Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store

Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General StoreBell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General StoreBell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store
Brewery, Bar, Eatery, Homebrew, Beer-to-go

355 E Kalamazoo Ave
Kalamazoo, Michigan, 49007
United States

(269) 382-2332 | map
bellsbeer.com

Notes:
BEER STATS
Average:
3.93
Beers:
190
Ratings:
103,007
PLACE STATS
Average:
4.36
Reviews:
231
Ratings:
571
pDev:
11.24%
View: Beers | Place Reviews
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
 
Rated: 4.48 by Zanico from Ohio

Jul 24, 2022
Photo of John_M
Reviewed by John_M from Oregon

4/5  rDev -8.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4
Visiting Bell's had been on my want list for some time, and a recent driving trip to the midwest finally made it possible. While the wife and I had a nice visit, I would be lying if I didn't say I was a bit disappointed by the experience.

The Sunday we visited, the cafe was completely slammed, I assume largely due to the concert series going on nearby. That being said, the cafe is pretty sizeble, with several dining room areas and an upstairs area. The vibe is very low key and relaxed here, with a few TV's scattered around the rooms and predictable beer schwag and pictures adorning the walls. The cafe seemed like a pretty nice spot to hang out with a beer or three. This being the Bell's "mothership," I sort of assumed they have some interesting seasonals or limited released beers on tap. Maybe black note, double two hearted, BA expedition, hopslam, oracle or something like that. No such luck. The tap list largely consisted of Bell's cores beers (regular two hearted, expedition, oberon, etc.), with a few one offs like an imperial wheat beer and a Belgian style single and tripel. I think there were roughly 20 beers on tap the day we visited. The selection was OK, but most of the beers on offer can be found without much effort wherever Bell's is distrbuted. The draft two hearted was very fresh, something I appreciated, but that was probably as close as I came to getting excited about the tap selection. Quality is about what you would expect, given the selection. If you're a huge fan of Bell's you'll probably be OK with whats on offer. Everything tasted fine the day I was here (I ended up getting 4 sample pours), but again, I wasn' really wowed by anything.

Service was OK. As I mentioned, the place was slammed and it took a whiile to get a table. Once we did, the waitress stopped by pretty much immediately to take our order. Prior to that, we stood in line at the bar to order our beers. That being said, everyone was pretty friendly, the bartender seemed pretty knowledgeable.

In the end, we had a nice time here, but I didn't leave the cafe feeling as if I have a burning need to come back any time soon. Oh well...
May 27, 2022
Photo of flagmantho
Reviewed by flagmantho from Washington

4.24/5  rDev -2.8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5
I visited Bell's when I was in Kalamazoo a couple of weeks ago. And I won't lie -- visiting Bell's was *why* I was in Kalamazoo at all!

On my visit, they had 20 beers on tap plus mead and cider. Within those beers was a good variety of styles, including a couple of belgians and IPAs, as well as a couple wheats, stouts, and an old ale. They also had a tripel, which I will absolutely always give extra credit for.

Overall the beers were good, though frankly nothing totally blew me away. Bell's is legendary, and I can absolutely see how at one time this was some of the best beer in the country. But I have to say, I was a bit underwhelmed -- perhaps due to overanticipation, perhaps due to the recent buy-out; it's hard to say.

As for vibe, the taproom is giant with wood, brick, and tile, and is generally quite beautiful. The service at the bar was friendly and nice, though they don't have bar seating at the moment. Overall I liked Bell's a lot, and am glad I visited, though I am guessing it is not quite up to what it was in its heyday.
May 19, 2022
Photo of Pivopijak
Reviewed by Pivopijak from Washington

4.34/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4
Very stylish light shaded, lacquered wood interior. Stained glass and many signs and works of art, on the walls. A number of rooms, with high ceilings. Thick and tall wood tables with stools. As one would expect, the beers are usually quite good or better.
Oct 29, 2021
Photo of pjbear05
Reviewed by pjbear05 from Florida

5/5  rDev +14.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5
On vacation in MI a stop at the Eccentric is a must. Of course so many styles available I started wih a four flight before settling on Rind Over Matter. Boy, that stuff would be a year-round session pounder back home in FL. After a few pints walked to the General Store for some T-shirts. An afternoon well spent.
Oct 09, 2021
Photo of Stooven
Reviewed by Stooven from Illinois

3.88/5  rDev -11%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 3
Granted, it's been more than a year. However, Bell's lacks character. I was hoping for less of a college bar feel and was also hoping there would be a greater selection (like one-offs) on tap apart from the seasonal rotation. My wife and I have hit dozens of MIchigan breweries on vacations and several more than once (Greenbush, Founders) but there's no aching to revisit Bell's.
Feb 11, 2021
 
Rated: 5 by HardyA34 from Michigan

Aug 24, 2020
 
Rated: 5 by Vylo from New Jersey

Aug 05, 2020
Photo of cratez
Reviewed by cratez from Canada (ON)

4.05/5  rDev -7.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25
Visited with my wife on our way back home from Indianapolis.

Tried the following beers on tap:
Bell's Boiling Pot Ale (sample)
Bell's OG Twoey (draft)
Bell's Belgian Style Pale Ale (sample)
Bell's Ales for ALS (draft)

All were drinking great. Also bought a mixed case of Expedition Stout, Porter, Two Hearted, Kalamazoo Stout, Best Brown, Oberon, and Oktoberfest to go. No Oracle to be had on my visit, but I go to try four new beers, so all was well. Our overall experience was wonderful, and I highly recommend this place.
Feb 12, 2020
 
Rated: 4.7 by JuanAlberto from Texas

Feb 02, 2020
 
Rated: 4.13 by Seal4676 from Michigan

Jan 04, 2020
 
Rated: 4.76 by jordanginsberg from Louisiana

Dec 28, 2019
Photo of Stevenkolo
Rated by Stevenkolo

5/5  rDev +14.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5
Excellent!
Dec 23, 2019
 
Rated: 4.76 by mhanc from North Carolina

Dec 15, 2019
Photo of TooManyGlasses
Reviewed by TooManyGlasses from Canada (AB)

4.41/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.25
November 2019 second visit from Edmonton, Alberta - lunch on both occasions on a weekday. Busy but not packed - sat in pub side - high ceilings - bright decor.
Friendly and prompt service - responsive to queries and for recommendations.
Nice selection of multiple styles of superbly made beers - clearly Bells knows how to make beer!! We shared a couple of flights and not a bad beer in the bunch.
Food is fairly standard pub fare, but made well and delicious.
The General Store is well stocked with both merchandise and excellent selection of beer to go (even had different vintages of Third Coast Ale).
A definite must for any craft fan - worth the trip...and you can say you were in Kalamazoo.
Nov 24, 2019
Photo of VoxRationis
Reviewed by VoxRationis from New York

4.95/5  rDev +13.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5
I was in Ann Arbor and was able to get out to Eccentric Café and to the General Store, which attached but accessed from a different door. Eccentric is the best place of its kind I have been thus far and I have been to some very, very highly respected breweries throughout the New England, the Mid-Atlantic States and northern California. If you intend to go, just be aware that the parking in front of the General Store is strictly short term. Don't fret, as Bell's has a decent sized parking lot across the railroad tracks from them for which they validate.

The server was fantastic, making excellent, spot on recommendations and talking candidly about some behind the scenes stuff, which was just fascinating. I've liked Bell's beers, they are great out of the bottle, but at Eccentric, mind blowing. They serve in 5 oz (suitable for a flight) and 16 oz glassware, but the server will bring you tastes to help you make up your mind. They had about two dozen brews on tap, a quarter of which were labeled as experimental. I was able to try the first installment in the Leaves of Grass series (and may have scored a sneak peak at the second). If the rest are as good, please, please, please distribute them nationally (especially to NY).

Eccentric's space is huge with a bar sporting perhaps 40' of frontage and lots of different seating thereabouts. One can eat there or in a dedicated, sit down dining area off to the left. The food was excellent: I had the Italian Sandwich special which was out of this world. The General Store sells Bell's memorabilia, prepackaged beer, and home brew materials.

Not just saying this, if it were remotely near my home, I'd be a regular. If you are anywhere near Kalamazoo, go; you'll be glad you did.
Jun 21, 2019
 
Rated: 4.35 by joran from Kansas

Jun 15, 2019
 
Rated: 3.43 by zaraspook from Illinois

May 21, 2019
 
Rated: 4.23 by beersampler6 from Michigan

May 09, 2019
Photo of wmscottsimpsonjr
Reviewed by wmscottsimpsonjr from Missouri

4.31/5  rDev -1.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4 | food: 4
A very neat setting with shellacked wood and stained glass. They had about 20 beers on tap, and Bell's makes solid beer. Their Porter cheese soup was tasty and paired well with their porter. Service was very attentive.
May 04, 2019
 
Rated: 4.35 by GoBearsWalter34 from Illinois

Apr 16, 2019
 
Rated: 4.55 by aficionado224 from Ohio

Mar 16, 2019
 
Rated: 4.7 by kraemer42082 from Illinois

Feb 18, 2019
 
Rated: 4.29 by chillin from Indiana

Feb 15, 2019
 
Rated: 4.34 by locoformavs from Colorado

Feb 11, 2019
Photo of NCSapiens
Rated by NCSapiens from Indiana

4.56/5  rDev +4.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25
All time great brewery with great cafe.
Jan 27, 2019
Photo of Blogjackets
Reviewed by Blogjackets from Ohio

4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.25
We visited the cafe twice during a long weekend. Staff at the bar were cheery and servers in the cafe were prompt and helpful. Hard to find someone there, staff or patrons, who wasn’t in a good mood. The vibe is friendly and welcoming. At the time of our visit, there was a concert that was barely audible from the main cafe area (held in a small venue in the back) and that was appreciated. The food was above standard pub food, well prepared and a good selection for the differing tastes of the members in our party.

The beer. We came for the beer. And a great selection of favorites was on tap including, among others, the 30th Anniversary Cherry Stout, Expedition Stout, Two Hearted Ale and more. I even found a few stray bottles of Black Note in the General Store, so check it out.

By all means sign up for the brewery tour. It was informative and a great look at the original place. Our guide was well seasoned and answered all questions. We hope to tour the newer Comstock facility another time.

We’d definitely go back to the cafe if in Kalamazoo. Highly recommended.
Jan 21, 2019
Photo of ChicagoJ
Reviewed by ChicagoJ from Illinois

4.54/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5
11/4/18 (Kalamazoo): Visited today for a brief visit, fortunate to hit the brewery and general store on All Stouts Day. Line was 15 deep when I arrived 15 minutes before open, about 50 deep when they opened. Very brick structure, mix of modern and vintage decor. Both front of house and a large back room where concerts are held, and large outside grounds open to accommodate the crowd. Nowhere to sit at the bar, you order up front (or server) and plenty of tables were available. We grabbed a table in the upper section of the back concert area

Many special excellent offerings available today, the BA Expedition Stout was the highlight. 18 draft offerings, proper glassware, friendly and accommodating bartenders who handled the large crowd well. Nice to see the brewery properly staff this event.

Didn't have a chance to tour the brewery beyond walking around the public areas, or have the food which looked great.

Went to the General Store to look around and pick up a six pack of Two Hearted IPA. Nice supplies for home brewers are available, as well as brewery merchandise with decent pricing.

Definitely want to return when I have more time for a tour, meal and several offerings.
Nov 05, 2018
Photo of edward_boumil
Reviewed by edward_boumil from New York

4.01/5  rDev -8%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75
Did the tour and ate at the brewpub
V: Really cool indoor deco. Some interesting stuff on the walls, my fiancee and I were quite entranced with some of it. Had some old metal pieces holding up rafters, love that kind of stuff. Sort of an old meets new theme I guess, if I had to summarize, with an artsy sort of vibe
Q: Beers were great. Really enjoyed their sour brown ale
Ser: Tour guide was awesome, bartenders were great, waitstaff was good as well.
Sel: Was so-so. Was told during tour that some of the beers on the menu were only available there at the brewery, but they seemed to be out of most of them. Was a bummer. Overall though found some great beers.
Food: Was good, got a meat and cheese platter. Could have used more cheese, but everything on it was great
Oct 30, 2018
 
Rated: 4.15 by Dankacheese from Illinois

Oct 27, 2018
 
Rated: 4.1 by gtk1989 from Illinois

Oct 19, 2018
 
Rated: 4.6 by beardedbeered from Michigan

Oct 12, 2018
 
Rated: 4.05 by Phoodcritic from Michigan

Oct 05, 2018
Photo of Beginner2
Reviewed by Beginner2 from Illinois

4.18/5  rDev -4.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4.5
I was thrilled to pull into one of the Midwest's Meccas for craft brewing.
With at least two other crafters across the street, this brewing hotbed is helping revive Kalamazoo's warehouse district.

Cool conversion of a brick warehouse with bar, beer garden and restaurant.
Service was upbeat and inviting. There were no other beers other than Bells, which is ok but not a good consumer practice.

All four of us agreed that the food was very good for a brewpub.

Glad to make this pilgrimage.
Sep 30, 2018
 
Rated: 4.1 by A_Rad from Wisconsin

Aug 29, 2018
 
Rated: 4.23 by Lazhal from Michigan

Aug 04, 2018
Photo of ovaltine
Reviewed by ovaltine from Indiana

4.21/5  rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.5
First visit, love the look/vibe, very nicely appointed, excellent selection of beers (had 3 I’d never had before, and I’ve had a lot of Bell’s stuff), and the food was outstanding (best popcorn I’ve ever had, and I’m an inveterate popcorn connoisseur). The service was a smidge slow, but nothing truly bothersome. I’ll be back.
Jul 28, 2018
 
Rated: 4.15 by Berknerj from Illinois

Jul 21, 2018
 
Rated: 4.3 by Hallbrauhaus from Mississippi

Jun 29, 2018
Photo of MKrauss
Rated by MKrauss from Pennsylvania

4.53/5  rDev +3.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5
Awesome place !!
Jun 16, 2018
Bell's Brewery - Eccentric Café & General Store in Kalamazoo, MI
Brewery rating: 3.93 out of 5 with 103007 ratings