Bell's beer event roundup: Hopslam, Smitten, firkins, tap takeovers and more

Josh Smith | Bell's Brewery

SmittenAle_Label.pngBelow is a look at our events this week in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, North Dakota, North Carolina and Minnesota.


Through Feb. 3

“I Love Beer Mini Tour:” Old Chicago in Portage - Hopslam, Two Hearted and Captain Spontaneous on draft. Bottle options are also be available.

Through Jan. 27

Downtown Kalamazoo Restaurant Week: Food Dance, Central City Tap House, Webster's Prime, Zazio's and Beer Exchange are all featuring special menus. Look for specialty pairings and draft selections as well.

Jan. 22

Bell's Tap Explosion: Old Burdick's at Wing's West in Kalamazoo at 6 p.m. - Hopslam, Sweet Potato Stout, Harvest Ale, Hell Hath No Fury, Captain Spontaneous and more

Jan. 24

Hopslam Firkin Tapping: Central City Tap House in Kalamazoo at 5 p.m.

Jan. 25

Bell's Tap Takeover: 8th Street Grille in Holland - Black Note, Bourbon Barrel Aged Batch 9,000, Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout, Hopslam, This One Goes to 11, Captain Spontaneous, Smoked Vienna Lager, Third Coast, Two Hearted, Sparkling Ale, Amber Ale, Winter White, Midwestern Pale Ale and Java Stout. BBA beers will be tapped at 8 p.m. and entertainment starts at 9 p.m.

Hopslam Tapping: Treetops Resort in Graylord at 5 p.m. - Two Hearted, Oarsman, Winter White and Best Brown will be available as well.


Jan. 22

Bacon Night: Harris Grill in Pittsburgh at 6:30 p.m. - Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout and Smitten Golden Rye Ale


Jan. 22

Bell's Barrel Aged Night: The Beer Trappe in Lexington at 4 p.m. - Bourbon Barrel Aged Batch 9,000 and Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout

Hopslam Tapping: Lexington Beer Works at 3 p.m. - Java Stout, Two Hearted, Midwestern Pale Ale, Expedition Stout, and Winter White will also be on tap.


Jan. 23

Hopslam Release Party: Deer Park Pub in Fort Wayne at 5 p.m. – giveaways and a surprise firkin

Jan. 24

Hopslam Release Party: Dicky's Wild Hare in Fort Wayne at 5 p.m.

Jan. 25

Hopslam Release Party: Flat Rock Tap in Hammond at 5 p.m.

Hopslam Release Party: Trion Tavern in New Haven from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. - Smitten Golden Rye Ale and Captain Spontaneous Ale will also be on tap.


Jan. 23

Bell's Night: World of Beer in Evanston at 3 p.m. - Smitten, Oarsman, Expedition Stout, Java Stout, Best Brown, Two Hearted, Amber and at 7 p.m. - Hopslam

Jan. 24

Hopslam Firkin Tapping: Binny’s South Loop Tasting Room in Chicago from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Reservations are required. Please call 312-768-4400.


Jan. 23

Hopslam Tapping: Old Bag of Nails, Mason at 7 p.m. - Two Hearted, Smitten and Third Coast Old Ale will be on tap too.

Jan. 26

Multi-Tap Event: Chappy's in Dayton at 1 p.m. - more than 10 Bell's beers on tap including Hopslam and Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout

Jan. 27

Bell's Night: Fries Café in Cincinnati at 5 p.m. - Hoplsam, Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout, Expedition Stout as well as our Jazz Series of beers

North Dakota

Jan. 24

Stout Night: Ho Do Lounge in Fargo at 5 p.m. - Harry Magill's Spiced Stout, Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout, Bourbon Barrel Aged Batch 9,000, Black Note, Double Cream Stout and Expedition Stout

Jan. 26

Best Brown Cask Tapping: JL Beers West in Fargo at noon

North Carolina

Jan. 26

Raleigh Rare and Vintage Beer Tasting: Tylers Restaurant in Raleigh from 3-6 p.m. (imperial tasting begins at 2 p.m.) – We will be pouring Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout.


Jan. 26

Winter Carnival Beer Dabbler: In St. Paul from 3:30-7:30 p.m. - Best Brown Ale, Smitten, Roundhouse, Bourbon Barrel Aged Batch 9,000 and Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout

Jan. 27

Hopslam Midnight Release Party: Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis

Hopslam Midnight Release Party: The Bulldog NE in Minneapolis

Hopslam Midnight Release Party: Bulldog Uptown in Minneapolis

Hopslam Midnight Release Party: Buster's on 28th in Minneapolis

Looking ahead

Join us for a Hopslam firkin tapping in Kansas City, dinner in Missouri, a tap takeover in Grand Blanc, Michigan and more. Our full calendar can be found here. And there are already quite a few events planned for February as well ...

Complete list: Bell's events for Kalamazoo Beer Week 2013

Josh Smith | Bell's Brewery

KBW13Logo.pngThis year’s Kalamazoo Beer Week is shaping up to be another one for the record books with more than 80 events as of this posting.

We have 12 planned at various locations in downtown Kalamazoo, not to mention our regularly scheduled tours at both of our breweries.

There is even one additional event – a special vintage tasting on Jan. 19 (because we just couldn't fit everything we wanted to do in just one week). Take a look below for details and keep an eye on our social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Google+) for updates as well.

Jan. 12

Bell’s Snow Jog Adventure Race and Challenge

Teams of two will compete to finish our downtown race course with stops and challenges at University Roadhouse, Up & Under, Harvey's, Shakespeare's Pub, The Kalamazoo Beer Exchange, The Union and Green Top. Those who complete more than half of the challenges will receive a special commemorative prize. Those who complete all of them will be entered into a grand prize drawing as well. Registration will begin at 11 a.m. at the Eccentric Cafe. Awards and prizes will be presented at 3:30 p.m. Please keep in mind you must be present to win. Cookies and fruit will also be available for post race fuel.

Bring canned food or other nonperishable items to donate as a portion of the proceeds from the event (along with donated items) will go to a local charity.

Cost: $25 per team

Jan. 13

Sunday Beer Brunch

Join us for brunch in The Back Room at the Cafe from noon to 3 p.m. We'll have a variety of foods to choose from (menu to come) along with black velvets (stout + champagne), bloody beer, mimosas, sangria, Java Stout, Oatmeal Stout and Sweet Potato Stout. Pajamas are encouraged. Members of Who Hit John? will also perform.

Cost: $15 per person

Beer Trivia Night

In honor of the third annual Kalamazoo Beer Week, all questions at this week's Trivia Night, from 6-8 p.m., will be beer related.

Cost: Admission, as always, is free.

Jan. 14

Homebrew Demo with the Bell's General Store

Our General Store staff will walk you through the steps to brew your first batch of beer from 6-8 p.m. at Food Dance. Specialty beers will include Bourbon Barrel Aged Batch 9,000, Hopslam and Roundhouse. There will also be discounts for participants at the General Store, Bell's swag and raffle prizes. Reserve your spot online or call 269-382-1888 for more information.

Cost: $38 per person, which includes beer samples and appetizers.

Jan. 15

Zazio's Chef's Table & Post Dinner Black Note Tasting

We are teaming up with the talented folks at Zazio's and Mattawan Artisan Creamery for this multi-course dinner. Our very own Laura Bell will be at the bar afterward for post dinner Black Note (this portion is open to everyone). Contact Zazio's for reservations or go here for the menu.

Happy hour (for the dinner) is at 5:30 p.m. Dinner will start at 6:30 p.m.

Brewer's Happy Hour & Brew and View

This is a rare opportunity to meet the people who make Bell’s beer in The Back Room at the Cafe from 5 to 7 p.m. for some informal beer discussion. Snacks will be provided and be sure to stick around afterward for a special beer themed Brew & View (free admission).

Jan. 16

Homebrew Demonstration

Bring your questions and your friends - all skill levels welcome from 6-9 p.m. at the Café.

Bourbon Barrel Aged Beer, Smoked Meats and Cheese Tasting

Along with various smoked meats and cheeses, the Café will be serving up bourbon barrel aged versions of Cherry Stout, Batch 9,000, Kalamazoo Stout (also a firkin) and Expedition Stout from 5-9 p.m. Black Note will also be on tap. Order a flight and get a sidecar of Lager of the Lakes as well.

Jan. 17

Minute To Win It Party

Join us for our "Beat the Brewer" edition - 4 rounds of challenges at Shakespeare’s Pub beginning at 7 p.m. Raspberry Ale, Two Hearted, Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout, Amber Ale and Winter White will be on tap.

Jazz Series Tasting with special musical guests Big Organ Trio

Big Organ Trio and our Jazz Series - Le Pianiste, Le Contrabassiste and Le Batteur - will come together for a perfect pairing of great beer and live jazz music starting at 9:30 p.m. There is no cover for the music.

Jan. 18

Bell's Beer Dinner

Join us for our second annual Kalamazoo Beer Week dinner at The Park Club hosted by Larry Bell. It will feature the area’s only tapping of 2011 Cherry Stout among others. Reservations are required. Happy hour is at 6:30 p.m. and dinner will be served at 7 p.m. Take a look at the menu.

Jan. 19

Vintage Beer Tasting

Yes, we know Kalamazoo Beer Week officially ended on Jan. 18, but we are taking things to 11 with a special vintage beer festival and bottle release from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. A silent auction to benefit Fair Food Matters will include vintage Bell's gear and beer.

Cost: $10 admission includes 4 drink tickets and a commemorative tasting glass. Additional tickets can be purchased for $1 each with most samples ranging in price from $1 to $2 (each sample is two to three ounces). Bottles will be priced accordingly.

On draft:

  • 2007 Cherry Stout - Batch 8201
  • 2010 Expedition Stout - Batch 9931
  • 2007 Third Coast Old Ale - Batch 8211
  • 2008 Eccentric Ale
  • Batch 7000 (2005)
  • 2011 Black Note

Note: These beers will be available on their own or part of a sampler.


  • 2008 Eccentric Ale
  • 2003 Eccentric Ale
  • 2004 Eccentric Ale
  • 2005 Eccentric Ale
  • 2001 Eccentric Ale
  • 1999 Eccentric Ale
  • Third Coast Old Ale - Batch 8723 (2008)
  • Third Coast Old Ale - Batch 8863 (2008)
  • Third Coast Old Ale - Batch 8943 (2009)
  • Expedition Stout - Batch 8183 (2007)
  • Expedition Stout - Batch 8728 (2008)
  • Expedition Stout - Batch 8944 (2009)
  • Cherry Stout - Batch 8730 (2008)
  • Cherry Stout - Batch 8957 (2009)
  • Cherry Stout - Batch 9434 (2009)

A behind the scenes look: Prepping the menu for Eccentric Day

Josh Smith | Bell's Brewery

IMG_1761.JPGWild boar, bison, squid, smoked lamb bacon, emu, quail, antelope, duck … these are just a few of the items you will see offered on Eccentric Day this year.

But how does a menu like this come together?

The planning starts early.

For Melissa Bont, the Eccentric Café’s Kitchen Manager, that planning began in early October.

And then there is the prep work.

Deliveries started late last week. And since then, cases of food have been arriving almost daily.

Most of the caviar, smoked salmon and other delicacies won’t actually arrive until the day before Eccentric Day though.

But during the week leading up to the event and especially the day before, there is still plenty of chopping, slicing, stirring and tasting to make sure everything possible is ready to go.

The entire kitchen staff, including a few dedicated “retired” kitchen staff members - who have since gone on to other positions at the Café - put in some long and late hours to make everything happen.

There is also a fair amount of improvising as well – adding chorizo to the alligator gumbo for example.

Being incredibly organized is also helpful, Bont said.

On Eccentric Day, that same team will set up, do any last minute cooking and restock two buffet style tables in both the front and back bars of the Café before opening at 9 a.m. until around 10 p.m. (depending on how fast all the food goes).

Even the menu is still being tweaked a bit this week as some items are a little harder to come by than originally planned.

Sorry, no organs (sweet breads) this year.

But bugs have been added (scorpion suckers, crickets and larvae - fried with spices) in addition to emu. And Bell’s beer will also be used in a few of the dishes.

The idea of getting a pig uterus was even pitched, but that won’t happen this year.

Not to say they didn’t try.

There will also be plenty for vegetarian appetites as well including a vegetarian turducken, stuffed jalapenos and smoky tofu bites. Bont said she recognizes the need to have something for all tastes.

“It’s a great tradition. We’re busy and there is a lot to do, but we make it fun and we get to experiment with different foods. It’s nice to be able to offer people things they wouldn't normally get to try,” Bont said.

2012 Eccentric food numbers:

20 lbs. of alligator

10 lbs. of shepherd’s pie

About 100 squid (stuffed with bison cornbread)

10 lbs. of antelope

2 wild boar legs (10-12 lbs. each)

20 lbs. of shrimp

12 lbs. of elk

12 lbs. of bison

24 duck breasts

12 lbs. of venison to make sausage

About 80 lbs. of cheese in 20 different varieties

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