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2020 release calendar

COMSTOCK, Mich. – Bell’s Brewery is proud to announce an incredible beer lineup coming to coolers, store shelves and draft lines in 2020.

The first few days of January saw the packaging and release of Hopslam Double IPA. Coming in at 10% ABV, Hopslam was again released in 12 oz. cans, packaged in 6-packs, on draft and in 5L mini-kegs. New for this year, is a brand new Hopslam mini-keg design. Cans and mini-kegs are limited, and have already arrived on many store shelves and coolers.

Each batch is packaged and shipped as quickly as possible so this beer can be enjoyed fresh.

The most anticipated release for the year is the brand new, low-calorie, Light Hearted Ale.

A Lo-Cal IPA, this member of the Hearted family shares many of the characteristics of Bell’s award-winning Two Hearted Ale. At 3.7% ABV and only 110 calories (per 12. oz serving), Light Hearted is now shipping (and in many locations, arriving) in 12 oz. cans, packaged in 6-packs and on draft. Twelve-packs of 12 oz. cans will also ship in February in Michigan.

“This is going to be another exciting year for us. In addition to our release calendar, I am also very proud to celebrate our 35th anniversary. Funvitational (2020) will be a huge part of that milestone and we’ll have other ways to celebrate throughout the year,” said Larry Bell, president and founder of Bell’s Brewery.

Bell’s Official Hazy IPA will also be back for its second-year after an incredible reception by fans and beer writers in 2019. It is available now on draft and in 12 oz. cans packaged in 6-packs. Twelve packs are also an option.

Seasonal beers, Best Brown and Bright White, will both return (Bright White is available now through March or while supplies last). Oberon, Bell’s summer flagship American Wheat, will return on March 23 with midnight release parties, special tappings and more. In May, Oberon mini-kegs will begin shipping featuring a brand new design as well.

Returning specialty offerings include: Flamingo Fruit Fight (Tart Ale brewed with passionfruit and lime zest), Octoberfest (Märzen), Special Double Cream Stout (Sweet Stout), Expedition Stout (Russian Imperial Stout), Third Coast Old Ale (Barley Wine), Cherry Stout, Christmas Ale (Scotch Ale) and Lampshade Party Ale (a Double IPA previously only released in 2018).

Double Two Hearted (11% ABV) will return in August.

New to the Bell’s specialty release lineup is another Flamingo Fruit Fight variation; a Gose-style Ale brewed with lemon and lime. Bottles and kegs of Lemon Lime Flamingo Fruit Fight will ship in July.

Incessant, a Double New England-Style IPA, will be released in 16 oz. cans, packaged in 4-packs and on draft for a wider release in May. Incessant was previously a Bell’s General Store Exclusive.

With Incessant’s release this spring, Bell’s will offer four different Double IPAs for a wide release in 2020 in addition to the year-round Hopsoulution (Great Lakes state area distribution only).

Bell’s Leaves of Grass series, seven beers each inspired by a different Walt Whitman poem, will conclude in 2020 with three remaining offerings. Song of the Open Road, a Winter Warmer Ale, is available now. Salut au Monde will ship in March and Spontaneous Me will conclude the series in May.

The General Store Exclusive Series will also continue in 2020 with a variety of new beers and possibly some old favorites returning from Larry Bell’s Recipe Library. That includes yet another member of the Hearted family, Black Hearted, which will debut in “celebration” of Valentine’s Day.

Black Hearted will only be available on draft at Bell’s Eccentric Cafe and in 12 oz. bottles packaged in 6-packs at the Bell’s General Store.

“Now, this isn’t all we have lined up for 2020. We always like to keep a few things close to the vest. We’ll have plenty more to share in due time,” Bell said.

Bell’s fans should save Sept. 12, 2020 for Bell’s Funvitational Beer Festival. This will be Bell’s second Funvitational and will feature a variety of breweries from across the globe at Homer Stryker Field, home of the Kalamazoo Growlers, in downtown Kalamazoo. The original Funvitational was held in 2015 in celebration of Bell’s 30th Anniversary. Additional details will be announced at a later date.

Keep an eye on the Bell’s website and its social media channels for the latest information and release updates.

2020 release calendar

Bell’s 2020 release calendar

Bell’s 2020 release calendar at a glance

Year-round

Two Hearted (7% ABV), Light Hearted (3.7% ABV), Official Hazy IPA (6.4% ABV), Lager of the Lakes (5% ABV), Amber Ale (5.8% ABV), Kalamazoo Stout (6% ABV), Porter (5.6% ABV) and Hopsoulution (8% ABV – MI, WI, IN, IL, OH, MN only).

Seasonal

Bright White (5% ABV), Oberon (5.8% ABV and Best Brown (5.8% ABV)

Specialty 

Hopslam, Flamingo Fruit Fight (5% ABV), Oberon 5Ls, Incessant (8.5% ABV), Flamingo Fruit Fight Lemon Lime Gose (4.8% ABV), Octoberfest (5.5% ABV), Special Double Cream Stout (6.1% ABV), Expedition Stout (10.5% ABV), Third Coast Old Ale (10.2% ABV), Cherry Stout (7% ABV), Christmas Ale (7.5% ABV) and Lampshade Party Ale (9% ABV).

Leaves of Grass

Song of the Open Road (8.5% ABV), Salut au Monde and Spontaneous Me

General Store Exclusives

Black Hearted (7% ABV) and many others TBA.

KALAMAZOO – Bell’s Brewery, Inc. celebrated its 30th anniversary on Saturday with its own beer festival dubbed “Funvitational.”

Homer Stryker Field was transformed into a carnival atmosphere complete with a Ferris wheel, games, photo booth, and food vendors. The main features, though, were the beer tents spread around the field that housed ninety breweries from near and far. Many of them had never served beers in Michigan before and don’t distribute here. All of the local Kalamazoo breweries were invited to participate alongside those from as far away as Belgium. Each guest brewery’s table had two taps for serving its carefully curated selections.

Guests arrived at the festival grounds on foot, by bike, and in cars, buses, and shuttles—including the silly, yet functional Big Banana Car.

The 3,000 ticket holders began their celebration as early as noon in a holding area where they exchanged their shiny multicolored event ticket for a wristband, commemorative tasting glass, and a guide booklet containing pages of carnival style tickets valid for 12 beer samples and $8 worth of food. They were able to bring and share their favorite beers while waiting for the festival to begin. Many rare and special brews were being passed around from group to group as they anticipated the official start.

When the time came to move from the holding area to the the festival site, the Detroit Party Marching Band led the line with their enthusiastic style of showmanship and lively tunes.

Numerous breweries deviated from their announced plans and brought special surprises. Perhaps the biggest was Cigar City Brewing from Florida who brought its coveted Double Barrel Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout, a beer brewed only once and now retired. Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project from Colorado pleased fans of its Petite Sour series by adding Raspberry to its lineup.

Russian River Brewing Company from California served Supplication and its highly rated Pliny the Elder Double IPA, although it wasn’t Pliny’s debut in Michigan as it had been served at the American Homebrewers Association conference in Grand Rapids last year. The line for its table stretched across the field until the taps ran dry midway through the evening.

Bell’s served more than 30 beers at its home plate setup, as well as several from its Upper Hand Brewery division that doesn’t distribute in the Lower Peninsula. Bell’s Brewery’s retired Batch Number series was well represented with six of the earliest incarnations on tap. New beers created for the occasion made their debuts throughout the event.

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“When we started planning this a year ago it was like ‘Ok, we know this is our 30th anniversary, what do we need to do to make sure that we have enough awesome beer to do it?’” said Vice President Laura Bell. “Because we can’t just put something in a barrel and then two weeks later have it be what you want it to be or try to organize all of the brews so, yeah, we’ve been working for about a year to make sure we had new and different exciting stuff.”

Guests and breweries alike were buzzing about Funvitational being one of the most organized and enjoyable events they’ve been a part of. Anne Sprecher of Wisconsin’s Sprecher Brewing Company, which also celebrated its 30th anniversary of brewing recently, said “This is awesome. Very well organized and it is what they say it is, it’s fun!”

“Our goal is to make this fun for brewers, too, right? You get invited to beer festivals and you’ve got to set up your own shit, and so everything is already tapped and set up for the brewers (at Funvitational),” said Bell. “All they have to do is show up and they get to play for an hour before everybody gets here. If you’re throwing a birthday party you don’t tell people to come and do all the work.”

Many Bell’s Brewery employees were part of the ample workforce who did the preparation and continued to ensure a smooth day for all in attendance.

Maine Brewing Company owner Daniel Kleban, who has roots in Michigan, spoke highly of his experience.

“I had no idea what to expect coming to this festival. I was just happy to be invited because I have a great respect for Larry and Laura, and John [Mallett, Director of Operations], and what they’ve done here with this brewery,” he said. “I had no idea if people would know who we were. I mean, we don’t sell beer here so it’s great,” he added about the welcome he’s received by people coming to his table for pours of Lunch and Another One.

“Obviously we love Michigan beer, and there are festivals that showcase that and the Guild does a fantastic job doing that,” said Bell. “We wanted to do something a little bit different, and having the opportunity to have breweries from all over the world here who don’t distribute to our state and to get to bring that here is something that we’re really proud of and excited for.”

“I think people take beer too seriously sometimes and at the end of the day, we make beer and beer is fun so let’s celebrate not only being able to drink some really great beers but have fun with our community,” said Bell. “Just take a deep breath, enjoy yourselves, don’t think about it too hard!”

A fireworks display behind home plate closed the festival after a rousing speech by President and Founder Larry Bell as he and his hard-working team were applauded by the crowd. Afterward, many people made their way to the Bell’s Beer Garden for the final outdoor show of the season, a free dance party with DJ sets of funk and soul music.