So you've thought about joining a beer of the month club but you just don't know which is right for you. Or maybe you know someone who loves beer and you want to get them the club as a gift. We've compiled some of the best clubs here and given you a simple comparison of each to make your decision process that much easier. Once you've found the one that's right for you just click the banner and you'll be on your way to discover tasty new brews each month!
EDITOR’S CHOICE - Gourmet Monthly Clubs
• Original Microbrewed Beer Club: $38.95/month (12 12oz bottles)
• International & Domestic Variety Beer Club: $44.95/month (12 12oz bottles)
• International Beer Club: $48.95/month (12 12oz bottles)
Discount codes just for DrinkCraftBeer.com readers!
DCB5 = $5 off any prepaid order of 6 months or longer
DCB10 = $10 off any prepaid 12 month order
The Original Craft Beer Club
• Original Monthly Beer Club: $37.75/month (12 12oz bottles)
• 4 different styles every month
DrinkCraftBeer5 = $5 off any order of 3 months or longer
Clubs of America
• $38.95/month (12 12oz bottles)
• Buy a 12 month subscription, get a $25 instant rebate
• Free shipping
Discount codes just for DrinkCraftBeer.com readers!
Discount1 = $10 off any orders from 6-11 months
While we’ve been looking at beer clubs for a while, we’ve long been intrigued by The Rare Beer Club, originally founded by the famed Michael Jackson (the beer writer, not the performer). We talked to the beer lovers who run this club and they’ve agreed to send us over a sample so that we can let you all know how it is. They don’t skimp on these beers and we’re happy to tell you all about them! Read on.
This month, The Rare Beer Club sends a Belgian-style ale made with grapes from Saint Somewhere as well as an award-winning Baltic Porter from Canada-based Microbrasserie Les Trois Mousquetaires.
You can order this club here: Join the Rare Beer Club
Saint Somewhere Cynthiana
Cloudy apple cider with a huge, tan head? Does that sound appetizing? It should! This is a pretty nice looking beer. The picture may show a smaller head than I’m describing, but trust me, pour this one mildly or the head will get out of control.
Whoa! I knew that they used grapes in this one, but I never expected it to be this predominant. That’s not in a bad way, the beer smells great! Like a nice, bright white wine this Cynthiana smells crisp with an almost sweet green grape aroma. It almost smells like this beer will be sour as it smells slightly acidic. Also in there, I’m almost smell some cinnamon and spices, most likely from the Belgian yeast. There’s also a mild candy sweetness hiding towards the end. I could probably smell this for quite a while but, honestly, I’d rather just drink it.
And I’m glad that I moved on from smelling it! This is amazing! I’ll admit, this is not an everyday drinking beer. It’s challenging. I don’t want to sit around with my friends at a bbq and throw back a few of these. That said, with the right food...maybe some herbed salmon as the beer would really cut the fat and the herbs and yeast would go great together...this would be a fine accompaniment to a night with good companionship. The grapes are just as forward in the taste as it was in the smell, with their lightly acidic presence starting this beer off similar to a Belgian Flanders Red almost, just minus the vinegar-like flavor. The malt is closest to a Belgian-style Dubbel, lending the beer a figgy, raisiny character, and provides a counter to that brightness from the grapes. This is really a beer to think on as the complexities just continue to unwind. I could write pages on this one, but I won’t. Cynthiana is a testament to why the Rare Beer Club is a great one: the only way to get this beer is to subscribe. Thanks to RBC for sending this to us!
Microbrasserie Les Trois Mousquetaires Porter Baltique Grande Cuvée
You know how your friend, that guy who “knows about beer” says Guinness is black? Well grab a bottle of this and pour it for him next to his beloved Guinness, then ask, “Which is black?!” With an appealing cafe con leche head and black-as-night-in-the-middle-of-nowhere body, this is a dark beer!
When I picked up the glass, the first thing I noticed was dark chocolate with a light sweetness. It’s an unbelievably pleasant smell that is inviting to its very core. At 10% abv, you can’t smell a bit of alcohol, but you can still tell that this is a beverage meant for adults only. On a second sniff, I get a bit of cocoa butter, slightly creamier than the first whiff but just as tantalizing. Honestly, I’m excited to drink this beer!
In case you’re wondering, it’s just as rich and chocolaty as it smells! While you can’t smell the alcohol, it’s a minor compliment to the richness of the taste, affirming that this is a beer only fit for those who have reached a certain age of majority. As you swirl it around your mouth, the taste develops into a rich, dark fruit and roasty grain filled experience. Figs and dates are the first thing that comes to my mind to describe the sweetness. But, just as quickly as they appear, a dry, dark chocolate finish comes through to erase those thoughts. This beer is bitter from the roasted malts and sweet from the barley all at once. This is one to sip contemplatively by a fire for an hour or so, or share with a friend while having a deep conversation. This is not a beer to be taken lightly. While I’m not one for ranking beers, I can definitely see why Porter Baltique won “World’s Best Baltic Porter” at the World Beer Awards. This thing is phenomenal! I don’t want to drink a lot of it, but damn am I enjoying the bit I have! The more I sip it, the more comes out: coffee, jam, chocolate, malt and much more. It’s like flavors flying at you and it’s an effort to comprehend them all, so don’t. Just sit and enjoy. It’s a flavor-dense beer. It’s almost palette overload. But all in a remarkably good way.
If you're thinking of joining a beer of the month club you've found the right place. Each month we review a beer of the month club shipment to give you an idea of what you really get. This month Gourmet Monthly Clubs sends us Granite City Brewing Company from Minnesota and an old reliable of our from road trips, Lancaster Brewing Company from Pennsylvania.
Granite City Brewing Company
Duke of Wellington Pale Ale
Some pale ales pour as their name would lead you to believe, and some pour darker. This is the latter, as it pours a rusty orange color. Clear as day with a tan head, as you watch the foam recede you’ll notice lacing that many find to be a mark of a good brew.
The nose is a fairly strong blend of both malts and hops that leads me to believe that, while this is labelled a pale ale, it’s more of an IPA. The smell is truly interesting for the style as their is a good dose of citrus from the hops, but it’s almost kaffir lime more than anything. That said, it’s not a citrus bomb and some good whole grain bread comes through as well.
This is a great example of how IBUs don’t tell the whole story of bitterness. Normally 64 IBUs in a 5.3% abv beer would be super bitter, but this has enough malt to balance it. While the bitterness is there, the main characteristic of the hops that comes through in the taste is that lime flavor I mentioned above. I’ve never tasted this flavor before in an IPA and I like it! The finish has a good minerality to it, which makes you perceive an extreme dryness. That makes this one a brew that I could drink multiples of, between a solid amount of flavor and the finish it’d be great to keep coming back to.
Brother Benedict’s Bock
With a pour that looks as garnet as it does brown, there’s no question that this one is a bock! A head the color of unpasteurized whipped cream settles to almost nothing with a thicker bit on the outside ring.
As I’d expect, and hope, for a bock Brother Benedict’s smells sweet and malty. It’s a clean aroma, there’s some mild dark fruit but not much else. There’s some dark bread in there, almost pumpernickely, but not quite.
Just as with the smell, this tastes the way a bock should. Some are oversweet, but this is simply malt-centric with a clean palate. It’s bready and dark, not roasty or bitter, but dark like a nice, robust, hearty brown bread. Often I find bocks tough to drink more than one of, but because of the balance in this one, I could keep going for quite a while. The malt character is really well done and the beer finishes dry enough to keep you coming back.
Lancaster Brewing Company
Lancaster Milk Stout is one of those beers we’re never sorry to see! Ever since we first tried it in Pennsylvania on a road trip that took us down the East Coast, it’s been one we can’t get but thoroughly enjoy. We actually reviewed it from over three years ago, so you can check it out there, but trust me it’s really good!
Amish Four Grain Pale Ale
A deep, rich near-orange amber and crystal clear, this is a brew you’d expect to have a little something something to it if it had anything at all. A slightly off-white head adorns the top, but quickly fades into a thin film, hiding what lies beneath.
There’s a nice toastiness on the nose. A lot of American pale ales have been the victims of hop creep and now smell (and taste) near indistinguishable from IPAs. Not this one! You can definitely smell a bit of the spicy rye and dry, minerally wheat that Lancaster threw into the mash on this brew. This grain bill compliments the spicy hop notes very well.
Forget how is looks, though...and even partially how it smells (although smell and taste are very strongly intertwined)...the most important part of any beer is the taste! And this is one you’re going to want to try. The body of this beer is full and almost slick, most likely due to the rye and oats. The wheat is there with it’s characteristic near-chalky finish, which works well. There’s enough carbonation to counteract the rye/oat slick, though, and it also helps the hops to come out a bit. The bitterness is extremely balanced and the earthy, spicy English hops play nice with the rye as well as the malt forward character of the barley.