Feel that in the air? Nah, it’s not the first gusts of the next polar vortex, but rather the excitement of NYC beer nerds who are freaking out this week over the long-awaited arrival of Bell’s Brewery to local bar taps and store shelves.
As Brew York has documented, the Kalamazoo, MI-based brewery is among the cultish beermakers (Russian River, New Belgium, etc.) that long steered clear of the city despite clamoring demand for their product. But that finally changed yesterday when Bell’s began unleashing its beers on NYC. Here’s why you should be psyched, and where you should go to get a taste.
Bell’s makes really, really good beer.
Launched in 1985 out of Larry Bell’s home-brew supply store, Bell’s is an O.G. of the American craft-brew scene, and its bonafides speak for themselves. It currently sits at #5 on RateBeer.com’s list of the best breweries in the world; it’s the seventh largest craft brewery in the U.S. by volume; and, if you ask us, Hopslam is one of the best IPAs you’ll find anywhere. A few other reasons why Bell’s is not just another brewery taking up tap space:
- Bell’s own its own 80-acre farm in Michigan, where it grows 2-row barley for beers like the Midwestern Pale Ale—that’s some fine farm-to-glass brewing right there.
- While the likes of Founders and Jolly Pumpkin have gained a foothold, it’s good to have another Midwestern brewery to shakeup the stranglehold of West Coast IPAs and uberlocal beers.
- Bell’s makes a damn good English-style brown ale, an unsexy style that doesn’t get enough attention but is something you’ll want to have in your fridge all winter.
There are a lot of awesome events this week to celebrate the launch.
Brew York has a comprehensive list of the roll-out events going down this week. Here are the ones we’re most excited about:
- The Jeffrey has had a ton of Bell’s taps flowing since 8am; the party will go all day and night.
- Larry Bell himself will be over at Barcade Brooklyn at 4pm to set the launch off proper.
- Queens gets into the action with a tap takeover at Alewife.
- The Pony Bar HK will have a crazy 20 lines flowing with Bell’s beers starting at 4pm.
- Beerstore/bar Good Beer is tapping 11 Bell’s kegs at 6:30pm.
- Blind Tiger Ale House has a full tap takeover kicking off at 3pm.
- The Pony Bar UES will pick up where the Hell’s Kitchen location left off with 20 lines going on at 6pm.
- In Brooklyn, find nine Bell’s beers at Bierkraft from 7pm onward.
- Standings will have some new Bell’s beers on tap from 6pm, plus free pizza at 8pm.
- The launch hits the Bronx at the Bronx Ale House, from 7pm.
So which beers are actually here?
This isn’t some half-assed launch where they throw us a few cases of Two-Hearted and call it a day. Here’s a starter list of the beers you’ll find in the mix:
- Smitten Golden Rye
- Cherry Stout
- Expedition Stout
- Special Double Cream
- Oarsman Ale
- Best Brown Ale
If you’re just looking for a list of bars and stores that have Bell’s in stock, check out this handy list from Beermenus.com.
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