Bell's hosts choose-your-own-adventure race for Kalamazoo Beer Week

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By: Eric Strader
ericstrader69@gmail.com

Eric Strader

With more than 200 events during the eight-day Kalamazoo Beer Week, it’s hard to pick and choose which events to attend.

Bell’s Brewery hosts or sponsors several events, including the popular Snow Jog Adventure (Leisure) Race and Challenge on Saturday, Jan. 10. This is an excellent event for those of you who enjoy beer and adventurous activities. Unfortunately, because of the popularity of this event, all 200 spots have been filled for this year.

There are not many rules for the Snow Jog other than you must have a team of two people, 21 or older, register and pay the $30 fee; bring at least two canned goods (this is a benefit event for Loaves and Fishes); and you must navigate the whole course on foot (no wheels or motorized vehicles allowed) and obey all normal traffic laws.

According to Carly Buzz, events coordinator at Bell’s Brewery, this is a choose-your-own-adventure style “race” in which participants run or leisurely stroll around 3 miles of downtown Kalamazoo.

The event lasts approximately 3½ hours and is actually not a race; there are no prizes for first, second, third or last place. After checking in, each team receives a map and passport to navigate the course, and at each checkpoint, participants are presented with a challenge. If you complete the challenge successfully (or at least give it a solid effort) the snow judge will stamp your passport.

And of course, beer will make the challenge just that much more fun. All checkpoints will feature at least one round of seasonal Bell’s beer and at least one specialty beer. Before the race, participants receive a detailed list of which beers will be at which checkpoints, so  you may choose your route according to your favorite Bell’s beers. More competitive teams might choose the shortest route between checkpoints to complete the whole event in a timely manner.

Those who finish the event with six punches on their passports will receive a fabulous Snow Jog prize, and those with nine punches will be entered into a raffle for a chance to win even more prizes.

Costumes are encouraged (but not required) and there is a contest. Bonus points will be awarded for wearing past years’ Snow Jog swag. Attempted bribery of the judges is welcome.

Throughout Beer Week, Bell’s will host, sponsor or somehow be connected with about 20 events. Most of these will take place at its downtown Eccentric Cafe location; however, there is a special Grain to Glass tour at the Comstock plant. This tour on Monday, Jan. 12, will offer an in-depth look at all of the ingredients and processes involved in brewing. If interested you can register for the tour here. 

Another Bell’s event not to miss is the meat, cheese and rare beer night Tuesday, Jan. 13. This is the event that Bell’s General Store manager David Curtis is most looking forward to. I was lucky enough to attend last year’s event with Jesse Sensenig of Goshen Brewing Co. Although this year’s menu has not been released yet, last year featured several of my favorites, including Bourbon Barrel Dagger Stout (imperial stout, 11.2 percent ABV), Chocolate Covered Cherry Double Cream Stout (6.9 percent ABV), Toasted Coconut Third Coast Old Ale (11.1 percent ABV), Breakfast Blend Double Cream Stout (6.9 percent ABV), Le Bretteur (wild ale, 6.3 percent ABV), and 2009 Expedition Stout (Russian Imperial Stout, 10.5 percent ABV). All of these beers get rare appearances at the Eccentric Cafe, and I’m sure that this year’s event will be no different.

To view all Bell’s Brewery events during Kalamazoo Beer Week, visit the events page of their website.

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