Dec 2, 2015

Bell’s Brewing 30th Anniversary Ale

I’ve stated in the past that I’m all for a brewery celebrating a birthday milestone with some outlandish, barrel-aged concoction — whatever floats their boat, really. But I find it more impressive when a brewery sits down and just makes a well crafted and classy brew to mark the occasion. And that’s exactly what Bell’s Brewery has done with their 30th anniversary releases — make a beer that speaks volumes without demanding everybody’s attention. Essentially, this 11% ABV imperial stout just ran 95 yards for a touchdown and acts like it’s been there before.

The beer is packed full of wonderfully malty character while delivering a balanced hop tingle. There’s nothing earth-shattering about Bell’s 30th anniversary ale, but that doesn’t matter when that first drop hits the tongue. Rich, deceptively easy drinking and simply presented, this brew is exactly the type of stout I could go for at any time of year.


The beer pours a viscous, opaque black in color with a dense, resilient cap of brown foam.

Bell's Brewing 30th Anniversary Ale photo


Soft anise, molasses, cocoa, smooth roast and a distant char all mingle gently together. For such a large beer,there isn’t a hint of alcohol to be found.


This brew is velvety smooth and full bodied. Cocoa, tobacco, anise, molasses, dark roast coffee and a light nuttiness all come together in a wonderfully balanced experience. A moderate-to-high level of sweetness is tempered by a low level of hop bite as both fade effortlessly to the softly warming, lingering finish. There’s a bit of dryness late in each swallow that begs you to take another sip.


Leave it to a company like Bell’s to dispel the myth that an anniversary beer needs to be outrageous. While this beer has massive depth of flavor, it’s also, for lack of a better word, simple. Refined and artfully crafted, Bell’s 30th Anniversary Ale is one hell of a beer.

Rating: 4.25/5

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