Hey there – I’m Maggie. I’ll be interrupting your regularly scheduled content with a Kalamazoo Brewery TAKEOVER! You may already know that Dev is my mother, and if you didn’t, you do now! She thought it would be best since I live in Kalamazoo, that I drop in and write a few words about what this awesome town has to offer for her Michigan Brewery Series! Right this way folks, I’ll show you what it’s all about.
Kalamazoo is a total hot spot for beer loving peeps, with most of them being very close to one another. The Kalamazoo area has 14 breweries in total, and of those 14 I’ll just be focusing in on my top 3 (and a couple of bonus spots). My favorites would have to be Bell’s, One Well, and Latitude 42. I love all of these spots because they of course have awesome beer, but also because they’re great places to hang out on the weekend and just relax! Let’s get started, shall we?
Bell’s. You’ve probably already heard of this Kalamazoo hot spot, birth place to the ultimate summer beer, Oberon! But if you haven’t, here’s what you need to know. Like most breweries, Bell’s maintains a list of year round standby’s – the stuff you know you love, and can always get. This category is home to the classic Two Hearted Ale, a hoppy IPA. They also have rotating seasonal options, such as the famous Oberon, or Winter White, that usually last for, well, a season! Then they have specialty beers, which are essentially seasonal options that don’t last quite as long. Beer’s like Octoberfest or, my personal favorite, Sparkleberry, fit into this category, averaging only about a month on the menu before they sell out the batch. If you’re not a beer lover, they have meads and ciders on the menu as well as a few wine options. You can grab a beer and head out to the beer garden, or get a table in the dining room to enjoy a meal with your beer – the choice is yours, either way, it’s a good one!
One Well Brewing. This is easily my favorite brewery to just hang out at in Kalamazoo. This spot isn’t in the heart of downtown, it’s closer to the Portage area, and right off of the highway for those of you wanting to come check it out. Here’s what you should know about One Well. When you come in you’ll discover right away the appeal to this place, open seating, walls lined with pinball machines and board games, mugs for mug club members hanging from the ceiling. This is THE spot. Have a seat, grab a game, and head up to the bar to order a beer, or some grub. On the beer menu you’ll find a handful of tasty mainstay options that you can enjoy time and time again, as well as some delicious rotating selections. They always have something new and exciting on the menu to try out! My favorite? State of Bean. A coffee forward beer, that you can see through! That’s right, it’s a blonde! I’ve always loved a good coffee beer, but can’t stand the heavy-ness, and this totally hits the spot! Naturally, this one rotates, so it forces me to try other options when it’s not available. If you’re all for coffee beers but enjoy having it in a porter, try the Sweet Water Street – which is a blend of a local donut shop and coffee shop, creating a true Kalamazoo beer! Love jalapeno flavor without the heat? Xalapa is totally made for you. Looking for simplicity? I would totally go for the Opener, a nice blonde with some hopps, or Simcoerillo, a staple IPA. No matter what you order, you really can’t go wrong at One Well!
Latitude 42 Brewing Company. Now with 2 locations, Latitude 42 is a great spot to chill with a beer. Neither location is in downtown Kalamazoo, but that’s okay because I promise you it’s worth the (roughly 10 minute) drive. You come for the beer, and stay for the environment, especially in the summer time. Dev’s pick at Latitude 42 is most definitely Nectar of the Goddess, a summer seasonal with all of the yummy flavor of blood orange. I’m a big fan of the Michigan Honey Amber, that tastes exactly as it sounds. The food is great too, with a huge menu with options for everyone! A great stop while enjoying a brew tour in Kalamazoo.
Want to enjoy some of Kalamazoo’s finest breweries but don’t have a designated driver? Fear not! Kalamazoo Brew Bus takes you to a bunch of local breweries and pubs that serve local beers, like Arcadia Brewing Company, Bells, The Boatyard Brewing Company, Gonzo’s Biggdogg Brewing, and Rupert’s Brew House. PLUS the added bonus of a fun spot, Green Door Distilling Co, where you can try out all kinds of artisan cocktails featuring house made spirits! The bus runs from 5-12 every Thursday-Saturday, and gives you the peace of mind to enjoy all of these awesome places without having to drive!
Love local beer but want to stay in one spot for the evening, don’t worry, we have something for you too! The Kalamazoo Beer Exchange has a wonderful blend of all of your favorite Michigan beer’s, as well as some favorite domestics on tap! You’ve probably never been to a place quite like the Beer Exchange, with a board of beer’s set up like the stock market, prices changing regularly, with hopes that at some point during your evening the market will crash and everything on the board will be SUPER CHEAP! Kalamazoo Beer Exchange keeps 28 beers on tap at all times, and has a decent selection of bottles if that’s more your jam. Prefer a cocktail? They’ve got you covered with a full bar available! Not to mention a food menu packed with some super tasty dishes to try out! Between the options that they have available, and the fun environment, Kalamazoo Beer Exchange is a must go stop while you’re in “The Zoo”.
As I mentioned at the beginning, Kalamazoo has 14 breweries in the area worth stopping at. Think you want to try them all? Make sure to grab a Craft Beer Trail Passport, so that you can collect stamps at all of the places you get to. If you get a stamp from all of the locations in the passport, you can collect a prize at Discover Kalamazoo! Free stuff, and beer? Sounds like a good day to me.
I hope you all enjoyed my Kalamazoo Brewery Takeover! Now back to your regularly scheduled content.