Know any beer fans from Kalamazoo? This news is going to make their day: Bell’s Brewery is coming to Los Angeles. Last year, the Michigan brewery opened distribution to California for the first time, but only in San Diego. Now favorite brews like Two Hearted IPA and Oberon are available in Los Angeles.
No longer will the brewery’s legion of devotees have to wrap bottles in clothes to pack in their luggage when traveling, or turn to Internet beer trades or premium-priced gray-market shops for a fix of their favorite Bell’s brews. Normally, a craft brewery starting to distribute to Los Angeles is less than newsworthy, but Bell’s is a whole different story. The brewery, which turns 30 years old this year, is not only one of the largest craft brewery in the country but also one of the best-regarded.
FOR THE RECORD
Feb. 24, 7:48 a.m.: An earlier version of this article stated that Bell's Brewery has been open 20 years. It has been open 30 years.
Here’s what you need to know about Bell’s arrival in Los Angeles:
Starting Monday, all of Bell’s regular production brews will be available in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. Many seasonal and specialty releases will also be sent to L.A. during their regular release schedules, except for summertime favorite Oberon. Lucky Los Angeles gets the refreshing wheat beer all year long.
If you aren't familiar with Bell’s beer, there are a few standouts that you should be eager to try. Perhaps their most well-known and most lauded brew is Two Hearted Ale. This brilliantly balanced beer is worlds different from the West Coast-style IPAs that are brewed throughout California. The rounder, more malt-accentuated “East Coast IPA” still has a pungent hop character and a moderate alcohol content (7% by volume) common to IPAs, but there’s more depth and body behind that hop character. It is, without hyperbole, one of the best beers in the world.
The aforementioned Oberon is a briskly hoppy and drinkable wheat beer that will be a perfect match for L.A.’s climate, and Oarsman is another brew that seems tailor-made for Southern California. The latter is a Berliner weisse-style tart wheat ale that's extremely refreshing and light. And those just scratch the surface of the 20 brews that Bell’s offers.
Celebrate the coming of Bell’s Brewery to Los Angeles at one of the dozens of launch events happening from Ventura to Orange County the last week in February, including: Blue Palms, The Surly Goat and Sunset Beer Co. on Monday; Timmy Nolans, Beachwood Brewing and City Tavern on Tuesday; Newhall Refinery, The Greyhound and Select Beer Store on Wednesday; and the Federal Bar and Naja’s Place on Thursday.