Thursday, December 24, 2015

Bell's Brewery (and more)

Bell's Brewery is pretty much one of the original kings of the rise of craft brewing.  That's how I'd describe it.  They've been selling their own beer since 1985, and with the expansion of their facilities in Comstock, they're staged to be the #5 producer of craft beer in the country pretty soon!  (I think they're #7 now.)

We rented a car and headed about an hour south from Grand Rapids to visit Bell's.  It had snowed a lot, so the crowds were light. Our tour of their original brewing space was a private one as we were the only two there for it!  But we really enjoyed the Eccentric Cafe.

Eccentric Cafe

There are so. many. beers. on tap at the brewery that you'll never see for sale anywhere else.  The HUGE beer menu was two pages, and we focused on the ones we could only get there.  You could seriously sample beers all day and not get through them without getting wasted.  It's a true destination, well worth the trip.

Oh, and I also ordered a bunch of food for us to share.  Bacon lollipops, served with BBQ sauce.  Crab cakes.  Soft pretzel bites.  And my favorite, the Ploughman's Board with charcuterie, cheeses, and more.  I'm not the beer aficionado in the family, but I can appreciate how it complements good food.

The tour at Bell's is FREE of charge!  Just sign up on the clipboard before you head into the taproom or restaurant.  There's also still a home brewing shop combined with a gift shop where you can purchase t-shirts and other merch.

Bell's Brewery Tour (Kalamazoo)

Dan's friend LC moved from Nashville to Kalamazoo to work for Bell's, and she and her boyfriend met up with us to head over to Bell's facility at Comstock, where the majority of the beer is now brewed.  (Note: The tours of that facility are free too, so beer lovers make sure you plan the extra stop!)


I was absolutely in awe of the facility at Comstock.  I've never seen a brewery at that size and scale!  It was incredibly clean and high-tech and efficient.  The pallets of cans waiting for beer alone were impressive to me!  It was a really great tour, and such a contrast with the small breweries I'm used to touring now that I'm married to beer Dan.

I need to go to Traverse City

Beer Cans

Bottling and Boxing

Our gang!

After leaving Kalamazoo, we headed back to Grand Rapids for dinner.  We grabbed a delicious bite at The Green Well, then grabbed our last beer of the trip at Brewery Vivant.  (Check out my past post about visiting these two places here.)

Our trip to Michigan was awesome.  One long weekend just wasn't enough!  We've talked about taking a week's vacation to Traverse City and western Michigan when the weather gets better.  It's just such a unique area, and it's awesome.  Now to plan our next trip there someday soon...

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