Everyone celebrates anniversaries differently, but when you’re a beer company, anniversaries mean brewing a landmark beer. Bell’s Brewery, out of Kalamazoo, Michigan has come a long way since President and Founder Larry Bell began his journey on a 15-gallon soup pot. Thirty years later, Bell has created the 30th Anniversary Ale to celebrate that milestone. Bell describes 30th as, “a testament to three-plus decades of hard-work. It honors all that has helped us get to this point-hard work, quality and authenticity.” In a blog post on Bells’ site, Bell mentions a connection between 30th Anniversary and their Expedition Stout, which you will notice on the first sip.
This beer pours thick black, almost like motor oil, with an amber head that quickly dissipates, leaving just a small amber ring around the edge of the glass.
The aroma gives off a ton of dark chocolate, and rich roasted malts. There is definitely a little spice, or mint-like character on the nose, most likely coming from the Polaris hops that are used in this beer. There is also a bit of dark fruit on the nose.
The mouthfeel on this beer is incredible; yes it is 11% ABV, but the complexity of the flavors doesn’t allow any booziness to come through. In addition, the spices from the Polaris hops are prevalent in the taste. On the front end you get a bite of hops, followed by a huge rush of chocolate and dark fruits, ending with a bit of spice on the back end.
With 30th Anniversary, Bell does exactly what he set out to do—provide a “nod” to Bell’s Expedition Stout. Those who have had Expedition will be able to make the connection between the two, but 30th adds that additional layer of complexity. For those who have seen 30th on the shelves—pick up a few bottles. While the beer is amazing when fresh, the flavors will continue to develop as it ages over the next few years.
Brewery: Bell’s Brewery
City: Kalamazoo, MI
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 11% ABV
Availability: Limited, six pack bottles