Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bell's Brewery - Part 1

The last batch of beers I had from that ridiculous beer run in Gainesville a while back was all from Bell's Brewery out of Kalamazoo, Michigan.  I had previously tried one of Bell's most popular beers, the Two Hearted Ale, and loved it (and I'm almost positive I tried their Amber Ale on a trip to Chicago several years ago...) so I was pretty happy to see some more of their beers and grabbed a bunch of singles to give them a try.  They distribute to Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, but nowhere closer.

First up on this tasting was the Bell's Winter White Ale.  (And a reminder to myself to double-check my photography... sorry about that blurry mess.  Apparently I had been drinking.)

It's a lighter orange color, with ribbons of sediment in the beer and a bubbly white head. It really reminds me of breaking into an orange slice.

There is a lot of citrus on the nose too, but it's more lemon zest than orange. Some spices too which is not surprising for the style. Not bad but nothing TOO special.  The taste is very similar... lemon zest, spice, very mellowed out.

The mouthfeel is fine... nothing really good or bad happening here, bubbly and crisp.

The drinkability is off the charts, though. This one goes down like water... or orange juice! A great session beer.  
My Rating: B+

Second on this first round was the Bell's Porter, a flagship American Porter and one of the standards of the Bell's lineup.

As you can see from the picture, this one poured a dark brown with an immense head.  The aroma was very chocolatey, with hints of other malts.

The flavor was chocolate dominated again, with a little roasted note to it, and a slightly metallic finish.  The beer is a little thin, but at 5.6% it shouldn't be too thick.

This is an easy drinking classic example of a porter, which is one of my least favorite styles, but still a beer that I can enjoy.
My Rating: B


And now for the third Bell's beer... the Bell's Pale Ale.  I was pretty excited about this one as Pale Ales are becoming one of my favorite beer styles.  

The color is light, golden and lots of sediment. Kinda weird really, little chunks in there. About an inch of bubbly white head.

The aroma is hoppy with hints of citrus.   The flavor is also hoppy primarily. It's really pretty bitter with not a lot of malt presence.  It's not the usual balance I expect from a pale ale, and it's throwing me off.  It's not bad, just not what was expected.

I'd have another even like this but I think this one might be off.  Of all the Bell's beers, this is one I'd want to pick up again to give a revised opinion.  
My Rating: C+


And that's part 1 of my Bell's Brewery reviews... I'll have 4 more coming out shortly, all stouts in the second installment.  

As an update, as of writing this post I'm 89 beers through the 365 in 2011.  With this being the 26th (31+28+26=85) that puts me 4 ahead of pace!