Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

Kalamazoo Hop Soulution Ale

Bell’s Brewery, Inc.
Galesburg, MI

Style: India Pale Ale (IPA)

Eddie’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Recommended)

“The solution of every problem is another problem.”

That’s a little quote from a German dude named Goethe (it’s pronounced GERT-uh, go figure). I think he was a writer or something. Anyway, Gertie’s quote is nice and all, but he’s completely wrong. The solution to every problem—and I mean every problem—is beer. Being German, he should’ve known that. Just look at last year’s dilly of a pickle when Larry Bell had to pull his brews out of Illinois. The solution (at least one of them) to that snafu is Kalamazoo Hop Soulution (yeah, that’s how it’s spelled), one of Bell’s Brewing’s Illinois-only releases.

The pour is a burnished gold. The head is fine-bubbled, firm, and just barely off white. The aroma is a mix of spicy and citrusy hops, with no one brand dominating, followed by notes of breadiness, possibly from the yeast, possibly from the malt. The taste is heavy (maybe Munich?) malt right from the start, and plays through the entire sip. Clean, mostly featureless bitterness rides up the sides of the tongue to compliment but not overwhelm the malt. The hops recede into the background as the malt rises again to prominence in the finish.

A few folks have been wondering if the Kalamazoo brews (Amber, Wheat, and Hop Soulution) are just relabeled versions of Bell’s Amber, Oberon, and Two Hearted, respectively. Although I have not yet tasted them side-by-side with their counterparts, I can say with absolute certainty that they are not the same beers. This brew proves it beyond a reasonable doubt. Although a decent, drinkable IPA, it’s nowhere near the quality of Two Hearted, and despite its name, there isn’t a lot of soul to the brew. Recommended, but unenthusiastically so.

Reviewed by Eddie Glick on June 20, 2008.
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