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COMSTOCK – After breaking ground in April 2011, Bell’s Brewery, Inc. is proud to announce the grand opening of its brand new production facility.
A ribbon cutting was held Monday at the production facility, located at 8938 Krum Ave. A public open house will be held from noon to 5 p.m. on May 19 and 20.
“This new brewhouse reflects not only the hard work of our employees at Bell’s, but the 400 skilled trade people that worked tirelessly over the past two years to create a space that is not only functional, but beautiful. It is a reflection of our community and its creativity, initiative and skill,” said Laura Bell, Marketing Director at Bell’s.
Bell’s new production facility includes an expanded grain handling facility, a 200-barrel brewing system, new fermentation vessels and a sophisticated energy storage system that will continue and enhance Bell’s commitment to sustainability.
The facility has the potential to produce 500,000 barrels annually.
Almost all of the components were made in the USA and lumber for the brewhouse entryway (doors, banisters and railing) was grown, sawed, kilned and finished locally.
Bell’s will host events for its distributors and contractors in addition to industry professionals, vendors and Kalamazoo businesses throughout the week while downtown Kalamazoo restaurants will also join in the celebration with Bell’s beer specials, food parings and other events.

BELLAIRE — Nearly 200 leaders in the state’s craft brewing industry were present at the Michigan Brewers Guild annual conference at Shanty Creek Resort last week, where the inaugural “Tom Burns Award” – recognizing the pioneering spirit of the “Great Beer State” – was presented to Larry Bell of Bell’s Brewery.

Bell was one of four nominees for the award — the others being Ron Jeffries (Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales), Fred Bueltmann (New Holland Brewing Co.) and John Linardos (Motor City Brewing Works).

The award was named after Detroit and Mackinac Brewing Company founder and brewer, Tom Burns, who passed away of cancer May 1, 1994. Burns, a “recovering attorney” whose passion was brewing, is credited with many of the advancements in brewing legislation, rules, and regulations in the 1990s which paved the way for a thriving industry which is currently ranked #5 nationally.

“Burns truly was a pioneer for the Michigan brewing industry, and the Guild felt that naming this award after him was a great way to honor Tom as a person, while recognizing his legacy that has been the foundation for the ‘Great Beer State’,” said Eric Briggeman, president of the Michigan Brewer’s Guild.

Briggeman was joined by Priscilla Burns, Tom’s widow, and Tom Brandel, close friend and founder of Tom’s Oyster Bar, for the presentation.

“Each of the four nominees were qualified candidates for this award,” Briggeman said. “Yet, given the fact that Larry holds the oldest ‘microbrewery’ license in Michigan, and he worked very closely with Tom Burns on shaping our state’s brewing legislation in the early 1990s, we felt he was the clear choice as the recipient of this inaugural award.”

Bell’s daughter, Laura, accepted the award on his behalf. “Everyone in this room has been affected by Tom’s efforts back in the nineties. His push for, and success at getting brewpub language adopted in the state laws paved the way for what is now one of the most dynamic brewery scenes in the USA,” she said.

“Though Tom’s life was too short he left an important legacy that we all can honor and that honors us all. I was proud to call him a friend and I am proud of the Guild for honoring him today. So please, let’s raise our glass and toast Tom Burns.”

Bell opened Bell’s Brewery in 1985, with a 15-gallon soup kettle and $200. Since then, he has grown Bell’s into one of the largest regional craft breweries in the country. Bell has been actively involved in the craft beer industry — serving as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Brewing Studies and as a Board of Directors member for the Association of Brewers. He was also Inaugural President of the Michigan Brewer’s Guild. He currently is active as an Ex-Officio board member of the Beer Institute, as well as a member of the American Malting Barley Association Board of Directors. In 2010, Bell was honored with the Brewer’s Association Recognition Award.

BELLAIRE — Nearly 200 leaders in the state’s craft brewing industry were present at the Michigan Brewers Guild annual conference at Shanty Creek Resort last week, where the inaugural “Tom Burns Award” – recognizing the pioneering spirit of the “Great Beer State” – was presented to Larry Bell of Bell’s Brewery.
Bell was one of four nominees for the award — the others being Ron Jeffries (Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales), Fred Bueltmann (New Holland Brewing Co.) and John Linardos (Motor City Brewing Works).
The award was named after Detroit and Mackinac Brewing Company founder and brewer, Tom Burns, who passed away of cancer May 1, 1994. Burns, a “recovering attorney” whose passion was brewing, is credited with many of the advancements in brewing legislation, rules, and regulations in the 1990s which paved the way for a thriving industry which is currently ranked #5 nationally.
“Burns truly was a pioneer for the Michigan brewing industry, and the Guild felt that naming this award after him was a great way to honor Tom as a person, while recognizing his legacy that has been the foundation for the ‘Great Beer State’,” said Eric Briggeman, president of the Michigan Brewer’s Guild.
Briggeman was joined by Priscilla Burns, Tom’s widow, and Tom Brandel, close friend and founder of Tom’s Oyster Bar, for the presentation.
“Each of the four nominees were qualified candidates for this award,” Briggeman said. “Yet, given the fact that Larry holds the oldest ‘microbrewery’ license in Michigan, and he worked very closely with Tom Burns on shaping our state’s brewing legislation in the early 1990s, we felt he was the clear choice as the recipient of this inaugural award.”
Bell’s daughter, Laura, accepted the award on his behalf. “Everyone in this room has been affected by Tom’s efforts back in the nineties. His push for, and success at getting brewpub language adopted in the state laws paved the way for what is now one of the most dynamic brewery scenes in the USA,” she said.
“Though Tom’s life was too short he left an important legacy that we all can honor and that honors us all. I was proud to call him a friend and I am proud of the Guild for honoring him today. So please, let’s raise our glass and toast Tom Burns.”
Bell opened Bell’s Brewery in 1985, with a 15-gallon soup kettle and $200. Since then, he has grown Bell’s into one of the largest regional craft breweries in the country. Bell has been actively involved in the craft beer industry — serving as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Brewing Studies and as a Board of Directors member for the Association of Brewers. He was also Inaugural President of the Michigan Brewer’s Guild. He currently is active as an Ex-Officio board member of the Beer Institute, as well as a member of the American Malting Barley Association Board of Directors. In 2010, Bell was honored with the Brewer’s Association Recognition Award.

DETROIT – For the third October in a row, Michigan craft beer enthusiasts turned out en masse to celebrate the growing beer scene of a town whose nicknames include the Motor City, The D, the Renaissance City, and – plausibly these days – Detroit Beer City.

No one could have imagined it back in the 1980s, when Stroh’s closed its doors, the last brewery in a city that once was teeming with them, but then again, no one could have imagined that Michigan would emerge as one of the country’s premier beer states, either.

On Oct. 22, the Michigan Brewers Guild held its Third Annual Detroit Fall Beer Festival at Detroit’s historic Eastern Market, featuring 52 breweries pouring more than 300 different beers to around 3,400 thirsty souls. But leading up to the occasion was also the third annual Detroit Beer Week, a series of events at breweries, restaurants and bars around town designed to promote craft beer and the city itself.

DBW is organized by Liquid Table, a partnership between beer renaissance men Jon Piepenbrok and Jason Peltier, and each year it features beer dinners, special keg tappings/happy hours, tastings, pub crawls, tours, live music and more. Participating venues include Fountain Bistro, Foran’s Grand Trunk Pub, Cliff Bell’s, Slow’s Bar-B-Q, Motor City Brewing Works, Atwater Block Brewery, Detroit Beer Co. and several others.

I was unable to attend most of this year’s Beer Week festivities, but I did make it down to the swank Rattlesnake Club for the Oct. 20 Bell’s beer dinner. The reception at the Club’s elegant bar area featured Oarsman Ale along with trays of several hors d’oeuvres circulated by the wait staff. I got my hands on a Roasted Chicken Slider with Blue Cheese and Mustard on Pretzel Roll as well as a Mini Oyster Po’ Boy (actually an oyster on the half shell) with Chipotle Aioli, both of which were phenomenal, particularly when washed down with the lightly sour and refreshing citrus notes of the Oarsman.

Dinner menu and brief comments follow and, no, I am not a Certified Cicerone, but I was able to compare notes with not one but two of them afterward. We all agreed Chef Chris Franz knocked it out of the park.

First Course: Bell’s Best Brown Ale paired with Grilled Pizza Topped with Shaved Fontina, Caramelized Shallots and Spicy Crisp Pancetta
The bready and caramel notes of the beer combined obviously with the caramelized shallots, while the pancetta provided a marvelous salty counterpoint to the sweetness of the malt.

Second Course: Two Hearted Ale paired with Garam Masala Wild Salmon, Vegetable Samosa, Mint, and Coriander Essence
A play on India pale ale with the Indian spices and samosa; the intense bitterness of Two Hearted stood up well against the flavor orgy of the moist salmon and sweet “sauce” covering the pastry full of savory cooked carrots, celery and potato.

Third Course: Octoberfest and Porter paired with Salt and Pepper Crusted Flank Steak atop Roasted Butternut Farro Risotto and Wild Mushroom Jus
My favorite course, and not just because it featured two beers. The tender grilled steak and mouthwatering savory flavors of the mushroom jus, when combined with the dry, roasty notes of the porter, about put me over the moon. Meanwhile, the Octoberfest’s light caramel malt notes went better with the mild sweetness in the butternut risotto.

Dessert: Third Coast Old Ale paired with Salt-Poached Pear Stuffed with Third Coast Caramel, Toffee-Coated Pork Belly Cracklins
The malt wallop of the Third Coast Ale easily handled all the sweetness of the pear and heaviness of the syrup, and then some, while the salty crunch of the pork provided a delicious tactile contrast with the mush of the fruit.

This was but one of several Detroit Beer Week dinners, with beers from The Livery, Saugatuck, Short’s, Dogfish Head, and Kuhnhenn and Dragonmead breweries all showcased in their own delicious and decadent feasts. Go to www.detbeerweek.com to see the whole schedule, and if you missed out, make plans to visit Detroit Beer City next October. Your taste buds will thank you.

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