Bell's News

B1 beer: Kal-Haven Ale, a fan-favorite brewed with rye malt and Brettanomyces

Kal-Haven Ale

This post is part of an occasional series looking at the beers we develop at our original brewery, or B1.

Our sour program has several members, from Wild One to the Jazz Series: Le Batteur, Le Pianiste Ale and Le Contrebassiste.

Kal-Haven Ale is a fan favorite brewed with rye malt. Fermented with Brettanomyces and pediococcus in 30 year old wooden foeders that were used for wine, Kal-Haven has a rich, tart finish that contrasts nicely with the malt profile. It can take between 6-9 months before the beer hits the flavor profile we are looking for.

The beer came about in the early 2010s when our brewers were exploring the use of rye malts and wanted to make a Brett beer with American hop characteristics. Kal-Haven is brewed with Cascade and Crystal hops.

Kal-Haven is the name of a trail that runs from Kalamazoo to the lakeside town of South Haven. The trail is built on the former tracks of the Kalamazoo and South Haven Railroad Line.

The first batches were fermented in a stainless steel tank. When it moved to the foeders, it developed more of the sour characteristics it has today.

Although there is tartness on the finish of Kal-Haven, the notes of funk, pear and earthy rye allow it to straddle the line between a brettanomyces focused ‘American wild ale’ and a sour ale.

See if the beer is available on our tap cam or look for it at special events near you.


B1 is how we affectionately refer to our original brewery in downtown Kalamazoo, located adjacent to our pub, the Eccentric Cafe. This is where we got our start and where we still develop new recipes, experiment with new varieties of hops and brew small batches of specialty beers like The Wild One and Mango Habanero Oberon today. Most of the beers brewed there are typically only available on draught at the Cafe, but from time to time they do make their way to special events.