Â Bell's is one of those awesome breweries which we are lucky to have here in the US. Their quality is right up there with Dogfish Head, Deschutes, and even Sierra Nevada.Â Sadly, it isn't available in my great state of New Jersey, so whenever I am out of state and see something from Bell's it is the first thing I buy. Everything I have ever had from them has been liquid gold. I'm sure some of you could agree Two Hearted Ale is one of the best IPA's, and that their other brews don't fall far behind. Recently I had the pleasure of having a couple of beers from Bell's that I had never came across in my travels. Two seasonally brewed beers: their fall Octoberfest and Java Stout for the winter.
Bell's Octoberfest was really delicious. I don't think I had an Oktoberfest brew the whole fall, since I was searching for those out of the box pumpkin beers I love so much. Needless to say I was eager to have one and this more than satisfied the craving. The orange and yellow leaf wrapping the bottle makes for very inviting aesthetic.
I was never really fond of Marzen beers; call it sacrilegious but the Oktoberfest style never really agreed with my palate. I think Bell's may have changed that with this brew. Notes of sweet caramel and bready malts fill the nose. When you take that first sip you find the beer is not as sweet as the nose leads to believe - it's a rather light sweetness with a touch of hops. Truly, this is a well balanced beer that has put faith back into trying more of the marzen style next year.
Java Stout is Bell's winter seasonal that they brew with freshly roasted coffee beans from localÂ Water Street Coffee JointÂ in Kalamazoo Michigan. Having such a great track record with Bell's and loving stouts I didn't hesitate to pick one of these brews out of the cold box when making a six pack at the local bottle shop in Pittsburgh. I should have gotten two.
The fresh roasted coffee beans are most certainly the star of this brew. They are with you from beginning to end and never too overwhelming, as there are notes of vanilla to balance out that coffee bitterness. Roasty, sweet, and delicious, Java Stout was the perfect companion that night. I wish I had more. Once again Bell's has impressed me with these two brews - perhaps we will see some Bell's beer in NJ at some point in the future.