The fifth release in Bell's Planets series will hit Michiana soon

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By: Eric Strader
ericstrader69@gmail.com

Eric Strader/Flavor 574

Bell’s Saturn, Bringer of Old Age, is the fifth release in the brewery’s Planets series, and it also is a very big beer at 11.5 percent ABV.

This series has been inspired by Gustav Holst’s seven-movement orchestral suite, “The Planets,” and the beers are being released in order of Holst’s piece, Mars to Neptune.  

Saturn was the first beer brewed in this series and has been aging in Heaven Hill and Four Roses Bourbon barrels since July of last year.

Saturn Facts
  • Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun and the second largest in the solar system, after Jupiter.
  • With a diameter of roughly 74,900 miles, and an average radius of about nine times that of Earth, it’s orbit is 29.5 Earth years.
  • Saturn is named after the Roman god of agriculture and daytime on this planet lasts about 10.5 Earth hours.

I was lucky enough to make a mug delivery to Bell’s Brewery last weekend when it was released and was able to pick up some bottles.

I have checked with Indiana Beverage and we can expect to see Saturn hit the Michiana market possibly next week.

Previous releases in this series have been somewhat limited with varying purchase limits. I have seen Jupiter still on the shelves of some Michiana bottle shops, and in some places with a three bottle limit.

Saturn had a one-case limit per customer at the brewery, but you can bet that it won’t be that plentiful down here.

Tasting notes from the brewery are as follows: ”The fifth release in the Bell’s Planets Series is strong, robust and complex. Saturn is a bourbon barrel aged barleywine loaded with notes of toffee, caramel, oak and vanilla that finishes with a warming touch.”  

I have seen a wide range of reviews, but most have been very positive.

I would rank this beer as far as aging capabilities right along my other Bell’s cellaring favorites: Third Coast Old Ale (barleywine, 10.2 percent ABV), Expedition Stout (imperial stout, 10.5 percent ABV, and Black Note (bourbon barrel aged imperial stout, 11.5 percent ABV).  

Mars (double IPA, 10.1 percent ABV) has been my favorite in the series so far, but Saturn has been the most anticipated for me, being a bourbon barrel aged barleywine. I will definitely enjoy one fresh in the next few days, but the rest will be put away in the cellar to do some good aging.

While I was at the brewery, I got a sneak peek at the new kitchen and dining room construction which will be more than 6,600 sq. ft of renovated warehouse between the existing Eccentric Cafe and General Store.  

“Our goal is to match and even enhance the high quality beer that is already being served with high quality food and service,” said Jason Reicherts, director of retail at Bell’s. “We will be focusing on both the front and back house experience and with our Inspired Hospitality program, service will be a huge focus.”

The new menu will be a collaboration between kitchen management and the eccentric mind of Bell’s president and founder, Larry Bell.

While still being developed, the new menu will feature fish and chips, fresh ground burgers (more than beef), fresh and unique salads, Bell’s signature smoked meats that in the past have been available at special events, steamed mussels and eggs prepared in a variety of ways.

“We will try to source our ingredients locally whenever we can, but our focus will also be non-GMO and organic foods. Quality is the top priority, no matter where it comes from,” Jason said.

Although it is not yet finished, I got a glimpse at the beautiful and spacious gas fireplace that will feature an intricate mosaic tiled floor. The existing Eccentric Cafe kitchen will be dismantled, and the current bar will expand into that space, creating more seating.

Bells will be hosting a Hospitality Job Fair 3 to 7 p.m. April 20 and 8 a.m. to noon April 21 at the Eccentric Café, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., in downtown Kalamazoo. They will be interviewing for more than 70 positions including lead line cooks, front of house shift leaders, part-time dishwashers, dining room assistants, servers, host/hostesses and both full and part-time prep cooks. For full details go to Bell’s Blog.

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