Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Bell’s Brewery Beers

Bell's Brewery Porter and
Bell's Brewery Kalamazoo Stout
One good thing about a big warehouse liquor store like Woodman’s is that you can readily buy great beers a bottle at a time without the fear that your 99 rated porter smells and tastes like a skunk’s butt because it has been sitting on the shelf since 1987. Woodman’s also pulls out some of the highest-rated brews especially for impulse buying; it works because we occasionally snag some of these brews to see what the fuss is about.
Our latest sample included two bottles from Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, Michigan- one porter and one stout. Both were rated in the high nineties. We opened the non-descript porter (simply labelled Bell’s Porter) first.  It’s head was very light with minimal lacing. The aroma of the porter, by far its biggest selling point, is full of roasted malt and sweet mocha. The taste is remarkably Guinness-like, but significantly weaker. This porter is not bold enough for a 90+ rating. The coffee and chocolately malt taste is pleasant enough, but is a let down after its aroma sets the bar so high. If you are new to craft beers, give this porter a try, but otherwise stay with Deschutes.

Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout is a little different animal. Still a little thin with a smallish, quickly evaporating head, the Kalamazoo Stout’s scent is full of cold-brewed coffee with a hint of Grape Crush soda due to being brewed with Brewer’s licorice. The stout has a better mouth feel than the porter and has a lingering coffee bitterness that mixes late with black licorice. Overall, Cindy would rather drink the porter, while I would rather have the stout. Bell’s are decent, but there are better beers out there to be had.

I believe Bell’s Porter would be totally lost in a cocktail, so the stout is the only way to go. Since the Kalamazoo Stout doesn’t overwhelm with chocolate, I would suggest a bit of high-quality chocolate liqueur and a bit of Angostura bitters which would pull out more licorice as a complex accompaniment.

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