577 ratings.