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Kalamazoo

Discuss beer travel and regional information, including the best bars and places to check out around in Canada and around the world, and other chat that is not specific to Ontario.

Moderators: Craig, Cass

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Craig
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Post by Craig »

Take me with you?

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Cass
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Post by Cass »

Craig wrote: Thu May 18, 2023 8:48 am Take me with you?
Want to be my production assistant? :)

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Craig
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Post by Craig »

I want to sit around and drink good beer, lol.

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Cass
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Post by Cass »

Craig wrote: Fri May 19, 2023 9:47 pm I want to sit around and drink good beer, lol.
Well if it gets booked, feel free to come!

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Cass
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Post by Cass »

Kalamazoo confirmed they would like A Quick Beer video so I'm heading over there in early March. Will be interesting to check it out, besides going to the Bell's bar I have not done a single thing of anything else there.

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Cass
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Post by Cass »

So I did a fairly epic Kalamazoo weekend just past, where I went from Thurs-Sat (including a night hanging with Stephen Rich and London beer guy Cory).

Although it may not be the most beautiful or cosmopolitan city, KZOO does have quite a nice beer scene with a wide range of interesting beers. I know it’s been many years that this thread has been going, but I think it’s improved significantly since some of the earlier posts here.

The granddaddy of the scene remains Bell’s, which has their massive production facility in nearby Comstock (only booked tours, no drop-ins) and the original Cafe in downtown. The production facility is very impressive and in line with others of similar size in the U.S.. The Cafe is always a nice spot and I enjoyed a number of nice beers there during a beer dinner generously hosted by the Bell’s folks. The staff speak a lot about how the New Belgium/Lion relationship is a good thing but frankly I increasingly don’t give a shit about corporate ownership anymore as long as the beer is good & kept local and SCOOP! - they said they are in active conversations with the LCBO so if that happens then that could be a good thing for us!

I was able to get to a number of the newer breweries, which included Brite Eyes, Outré, Apoptosis, Presidential, Saugatuck, Wax Wings and One Well. They all had different niches and surprisingly unique beers. Nobody was really a hazy focus which was a refreshing change. Some of the brewers mentioned a few closures during COVID so there might have been a small shakeout. There were other breweries outside of downtown I had on my list, but just couldn’t fit in.

Downtown there was also a number of fun taverns & bars including Green Top (old school bar), LFG (arcade bar) and Shakespeare’s (spacious multi-tap). The Kalamazoo Beer Exchange is still going which does dynamic pricing at night which is kind of interesting but also slightly frustrating. They don’t do it during the day. Lots to keep busy in the downtown area.

Kalamazoo also has a “beer-to-go” zone which is similar to other Michigan cities that started during the pandemic. It was a bit chilly during my time there but I grabbed a Two Hearted and drank it while I walked around just because I could.

Lots of friendly folks there who seemed genuinely interested in why I was there (for the video shoot) and appreciative of the support of the local beer community.

My one big beef was transportation - there are barely any Ubers and seemingly no cabs. So I quickly had to learn the local transit system which is admittedly not something that many would do, especially groups or families. That made it challenging to hit some places on my list.

Head-to-head, GR is going to come out on top vs. Kalamazoo which is about the same distance from the GTA. But I had an enjoyable time and with some nicer weather it’s not a bad spot to explore with lots of options. I’ll have A Quick Beer video at some point in the future!

anthony9
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Post by anthony9 »

Nice write-up. Bell's would take the sting out of losing Sierra Nevada.

seangm
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Post by seangm »

Great scoop! I would buy the heck out of Two Hearted if it showed up around here.

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