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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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bostonfox
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Kalamazoo

Post by bostonfox »

Just stumbled across a couple great deals in the home of one of my favorite breweries - Bells. Got a room on hotwire at the comfort inn downtown for 80 bucks on a Sunday night - extending a Chicago weekend - went over to Bells brewpub for a few but then decided (not sure why) to pop into the sleazy looking bar next to the hotel before calling it a night. Well, I'll be a monkeys uncle, this place called boomerags or something. It had 4 bells taps including the unreal two hearted for $2.50 a pint on sundays. $2.50 a pint! I had 4. Cool.

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Jon Walker
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Post by Jon Walker »

For the home of such a fine brewery Kalamazoo was an underwhelming beer destination. I passed through just two weeks ago and found even Bells own store and pub underwhelming. The fact I had found more Bells bottles (and at better prices) in nearby Grand Rapids made the store suspect. The tap prices were no real bargain either. I'd suggest anyone planning to overnight in the area do so in Grand Rapids rather than Kalamazoo. The trip to Founders, Hopcat, Martha's Vineyard and the other places to drink and buy will be more worth your time...and the downtown is more appealing as well. Further, I'd dare say you'll find cheaper accommodation than $80 U.S. per night. All four nights I spent in the U.S. came in between $40 and $60 (mostly Motel 6's or Super 8's). Guess it depends what level of accommodation you require and whether or not something like a busy holiday weekend is forcing up prices.
I don't always piss in a bottle but when I do...I prefer to call it Dos Equis.

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bostonfox
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Post by bostonfox »

We had a great time at Bells. We were there for a few hours and it was pretty much packed the whole time. Met some great folks who worked there and (of course) enjoyed many good beers. Food was pretty good too. I didn't really notice the prices being too much at all.
Seems like there are no cheapy hotels in downtown Kalamazoo within walking distance of the brewpub so $80 for a 15 min walk worked for me.
Totally agree that Grand Rapids is a far better town for an overnight but for us, Bells was all we needed. :P

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Craig
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Post by Craig »

I'm planning a little roadie that will have a night in Kalamazoo. Just from poking around online, it seems like the best options in town are the Bells pub, the Central City Tap House (best location), Shakespeare's (44 taps) or The Kalamazoo beer exchange (that place where your beer is priced by demand on a stock chart thing).

Anyone have any tips or suggestions? We're driving to Chicago and back, then plan is to stay in Grand Rapids on the way home.

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ritzkiss
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Post by ritzkiss »

Likely heading to Kalamzoo in the coming year for a conference, hope to hear more about the best spots!

TheSevenDuffs
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Post by TheSevenDuffs »

From my experience there, Bell's and The K'Zoo Beer Exchange are really the only two places worth spending time at. And, unless you HAVE TO be in K'Zoo (for example you are at a conference there), do yourself a favour and drive the 45 minutes to Grand Rapids and stay there instead.

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FEUO
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Post by FEUO »

I echo everyone's statements about Grand Rapids.

If you are staying in KZoo from the West (Chicagoland) I HIGHLY recommend stopping at Greenbush in Sawyer. Have lunch, a couple brews, and take a boatload home with you. Quite possibly the best brewery in the state you've never heard of. And if you have heard of them, may just be the best brewery in the state. Period.

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Craig
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Post by Craig »

FEUO wrote:I echo everyone's statements about Grand Rapids.

If you are staying in KZoo from the West (Chicagoland) I HIGHLY recommend stopping at Greenbush in Sawyer. Have lunch, a couple brews, and take a boatload home with you. Quite possibly the best brewery in the state you've never heard of. And if you have heard of them, may just be the best brewery in the state. Period.
That's awfully high praise for a state with some excellent brewers in it.

Delusion looks like good stuff, I'll check them out, thanks.

We're actually doing Kzoo, then Chicago, then GR on the way home. It just works better this way in terms of breaking up the drive and destinations. We're planning on hitting Hopcat in GR and probably the Map Room or Hopleaf in Chicago. Along the way we'll be stopping at:

Kuhnhenn, Jolly Pumpkin, Dark Horse, Bells, Goose Island, Three Floyds, Greenbush and Founders.

The plan was originally to just get my 24 duty-free allotment, but with this many awesome breweries, I might just go over and pay the duties.

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FEUO
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Post by FEUO »

High praise and deserved, in my opinion. There are other amazing breweries that you may not have heard of: Witch's Hat, Odd Side, Sherwood.... etc.
At the very least, they are the state's new darlings.
Sure the stalwarts like Founders, Bells, Dark Horse, Short's and Kuhnhenn have a few amazing brews within their lineups. Across the board, for a new-ish brewery, they are top shelf. And the staff is super to boot!
The brewery itself is small but very cool.

While in GR be sure to hit up Vivant. My SECOND favorite brewery in the state. 8)

Have fun. Sounds like a well thought out road trip and one I would mimic (less the Kzoo stop).

Don't worry about the 24 limit at the border. Just have receipts ready and prepare to pay. It will be worth it.

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Craig
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Post by Craig »

Hopefully my wife will come. Then I get twice the allotment at the border. :D

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FEUO
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Post by FEUO »

And who knows, she may actually have fun! :lol:

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Craig
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Post by Craig »

FEUO wrote:And who knows, she may actually have fun! :lol:
This strikes me as less important.

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Craig
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Post by Craig »

I don't know why people are so down on KZOO, it was a nice enough town. Cabs were a little odd (no meters? Do the cabbies just make up numbers?) but it was worth it for Bell's alone.

Good tip on Greenbush, we stopped in and had a blast.

Here's the haul I got back over the border:

Dark Horse Beer is Dark XIII Anniversary Ale x2
Goose Island Bourbon County Backyard Rye
Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout x4
Kuhnhenn Oud Bruin Ale x3
Jolly Pumpkin Oro de Calabaza
Jolly Pumpkin La Roja
Three Floyds Alpha Klaus w Prickly Pear
Three Floyds Barrel Aged Behemoth
Engelszell Gregorius Trappistenbier
BFM Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien 07
Oud Beersel Oude Geuze
Tilquin Oude Gueuze a Lancienne
Rodenbach Grand Cru
St. Sebastiaan Dark
Stone Old Guardian x2
Blaugies / Hill Farmstead La Vermontoise
Goose Island Lolita
Firestone 17 Anniversary Ale
Bell's Expedition Stout x3
Bell's Special Double Cream Stout


The friend I went with also managed to get a 4-pack of the Bourbon Country barley wine and a large format of the BCBS that I can't recall.

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Craig
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Post by Craig »

I posted this elsewhere too, but in a recent trip to Detroit a bottle shop recommended a Wax Wings IPA to me, which I brought home and thoroughly enjoyed. I believe it was this one: https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/53044/360429/

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Cass
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Post by Cass »

I’ve been trying to convince Kalamazoo to help with a Quick Beer trip. We’ll see, I’d like to check out more of the city besides Bell’s.

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