.: bells brewery is fucking amazing :.

“Lend your ear then to this tutti of steeples; diffuse over the whole the buzz of half a million of human beings, the eternal murmur of the river, the infinite piping of the wind, the grave and distant quartet of the four forests placed like immense organs on the four hills of the horizon; soften down, as with a demi-tint, all that is too shrill and too harsh in the central mass of sound, and say if you know any thing in the world more rich, more gladdening, more dazzling than that tumult of bells; than that furnace of music; than those ten thousand brazen tones breathed all at once from flutes of stone three hundred feet high; than that city which is but one orchestra; than that symphony rushing and roaring like a tempest.” — Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

bells eccentric cafe kalamazoo.jpeg

I woke up to natural light and the chirping of birds. The bed was huge and so comfortable that it was a struggle to get up and shower (and then spend a half hour blow drying my damn hair). But I did, and then I headed out onto the balcony attached to my room. There was no direct sunlight, although there was plenty of light, because it was filtered through a woodsy area that surrounded the back end of the gorgeous apartment complex.

trees in kalamazoo.JPG

I bummed around and then eventually left, timing my departure with when Bell’s Eccentric Cafe opened.

If you’re ever in Kalamazoo, you NEED to go to Bell’s. The food is amazing, and the beer is so, so good. I don’t love everything I have there, but that’s almost never going to happen anyway. I have been to Bell’s repeatedly since this trip and have never once been disappointed.

bells eccentric cafe kalamazoo exterior.JPG

I got there right when they opened and, seeing as I hadn’t eaten since fairly early the night before, put in a food order right away with my beer. I got a BLT, which was amazing. I’m so glad I eat bacon now. Muslims are told that if you eat pork you will go to Hell, and I’m embarrassed to say that I believed that until I was about 28 – believed in the sense that, sure, I believed it as a younger person because that’s what religious brainwashing does, but as I got older and started to question more and more things I had been taught, I abstained from pork mostly because I was afraid not to. Even after I’d started drinking and thus was already regularly engaging in another activity for the Hellbound or whatever.

I swear, the first time I had a piece of bacon in my friend’s kitchen, I was low-key convinced that the floor would open up and swallow me whole, or I’d get in a fiery car crash on the drive home.

No such fears plagued me in Kalamazoo. I ordered a BLT, which was AMAZING, one of the best I’ve had in a while, and four beers.

bells eccentric cafe kalamazoo beer flight list

The Oarsman was slightly tart with good carbonation, which I always like. I like bubbles. Downtowner was pretty hop forward and “a little chewy,” per the notes I wrote in my tasting notebook. (Yes, I was the asshole that had a tasting notebook, leave me alone.)

I also wrote “I am totally going to steal this pen from Bells” in my notebook, which was an indication that even though I’d ordered food, the beer was hitting me faster than it probably should have.

The Kalamazoo IPA was slightly grapefruity. My notes on this one are scant, mostly because my palate didn’t quite understand IPAs yet. I’d need about 50-100 more IPAs before I’d truly start to “get” them, and this trip just wasn’t it. Le Bretteur was sour and fantastic and got a 4.5 out of 5 on Untapped, which is rare for me. But I’m a huge fan of Brettanomyces, and unless you REALLY fuck it up (which is possible, trust me), I’m going to enjoy myself.

bells eccentric cafe kalamazoo beer flight.JPG

Like I said, if you’re there, stop by. You won’t regret it. You will be greeted by friendly faces, good food, and great beer. The space is wonderful: lots of beautiful wood (pine, I’m guessing? I’m bad at wood), brick interior walls, stained glass, tapestries, banners, all sorts of cool shit.

I’ve been lucky enough to go when it wasn’t packed – 11 in the morning and 11 at night, usually – and to be honest, I don’t know that I’d enjoy it as much if it were busy. When it’s only got a relatively small crowd going, it’s great for people watching. I’m thinking of all the seats and tables and it must feel so congested when there’s a lunch rush or something.

My timing normally works out that I’m there right at open, though, so it’s not a concern. It’s one of the best places to go to if you’re in Kalamazoo, and I’ve always had a great time drinking fantastic beer and chatting with fun, interesting people.

 

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