Name: Bell's Brewery
Location: Kalamazoo, MI
Type: Production brewery
Available in DC Market: Yes
What you need to know: "With pioneering founder Larry Bell at the helm, Bell’s has pushed the limits of American craft brewing since opening its doors in 1985. They were the first Michigan brewery to serve beer by the glass and have helped put that state high on the “Why don’t I live there??” list. Even with 20+ beers in distribution and many more served at their Eccentric Cafe, you’d be hard-pressed to find a dud in the bunch. Two Hearted is one of the finest examples of the straight-ahead American IPA on market, and Hopslam provokes the kind of rampant fanaticism usually reserved for European soccer clubs. I’m partial to Kalamazoo Stout, which is perhaps the best vehicle for licorice ever invented." – Chris Van Orden. This year Bell's brings two drafts from the Eccentric Cafe, which means we are unlikely to see them again in DC.
Beer #1: Bear Hug (Imperial stout / 8.4%)
In Their Own Words: Via Bell's marketing coordinator Josh Smith: "Bear Hug is a hop forward Imperial Stout. It is also bittersweet so that may be where the maple/honey notes are coming through for some. The idea was to create a beer with malt depth without burnt or astringent roast character and showcase hop aromas."
Food Pairing: Fresh duck foie gras quickly sauteed and served on brioche with lingonberry jam.
Our Thoughts: We're talking about a brewery that makes Kalamazoo and Expedition Stouts, two elite versions of the style. You think this isn't one that stout fans are going to love? The roast of the stout with the tartness of the lingonberries will be nice foils to each other.
Beer #2: Boon Companion
In Their Own Words: Not available via the Bell's website. Beer sites like Ratebeer tell us this is an American pale ale with lemon verbena.
Food Pairing: House cured salmon served on cucumber with a whipped lardo butter, ginger, rye and lemon.
Our Thoughts: Lemon verbena in a pale sounds very tasty. It'll be interesting to see the lemon quality in this versus getting it via a hop like Sorachi Ace. I expect a nice, bright citrus and a healthy malt backbone (a la Midwestern Pale Ale). The powdered lemon and ginger will go really nicely with the verbena, too.
This profile is a part of the DCBeer.com SAVOR Brewery Profile series. For more information, follow the link to see profiles of all 2014 SAVOR participants.