I thought it was about time to write a beer of the month club review, as I recently received my first delivery! The beer of the month club concept always seemed pretty cool, but I’ve been holding up on joining because until recently, I was part of my own beer-exchange group.
Originally, this very blog was set up to record the beers that I and five other co-workers exchanged with each other on a bi-monthly basis. I always had a fresh supply of new and different beers! Fast forward a few years, and most of the original members of our beer-exchange club have moved on, (losers) leaving me in a bit of a situation when it comes to getting a good selection of different beers to try and write reviews of.
So, it seemed to be the right time to reach out to the good people at ‘Gourmet Monthly Clubs’ to check out their Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club. Not only were they happy to hook me up with a sample of what they offer, but a sample of three beer club options they offer! (Can you cay sweet?)
Just so you know, if you do decide to purchase through TheBrewClub.com, be aware that I get a little commission from the sale. That said, this review is based on my personal experience with this Beer of the Month Club. I wouldn’t risk pissing off my visitors by steering them the wrong way.
First, let me explain the four beer club options they have, then I’ll go over what I got and what I thought.
Original Microbrewed Beer Club includes three samples of four domestic beer styles, plus the ‘Malt of the Earth’ newsletter. ($22.95/mo. +S&H)
International Beer Club gets you six bottles each from two different international breweries + newsletter. ($32.95/mo. +S&H)
International & Domestic Variety Beer Club (self-explanatory I think) plus the Malt of the Earth newsletter. ($28.95 /mo. +S&H)
Rare Beer Club which is also known as the Michael Jackson’s Rare Beer Club, offers two selections of hard-to-find domestic and imported beers. (Starting at $31.95 /mo. +S&H)
Seems almost any beer fan can find something there. Anyway, on to my own experience.
The first thing I noticed when I got my shipment was the packaging. Why? Well it was in one piece without any damage, and it was completely nondescript.
There were no labels on the box proclaiming “BEER INSIDE”, which is good if you need to have it delivered to work without everyone knowing your business, or you just don’t want the Wife knowing that you order beer online. (Just tell her its manuals about gear oil for your hand tools.)
Digging deeper, we find very good protective packaging, with all of the contents in excellent condition. (Broken beer bottles would suck!)
The selection was pretty cool too! In the Domestic Beer of the Month Club package, I got four different beers from two American breweries. Vermont’s super-small Trout River Brewing Company, (they don’t even have a website?) and a couple different beers from the Cottonwood Brewing, who it seems, have recently stopped brewing beer in favor of energy drinks.
The Domestic and International box was more impressive I think. I got beers from Wisconsin’s Sprecher Brewing Co, and Maine’s Sea Dog Brewing Co. On the international side of things, I scored some Lion Stout and Imperial Lager from the Lion Brewery, Ceylon. Nice.
In the Rare Beer Club box, I received a bottle of Belgian Amber Saison called “V Cense” from Brasserie De Jandrain-Jandrenouille (Belgium), and a bottle of Cuvee Des Fleurs, a “Strong Specialty Ale” from New York’s Southampton Publick House. This particular beer seems to be flavored with some edible flowers or something.
I was excited that I hadn’t tried ANY of these beers before, and in most cases, I hadn’t even heard of them! I was particularly excited to see that Lion Stout, and Lion Imperial Lager was included because Bob the Brit had given it a 5-star rating while on vacation in Sri Lanka a little while back!
Other cool stuff I made note of…
- You’re able to look back to see what beer selections were offered from any particular month from the past right from their website. (Looks like my beers were from the May, 2011 selection.) In addition, you can check the website to see what the next shipment is going to be. If you don’t want it for some reason, (there’s a cutoff date) you can call them up and skip that shipment.
- “Malt of the Earth” newsletter, which comes with all of the clubs. I think this is a neat bonus because its specifically written about each beer that you find in your shipment. I thought it was cool to read professionally-written beer reviews (unlike here ) that were about each beer and the brewery behind it. “Malt of the Earth” helps fill the information gaps.
- Flexible memberships are available from 2 to 12 months or even open-ended. You can have beer of the month shipments delivered monthly, every other month, quarterly, or even on a specific schedule. They seem to want to find something that will work for everyone.
- Pay monthly as you go, or in one installment. (If you pre-pay for 6 or 12 months, be sure to use the coupon code!)
- You can reorder your favorite beers!
- 100% satisfaction guarantee. Return or replacement on any damaged or missing items, plus as a business they sport an impressive A+ BBB rating.
Doing more research, it turns out that I’m not the only one who enjoyed the service. I always take customer testimonials with a grain-of-salt (who’s going to publish bad ones?) but after experiencing their service first-hand, I think I can relate. Here’s an of example from their website…
“The Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club was a great solution for finding the right birthday present for the proverbial “man who has everything.” It’s simple and reasonable – and most importantly it’s appreciated. Your brews are unique and interesting, and the stories you send about the products make drinking them even more enjoyable. I gave a 12-month beer membership as a gift to my boss who told me every month, that when the new shipment arrived, he remembered my gesture. It’s truly a sophisticated and thoughtful gift for anyone who likes drinking and learning more about beer.” ~Jennifer D
So needless to say, like Jennifer D, I was also impressed with what The Beer of the Month Club had to offer. From excellent, plainly-packaged boxes, to an interesting selection of beers, I think its a good product that I wouldn’t have a problem sending to a beer-loving friend.
If I had to choose for myself, it would be a toss up between the Rare Beer Club and the Domestic and International Beer Club. While at the time of writing this Beer of the Month Club review, I haven’t yet tried any of the beers, I’m more impressed with the Domestic and International selection. I think the mix of import and domestic is tough to beat.
If you want to learn more about what the Beer of the Month Club has to offer, just click here to check them out! If you want to check out embigified versions of the pictures, check out the image gallery below.