Take A Tour Of Bell’s Downtown Brewery – A Must Even For Lifelong Residents
I'm a transplant to Kalamazoo, but even I had heard of Bell's Brewery before I moved here. Two-Hearted can be found all over the country (and the Western Hemisphere), but until I moved here, I didn't know much about it, other than... "it's from Bell's."
Since I (and hundreds of thousands of other Michiganders) drink so much Bell's Beer, I figured I'd get a closer look at what goes into the process of what goes into making it. Like my grandpa used to tell me, "you need to know where your food comes from."
First of all, thank you to my friend Theresa for setting up the brew tour.
I got the email on Friday that "we are going" on the tour.
And how do you turn down a free tour of a brewery?
I wasn't disappointed. I've taken brewery tours before, but the character and charm of Bell's is something truly unique. And you could tell our tour guide, Dale, was a Bell's lifer. He had been visiting the Eccentric Cafe since the days of bare walls and "Salvation Army furniture" in the room.
"It used to be an old service station before Larry Bell bought it... It looks nothing like it used to today. I've been coming here for 30 years, and it's MUCH different than those days."
But of course, Dale meant that in a good way, because Bell's has been expanding exponentially for three decades now, to the point that they've had to open up a second, MUCH LARGER, brewery in Comstock (which we'll tour next).
The tour took us through the event hall in the back of the Eccentric Cafe, through the main "mash" room, and into the storage containers where the yeast does its thing in making our favorite beers in-house.
"Yeast is our favorite employee. It never sleeps. It never complains. It's here 24 hours a day, never tries to unionize... yeast is our favorite employee."
And everything you see at the Downtown brewery is served in the Eccentric Cafe, and sold in the General Store.
I don't want to spoil the story of Bell's, because hearing it first-hand from a lifelong fan like Dale is far more special than reading about it on this website. But for those that do know at least PART of the story... you get to see "The Pot" that started it all.
Also, you get a few free beers out of the tour.
So, if you're looking for something fun to do, want to know a little history about the community we live in, and get a few beers out of the deal, the downtown tour of Bell's Brewery (where it all started) is an absolute must.