Hot glass, a tour, and lunch

We went into Kalamazoo earlier today to check out a couple interesting tidbits.  The first was the Battle of the Glass blowers at West Michigan Glass Arts.  We made it in time to see the end of the timed goblet battle.  It was amazing to see the glass blowers make a goblet in under 3 minutes.  Amazingly, the one who took third place had the best time at 2min 30 secs on his second attempt (the glass broke on attempt number 1). 

Here are some pics:

 These were just some of the glasses they had on display of the work that gets done here. 

These ovens hit roughly 2500 degrees. 

From the Glass Art center we made it over to Bell’s Eccentric Cafe for a tour of the pilot brewery for Bell’s Brewing Co.  Some interesting tidbits from the tour included a little talk about the expansion for the main production brewery.  At the production brewery they are jumping from a 50 barrel brewhouse to a 200 barrel, pretty big leap. 

 Part of the beer garden (though it wasn’t open yet when we were there).

 This is their 15 barrel pilot system.  They do most of their experimental and small batch work here.

 In their cellar they hold both cylindro conical fermenters as well as barrels for barrel aged sour beers. These particular barrels always have beer in them, at various stages of sour. When needed they blend to get the flavor profiles they seek.

 In their stainless steel fermenters they are able to do both lagers and ales due to the glycol cooling jackets. 

After the tour we ended up at Kalamazoo Beer Exchange for lunch and a beer.  I have been wanting to check them out for some time so we took the plunge.  It was great for a place where you want to just sit down and have a decent burger and a beer without too much fuss.  The menu was fairly straight forward and the burgers were huge (1/2 pounders) and tasty with fresh cut fries. 

I had a the Tripel from Saugatuck Brewing Co. Very drinkable with good Belgian yeast character.  My wife had Railyard Raspberry Wheat from Mt. Pleasant Brewing Co.  This was another good one.  The raspberry notes came to the front with a nice wheat malt note in the follow through. 

Now time for a pint…

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