Beercation Day One: Bell’s Brewery

First, an update on last week’s post about Bleeding Hear Bakery’s Top Chef cupcakes.  Bleeding Heart gave me some more details via Twitter: “(the cupcakes) will debut every fri using the main ingr. from the winning dish of the elimination challenge”.  So, since cactus was not the elimination challenge but the quick fire, I guess we won’t see cactus cupcakes.  But, we will see some sure to be interesting cupcakes in the weeks ahead!

1__Oberon_LabelNow, on to today’s post.  Last weekend Jeff & I went on what we called a “beercation”.  Jeff is studying beer (sounds like a contradiction, I know) so he wanted to check out some local breweries.  And, he needed a driver!  This week, I’ll share some highlights from the beercation.

Our first stop was Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo.  I was super excited for this one because I LOVE Bell’s Oberon beer (and mourned its loss when it was briefly not available in Chicago).  Jeff shared my excitement for this stop because Bell’s usually has a wide range of craft beers and he thought he’d get to try some brews not available here in Chicago.  Alas, no such luck (probably due to timing – according to the Web site, specialty brews are often on tap) and, in the end, this was my least favorite stop (by comparison only – if we had gone only to Bell’s, I’m sure I would have thought it was fantastic).

The brewery is not accessible to the public so we ate lunch at Bell’s Eclectic Cafe and shopped at the general store.  The cafe was cute, simple and offered a charming outdoor dining area.  The menu is not large and some items (brats) go fast (we got the last one).  The food was good but we were there for the beer.  Like I said, we were disappointed that what was offered was available in Chicago (and Jeff had tried many of them).  I did learn, though, that I like IPAs.  I always assumed I did not like IPAs because of their dark color.  However, after tasting Jeff’s (called Two Hearted), I actually liked it better than the Oktoberfest brew that I had ordered (which was also tasty).

At the General Store you can purchase not only anything and everything you can think branded Bell’s, but also ingredients for home brewing. When we visited, the guy working in the store was super knowledgeable and if I were a homebrewer, I would have spent a mint there!  Since I’m not, though, we left with a branded beer glass to add to our collection.

My vote – if you’re heading through Kalamazoo, stop by Bell’s Brewery for a pint and a bite to eat but I’m not sure that it’s worth a special trip unless you go for one of their many Bell’s events.

Thanks for reading Bright-Yellow!

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