A behind the scenes look: Prepping the menu for Eccentric Day

Josh Smith | Bell's Brewery

IMG_1761.JPGWild boar, bison, squid, smoked lamb bacon, emu, quail, antelope, duck … these are just a few of the items you will see offered on Eccentric Day this year.

But how does a menu like this come together?

The planning starts early.

For Melissa Bont, the Eccentric Café’s Kitchen Manager, that planning began in early October.

And then there is the prep work.

Deliveries started late last week. And since then, cases of food have been arriving almost daily.

Most of the caviar, smoked salmon and other delicacies won’t actually arrive until the day before Eccentric Day though.

But during the week leading up to the event and especially the day before, there is still plenty of chopping, slicing, stirring and tasting to make sure everything possible is ready to go.

The entire kitchen staff, including a few dedicated “retired” kitchen staff members - who have since gone on to other positions at the Café - put in some long and late hours to make everything happen.

There is also a fair amount of improvising as well – adding chorizo to the alligator gumbo for example.

Being incredibly organized is also helpful, Bont said.

On Eccentric Day, that same team will set up, do any last minute cooking and restock two buffet style tables in both the front and back bars of the Café before opening at 9 a.m. until around 10 p.m. (depending on how fast all the food goes).

Even the menu is still being tweaked a bit this week as some items are a little harder to come by than originally planned.

Sorry, no organs (sweet breads) this year.

But bugs have been added (scorpion suckers, crickets and larvae - fried with spices) in addition to emu. And Bell’s beer will also be used in a few of the dishes.

The idea of getting a pig uterus was even pitched, but that won’t happen this year.

Not to say they didn’t try.

There will also be plenty for vegetarian appetites as well including a vegetarian turducken, stuffed jalapenos and smoky tofu bites. Bont said she recognizes the need to have something for all tastes.

“It’s a great tradition. We’re busy and there is a lot to do, but we make it fun and we get to experiment with different foods. It’s nice to be able to offer people things they wouldn't normally get to try,” Bont said.

2012 Eccentric food numbers:

20 lbs. of alligator

10 lbs. of shepherd’s pie

About 100 squid (stuffed with bison cornbread)

10 lbs. of antelope

2 wild boar legs (10-12 lbs. each)

20 lbs. of shrimp

12 lbs. of elk

12 lbs. of bison

24 duck breasts

12 lbs. of venison to make sausage

About 80 lbs. of cheese in 20 different varieties

Eccentric Day 2012: 60 beers on tap – take a look at the full list and menu

Josh Smith | Bell's Brewery

IMG_1623.JPGEccentric Day will begin at 9 a.m. on Friday (Dec. 7).

There is no cover and food is free (see menu below). The only requirement is that you must come dressed for the occasion so, come “as you aren't.”

If you need inspiration, take a look at photos from last year.

The beer

Sixty different beers will be available on tap throughout the day:

  • Two Hearted
  • Red Nose ESB
  • Winter White
  • Debs’ Red
  • Christmas Ale
  • Black Rye
  • Best Brown
  • Mild Ale
  • Amber Ale
  • Michigan Brewers Guild 15th Anniversary Ale
  • Lager of the Lakes
  • The Oracle DIPA
  • Oarsman Ale
  • Hopsoulution DIPA
  • Pale Ale
  • Le Batteur
  • Le Pianiste
  • Le Contrebassite
  • Porter
  • Third Coast Beer
  • Third Coast Old Ale
  • Octoberfest
  • EXP 2012-3
  • EXP 2012-4
  • EXP 2012-5
  • EXP 2012-6
  • Mead
  • Expedition Stout
  • Kalamazoo Stout
  • Java Stout
  • Special Double Cream Stout
  • Oatmeal Stout
  • Spiced Stout
  • Milk Stout
  • Smoked Stout
  • Sweet Potato Stout
  • Dagger Stout
  • Trumpeters Stout
  • Bourbon Barrel Aged Kalamazoo Stout Firkin
  • Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout
  • Bourbon Barrel Aged Batch 9,000
  • Bourbon Barrel Aged Best Brown
  • Captain Spontaneous
  • Wedding Ale
  • Ravissant
  • Dunkelweizen
  • Roundhouse IRA
  • Raspberry Ale
  • Harvest Ale
  • Hell Hath No Fury … Ale
  • Eccentric Ale
  • This one goes to 11 Ale                                                                                         
  • Kal-Haven Ale
  • The Wild One
  • Black Note
  • 2008 Eccentric Ale
  • 2007 Cherry Stout
  • 2007 Third Coast Old Ale
  • 2009 Expedition Stout
  • Bourbon Barrel Aged Expedition Stout 2011

The food

A variety of cheeses, caviar, escargot, oysters, shrimp and smoked meats (including pheasant, salmon and many others) will be available all day long.

The kitchen will also be serving:

  • Antelope Stew
  • Alligator Gumbo
  • Reuben Skewers
  • Capon (castrated rooster) Potpie
  • Boiled Cow Tongue with horseradish mustard
  • Quail scotch eggs with chorizo and Sriracha sour cream
  • Venison Shepherd’s Pie
  • Smoked Turkey Legs
  • Smoked Wild Boar Legs
  • Squid stuffed with Ground Buffalo
  • Smoked Duck with Apricot – Mint Spread
  •  Fried Sweetbreads
  • Jerk Smoked Quail Legs
  • Venison Osso Buco
  • Rocky Mountain Oysters
  • Chocolate covered bacon
  • Asian Marinated Tempeh
  • Spicy bean salsa
  • Deviled eggs (curry, chipotle and traditional)
  • Udon noodles with peanut sauce
  • Pickled Eggs
  • Smoked Jalapenos with cream cheese (and w cream cheese & Chorizo)
  • Smoked Tomato Salsa
  • Smokey Tofu Bites
  • Spring Rolls filled with rice noodles, tofu & jicama slaw
  • Veggie Turducken ( squash filled with stuffing, leeks, sweet potatoes & mushrooms and then smoked)
  • Vichyssoise          
  • Stuffed mushrooms

The music

DJ Bowser and Bat Guano will spin beginning at 6 p.m.

Just a little bit more ...

The Bell’s General Store will also be selling a variety of vintage Eccentric Ales in addition to this year’s batch.

See your alter ego on Friday. Cheers!

Bell's beer event roundup: Dinners, ugly sweater contests, Christmas Ale and more

Josh Smith | Bell's Brewery

MarketGardenFlyer.jpgBelow is a look at our events this week in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Indiana.


Nov. 26

Specialty Night: Jerry's Sandwich's in Chicago - Bourbon Barrel Aged Batch 9,000, This one goes to 11, Special Double Cream Stout, Christmas Ale, Winter White and Two Hearted

Nov. 27

Specialty Night: Jerry's Sandwich's (Andersonville) in Chicago - Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout, This one goes to 11, Expedition Stout, Third Coast Old Ale and Special Double Cream Stout


Nov. 27

Tap Event: Buffalo Wild Wings in Brighton at 7 p.m. – Trivia, This one goes to 11 (tapped at 8 p.m.), Black Note, Christmas Ale, Hell Hath No Fury … Ale, Two Hearted Ale and Winter White

Nov. 28

Tap Takeover: Detroit Prime in Farmington Hills from 6:30-8:30 p.m. – Half-off appetizers plus Winter White, Two Hearted Ale, Amber Ale, Porter, Smoked Vienna Lager, Oatmeal Stout, Sparkling Ale and This one goes to 11 Ale

Bell's Holiday Party: Oak Café in Wyandotte at 7 p.m. - Batch 10,000 (a special treat from Oak Cafe's cellar), Best Brown Ale, Christmas Ale, Hell Hath No Fury … Ale, Midwestern Pale Ale, Sparkling Ale, Two Hearted, Golden Rye, Kal-Haven Ale and Bourbon Barrel Aged Batch 9,000. $20 tasting ticket available. For more details, go here.

Nov. 29

Tap Takeover: Buffalo Wild Wings in Rochester Hills at 7 p.m. - Black Note (tapped at 8 p.m.), Christmas Ale, Hell Hath No Fury … Ale, Midwestern Pale Ale, Two Hearted Ale, Winter White Ale and This one goes to 11 Ale

Tasting: Bacchus Wine & Spirits in Kalamazoo from 4-6 p.m.

13 Bell's of Christmas: Lynch's in Port Huron at 4:30 p.m. - Batch 9,000, Best Brown Ale, Christmas Ale, Hell Hath No Fury … Ale, Hopsoulution, Kalamazoo Stout, Rye Stout, The Oracle, Two Hearted Ale, Winter White Ale, This one goes to 11 Ale, Smoked Vienna Lager, Kal-Haven Ale and Bourbon Barrel Aged Batch 9,000

Nov. 29 & Dec. 1

2-day event: Zazios Birmingham – For details, go here.

Nov. 30

Happy Hour Tasting: Bottoms Up in Kalamazoo from 4-6 p.m.

Dec. 1

Tap Takeover: Reno's Sports Bar East in East Lansing starting at 6 p.m.  – 14 beers on tap - Black Note (6 p.m.),This one goes to 11 (7 p.m.) Bourbon Barrel Aged Batch 9,000 (8 p.m.), Amber Ale, Best Brown Ale, 2011 Cherry Stout, Christmas Ale, Hell Hath No Fury … Ale, Java Stout, Midwestern Pale Ale, Third Coast Old Ale, Two Hearted Ale, Winter White Ale and Smoked Vienna Lager

Christmas Ale Tasting: Horrock's Farm Market in Lansing from 2-5 p.m.

Ugly Sweater Party: The Grotto at Capone's in Kalamazoo starting at 11 a.m. – prizes for the best ugly sweater, free food from 8-10 p.m. plus 12 Bell’s beers on tap


Nov. 27

Bell's Night: Bar 209 in Bemidji at 6 p.m. - Golden Rye, Roundhouse IRA and Le Contrebassiste

Nov. 28

Bell's Beer Dinner: Skal Bar & Grill in Vergas at 6 p.m. - Christmas Ale, Le Pianiste, Oatmeal Stout, Debs' Red, and Two Hearted Ale. Seating is limited. Please call 218-342-7525 for reservations.

Nov. 29

Multi-Tap Night: Grizzly's Canal Park in Duluth at 4 p.m. - Two Hearted, Best Brown, Golden Rye, Oatmeal Stout, The Oracle, This one goes to 11, Debs' Red, Le Contrebassiste, and Le Pianiste


Nov. 28

Collaborative Beer Dinner: Market Garden Brewery in Cleveland at 6:30 p.m.  – Five course beer dinner featuring Christmas Ale, Hell Hath No Fury … Ale, Le Contrebassiste Ale, Midwestern Pale Ale, Two Hearted Ale and others. Please call 216-621-4000 for reservations.


Nov. 30

Bell's Tasting: St. John Wine & Spirits in St. John from 6-8 p.m. - Amber Ale, Best Brown Ale, Expedition Stout, Midwestern Pale Ale, Special Double Cream Stout, Third Coast Beer, Two Hearted Ale and Winter White Ale

Looking ahead

Join us for a beer dinner in Brainerd, 12 Bell’s of Christmas in Chelsea, Michigan, pint night in Asheville and more. Take a look at our full calendar here.

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