Take a look at the 2013 Oberon mini-keg design

Josh Smith | Bell's Brewery

Oberon2013MiniKeg.jpgHow about a January warm up?

The artwork featured on this year’s 5-liter Oberon mini-keg isn’t meant to depict a specific location but capture that moment when you put your paddle down and really soak in summer, said Kent Elliott, Creative Director at Black Lab Five in downtown Kalamazoo.

“It's a mental compilation of many different summer trips on rivers and lakes in northern Michigan, with quite a bit of Isle Royale thrown in. I guess it's my Q Falls,” Elliott wrote in an email.

“My hope is that it will remind people of similar places they've been and spark fond memories,” he said.

Does it remind you of somewhere specific? We would love to hear about it. Drop us a note or leave a comment on our Facebook or Google+ page.

Oberon will return on March 25. Look for mini-kegs to arrive a few months after then.

We’ll keep everyone posted on events and other details as they become available as well.

Manden Med Leen will be the next Bell’s homebrew competition winner to be tapped at the Eccentric Cafe

Josh Smith | Bell's Brewery

IMG_8666.jpgKALAMAZOO – The winner of Bell’s Third Annual Homebrew Competition will be tapped at 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26 at the Eccentric Café in downtown Kalamazoo.

Nick Rodammer’s, Manden Med Leen (Danish for grim reaper), is a black IPA brewed with Belgian yeast, barley from the Bell’s Farm in Shepherd, Michigan and a blend of other U.S. and European malts.

It was dry hopped three separate times with Amarillo, Galaxy and Zeus hops. These same hops were also used in the kettle along with Michigan grown Chinook hops.

The first things people should notice is a lot of hop aroma and flavor, Rodammer said.

The beer has a rich tropical fruit aroma with a subtle dark malt character and an ABV of 6.95%.

“I wanted to brew something a little outside the box for this competition,” Rodammer said.

After putting together a few different ideas he settled on merging three IPA styles - Black, Rye and Belgian.

“I wanted it to be black in color but not roasty, for the rye and Belgian character to really be background notes and I wanted to make sure there was a good malt backbone to it as well,” he said.

“With so much going on I didn't want to overshadow the hops, but I think it really melded together quite well.”

The Grand Rapids resident has been homebrewing for about a year. His first two batches were pre-packaged kits. He went all grain after those and has designed all of his recipes since then. 

“I hope this shows that you don't have to have been homebrewing for years to make good beer.  Anyone who is passionate about brewing and takes the time to learn about the art and science of the craft can apply what they learn and brew beer they are proud to share with others,” Rodammer said.

For more about the Third Annual Bell's Homebrew Competition, go here.

CAPTION: Nick Rodammer helps brew his winning recipe at Bell's original brewery in downtown Kalamazoo.

Bell's beer event roundup: Hopslam, Smitten, firkins, tap takeovers and more

Josh Smith | Bell's Brewery

SmittenAle_Label.pngBelow is a look at our events this week in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, North Dakota, North Carolina and Minnesota.


Through Feb. 3

“I Love Beer Mini Tour:” Old Chicago in Portage - Hopslam, Two Hearted and Captain Spontaneous on draft. Bottle options are also be available.

Through Jan. 27

Downtown Kalamazoo Restaurant Week: Food Dance, Central City Tap House, Webster's Prime, Zazio's and Beer Exchange are all featuring special menus. Look for specialty pairings and draft selections as well.

Jan. 22

Bell's Tap Explosion: Old Burdick's at Wing's West in Kalamazoo at 6 p.m. - Hopslam, Sweet Potato Stout, Harvest Ale, Hell Hath No Fury, Captain Spontaneous and more

Jan. 24

Hopslam Firkin Tapping: Central City Tap House in Kalamazoo at 5 p.m.

Jan. 25

Bell's Tap Takeover: 8th Street Grille in Holland - Black Note, Bourbon Barrel Aged Batch 9,000, Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout, Hopslam, This One Goes to 11, Captain Spontaneous, Smoked Vienna Lager, Third Coast, Two Hearted, Sparkling Ale, Amber Ale, Winter White, Midwestern Pale Ale and Java Stout. BBA beers will be tapped at 8 p.m. and entertainment starts at 9 p.m.

Hopslam Tapping: Treetops Resort in Graylord at 5 p.m. - Two Hearted, Oarsman, Winter White and Best Brown will be available as well.


Jan. 22

Bacon Night: Harris Grill in Pittsburgh at 6:30 p.m. - Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout and Smitten Golden Rye Ale


Jan. 22

Bell's Barrel Aged Night: The Beer Trappe in Lexington at 4 p.m. - Bourbon Barrel Aged Batch 9,000 and Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout

Hopslam Tapping: Lexington Beer Works at 3 p.m. - Java Stout, Two Hearted, Midwestern Pale Ale, Expedition Stout, and Winter White will also be on tap.


Jan. 23

Hopslam Release Party: Deer Park Pub in Fort Wayne at 5 p.m. – giveaways and a surprise firkin

Jan. 24

Hopslam Release Party: Dicky's Wild Hare in Fort Wayne at 5 p.m.

Jan. 25

Hopslam Release Party: Flat Rock Tap in Hammond at 5 p.m.

Hopslam Release Party: Trion Tavern in New Haven from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. - Smitten Golden Rye Ale and Captain Spontaneous Ale will also be on tap.


Jan. 23

Bell's Night: World of Beer in Evanston at 3 p.m. - Smitten, Oarsman, Expedition Stout, Java Stout, Best Brown, Two Hearted, Amber and at 7 p.m. - Hopslam

Jan. 24

Hopslam Firkin Tapping: Binny’s South Loop Tasting Room in Chicago from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Reservations are required. Please call 312-768-4400.


Jan. 23

Hopslam Tapping: Old Bag of Nails, Mason at 7 p.m. - Two Hearted, Smitten and Third Coast Old Ale will be on tap too.

Jan. 26

Multi-Tap Event: Chappy's in Dayton at 1 p.m. - more than 10 Bell's beers on tap including Hopslam and Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout

Jan. 27

Bell's Night: Fries Café in Cincinnati at 5 p.m. - Hoplsam, Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout, Expedition Stout as well as our Jazz Series of beers

North Dakota

Jan. 24

Stout Night: Ho Do Lounge in Fargo at 5 p.m. - Harry Magill's Spiced Stout, Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout, Bourbon Barrel Aged Batch 9,000, Black Note, Double Cream Stout and Expedition Stout

Jan. 26

Best Brown Cask Tapping: JL Beers West in Fargo at noon

North Carolina

Jan. 26

Raleigh Rare and Vintage Beer Tasting: Tylers Restaurant in Raleigh from 3-6 p.m. (imperial tasting begins at 2 p.m.) – We will be pouring Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout.


Jan. 26

Winter Carnival Beer Dabbler: In St. Paul from 3:30-7:30 p.m. - Best Brown Ale, Smitten, Roundhouse, Bourbon Barrel Aged Batch 9,000 and Bourbon Barrel Aged Cherry Stout

Jan. 27

Hopslam Midnight Release Party: Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis

Hopslam Midnight Release Party: The Bulldog NE in Minneapolis

Hopslam Midnight Release Party: Bulldog Uptown in Minneapolis

Hopslam Midnight Release Party: Buster's on 28th in Minneapolis

Looking ahead

Join us for a Hopslam firkin tapping in Kansas City, dinner in Missouri, a tap takeover in Grand Blanc, Michigan and more. Our full calendar can be found here. And there are already quite a few events planned for February as well ...

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