The keys to choosing the best microbrew of the month clubs are selection, reliability, and cost. With the surge of the popularity of microbreweries, you couldn’t have picked a better time to take the plunge. Let’s go over what is driving this trends and how you can ride the wave to join in on the fun.
Pros and Cons of a Membership
One of the best benefits of joining a beer club is the opportunity to try different brews that you may not find in your area. For many people, that is the top reason to even consider a membership. Often, state and local laws will limit the distribution of microbrews. It may be your only option, short of driving to the brewery.
On the downside, convenience comes at a price. You’ll likely pay more than retail for your beer when you take into account taxes and shipping. While the allure of trying new ones is there, some may find the cost a dealbreaker.
What You Should Look for in a Membership
Monthly clubs have skyrocketed in popularity. You’ll find a host of options including beers, wines, cheese, and just about anything else. But they’re not all the same. They’ll vary in the types of products they offer as well as how they manage the business end. Things to consider include:
- Club selection options
- Duration and frequency
Be sure to check each of these points, and don’t forget to read the fine print. Always read a club’s FAQ page before you sign on the dotted line. Beer is meant to be fun. Nasty surprises are not a desirable part of the experience. Make sure to check out the club’s recent offerings to get an idea of what you can expect. That way you can see what kind of value the membership provides.
Club Selection Options
Many clubs offer a menu of options for choosing beers to match your tastes. With a plethora of style families and dozens of styles, you’ll have plenty of options for hitting on the ones that speak to you. You’ll find membership plans that focus on particular categories such as international, rare finds, or particular styles. The latter is an excellent choice if you want to refine your palate by doing a flight tasting.
The price will vary depending on the type, shipment size, rarity, and the number of beers shipped. Since beer has become more refined, you may see some clubs that offer a tasting package to complement the brews.
It might include regional classics or nibbles like cheese and crackers to enjoy with your shipment. Take a look at what they provide even if you don’t opt to add them to your membership. It’ll give you some ideas for setting up your own food pairing menus.
Duration and Frequency
Also, consider other requirements of a club membership. Some may offer packages with a set number of shipments. Others may work on a monthly basis. Find out if there are any minimum requirements to join it like additional purchases you’ll need to make to keep it active.
Find out what the payment options are for your plan. Some clubs with multi-month packages may require that you prepay for the entire duration up front. While you may think that the monthly cost is reasonable, buying an annual membership for a discounted rate is another story. Remember, if you opt for a monthly plan, you’ll most likely have to leave your credit card number on file to prevent an irruption of service.
Shipping alcohol isn’t the impossible venture it used to be, especially with packages from another state. Most clubs will have this information readily available and may even ask you to indicate where you live before the transaction goes further. You should find out if the cost is included in the plan. Some will bill it as a separate charge in addition to the plan cost.
Then, there’s the bit about receiving your shipments. You or another adult will have to sign for the delivery. The club’s FAQ page should provide a shipping date to help you plan in advance to have it shipped to work or a neighbor’s home if you’re away. Bear in mind that you may not receive a shipment in the event of extreme temperatures.
Flexibility and Other Perks
Life happens. That’s why it makes sense to see how flexible a microbrew of the month club is with changing shipment dates or postponing a month. While you’re checking on that, also, look into the possibility of trying new type in their suite of offerings.
Most clubs will include some tasting notes to make the most of your beer drinking experience. Some may offer food pairings and other serving tips. Even though microbrews come in small batches, you may have a chance to buy a few more bottles of some of your favorites. As with the club, check the cost of both the purchase and shipping.
Our Picks for the Best Microbrew of the Month Clubs
The volume share of craft brewers in the beer industry has more than doubled since 2011. Industry experts see the trend continuing for at least the next five years. That’s great news if you’ve just joined a microbrew of the month club. Let’s go over our choices for the best ones to get you started.
The Craft Beer Club
The Craft Beer Club is all about flexibility and trying to please the customer. You can choose how often you’d like to receive your shipments, whether it’s monthly, every other month, or every quarter. You also have your choice of 12 or 24 bottles. That said, the club features cans three times a year. It’s not unexpected given the rise of its use in the industry. Cans made up 16.7 percent of craft production in 2016 versus the 41.9 percent for bottles.
Your shipment will include 12 12-ounce bottles in four styles with two from each featured brewery. That’s a great option if you want to branch out, considering the dozens of types available. However, if you’re not keen on a particular one, they’ll try to substitute something for you. Pricing starts at $42 a month.
- The plan’s price includes shipping which when taken as a whole, is a good value.
- You’ll get a $25 bonus when signing up along with up to three additional goodies, depending on the plan you choose.
- Your membership includes access to its food pairing information to take your tasting to the next level.
- The club will only work with your choices if you sign up for an ongoing membership.
- You’ll skip a shipment if you prefer not to receive cans and they happen to be featured that month.
- To get the goodies, you have to pay in advance for at least three shipments.
The fact that you can opt for a monthly plan makes the Craft Beer Club worth considering, especially with the bonus and extras.
Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club
The Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club is all about flexibility too. You can choose from six different options including microbrews, international, and rare finds. It works similar to other clubs with 12 beers in four different styles. Their included newsletter is full of useful information including the brews specs and suggested food pairings.
Beers aren’t their only thing. They also do have clubs for cigars, cheese, and wine. You can even design your own club. You can opt to receive wine one month, beers the next two, or however you want to plan your shipments. Prices for beer start at $27.95 a month plus $15 shipping.
- It offers an excellent opportunity to try limited distribution beers.
- The rare beer club provides one of the only ways you can get your hands on limited-release brews in two 750ml bottles.
- Your shipments come with a 100-percent satisfaction guarantee
- You have to sign up for two months to start or pick an ongoing membership.
- You can’t pick and choose beer styles, a major bummer.
- The same caveat applies to receiving cans too which you can expect three times a year.
The Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club offers a great value, but the fact that you can’t choose a style is a problem.
Amazing Clubs’ Beer Club
The Amazing Clubs’ Beer Club is more than just a beer club. You have your choice of 40 other options. It features only microbrews which we really like. You have options for three, six, or full year membership levels. You can pay upfront or per shipment. At $38.95, it’s a good value, considering that it includes shipping. The club guarantees the lowest prices and that you’ll be happy with your purchase.
Each shipment includes 12 bottles featuring at least one award-winning beer. It was the only club we reviewed that made that promise. The seasonal option is an interesting twist which we liked. Each shipment comes with the club’s newsletter which is a great read on its own. If you opt for the 12-month membership, you’ll save 20 percent.
- It is one of the few clubs that lets you pay by shipment.
- They offer a seasonal club too to expand your tasting options.
- They will not auto-renew a subscription without your consent.
- The three-month minimum commitment may be a potential dealbreaker for some.
- While they guarantee your satisfaction, you can’t pick and choose your favorite styles.
- The guarantee and refund apply to unshipped merchandise.
While you can’t specify preferences, the fact that the Amazing Clubs’ Beer Club guarantees an award-winning beer cancels it out asa strike against it.
When all is said and done, the Amazing Clubs’ Beer Club is our pick for the best microbrew of the month clubs. We loved the emphasis on microbrews and boutique beers exclusively. The addition of other membership options also caught our eye. But the deal maker is the award-winning beer guarantee. No other club we looked at offered anything like it. For the serious beer drinker, it provides an excellent way to indulge your favorite hobby.