Bell’s Oberon is easily one of the most popular seasonal beers in America. (Unless you live in a handful of areas where it’s year-round). Every so often, and in very limited quantities, variants of Oberon have surfaced, such as Pineapple Jalapeno, Guava Raspberry, and Cucumber Basil. This month, another variant – Mango Oberon, has been selected for wider distribution.
Those living close to Bell’s General Store in downtown Kalamazoo have might have seen this beer in the past. According to Larry Bell, brewery president, and founder, says brewery fans have been asking for Oberon special releases to see more distribution.
12-ounce bottles of Bell’s Mango Oberon start shipping in limited quantities across the United States the week after July 4th.
Bell’s Brewery’s Two Hearted Ale is known epically as one of the best (if not the best) India pale ale in America. Double Two Hearted Ale, which is is basically Two Hearted turned into the hoppy Incredible Hulk, was bottled last year and brewery fans couldn’t’ get enough. Then it was revealed that the “Hearted Ale” series had a lesser-known, lovable lighter side – Light Hearted Ale.
The 110 calorie, 8.7 carb, 3.7% alcohol by volume “light” ale has been a Bell’s General Store exclusive release, showing up on social media as early as last summer.
Gearing up for a wide-scale release, Bell’s has overhauled Light Hearted’s artwork. This lighter approach to one of America’s most popular India pale ales utilizes two hops – Centennial and Galaxy.
A light IPA Success
As 2020 gets underway, this beer joins the ranks of a growing segment of lighter, lower calorie, lower alcohol by volume creations by craft brewers. The category is growing every month, but much like any India pale ale, the light IPAs are not created equal. Without naming names, some of the releases are either too thin, low flavor, or even worse – tastes like hoppy water. You might be saving the calories but you’ve also thrown flavor out the window. Bell’s solved the calorie over flavor equation, and they did it beautifully.
Light Hearted Ale is born of the same creative expertise that pushed Two Hearted Ale to elite status in American brewing. Centennial and Galaxy hops walk hand in hand through each sip, bolstered by an actual malt backbone (a term brewers hate) that his been missing in a string lactose and adjunct heavy IPAs hitting shelves coast to coast. Those looking to make a more health-conscious beer choice, look no further.
Bell’s Light Hearted Ale will be available year-round in 12-ounce cans and draft starting in late-January
Image: Beer Street Journal
Bell’s Brewery is honoring veterans and active service military with a special beer release for Veteran’s Day. Bell’s Goin’ Dark debuts at the brewery’s Eccentric Cafe on November 11th.
Goin’ Dark is a coffee milk stout brewed with bourbon barrel-aged coffee beans. This beer was visualized, conceived, brewed and packaged by a team of 20 Bell’s employees that served in the military or currently enlisted or have families actively serving.
“It’s an honor to recognize the men and women in our military as well as their families and extend that celebration to those who make that sacrifice.” – Larry Bell, Founder & President
Additionally, Bell’s is working with Section Collection, a nonprofit that provides support for veterans in need.
Bell’s Goin’ Dark will be available exclusively at the Eccentric Cafe on November 11th, in 12-ounce bottles and draft.
Style: Milk Stout (w/ Coffee.)
Availability: 12oz Bottles, Draft. Brewery Release.
Bell’s Vanilla Black Note Stout
Style: Imperial Stout (w/ Vanilla Beans. Barrel Aged. Bourbon.)
Availability: 12oz Bottles. Limited Release.
Bell’s Sparkleberry Ale returns to 16-ounce cans for summer 2019.
This fruit-forward release first debuted in 2013 in honor of the Kalamazoo, Michigan Pride Festival. Bell’s Brewery was a presenting sponsor. Since then, the beer has been made more widely available on draft, plus a few 750-milliliter bottles at Bell’s General Store.
This summer, Bell’s Sparkleberry Ale returns in 16-ounce cans. The brewery continues to maintain their partnership with Kalamazoo Pride, a fundraiser for OutFront Kalamazoo. The Kalamazoo Gay-Lesbian Resource Center, OutFront Kalamazoo, continues to serve the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community of greater Kalamazoo, its friends, and allies.
“Our celebration of diversity is no secret, but this can says it front and center. No matter who you are or who you love, all are welcome at Bell’s.”- Laura Bell, Bell’s Brewery
Bell’s Sparkleberry Ale is now available in 16-ounce cans and draft seasonally.
Debut: June 2013 (Draft)
Can Debut: June 2018
Latest Return: June 2019
Image: Beer Street Journal
Bell’s Song of Myself
A few years ago, it was a series of planetary releases inspired by Gustav Holst’s orchestral suite by the same name. Now Bell’s Brewery is taking their latest beer inspirations from Walt Whitman, his poetry collection Leaves of Grass.
Starting this month, and continuing into 2020, look for seven different literary beer pieces, each brewed with Whitman in mind. Up first – Song of Myself, a German-inspired American India pale ale.
“Over the years, we’ve drawn inspiration from a variety of different sources from music to literature to the Great Lakes. This series is just the latest example of how the arts have inspired us to create new and innovative recipes.” – Larry Bell, President, and Founder
After Song of Myself IPA, the series will tentatively look like this:
The Prairie-Grass Dividing (July) – Gose-Style Ale Brewed with Plum, Salt & Coriander
Oh, Captain! My Captain! (September)- Black India pale lager
To a Locomotive in Winter (November) – Smoked Porter
Song of the Open Road (January 2020) – Winter Warmer
Salut Au Monde! (March 2020) – Lager with old world grains
Spontaneous Me (May 2020) – Wild Fermented Beer
Leaves of Grass was first published in 1855. Whitman spent a good bit of his life revising the collection, which started as just 12 poems, growing to over 400 at the time of his death. The last edition, aka “The Deathbed” edition, was published in 1892.
Each of the Bell’s Leaves of Grass Series will be available in 12-ounce bottles, in limited quantities nationally.
Article updated with future potential styles.