COMSTOCK, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids is known as Beer City, USA, but it’s Kalamazoo County’s premiere brewer that is considered “iconic.”
In honor of National Beer Day, Hop Culture revealed its list of the 21 “Most Iconic American Breweries.” Bell’s Brewery was the lone Michigan company to make the list.
Bell’s was recognized for being one of the nation’s first microbrewers that is still revered around the world today.
“Over the next three-plus decades, (Larry) Bell would create some of the country’s most essential beers,” the writer said. “Like Bell’s Oberon, the beer that signifies spring and American wheat beer. Or Hopslam Ale, a massively dry-hopped double IPA with six different hops. Or, of course the all-Centennial IPA Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, crowned the ‘Best Beer in America’ in a survey conducted by Zymurgy Magazine for four years in a row.”
Bell sold the brewery to an Australian conglomerate in 2021 but the brewery has shown no signs of slowing down or changing its formula for success.
While Michigan is widely regarded as one of the leading states for craft beer, Bell’s was the lone brewery to receive the “iconic” honor, partly because it is one of the oldest microbreweries still in the game. Founders Brewing Company — the only Michigan craft brewer to outsell Bell’s last year, per Beverage Industry Magazine — was founded in Grand Rapids in 1997, more than a decade after Bell’s first opened.
Six of the 21 “iconic breweries” are in California, where the homebrewing and craft brew industry first took hold. The state is home to several of the industry’s biggest names, including Sierra Nevada and Stone Brewing.
Colorado, Massachusetts, New York and Colorado each had two breweries make the list, along with one each from Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Oregon and Wisconsin.