craft beer in Michigan

Bell’s Brewery Tour Observation Deck. Photo Credit/ Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom

You’ve probably heard about it in songs on the radio, but can a place like Kalamazoo really exist? It does and it’s located in Michigan.

Besides being home to Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo also is a hub of socialization and the home of several craft breweries including Bells Brewery, one of the best known. Looking for a little bit of adult only adventure, the hubs and I set out on a road trip to the west side of the state to see what fun Kalamazoo Michigan really had to offer–and to prove with photos that it does exist.

Bell’s Brewery Tours

craft beer in Michigan

Bell’s Brewery. Photo Credit Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom

Have you ever wanted to see how your beloved beer was made? Bell’s Brewery is happy to give you the chance. Every Saturday and Sunday, the nostalgic original brewery located in downtown Kalamazoo and the new brewery in nearby Comstock are open to the public for guided tours.

We learned about the process beer takes to become our favorite brews, walked along the observation deck, smelled the fermentation and watched as the beer made its final journey into the recognizable bottles that we see sitting on the shelves at our local supermarket.

The process was much larger than I had imagined and it was fun to watch the beers fly by on a conveyor belt to be labeled, capped and boxed for distribution after seeing the process from which it started. Just be sure that you don’t have a weak stomach because the smell of the fermentation process combined with the heat of the breweries can easily overcome you.

Taste the Brews

craft beer in Michigan

Craft Brew at Bell’s Eccentric Cafe. Photo Credit, Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom

After you’ve seen the beer making process first hand, take a 12 minute drive from the Comstock brewery or walk next door from the original brewery to the Eccentric Cafe owned by Bell’s Brewery and taste a few of the fresh craft brews on tap while munching on the signature pretzels and assorted dips.

While you’re at the Eccentric cafe, don’t forget to buy a Growler! For $32 you can go home with a 2 liter jug of your favorite brew from your trip and refill it on your next travel to the area for only $14 per refill. Now that’s what I call a souvenir!

Looking for a little bit more to eat after the brewery tour? Bell’s Brewery also serves tasty sandwiches, appetizers and a few dinner type dishes. However, if you’re looking for a nice hot or romantic dinner, this probably isn’t the place to go. Mostly sandwiches and snacking food on the menu here with the exception of a few dinner menu items. To wash down your food, the choices are…Bell’s beers and absolutely no liquors.

But don’t worry, Kalamazoo is full of other great restaurants and breweries such as the Olde Peninsula Brewpub, which offers a more extensive food and drink menu and even a few of their own craft beers on tap!

Stay for a Show

The Eccentric Cafe also has a larger banquet style room opposite the dining/bar room which frequently hosts events and shows. Buy your tickets online before hand. This is such a fun way to end the night! While we were there, my husband and I watched a beard competition as we sipped a Bell’s craft beer called the Java Stout which actually contains coffee. (For those of you who don’t know what a beard competition is, think of it as an hairy beauty pageant for men. Each of the contestants compete for titles such as longest beard, patchiest beard and the grand title of best beard. The proceeds of this competition went to support the West Michigan Cancer Center.)

Stay the Night

After a fun-filled day touring the breweries, taste testing craft brews, maybe visiting my old alma mater (Go WMU!) and watching a fun show at the cafe, hitch a ride in a taxi over to the Radisson Hotel in downtown Kalamazoo for a relaxing night of R&R. Watch for special dates to visit when the hotel partners up with the local breweries to offer special discounts on rooms and tickets into the brewery events are included with your room purchase. This can save you a lot of money!

So, if you’re looking for a fun-filled weekend away with your friends or romantic date night with your significant other check out the fun in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

If you’re visiting Kalamazoo with kids, don’t miss the Kalamazoo Air Zoo and its 3-D Space Shuttle experience. If you’re visiting in winter, stay for the weekend and play outside at one of these Western Michigan spots.