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Bell's Poolside Ale | Bell's Brewery, Inc.

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74 Reviews
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Bell's Poolside AleBell's Poolside Ale

Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc.
Michigan, United States

Style: Witbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
Poolside Ale is a refreshing Belgian-inspired Wheat Ale with light clove notes. The truly distinguishing feature is the use of 100% Montmorency tart cherries grown in the Traverse City region of Michigan. These cherries add a subtle tartness and bright counterpoint to the other flavors, enhancing Poolside’s fruity character and making it the perfect beer for all summer activities.

Added by shivtim on 05-13-2008

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Reviews: 74 | Ratings: 187
Photo of maximum12
1.96/5  rDev -46.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Split with the wife at the Eccentric Cafe in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Looks like a wheat beer with absolutely no odor coming off the brew. Very, very wheaty, to the point of being a bit of a turn off. The cherry is a faint afterthought. More cherry & less wheat would have been a better combo, methinks.

This got actively unpleasant as it warmed - the aftertaste was a killer.

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Photo of theBubba
1.98/5  rDev -45.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Like most of us, I'm looking for a nice summer beer these days. One reviewer wrote "Taste of tart cherry, lemon, orange, pear, apple, pepper, clove, light banana/bubblegum, wheat, bread, herbal, grass, and yeast earthiness. Light-moderate yeast spiciness and fruit tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of tart cherry, lemon, orange, pear, apple, pepper, clove, wheat, bread, herbal, grass, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit." ??? GMAFB!

Another wrote "Mild bitterness balances the bready-sweetness with a light herbal grassiness that trends minty and hay-like.

My take? A summer beer should be light (no, not Lite beer) clean and refreshing. Citrus and carbonation are always welcome in the heat. And most Wheat beers usually fit the bill. But after the cherry what you get from Poolside is a bitter aftertaste that, if you're not eating, will last at least a half hour. And if you cut it with a mediocre like ShockTop, the bitterness still prevails. Def not fun in the sun. And the cherries aside, Poolside is not what I would call a summer beer. At 12 bucks a sixer you can do WAY better.

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Photo of Knapp85
2.12/5  rDev -41.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A real disappointment of a beer. This sounded like it would be very good but once I got it, it just seemed to be very light and really didn't have much of a taste to it. I expected this to be much better coming from Bells. The color is pale and yellow with a small fading head. Not the greatest beer.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
2.18/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

On-tap at CCB's Fruit in the Room event

I must admit to being perplexed by this brew. It is pale and fizzy, virtually headless, and appears like a lighter version of Oberon. There is not much to the nose, but it does smell a bit like pool water, which makes the name disturbingly ironic. My first sip tells me that it will be my last sip. Again, I will reference Oberon: this brew tastes like a crappy light version of Oberon (which itself basically sucks, too.) Why did they make this? It is worse than mediocre, hardly a ringing endorsement.

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Photo of AgentZero
2.2/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A - A very cloudy beer with a head that looked too liquidy and rose up way the hell too high.

S - Some wheat, then a ton of apricot or peach, not sure exactly which, but smells very sweet. Cherries? I had no idea, would not have guessed that.

T - I found this pretty hard to choke down, tasted like a bad fruit beer. Overly sweet and peachy or apricoty, didn't like it one bit.

M - Sugary, under carbonated, although more carbonation probably would have made it seem like fizzy soda.

D - Gross, barely got the glass down, no way I'm doing this again.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
2.6/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a hazy orange-ish color with a red hue, and no head. In the aroma, quite faint wheat notes. In the taste, dry wheat notes and faint cherry syrup in the end. A small bite and medium mouthfeel, with a clean and small cherry aftertaste. Ok, no head, lack of aroma, and flavors quite muted.

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Photo of PhilsPils
2.91/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

I probably shouldn't review this beer because I must not know what they are going for. A tart wheat ale with a very muted aroma and flavor of cherries. Most of my experience with cherry beers has been with Belgian Kriek which actually tastes like cherries. I understand they weren't trying to brew a lambic but a little more cherry flavor would have been welcome.

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Photo of luciusgilmer
3/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I had a Poolside poured from the keg into a short (10 oz.) glass at the Bell's Brew Pub.

A: Pours a hazy, thick yellow with hints of orange. It will remind some drinkers of the Oberon, on which it's apparently based. Not much head. Nice opacity.

S: A nice fresh wheat beer smell. It is rather fruity and promising to the nose.

T: As a fan of Oberon, I was not pleased with this variety. The cherry or citrus hints others have noted come off as cloying, something other, cheaper beers have in spades, but which is unusual in this brewery. Though it looks and smells fresh, there's something sort of "canned" or too-well preserved about this flavor. It hit the back of my throat with an unpleasant, sweet but not tasty tang.

M: The tanginess of the wheat beer base and whatever cherry (or whatever) flavor was added made this a bit unpleasant to have in the mouth. It's nicely carbonated and easy to swallow, but a bit too much sweet and sour in the drinking.

D: It's light enough to drink down, and carbonation is nicely balanced, but the flavor would not get me to come back for more.

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Photo of nrbw23
3.03/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Well, it looks like grapefruit juice. Cloudy pinkish color with almost no head and had white bubbles on top leaving no lacing.

S- Not a whole lot going on here. Some yeast, bready smells and tiny bit of fruit. Maybe cherry if you really dig deep in there.

T- Wheat and bread tastes. Some fruit flavours as well. Again not a whole lot here either.

M- Medium body

D- Glad I got to try this one. Probably will pass the next time. Its easy to drink.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.06/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Draft. Stopped in the brewery and had a little sampler of several beers. Pours an opaque reddish tan with a nice little white head. Slight tart cherry aroma w/wheat. The cherry taste is nice which then transfers smoothly to the wheat style backbone. Slight bitter end. Very smooth and drinkable. Medium mouthfeel. Good lace left on the glass. Just an average on though for me.

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Photo of hophugger
3.2/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Head, color and overall pour dupicates a Belgian, as this is a Belgian style ale. Aroma is light and slightly sweet. Taste is sweet Belgian, which I assume is from the cherry juice addition. Flavors arent as pronounced as I think they should be, but overall, a nice refreshing summertime beer.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.2/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

According to Bell's this beer is 4.6% percent but I guess we're rounding up here. Beer is dark yellow with almost a red hue to it. Its also completely hazy like a hefe. White head with some lacing and low carbonation.

Some cherry in the aroma and some banana esters, smells interesting enough.

Beer is medium to light in body and kind of boring. Its creamy with a mild cherry almost medicinal flavor. The aroma is better than the beer by a lot.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.28/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Bell's last weekend.

Pours a very, very cloudy yellow color with a pinkish tint. There is a spot or two of lacing as it goes down, but that's about it. The nose brings some light cherry and a bit of wheat. The flavor has a mild cherry tartness and plenty of wheat and grain. The feel is slightly chalky with a light to medium body and low carbonation. Decent enough, but too thick for my taste.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy, cherry-tinged body with a smallish, stray, white head.

Smell: Wheat and lightly tart, lightly sweet-scented cherries with underlying hints of clove, banana.

Taste: Creamy wheat taste with a moderate sweetness appended. A light touch of gum with a bit of a harder hit of peppery, clove-like accents. Some cherry fruitiness but also some orchard fruit juices. Drying, fruity finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-light carbonation.

Overall: Decent.

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Photo of ltjska04
3.33/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Had this on draught at the Cock & Bull in Covington, KY for pint night.

A- Very cloudy/hazy orange with a fluffy, sticky white head.

S- You can smell the wheat on this one. Even though it's made with cherries I could swear I smell orange/vanilla here. It's just like an orange/vanilla wheat extract beer I made a couple months ago.

T- Very sweet and tart from the cherries. I still think it tastes like orange though. Either my taste buds are off or I'm confusing this with my homebrew.

D- I finished the pint but wouldn't want another. The sweetness was cloying for me and this frankly wasn't that interesting. I was expecting something great from the makers of Oberon and left with a mediocre impression.

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Photo of decadance
3.34/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Eccentric Cafe.

A - A clear wheat with decent head. Nothing overly memorable.

S - Has a nice wiff of cherries with the typical wheat smell of the style.

T - Kind of a let down. The cherries are a faint after though of an average wheat ale.

M - Finishes a bit dry, pleasant but again, nothing memorable.

D - Not a bad summer beer, but not something I would seek out.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.42/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very pretty pink color from the can and forms into a pinkish-peach blush in the glass. Head is very tall, all 4 fingers, and whitish-pink. 90% opacity with sunlight lighting up the sides.

Aroma is of clove, orange pith, bubblegum, stale wheat, and a hint of white cherry.

Flavor is slightly clashing but still somewhat tasty. It features peeled orange wrapped in bubble yum, then the star of the show comes in with the tartness of the cherries, but immediately cancelling it is a bitter rush of black pepper and clove. It ends slightly cloyingly sweet, with those lingering flavors of black pepper and spices.

Feel is appropriate, though not incredible. Nice taut creaminess with some underlying carbonation, and a tart, puckering finish.

Overall, I figured this would be a really good ale, but it's actually very average. It's way too heavy on the spices and clove, and the pepper element is just not needed. A nice mellow cherry flavor with some rather loud yeastiness would have been the proper ticket, but alas it's not here.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a stange at ChurchKey.

Finally, a Bell's offering I've never really heard of before. Good times down at the CK. This one pours a very hazy copper-orange topped by over a finger of white froth. The nose comprises banana, orange peel, clove, light pepper, and a very slight sliver of sour cherries. The taste holds notes of mandarin oranges, wheat, blood orange pulp, nutmeg, and the possibility of sour cherries. The body is light, with a very sharp active carbonation and a crisp, moist finish (yeah, it's possible). Not bad, but definitely missing something, like a real cherry presence and a smoother feel.

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Photo of Beejay
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: a pinkish tangerine color, with tons of have, and a small amount of head.

S: Bready with a touch of sweetness and tart cherries, and a hint of sourness.

T: A lot sweeter than I would have thought. Tons of fruit with a cherry flavor, and a nice Belgian character.

M: Medium in body, with fairly high carbonation, and a long sweet finish.

O: Good, but a little too close to candy for me to drink much of.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

this seems like somewhat of a throwaway for a brewery who is positively capable of much better. its dark orange from the tap and pretty clear, doesnt look anything like a wit. the cherry is very subtle in the aroma and the flavor, maybe more could have been used if they wanted this to do more than just sweeten and this diminish the refreshment value of the style. the yeast is tame too, not flavorless but certainly not as lively and vibrant and interesting as it could be. its got a lot more body than it needs as well, heavy almost with the fruit, and just not quite carbonated to that effervescent that really sets the style off for me. i know this isnt bad, and maybe that all sounds a little harsh, but these guys are regarded among the best in the country, and the standard from them just has to be higher. maybe i had a lousy pour or something, but this really didnt do it for me. generic and weighty, even with the cherry, and not something i am likely to revisit, at least in draft format, anytime soon. cans might be better...

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Photo of mothman
3.51/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Hopcat

Pours 1/2 finger of off white head. Color is a hazed golden straw yellow.

Aroma: Wheat, lemon zest, grassy hops, faint cherries.

Taste: Crisp, lemon zest, coriander, and wheat. Some orange peel with very light cherries.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and refreshing. Light to medium bodied. Ends with wheat and lemons, dry.

Overall, easy drinking wheat that is a good summer beer. Odd with the cherries for a wheat. I am really glad they only showed lightly as cherry wheats are never my thing.

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Photo of 57md
3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a odd pinkish hue with well over a finger of head. The nose is tart and astringent. The cherries add a nice sweetness to the typical wit funk. The body is light and this offering is extremely drinkable.

This offering has an apt name because the only time that I could picture drinking this is while floating in a pool as a replacement for a soda.

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Photo of basaywhat
3.56/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz can. Hazy peachy orange with white head that steadily dissipates into lacing. Smells of Belgian yeast and related esters alongside notes of wheat and a bit of cherry. Tastes like it smells with more of a sweet cherry presence. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied and finishes with a bit of tartness.

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Photo of tbryan5
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A decent Belgian. I really don't get much cherry juice at all on the palate. It pours a reddish color but tastes like a solid normal Belgian wheat. Overall, not bad.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hitting their stride this summer, even the brewers in the upper midwest get into the pool spirit. Using a copious amount of indigenous cherries, a warm weather witbier steps up and offers a creamy, sweet and fruity addition to the bready taste. There's no question that Bell's makes the most of summer- both weeks of it.

Poolside pours with a light mauve, milky hue. Its visual density blends in well with its creamy head stance as its tangy, bready and pastry-like aromas begin to build. Tart cherry, lemon and orange fill the nose with a succulent perfume. To taste, its sweet sugar cookie doughiness is rounded with savory pie crust.

Boldly creamy, the beer's rich breadiness is sweet, grainy and lightly cereal-like with the delicacy of cherry pastries. Sweet, succulent and tart, the cherry's natural acidity bounces off the mild lactic tang of the witbier while its fruit essence is balanced with white pepper, clove and vanilla.

Mild bitterness balances the bready-sweetness with a light herbal grassiness that trends minty and hay-like. Medium-bodied yet remaining firm and doughy, the smooth finish is short and obviously cherry-like.

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Bell's Poolside Ale from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
3.64 out of 5 based on 187 ratings.
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