Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store

Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Fruit and Field Beer
Ranked #242
Ranked #36,432
3.69 | pDev: 11.65%
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Michigan, United States
Notes: Sparkleberry is an American interpretation of a Belgian Tripel brewed with raspberries.

Slightly tart, dry and spicy, it was originally brewed for release at Kalamazoo Pride in 2013, the same year it won a Bronze Medal at the Great American Beer Festival.

It has returned every year since drawing incredible praise at other Pride events, beer festivals and at our Pub.

Sparkleberry is a celebration of diversity and will debut in cans for wider distribution in June, 2018. Sparkle on.
Reviews: 32 | Ratings: 122 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of EMV
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a pounder can into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: Nearly clear magenta pour with thick pink tinged head.

S: Raspberry and fruit. Not much tripel.

T.F: Strong raspberry... fruity and semi-sweet up front. Some berry tartness... modest yeast/tripel character, but rather dominated by the raspberry. Medium bodied... ABV hidden. Raspberry and a bit of spice at the finish.

O: Tasty enough... a little on the sweet side, but still interesting. Won't be a favorite but glad I got to try it. More of a fruit beer than a tripel.

 539 characters

Photo of tone77
3.56/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 16 oz. can. Has a purple/pinkish color with a 1 inch head. Smell is tart raspberries. Taste is the same as the aroma, alcohol is well hidden. Feels medium/full bodied in the mouth and overall is a decent beer, but I really got none of the characteristics of a Belgian Trippel, as the can states. I would have liked some Belgian yeast flavors, especially the spices.

 379 characters

Photo of CTHomer
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: crystal clear; plum colored; 1 finger finely pored pink head that receded to a wispy cap; little lacing;

S: ripe, sweet raspberries:

T: follows the nose; a little too sweet; Belgian yeast comes in toward the end;

M: light to medium bodied; moderate carbonation; moderately dry finish;

O: I wish there was a bit of tartness to balance the sweetness;

 355 characters

Photo of woodychandler
4.57/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Yesterday, I beCAN drinking tart, fruited CANned beers in support of The CANQuest (tm), but then I got briefly sidetracked onto some CANadian CANned beers & now, I am back in the mood for some tart, fruited beers! Why? Because it is so stinkin' HOT, that's why! I am still recovering from my surgery & my R-side is the last bit to heal. As such, I have taken to wearing a bathrobe & taking things as easy as possible, but the heat & humidity are not helping.

From the CAN: "Raspberry Belgian-Style Ale"; "Belgian-Style Tripel Ale Brewed with Raspberries"; "Brewed to celebrate our support of Kalamazoo Pride, Sparkleberry is slightly tart and effervescent with a ruby red hue. Sparkle on."

Upon Crack!ing open the vent, I could see that this was not going to be a run-of-the mill Tripel. Instead, the head, as it came rushing up, looked like two-plus fingers of dense, foamy, rocky, freshly-spun pink cotton CANdy with very good retention. Color was Red Raspberry-Magenta (SRM = N/A) with NE-quality clarity. Nose smelled like my late-paternal grandmother's backyard garden in the Summer with her gorgeous roses & the red raspberry bush! It was like a bee magnet, but I was not allergic & the bees were happy to share the raspberries. As I got older & became interested in culinary arts, we made raspberry pie & CANned raspberry preserves. Mmm. Mouthfeel was medium, although had it been a Tripel, I would have liked more depth. The taste was sheer raspberry with an attendant mild tartness! Yum! OMFG, this was REALLY good! If you are seriously reviewing to Style, then how CAN you not rate its taste as a "5"? What DIDN'T taste of fruit?!? It is not listed as a Tripel, so that is not an excuse. This was raspberry to the maxxx.

My gosh, this just evoked Summer! I CAN hear her radio in the window with the Phillies' game on as I lazed on the immaculate postage stamp-sized lawn, reading comic books & jamming raspberries into my maw. I did not spend as much time with her in my early years as PapPap ChANdler was in ailing health & disliked the presence of children. He passed when I was 11 or 12 & then I beCAN to spend more time over there. She took us to my first MLB game, the Pirates @ the Phils @ the relatively-new Veterans' Stadium in the hopes of CANverting me from a Buccos' fan. It did not take, but we relished the rivalry up until her end in the early-1990s, attending at least one game every year for 20 years. I scattered her ashes in the 700-Level shortly before they razed the stadium.

How did I get so far afield? My mortality must be at least partially to blame, but I need to refocus. My maternal uncle, Steve, became a home vintner & asked Grummy C. for permission to raid her raspberry bush one year. She CANsented & the resulting wine was much like this! I am not calling this beer "vinous", but it was just about as raspberry as it could possibly be. It was unabating in its raspberry flavor from the moment that I Crack!ed open the vent until the last rivulet dribbled down my throat. I would characterize it as semi-dry, although I would not argue against dry. Jeebzus! If you were looking for a red wine alternative, this CAN easily fill the bill. YMMV.

 3,190 characters

Photo of SB2017
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This beer is not TOO sweet, and has a bitter finish. Candylike but balanced. Grew on me after drinking it for a while, with little bready notes throughout.

 155 characters

Photo of buschbeer
3.9/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 PINT can
Served in a teku glass

This beer pours beet red and is topped with an inch of pinkish head that leaves spotty lacing.

The smell is full of raspberry. The Belgian yeast esters come through as well.

The taste has lots of raspberry up front. There is a little spiciness and earthiness from the yeast.

Medium bodied with a smooth mouthfeel

This is not a bad beer. It is a nice twist on a tripel. I enjoy it.

 419 characters

Photo of GRPunk
3.84/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bell's Sparkle Berry
16 oz. can ($3.70 from Copper Vine) pkgd 051719, poured into a Bell's Nonic pint

A- The body is a clean, deep red-pink that shows moderate carbonation. The head is pinkish and a bubbly 1/2 finger before it settles to a light film. Bubbles continually break the surface. Light rings and spots are left on the glass.

S- A mix of sugary sweet and tart. Lots of raspberry. Seems pretty natural, like a raspberry juice cocktail. Some underlying bready malts are apparent. You really have to dig for any hint of booze. Almost sherbet-like.

T- All sorts of raspberry. It starts sweet and melds into a really (pleasantly) tart finish. It really doesn't change much from start to finish. If you like raspberries, and I do, this beer's for you. It almost loses the "beer" quality, but not quite.

M- Lots of carbonation. Very tart and dry finish, just short of puckering. The ABV is well hidden. Medium body overall.

O- Brewed for "K-zoo Pride," Bell's can be proud of this brew. Super fruity, sweet and tart. A pint is probably the right serving. This would have been a gateway type of beer for me some 25 years ago. Just short of too fruity (dangerously close at the end of a pint). Good warm weather, thirst quencher.

A- 3.75 S-4 T-3.5 M-4 O-3.75

 1,287 characters

Photo of MikeWard
3.79/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

16oz can into a pint glass. Canned 5/17/19, so 2 weeks old.

Nice burgundy colored body. Small streams of carbonation fail to replenish an initially decent pinkish bubbly head, which quickly dissipates to a ring and faint covering. No lacing.

Strong aroma of raspberries.

Tastes like alcoholic raspberry juice. There is a pleasant warming of the throat from the 9.0 abv. Nice balance between sweet and tart. The problem here is the raspberry taste comes off quite artificial.

Mouth between medium and full. Finish is that artificial raspberry taste with a little warmth.

Overall, if you love fruit beers, you'll probably like this one. That artificial raspberry and high abv make this a one and done for me. It's brewed for Kalamazoo Pride, so a good cause there.

 767 characters

Photo of ssimpson89
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber, reddish, it looks like a fruit beer. Can definitely smell the raspberry. It has an appealing smell, not like many fruit beers that smell artificial.

I’ve never been a fruit beer lover, but I like this one. The higher ABV and dryness makes it better than most fruit beers that are too sweet.

Caution: it’s way too drinkable for 9%. Not an every day drinker, but I enjoyed it and will pick up some more. It’s a nice seasonal.

 444 characters

Photo of EMH73
3.01/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours reddish with a pink head that leaves lots of lacing. Smells of raspberries with some Belgian yeast and malt. Tastes of the most artificial raspberries I have ever tastes with an off putting tartness, some malt, Belgian yeast and pepper. Light bodied, moderate carbonation, dry and puckering mouth feel.

 309 characters

Photo of Dr_Gonzo
3.48/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a clear pint glass. Has a rich, hued raspberry red color, magenta head that dissipates quite quickly. Sticky, plentiful lacing.

Aroma of raspberry jam, other fruit, Belgian esters.

Tastes strongly of tart raspberries, very dominating over all other flavors--quite unnecessarily. Other than that, some light earthy hops, other berries, cocoa, and the Belgian esters. Tastes very artificial. Feel is crisp and smooth.

 429 characters

Photo of Tony210
1/5  rDev -72.9%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Holy Christ! Amazingly awful. Horribly artificial tasting. Complete drain pour, glad I only bought a single. Can’t believe Bell’s makes this beer.

16 oz can dated 5/25/18
1 rating

 199 characters

Photo of BeerDawgs
3.27/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

L - Raspberry red, 1/2 a finger of head

S - Raspberries and other fruit

T - Raspberries dominate, not getting much of the belgian candy sugar

F - Medium carbonation, thin body

O - Too fruity for me, not enough belgian style.

 228 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.43/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

16 ounce can - $4.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a richly hued, reddish-pink body with a slim, thin, pink-tinged head.

Smell: Boozy, fusel alcohol wafts with a smear of faux raspberry jam.

Taste: As with the aroma, fairly unpleasantly medicinal with its raspberry flavor, and, you really hope they aren't using proper fruits and purees, as it'd be all for naught, given it comes across as being rather artificial tasting, like a glug of Mad Dog 20/20. Sweet, boozy, unenjoyable.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus. Medium-light.

Overall: About as appealing and endearing as vocal fry.

 610 characters

Photo of BB1313
3.45/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Canned on 5/18/18. 16oz can poured into a tulip. Pours maroon with ruby red hues; creamy pinkish-purple head that falls leaving great thick retention and sticky frothy lacing. The aromas have some subtle hints of raspberry along with some vanilla. Even some cocoa and chocolate in the mix. Malts are there. The yeasts are hard to pick up in the aroma department. The flavors have some raspberries up front. More vanilla and cocoa in the mix. It's not too sweet or tart. Solid malt backbone. The yeasts are there, but don't dominate. Some alcohol flavors in the finish, but it's not hot or boozy at all. It's not that syrupy either. Mouthfeel is very nice. It's full-bodied with moderate to active carbonation. It's very fluffy, creamy, smooth and dangerously drinkable.

This is an interesting brew. It doesn't come off as a Tripel at all, but it's a pretty solid fruit beer. It's starts off a little rough around the edges, but everything comes together the more you get into it. I might not love it, but it's enjoyable and fun to drink.

 1,038 characters

Photo of TreyIsWilson
3.85/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours ruby red with a two finger light pink head. Good amount of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is raspberry and light Belgian esters.

T - The taste is sweet and tart raspberry, Belgian yeast, white pepper and light earthy hops.

M - Medium body with medium carbonation. Soft mouthfeel with a crisp finish.

O - This is a pretty nice fruited Tripel. The raspberry dominates the flavor with the Belgian notes being very subtle.

 425 characters

Photo of morimech
3.72/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Looks interesting with its red hue. Nice head with plenty of lacing. Aroma or raspberry jam and Belgian yeast esters. But the flavor is just not there. Tastes like a boring blonde ale with a hint of raspberry. Slightly sweet but not cloying. Medium body and nicely carbonated.

 277 characters

Photo of Hopheadjeffery
3.81/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Tasted in a Rastal Teku from a one pint can on June 26, 2018. Originally brewed for release at Kalamazoo Pride in 2013. An American interpretation of a Belgian Tripel, Sparkleberry Ale is Sparkling Ale brewed with raspberries. Slightly tart, dry and spicy with a fruity aroma, Sparkleberry won a Bronze Medal at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival.

 351 characters

Photo of avalon07
3.67/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L: Poured from a tallboy can to a goblet. Had a reddish color and a thick, cloudy consistency. There was a thin, off white, creamy head that quickly dissipated. Not a whole lot of lacing.

S: An odd aroma of raspberry, Belgian-style yeast, and some other mild berry notes.

T: Tasted of a little bit of the Belgian-style yeast, a strange metallic / acidic flavor (hard to explain), a bit of the advertised raspberries, and an assortment of other berries (cranberry?). Kind of an unfocused mess of a flavor. The raspberry doesn't really shine as it should. There's an odd harshness to the taste.

F: A good amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This is one of those beers that could've been better. Not bad, but there are better examples of fruit beer out there.

 783 characters

Photo of jkblr
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

16oz canned 5/18/18 (37 days ago) poured into a crooked stem snulip at fridge temp 9% ABV. The beer pours mostly bright, red amber in color with blush tinted head. The head recedes to a thin ring. The aroma is sweet raspberry jam on top of a very subtle Belgian yeast note. The taste is more raspberry notes of sweet and tart. The yeast comes through in the middle, with a dryish raspberry finish. The mouthfeel is medium to thin bodied and adequately carbonated. Overall, very good fruit/vegetable beer. There is just a hint of the tripel, if anyone was put off by that. Nothing earth shattering, but worth a try.

 623 characters

Photo of Beejay
3.87/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Red in color with a light pink head.

S: Slightly acidic with tart raspeberry.

T: Raspberry jam, with a touch of tartness and a bit of earthiness in the finish. Light Belgian character in the finish.

M: Medium with a touch of syrup. carbonation is higher, but not effervescent.

O: Overall pretty tasty. Not sure if I'd be a repeat customer, but good.

 362 characters

Photo of StraightNoChaser
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

look: Slightly hazy ruby. Pinkish fluffy head that mostly sticks around.
smell: As advertised, some yeasty tripel and a good bit of raspberry.
taste: Much like the nose. Not a great beer but very enjoyable and quite good.

 221 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.58/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5


"Raspberry Belgian-Style Ale." "Tripel." 9.0% ABV. "Shelf life - 6 Months."

Rather sweet but also warm, doubling down on Belgian malt sweetness and raspberry. I don't get much traditional tripel flavour here, and it's certainly too sweet, but it's drinkable in spite of its flaws. Raspberry doesn't seem all that genuine. Not particularly well balanced.

I'd give this a pass in future, but it's not awful when regarded as a fruit beer instead of a tripel proper. In any case, it's easily one of my least favourite Bell's beers.


 563 characters

Photo of GuyFawkes
3.9/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Canned 5/18/18; drank 6/22/18 @ the Yarchives.

Cloudy purple/red appearance.

A violent pour yielded a nice, noisy pink head; frothy lace.

Raspberry, honeyed wheat & faint menthol notes in the nose.

Medium mouthfeel.

Raspberry & dry wheat flavors up front; clove & faint booze heat notes on the finish.

Interesting, if a bit "off". It hits enough good notes that I'd have another.

 391 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.45/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

In true 1998 fashion, Bell's Brewery is out to claim the segment of the beer drinking populous that wants to hip and cool with craft beer but really wants the taste of wine coolers.

Half ruby and half mauve, Sparkleberry pours with a short and spritzy froth that swirls with candied fruit aromas. Leading with raspberries, the succulence of fruit is radiant with berry punch and little else. Creamy, sweet and candied, the early palate is chocked full of jam, pastry and jolly rancher.

Fruit juices splash against the middle palate washing it completely with fruit sugars that amplify the character of raspberry, cranberry, redcurrant, marionberry and boysenberry to the level of heavily fruited squeeze boxes most suitable for a four year old. But a late palate of hop bitterness serves as a tepid attempt to balance the beer while mostly serving as a distraction from the fruit.

A hint of spice, a creamy and light vinous tone of the underlying Belgian styled ale isn't nearly enough to contend with the fruit. If the term "chicks dig it" still applies to society then I'm sure this beer will find its audience soon enough.

 1,129 characters

Sparkleberry from Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 122 ratings