Evvvverybody loves Bell's Brewery, one of the best breweries in the Midwest (and yet oddly only the second best in their own state, after Founders). It's easy to see why in the rare opportunities I have to enjoy their beer. I'm in New Jersey, you see, and Bell's doesn't make it here. I have to get their stuff courtesy of friends like Jim McDevitt (also my coauthor). When I have, it's generally been excellent. Bell's are probably best known for their Two-Hearted Ale and summer favorite Oberon, not to mention the beer geek lust of Hopslam.
So, a porter? A simple, traditional beer like a porter? It's not exactly beer geek territory. So is it good?
Yes. Very much yes. Bell's porter is smoky like roasted chocolate on a bed of cool coffee, very nice malts with slight hints of caramel. It's dark, full, and delicious. Nothing fancy about it, nothing unusual about it, it's just a straight ahead fantastic porter. In fact, I'd rank it only closely behind two of the best American porters out there, the American trend-setter of this classic style, Anchor Porter, and another from their own state. Yup. Founders Porter, for my money the best classic porter made in America.
Bottom line: Bell's porter is the very definition of this style. Get it.