Q&A: Bell’s mini-kegs (storage, shelf life, Oberon design and more)
With the recent release of this year’s Oberon mini-kegs, we wanted to pull together some of the more commonly asked questions (along with answers) about them here on our blog. Of course, these and many other Frequently Asked Questions can always be found here.
Q: Where did this year’s design come from?
A: The photo featured for 2012 was taken on the shore of Lake Michigan in Ludington (Mich.).
Q: How long will a mini-keg last after opening?
A: We recommend finishing them within 24-48 hours. They can be stored longer if refrigerated and with the top vent closed, but the carbonation will start to suffer. There is no counter pressure that would help hold the carbonation in, so the top seal will only offer so much protection.
Q: How long can they be stored unopened?
A: Several months, as long as you store them in a cool place. Refrigeration helps as well, and we encourage retailers to keep them cold as an added benefit for our fans, but at home - closets or basements will also work.
One other thing to keep in mind is the six-digit packaging date, which is marked on the upper portion of every mini-keg alongside the batch number. Oberon has a shelf life of six months, so please make note of when your mini-keg was packaged.
Q: Can I use your mini-kegs with my counter-top dispensing system?
Q: Do you sell empty mini-kegs?
A: Yes we do, but only at the Bell’s General Store.
Q: Where can I find them in my area?
A: They are slowly rolling out to areas outside of Michigan. You can consult our Beer Finder for locations near you that have received recent deliveries of Oberon as a starting point (Please note: The Beer Finder’s reach is limited. More on that can be found here.).
Q: Will other brand be available in mini-kegs (Two Hearted, etc.)?
A: We hope to offer other beers in this additional packaging option again this year, but it is too early to say if and when (we will keep everyone posted though).
Q: Are they recyclable?
A: Yes they are, where available. We have also seen them used to build tables, reused as planters, converted into fountains, amps and even a turned into a canjo. (We would love to see how you have re-purposed them. Send photos here.)
Tips, directions: Tour Bell's new brewhouse, Production Facility May 19-20
For those of you who will be stopping by our Open House this Saturday and Sunday (May19-20), here are some things to keep in mind.
- Our Production Facility, 8938 Krum Ave. in Comstock, will be open from noon to 5 p.m. both days. All are welcome.
- We will be grilling and serving soda.
- Be sure to grab a brochure from the table when you walk in for more details about our latest expansion.
- Afterward, stop by the Eccentric Café in downtown Kalamazoo, to sample any of our 26 different beers on taps along with special menu items.
- To help celebrate our grand opening, four downtown Kalamazoo restaurants are also offering special beers and menu items this week. For more details, take a look at our previous post.
And so you know where you are going …
To our Production Facility, from the Eccentric Café and Bell’s General Store (downtown Kalamazoo):
- Head west on E. Kalamazoo Ave.
- Take the first Left onto Pitcher St.
- Take the second Left onto E. Michigan Ave.
- Turn Right onto M-96 E
- Turn Right onto Van Bruggen St. which becomes Krum Ave. Production facility will be on the right.
To the Eccentric Café & General Store from our Production Facility:
- Head west on Krum Ave.
- Continue onto Van Bruggen St.
- Turn Left onto M-96 W/E. Michigan Ave.
- Turn Left onto E. Michigan Ave.
- Continue onto E. Kalamazoo Ave.
- General Store/Eccentric Café will be on your right: 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave.
Homebrewing has a new home on bellsbeer.com
Before there was a Bell’s Brewery, our president and founder, Larry Bell, was a homebrewer.
In 1983, Bell opened a homebrew supply store on Burdick St. in downtown Kalamazoo (photo at right), not far from where the Eccentric Café is today.
Twenty-seven years later, Bell's will open a brand new 200-barrel brewhouse.
Homebrewing is at our core.
With that in mind we developed a home here, on our website, with information about homebrew events, demonstrations and of course, Bell’s Homebrew Expo & Competition, held annually in September. We provide the wort and the winner gets to brew their recipe on our system to go on tap at the Café.
We have also started a “homebrew hotline” where our fans can ask questions and get advice.
The resources on this new section will continue to grow with help from a new Tumblr blog as well. Look for recipes, equipment features and more in the days, weeks and months to come.