The Best Brown label: Then and now

Josh Smith | Bell's Brewery


As we head into fall with the arrival of Best Brown and its new look, we wanted to take a look back at how the label has evolved since its first release in 1988.

Best Brown was initially packaged in 22 oz. bottles and featured a plain type label. Since then, it has evolved into winter pine cones and then into an owl, which has also gone through some changes.

The new great horned owl label is based on an acrylic painting by Kent Elliott of Black Lab Five.

It was inspired by evenings in Marshall, Michigan when the beautiful autumn light rakes across the woods, lighting up a slight fog in the air, said Elliott.

“There's nothing quite like that autumn light. This is that moment when all the deer, turkeys, coyotes, squirrels and chipmunks have paused (maybe to listen) — and the silence is broken by the soft sound of a distant owl echoing through the hardwoods,” he continued.

Do you have a favorite fall moment or photo (Best Brown related or not)? We would love to hear about it or take a look. Drop us a line.

Best Brown is rolling out to stores, restaurant and bars now on draft, in mini-kegs, twelve packs and six packs. [FIND SOME NEAR YOU]

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Details, date for 4th Annual Bell's Homebrew Competition are here

Josh Smith | Bell's Brewery


Our annual homebrew competition is now in its fourth year and will be held this year on Sept. 14 at the Eccentric Café.

As in previous years, there is no cost to enter and the only requirement is that you use our wort, which we provide for free.

The first place winner will get to brew their recipe at our original brewery to then go on tap at the Café.

Previous winners include Oscar’s Folly, a collaborative IPA from Jarrett Cupp, Bailey Cupp and Paul Gentz; A Bit of Heat from Geoff Groff that was brewed with paradise seeds, rose hips and habaneros and Manden Med Leen, a black IPA brewed with Belgian yeast, from Nick Rodammer.

Here is what you need to know:

  • Sign-up times for wort pickup will begin at 11 a.m. Wort will be distributed starting at 1 p.m. Homebrewers should bring a sanitized vessel with them to transport their wort home. Buckets, carboys (please be extra careful handling glass carboys) and cornelius kegs are the most common vessels. You can leave them in your vehicle until it’s time to pick up your wort, but again, please sanitize your vessel prior to your pick-up time to help us make sure everyone gets their wort.

  • Make sure to get there early, as supplies will be limited. Signing up early will help guarantee wort.

  • You can send someone else to pick up your wort. We aren’t concerned with who takes it, just who turns bottles in to be judged in October. We do ask that you don’t bring friends or relatives who don’t brew, just so you can have an extra 5+ gallons of wort. We are relying on the goodwill of homebrewers to help each other out and share the wealth. Please help us make sure all who want to compete are able.

  • You can add whatever you like to your recipe/submission. However, if your entry is chosen as the winner, we will have to be able to figure out a way to make your beer on a much larger scale. So please, take good, detailed notes of everything you do to the wort.

  • We won’t know exactly how much we will end up with until the wort is made, but last year we were able to give 5 gallons of wort to 206 homebrewers. We hope to be in that ballpark again this year, but things happen during wort transfers that can affect that number. We recommend arriving early to sign up and make sure you get your wort.

  • This event also coincides with our 28th Anniversary Celebration, Homebrew Expo, our 7th Annual Hot Dog Eating Contest, a performance by Ein Prosit! and The Macpodz.

  • Entries (4 bottles) are due to the Bell’s General Store by Saturday, October 26.

  • Winners will be announced on All Stouts Day Nov. 3, also at the Cafe.

Still have questions? Ask away.

Bell’s beer will be available in New York this October; T.J. Sheehan, Tri-Valley Beverage and Craft Guild of New York chosen to distribute

Bell's Brewery, Inc.


COMSTOCK, Mich. – It’s been quite some time since we have brought our beer to a new state and today we are proud to announce that Bell’s beer will be available in western and upstate New York beginning Oct. 1.

We have chosen T.J. Sheehan, Tri-Valley Beverage and Craft Guild of New York to distribute our Two Hearted Ale, Amber Ale, Midwestern Pale Ale, Porter, Kalamazoo Stout and Oarsman Ale along with our seasonal portfolio on draft and in bottles.

“We are absolutely thrilled to come to the state of New York. We have been working on bringing our beer to this area for a long time and we are truly excited to have a specific date to share and look forward to,” said Larry Bell, President and Founder of Bell’s Brewery, Inc.

For help locating our beer, fans can soon use our Beer Finder to see which nearby bars, restaurants and retailers serve and sell our beer.

Release party information and other special events will also be available on our website as well as on our social media channels as that information becomes available.

With the addition of New York, Bell’s will be available in nineteen states along with Puerto Rico and Washington DC.

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