I personally have a special connection with this beer, actually any beer that comes out of the Zoo. For all the out of state readers, the “Zoo” is mitten talk for the City of Kalamazoo located on the west side of the state. This is not only home of this beer but also my alma mater Western Michigan University. While pursuing my degress I worked for the WMU office for sustainability which partnered with Bell’s Brewery on some zero waste initiatives. This of course led to a brewery tour! Bell’s Brewery is a big supporter of sustainable business practices. Sustainable business practices are gaining momentum. This means a business strives to have the least amount of impact as possible on the environment.
Since Bell’s moved its main brewery from Downtown Kalamazoo in 2003 to Comstock just a hop and a skip from Kalamazoo (20 minutes top), they have had 7 expansions to allow with the growth of their production. Another expansion is in the works. Bell’s currently has twelve 800 barrel fermenters. To be able to create that much beer you need to have what is called wort. Wort is what you get when you mix hot water with your grain and wheat. Bell’s daily brings 8,000 gallons of water to near boiling 8 times a day 5 days a week. That is a lot of energy, so the solution was to create a geothermal field which pulls heat from the core of the earth to help with the boiling. It also doesn’t stop that there, when water is heated it produces steam, Bells then has a hydro-thermal capturing tank that they are then able to use the steam from the boiling water for other uses around the Brewery. Going through so much water the Brewery decided to build its own water treatment plant. This was developed because the city water treatment plant was unable to treat such a large amount of water. Bell’s is a company that has tried to not only create delicious beers but also have a positive impact on the community, the environment and its employees. Before we go diving into our recent addition to our draft handles here is a final interesting fact. Bells bottle labels are designed by local Kalamazoo artists.
Bell’s Winter White is a lighter example of Belgian-Style white ale. The Winter White ale was fermented using Belgian ale yeast. This type of yeast will bring a spicier and phenolic taste to your pallet but this beer is an exception. The Winter White’s use of malt brings forth a somewhat fruity aroma all without the use of any spices in the brewing process. Though this process the beers purposed cloudy body may trick you into thinking that this is traditional winter ale. The minute you try it you will be very surprised. Typical first impressions are that the Winter White brings forth some summer memories with its light and fruity stature. Your first thoughts could be that you are drinking a winter beer made for California and not brewed on the west side of the mitten. I have found that people often associate winter beers with dark in color, heavy sitting style beers. This Winter White will change that association.
With the change let’s talk food pairings. Winter white would best accompany a spicier meat. I would recommend any of our yak, buffalo, or ground round burgers with a pepper jack cheese or a spicy mustard sauce. If a salad is something you are looking for this would wash down well with our Champ’s Cobb salad.