West Michigan is so chock full of craft and microbreweries, that it’s beginning to be survival of the fittest. Here, we pit two beers against each other in a completely honest, unscientific dual to the death.


KALAMAZOO STOUT (Bell’s Brewery)




Stout beers — we love ‘em because they put a little more hair on our chest and, of course, get us drunk quicker. There are plenty of amazing stouts amongst West Michigan’s heavyweight beer makers, and we’re putting two of the more beloved labels head to head. And…fight.

The Rep: When ranks you as the best beer in America, you’re probably doing something right. Few, if any, beers have received the hype that KBS has. Whether this seasonal and scarce oak barrel-aged stout is truly legit, or just riding the wave of mass hysteria by beer heads nation wide, it’s impossible to top KBS in terms of name and brand. Kalamazoo Stout, however, is available year round and can get lost in the strong portfolio of Bell’s beers.

The Technique: Even though storing beer in barrels is a throwback to the golden years of brewing, it’s considered innovative these days. In fact, barrel-aging beer is the hot trend that will only get hotter. The microorganisms in each barrel give each brew a certain complexity, which is present in KBS. Kalamazoo Stout is a straightforward stout — apparently brewed the new “old fashioned” way.

Cheers: For me, the sky-high expectations tied to KBS hurts it a little bit. I popped open my first bottle ever and half expected for rainbows and unicorns to come flying out. In all honesty, Kalamazoo Stout and KBS are very neck-in-neck in terms of taste. Both carry chocolate and coffee notes, a sensation more prevalent in the Kalamazoo Stout. Kalamazoo Stout is a bit sweeter, too.

Drunkenness: Craft beer drinkers are too sophisticated to get wasted. I’m not, though. At 11.2% ABV, KBS knows how to liven up your night. Kalamazoo Stout sits at a tamer 6.0% ABV


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