bells brewery


WHAT: Bell’s Brewery is expanding its Dark Night, Darker Beers celebration following the success of its Michigan-focused event in 2017. This year, celebrations will be held across Bell’s distribution footprint.

These events will celebrate the longest night of the year (the Winter Solstice) with multiple Bell’s stouts on tap including two specialties that rarely travel beyond the Eccentric Café in downtown Kalamazoo. The exact lineup will vary from event to event, but below are some of the stouts that will be available:

  • Trumpeter’s Stout (4% ABV) – Originally debuting as one of the “10 Stouts of November” in 2001, this beer has seen a couple of recipe tweaks over the years. This latest version takes the same hop and malt profile as the previous and adds a small amount of lactobacillus for a low-alcohol, incredibly drinkable and flavorful session stout.
  • Bear Hug Imperial Stout (9.5% ABV) – Brewed with a careful selection of caramel and roasted malts, the end result is a moderate, smooth roasted maltiness that is warming and gentle, but still firm. Bear Hug is an Imperial Stout that showcases hop aroma without being overly bitter.
  • Arabicadabra Coffee Milk Stout (5.5% ABV) – A little brewers’ magic transforms locally roasted Arabica beans and a variety of specialty malts into a creamy, intense coffee stout. Arabicadabra is brewed with a cold coffee extract made at the brewery using a combination of fair trade, organic Nicaraguan coffee beans and Sumatra coffee beans. Lactose is also used for creaminess.
  • Cherry Stout (7% ABV) – Tinted ruby-black, Cherry Stout gains its signature tartness from 100% Montmorency cherries grown in Michigan’s Traverse City region. Rather than doubling up on sweetness, this tart cherry varietal serves as a counterpoint to the warm, dark chocolate notes from the malt bill. Lightly hopped for balance, this beer is one of the cornerstones of Bell’s stout portfolio.
  • Expedition Stout (10.5% ABV) – One of the earliest examples of Russian Imperial Stouts in the United States, Expedition Stout offers immensely complex flavors crafted specifically with aging in mind. A huge malt body is matched with a heady blend of chocolate, dark fruit and other aromas.
  • 30th Anniversary Cherry Stout Reserve (9% ABV) – This version was brewed in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of Bell’s Cherry Stout, another specialty beer that was first brewed in 1988 as a nod to a local homebrew club in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It has grown to be one of the most anticipated beers we brew at the brewery every year. This version is brewed with whole cherries and oak chips. Coming in at 9.0% ABV, this commemorative batch is a celebration of what Cherry Stout means to the brewery.
  • Whiskey Barrel Aged Cherry Stout (9.3% ABV) – Aged for up to 12 months in whiskey barrels, our signature Cherry Stout evolves into something even more flavorful and complex. Notes of oak, vanilla and dark chocolate are intertwined with tart Michigan cherries in a stout that seduces the palate.
  • Bourbon Barrel Aged Expedition Stout (13.4%) – This beer is a 12 month barrel-aged version of our award-winning Expedition Stout.
  • Special Double Cream Stout (6.1%) – Named for its velvety smooth, creamy texture, this incredibly rich stout is brewed with 10 different specialty roasted malts chosen for their notes of rich mocha and espresso. Dark and sweet tones intermingle with a soft, roasty finish.

bells brewery


As part of this celebration, a special Bell’s Dark Night, Darker Beers 2018 Untappd badge will also be available to anyone who checks into a Bell’s stout during the week of Dec. 15. It will be available to unlock until midnight on Dec. 22.

WHO: Bell’s Brewery is Michigan’s oldest and largest independent craft brewery. For decades, stouts have held a special place in its portfolio from the year-round Kalamazoo Stout to Expedition Stout not to mention Black Note and so many more.

WHY: The Winter Solstice, also known as the longest night of the year, is a perfect time to celebrate a style that so many love and appreciate. Brewing a wide variety of stouts is one of the ways Bell’s celebrates its independence. This is a unique opportunity for Bell’s beer fans to sample and enjoy both rare and readily available stouts during a time of year that pairs so perfectly well together with dark and roasty beers.

WHEN: Dec. 16-22, with some events held on Friday, Dec. 21 at 5:23 p.m. to coincide with this year’s Winter Solstice (event start times may vary from location to location).

WHERE: Locations across Bell’s distribution footprint, visit for more information and updates as they become available.


the force awakens

In a brewery far far away…

As winter nights grow colder and more ominous, and seasonal releases are barrel aged and darker than a Sith Lord’s heart, our greed for craft beer surfaces. Let the beer flow through you and come over to the dark side just in time for the release of the much anticipated “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

“This is the time for dark beer to shine,” says Bobby Vedder, certified cicerone (and Star Wars geek) from Powers Distributing Co.

Darker styles—think stouts and porters—are known for bold flavors, longer finishes and lingering notes. The beers’ deeper color comes from its roasted malts, which contribute to the espresso flavors and bitterness.

“These beers are warming, with hints of subtle dark fruit note,” Vedder said.

Vedder’s recommendations for those looking to explore the dark side include:

Right Brain CEO Stout: Made with chocolate, espresso and oatmeal, this beer is lighter in alcohol and full of great layers of flavor.

Saugatuck Brewing Co. Neapolitan Milk Stout, a seasonal stout that uses lactose, or milk sugar, giving it a creamy texture. Its dark roasted notes are accented by flavors like chocolate, strawberry and vanilla.

Latitude 42 Powerline Porter – A Portage, Michigan-based brewery, this porter boasts caramel, coffee and chocolate flavors combine in a crisp finish. It is 5.5 percent ABV.

North Peak Dubious Black Chocolate Stout – Made in Traverse City, Michigan, this dark chocolate stout offers a perfect combination of chocolate, roast and black malts resulting in a smooth, rich beer. It is 5.3 percent ABV.

And finally, what Vedder calls ‘the Darth Vader’ of beers:

Oskar Blues’ Ten Fidy: Clocking in at 10.5 percent ABV, you don’t know the power of this dark beer. Ten Fidy is an Imperial Stout loaded with chocolate, caramel and coffee, using plenty of malt, roasted barley and flaked oats.

“The true dark side of beer isn’t about style, it is a mentality where people hoard beer for underground trades, or pay off their friends to mule for them at special releases” said Ben Darcie, brewery representative and sales manager for Brewery Vivant and founder and lead instructor of Experience Beer, a public and private beer education organization based in Grand Rapids, MI.

For a big, intense beer that is sure to lure you to the dark side, Darcie recommends:

Brewery Vivant Plow Horse: This heavily bodied Belgian Imperial Stout begins with biscuit and caramel notes, and finishes with lots of thick coffee, chocolate and a residual sweetness. Clocking in at 9.5%, this beer drinks like 5%, Darcie said. He compares this beer to an unsuspecting villain like Emperor Palpatine, whose underlying power isn’t apparent until you go into battle against him. Plow Horse is only available this month, and won’t return until November 2017.

the force awakens

Founders Breakfast Stout: Brewed with flaked oats, plenty of chocolate and two types of coffee, this Imperial Coffee Stout is aggressive in its own way without being overpowering.

Founders KBS: Always two, there are; a master and an apprentice. If Breakfast Stout is the apprentice, then KBS is the Dark Lord of the Sith. This Imperial Stout brewed with tons of coffee is cave-aged for an entire year. The rebel forces will be out en masse when this beer is released in 2016.

Darcie and Vedder recommend resisting the temptation of the dark side by opening your cellar and cracking a good bottle to share with family and friends this holiday season.

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” opens in theaters December 18th.