The vote for Beer City USA started today. This is the first year that Kalamazoo Michigan has been on the ballot. Part of the kick off for this years vote, Bell’s Brewing opened their doors at the Eccentric Cafe to host a kick off party.
When Larry Bell first opened his doors back in 1985, I would imagine coming to this point in history was the furthest thing in his mind. At that point in history, craft beer wasn’t even a term that came up in conversation anywhere. Pioneers like Mr. Bell were more concerned with making a quality product that was something a little different than the mainstream.
It Seems only fitting to finally reach this point. The snowball that Mr. Bell started rolling has grown. Sure Kalamazoo may not have the numbers of breweries that other communities may have. But what the city does have is a strong sense of pride in the community of beer lovers it has fostered.
When most people think of Kalamazoo and beer together, their minds immediately go to Bell’s. It is easy to get lost in that shadow to an outsider. The brewery has grown to staggering proportions from what the original brewery was. Most people miss the new breweries coming in, the mainstays that have been here for quite a few years now, or the beer bars that can easily go up against any bar in the country.
You see the victory this year, is not whether or not Kalamazoo wins the title. Don’t get me wrong, that would be an amazing victory indeed. The victory is already happening. Little Kalamazoo that many have even wondered if it exists, is on the front lines, kickin butt and takin names, showing the world that they have as much to offer and more than any other city in the USA.
So tonight we toast to the community pride of Kalamazoo. Whether you live here in person or live here in your heart, there is no where else quite like Kalamazoo.
Time for a pint…