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Beer Reviews

Amber Ale

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Bell’s Brewery, Inc.
Galesburg, MI

Style: Amber Ale
ABV: 6.0%

Jill’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Outstanding within its style.)

Sometimes I get the impression that people consider Larry Bell to be the Oprah Winfrey of the craft beer world. If Oprah says read a book, people make it a bestseller. If Larry Bell makes a beer, people go gaga drinking it. I wonder what Oprah’s show would be like if Larry Bell was a guest. I can hear Oprah introducing Larry and shouting out, “LLLaaaaRRRRYYYYY BeeeeEEEElllLLLL!” And the audience, packed with beer geeks, would go crazy, shrieking like little girls over seeing their hero.

Even though I like Oprah well enough—I’m an American woman; how can you not?—I try not to subscribe to the philosophy that everything she says and recommends is the end-all, be-all of life. I feel the same way about Bell’s. They’re good, but I don’t feel the need to talk in hushed, reverent tones when I mention Larry Bell’s name.

That’s why I’ve put off drinking Bell’s Amber Ale. Eh, it’s a beer, I thought. It’s an Amber, which is still a shade more bitter than I like. I didn’t want to totally hate it and go on an anti-Bells jag, so I waited until I was good and ready to give it an objective review.

And you know what? It’s a damn solid beer. It pours out a nice clear copper and gives a huge head with some nice lacing. The nose is crisp and sweet. Initially, it’s got a smooth flavor that gives way to the bitterness. This flavor kind of bursts open in your mouth so that you really get a nice sensation all the way through the taste. As the beer warms up, it mellows just a bit, but it’s still pretty flavorful.

As the “flagship of the Bells’ family,” this amber is a solid, everyday drinking kind of beer. It’s got a good amount of quality behind it, and you can enjoy it everyday without getting bored. I wasn’t totally wowed, but it was really quite good.

OK, so maybe people know what they’re talking about when they wax poetic about Larry Bell. I’ll keep giving him a chance. But before I delve into his other beers, I need to get to the bookstore. Maybe’s Oprah’s onto something with this book club of hers too.

Reviewed by Jill Jaracz on January 27, 2009.
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