Tag Archives: Bell’s Brewery

HopCast Episode 290

Episode 290: Bell’s Roundhouse IRA & Hailstorm Southside Irish Red

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Welcome to the Hop Cast, where Brad Chmielewski and Ken Hunnemeder share their love of craft beer with the world.

On episode 290 of the Hop Cast, where Brad Chmielewski and Ken Hunnemeder get into the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day with a couple Red Ales. The first can the guys open up is the South Side Irish Red, a 5.50% ABV Irish Red Ale from Hailstorm Brewing Co. Then the guys move onto the Roundhouse IRA, a 7.5% ABV Red Ale from Bell’s Brewery. It’s always nice to have a new beer from a great brewery like Bell’s but this beer is 7.5% ABV and it goes down a little too fast, so watch out!

Cheers and thanks for watching the Hop Cast!

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HopCast Episode 218

Episode 218: Bell’s Lager Of The Lakes & Midwestern Pale Ale

You better get your beer goggles on for this Hop Cast. In episode 218, Brad Chmielewski and Ken Hunnemeder open two fantastic beers from one of the staple midwest breweries, Bell’s. Bell’s Brewery has been around for 28 years and they continue to make new and fantastic beers every year. You’d be hard to find a craft beer lover that hasn’t fallen in love with Two Hearted. Over the years we’ve done a number of Bell’s beers on the Hop Cast; Christmas Ale, Kalamazoo Stout, Cherry Stout, Best Brown and 25th Anniversary Ale. Today Brad and Ken open a couple of their “newer” beers, Lager Of The Lakes & Midwestern Pale Ale. First up is Lager Of The Lakes, a 5% ABV American Pale Lager that will quench your thirst any day. Following up the Lager Of The Lakes is the 5.2% ABV Midwestern Pale Ale. This American Pale Ale is made almost exclusively from pale malt.

Truthfully, it’s hard to go wrong with a Bell’s beer and just because they aren’t the rarest or the newest kids on the block, doesn’t mean you should forget about them. They are making some fantastic beverages! Cheers, and thanks for watching the Hop Cast.

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Hop Cast – Episode 158: 5 Years Later & Bell’s 25th Anniversary Ale

In episode 158 Brad Chmielewski and Ken Hunnemeder decide to open a couple Anniversary Ales. First up is a beer they got from Lee Williams, AKA Hoptopia. It’s the Captain Lawrence 5 Years Later Ale. Brewed with five different malts and five hop varieties; this deep, dark and hoppy 10% ABV ale is meant to be enjoyed with friends. Next up, they love on the Bell’s 25th Anniversary Ale. This strong 8.50% ABV amber ale carries on the Bell’s tradition of flavorful, balanced beers. Brewed with 100% Michigan-grown barley. Both Brad and Ken would recommend opening up this bottle if you have one in the cellar, it is tasting excellent.

Thanks for watching the Hop Cast!

Having issues watching this video? Try the Quicktime (247.4 MB).

Ken & Brad’s Ten Favorite Midwest Craft Breweries

Here are Ken & Brad’s ten favorite midwest craft breweries and the towns they are in.

1. Three FloydsMunster, Indiana
Three Floyds is located just 30 minutes outside of Chicago in Muster, Indiana. These guys love the big beers. Three Floyds knows how to really bring the hops in their beers though they may be most famous for their Russian Imperial Stout, Dark Lord that tops many lists as one of the best beers in the world. Dark Lord bottles are sold only on ‘Dark Lord Day,’ the last Saturday in April where you are sure to find Brad and Ken and several thousand other fellow beer lovers in line and having a good time. Besides being an excellent brewery, they also have a brew pub that is cranking out some seriously tasty food. Don’t think you can come to Chicago and not make a trip out to see these guys

Episodes Featuring Three Floyds – Episode 3, Episode 12, Episode 23, Episode 39, Episode 66, Episode 74, Episode 75

2. Bell’sKallamazoo, Michigan
Bell’s was the first Michigan brewery to serve beer by the glass to the public. With over 20 years of brewing, Larry Bell has built a nationwide reputation with Bell’s Brewery. They played and are still playing a significant role in changing the craft beer landscape of the nation. They continue to produce a large variety of excellent beer and that’s why they are one out our favorites.

Episodes Featuring Bell’s – Episode 3, Episode 37, Episode 65, Episode 71

3. Founders BreweryGrand Rapids, Michigan
Founders Brewing is talked about constantly in the craft beer community for so many great beers and they just keep coming out with more. More flavor, bigger body, huge aromatics and increased complexity is the goal of Founders and they bring it to you. They continue to push the envelope and that’s what makes them great. Both Ken and Brad are excited to see what they have coming out in the years to come.

4. Boulevard BrewingKansas City, Missouri
Boulevard Brewing is one of the few breweries that Ken and Brad haven’t visited in the midwest. They are a fairly large brewery and also have a rather large distribution area but unfortunately you can’t find their beers in Chicago. Outside of the quality year-round brews they offer, its what they’ve been doing with their Smokestack Series releases that has really made us drink up and take notice.

Episodes Featuring Boulevard Brewing – Episode 15, Episode 56

5. New Glarus Brewing CompanyNew Glarus, Wisconsin
Just on the outskirts of the small “Swisstown” New Glarus, Wisconsin is where you will find the New Glarus Brewing Company. They are perhaps the biggest of the Wisconsin craft breweries and it’s hard to find a bar in Wisconsin that doesn’t have New Glarus beer on tap. They don’t distribute outside of Wisconsin so if you live outside of the state then a road trip is in order! Luckily Ken drives to Wisconsin often enough and brings back beers to share with fellow beer lovers in Chicagoland. As well as excellent year-round offerings, what these guys are doing with fruit is incredible! It will make the ladies and the gents in your life extra happy. Just.. wow!

Episode Featuring New Glarus Brewing Company – Episode 56

6. Jolly Pumpkin Dexter, Michigan
Jolly Pumpkin has a little something different going on there and their beers are not for everyone. Focusing on traditional rustic country style beers they use open fermentation, oak barrel aging, and bottle conditioning. Many of you know that Brad isn’t a huge fan of the sour beers but Jolly Pumpkin is slowly helping him to learn to appreciate that style and the Hop Cast really respects the quality product that Jolly Pumpkin creates.

Episodes Featuring Jolly Pumpkin – Episode 4, Episode 57, Episode 70

7. Surly BrewingBrooklyn Center, Minnesota
If you’re visiting Minnesota and love beer it’s likely you have heard of what Surly Brewing is producing. You’ll find most of their beers in 16 oz cans at local liquor stores throughout the Twin Cities and beyond. If you are willing to brave the weather in Minnesota in October and stand in line early then you get a rare, magnificent taste of their much lauded once a year release, Russian Imperial Stout; they call Darkness.

Episodes Featuring Surly Brewing – Episode 20, Episode 62, Episode 69

8. Goose IslandChicago, Illinois
Goose Island and Chicago sort of go hand and hand. They are widely distributed throughout the majority of states and many people know about their bottled beers including the much loved and praised, Bourbon County Stout. But a trip to Chicago wouldn’t be complete without seeing what else Goose Island has to offer. At the Goose Island Clybourn brewpub you’ll find about 10 beers that are not in bottles and exclusively only available there. They are constantly rotating in new offerings so make sure you stop on by and see what they have on tap.

Episodes Featuring Goose Island – Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 47, Episode 65, Episode 77

9. Two BrothersWarrenville, Illinois
Head directly west of Chicago to Warrenville and check out Two Brothers and their brew pub. Since Warrenville is Brad’s birthplace, Two Brothers holds a special spot in his heart. Two Brothers beers are solid and although with the exception of Hop Juice, many of their beers may not completely blow away the craft beer lover. They are go-to beers; the kind of beers that you can also give to your average beer friends (if you have any) and they are still going to enjoy them. When you need a good, solid beer that isn’t too experimental then a Two Brothers is a dependable choice.

Episode Featuring Two Brothers – Episode 11

10. KuhnhennWarren, Michigan
Kuhnhenn Brewing Company is your typical hardware store turned microbrewery story… ok there’s nothing typical about Kuhnhenn. Run by brothers Bret and Eric Kuhnhenn in the small town of Warren, Michigan these brothers have the craft beer community talking. You can find their beers in 12 oz and 22 oz bottles. And if you see them, pick them up because they are pretty amazing. A couple favorites are the Simcoe Silly, Creme Brulee Java Stout & the Solar Eclipse.

Honorable Mention
With so many great top notch breweries in the midwest it was hard to just pick 10. There were a few that almost made the list and we just wanted to give them props for what they are doing.
Half AcreChicago, IL
Metropolitan BrewingChicago, IL
Dark Horse BrewingMarshall, Michigan
Futhermoore BeerSpring Green, Wisconsin

Hop Cast – Episode 71

Episode 71 of the Hop Cast is here just in time for the holidays. Ken Hunnemeder and Brad Chmielewski snuggle up in front of the fire to share a couple fine Christmas ales  The first beer the two of them crack open is the Bell’s Christmas Ale. This Christmas ale falls under the style of scottish ale and comes in at 5.4% ABV. A solid beer but besides the label you’re not going to find any spices or anything reminding you of Christmas in this beer. Attempting to get more in the Christmas spirit, Ken and Brad go with the Frosted Frog Christmas Ale from Hoppin’ Frog Brewery . This is a beer both Ken and Brad have been hearing a lot about this season so they were very excited to be able to try it. And it didn’t disappoint, with an ABV of 8.6% it packs a bit of a punch and tastes like fresh out of the oven gingerbread. This beer has Christmas all over it and should get you in the holiday spirit.  If you’re looking for something to go along with your Great Lakes Christmas Ale then this would be a perfect partner. It’s sweet and packs a lot of spice. Happy Holidays from the Hop Cast.

Having issues watching this video? Try the Quicktime (201.4 MB).

Hop Cast – Episode 65

Any meal is great with a well paired beer or wine but since the holidays are here Ken Hunnemeder and Brad Chmielewski take a look at turkey and Thanksgiving. Food and beer is a combination that can make your mouth sing for joy and that is exactly what Ken and Brad hope to achieve in episode 65. On the plate they have a meal prepared by Ken, it featured turkey and a Surly Brewing Bender acorn squash. To go along with this meal Ken and Brad look at two different beers. Both of these beers are pretty easily available in the midwest and might just be what your looking for to pair with this years Thanksgiving meal. The first beer is the Best Brown Ale from Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo Michigan. The Best Brown is a seasonal release and is available from October through March. After the Best Brown, they move onto the Pere Jacques from Goose Island. The Pere Jacques is a Belgian Style Abbey Ale coming in at 8%. Both these beers went well with the meal Ken prepared. Depending on how you prepare your turkey these beers may or may not work as well but I’m sure you will be able to find something to pair with this years feast. Let us know what you ended up pairing with this years meal and how it worked out.

Ken Hunnemeder and Brad Chmielewski would like to wish everyone who watches the Hop Cast a happy and safe Thanksgiving! Cheers!

Download the Podcast (155.1 MB).

Hop Cast – Episode 37

Ken Hunnemeder and Brad Chmielewski serve up episode 37 of the Hop Cast with special guest Shannon DeWolfe. The three of them take another look at cherry beers. The first beer is the Lips of Faith Dark Kriek from New Belgium. The Lips of Faith, is a lambic coming in at 8.0%. They follow that up with the Cherry Stout from Bell’s Brewery. The Bell’s Cherry Stout comes in a tad higher at 8.50% ABV.

Download the Podcast (177.3 MB).