When Bells reentered the Illinois market last year, beer lovers were ecstatic. Even though Bells didnt bring their full arsenal along with them, we still got to enjoy things like their Pale Ale and Porter, and eventually Two Hearted Ale even made its way back. Bells cache of beers currently in Illinois just grew by two, as Java Stout and Rye Stout are now available on Binnys shelves. This comes just in time for the stout time of year, as the unseasonably cold temperatures call for a dark and rich beer.


Bells Rye Stout is one of the lighter stouts the brewery offers, clocking in at 6.7% ABV. The black liquid has subdued flavors of coffee, toffee, and sweet chocolate.   The twist comes with the rye, as it provides a nice little twang. It is a dry yet smooth in the mouth, and an overall easy drinking beer. A bittersweet finish fades into a lingering bitterness on the palate.


Like the name implies, Java Stout and its thick creamy tan head is all about the coffee. The dark coffee ground aroma dominates the nose, while hints of chocolate and vanilla are barely detectable.   The bold burnt coffee taste is the dominant flavor, with sweet chocolate, caramel, and dark fruits jockeying for position. Java Stout is smooth as it makes its way down the hatch, and the finish is bitter not only from the coffee, but from an underlying hop presence.


The addition of Rye Stout and Java Stout to our shelves is going to make it even harder for us beer geeks to pick a stout from Bells. While they offer Kalamazoo Stout year round, the upcoming months will grace us with the arrival of Expedition Stout, Double Cream Stout, and Cherry Stout. Most would agree that Bells Porter is a stout, so this brings our total to six different stouts that Bells will be offering during these colder months. So the question is: if you came to Binnys and could only choose one of these six stout offerings from Bells, which would it be?