Laura Bell is the Marketing Director for Kalamazoo’s very own Bell’s Brewery (and yes, her last name is Bell, as in Larry’s daughter, she is Beer Royalty).
My history with beer begins about two months after I was born in the summer of 1985. My Father, Larry Bell opened Bell’s in September of 1985 and I’ve grown up around a brewery ever since. One of my favorite beer memories from childhood was when my brother and I would go help my Dad pick hops on various farms in Michigan. We’d spend a late summer afternoon cutting down hop vines that would be later used for brewing different Bell’s beers. After we returned home from the farm, the brewing staff would come over to our house and spend the evening (and I’m sure well into the night) picking hops off the vine. The next morning, I would open the door to our garage and find hops drying on large screens and the scent of freshly picked hops was so pungent and wonderful. I often associate aromas on some of our beers with that particular memory.
Now, as an adult and working for the brewery I have had some incredible beer experiences and continue to fall in love with beer and our industry a little more every day. One of my favorite things to do is to tour other breweries. While we are all making beer, the amount of creativity not only in flavors but in the processes by which beer is created is outstanding. I feel fortunate to be a part of an industry that is creating such cutting edge products and processes and challenging the beer status quo in the Country.
[of her favorite style of beer] This is too hard. I really enjoy a wide variety of styles, especially as my beer cravings change seasonally. So, this winter, I’m looking forward to drinking porters, sours, and am going to force myself to try to get into barleywines (my least favorite style). If it doesn’t happen this winter for me and barleywines, I’m afraid it never will.
[of her favorite breweries] This is also a hard one as there is so much awesome beer being brewed in the country (especially Michigan). Because I am having a hard time picking, here are some beers I’ve enjoyed for the first time this year that are not brewed in our fine state. Lagunitas’ A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale, Green Flash Silva Stout, Crooked Stave’s Pure Guava Petite Sour, and Dry Dock’s Hefewiezen.