Kalamazoo, Michigan’s Bell’s Brewery has never been one to steer clear of esoteric concepts, when it comes to conceptualizing and theming their beers. A few years ago, the brewery put out a series of brews inspired by and revolving around Gustav Holt’s orchestral suite The Planets. Now, the brewery is making a detour into a field that one might consider even more niche—American poetry.
The brewery announced this week that it would release a series of seven beers between now and the summer of 2020 in tribute to American icon Walt Whitman, and his famous poetry collection Leaves of Grass. The original Leaves of Grass was published as a mere booklet of a dozen poems in 1855, before being revised throughout Whitman’s lifetime, finally containing more than 400 poems when published as “The Deathbed” edition in 1892. Each Bell’s beer, meanwhile, will take the name of one poem as its title.
The first arrives in the immediate future—Song of Myself IPA, which Bell’s describes as “a German-inspired American IPA.” What does this mean, exactly? It’s hard to say. It could be an American-hopped IPA using some sort of German ale (or even lager) yeast strain, or it could be an American-style IPA brewed with next-generation German hops, some of which have come to resemble their fruitier, juicier American cousins. We’ll find out soon, as the beer will reportedly hit shelves in May.
“Over the years, we’ve drawn inspiration from a variety of different sources from music to literature to the Great Lakes,” said Larry Bell, president and founder of Bell’s. “This series is just the latest example of how the arts have inspired us to create new and innovative recipes.”
The following entries in the series will arrive on these dates, although only the next entry (July, 2019) has been revealed in terms of style.
The Prairie-Grass Dividing (July) – Gose-Style Ale Brewed with Plum, Salt & Coriander
Oh, Captain! My Captain! (September)- TBA
To a Locomotive in Winter (November) – TBA
Song of the Open Road (January 2020) – TBA
Salut Au Monde! (March 2020) – TBA
Spontaneous Me (May 2020) – TBA
Each beer will appear in 12 oz bottles, available in limited quantities. It goes without saying that if you’re an American poetry buff and a craft beer geek, you’ll want to snap these up before they’re gone.