Hop Notes: Bell's celebrates 30 years with anniversary brew, more

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By: Eric Strader
ericstrader69@gmail.com

Photo supplied/Jonathan Graber

Events like these are exactly why Michiana is a great place for craft beer enthusiasts.  

Bell’s Brewery marked its 30th anniversary this year with the release of an Anniversary imperial stout (11 percent ABV). This beer, along with nine other Bell’s beers, were offered at the Chubby Trout on Thursday, Nov. 12, as part of this traveling anniversary party. The full selection ranged from not so hard to find favorites like Two Hearted (IPA, 7 percent ABV), Amber Ale (5.8 percent ABV), Oarsman (4 percent ABV) and Lager of the Lakes (5 percent ABV), to seasonals and specialty releases such as Winter White (5 percent ABV) and Double Cream Stout (6.1 percent ABV), to draft-only releases Imperial Red Ale (10.7 percent ABV) and Le Pianiste (5.8 percent ABV), with a rare keg of Cherry Third Coast Old Ale (11.7 percent ABV), which doesn’t make it outside of the brewery very often.

I didn’t make it out to the event, but I was told by Indiana Beverage representative Dan Szucs the event was well attended. The following week after the event, however, several of the beers were still on tap, including one of my favorites, Cherry Third Coast Old Ale (11.6 percent ABV). This is Bell’s infamous barleywine brewed with cherries from Traverse City, Mich. I have only had this enjoyment once before at Bell’s Eccentric Day. The Chubby Trout features 20 taps (almost all craft beer) and quite often hosts tap takeovers and other special beer release events.

Bell’s also celebrated its anniversary with a huge festival, billed as Bell’s 30th Anniversary Funvitational complete with 60 different breweries pouring their own beer, a Ferris wheel, Bell’s marching band, local food, live entertainment and one of the greatest fireworks displays that I’ve witnessed.  

This event was at Homer Stryker Baseball Field in early September and I was one of the few thousand Bell’s fans that attended in celebration. In addition to more than 30 beers that were poured at the Bell’s tent at the event, many out-of-distribution beers were available such as Cigar City Invasion Pale Ale (5 percent ABV), Crooked Stave Hop Savant (6.7 percent ABV), Firestone Walker Easy Jack (4.5 percent ABV), Jackie O’s Dark Apparition (10.5 percent ABV), Perennial Ales Abraxas (10 percent ABV), Russian River Pliny the Elder (8 percent ABV) and Magic Rock Bearded Lady (10.5 percent ABV) all the way from Huddersfield, England, just to name a few.

Bottles of Bell’s 30th Anniversary Stout are still available at select bottle shops throughout Michiana.

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