For serious craft beer fans, the boom in microbreweries in the last decade or so was long overdue. However, it also created a new problem: how do you keep up with it all? Every other day there’s a new beer or new brewery to try. Your local bar can’t possibly keep up. So if you’re into variety, and if you want to keep up with new releases, you need a different solution.
Even if you’re not a “serious” brewhead, if you just want to expand your knowledge and palate beyond the handful of different beers your bar or supermarket may stock, you also need a different solution.
“Beer of the Month” clubs (or “beer subscription boxes”) are the answer. You don’t go to the beer – the beer comes to you! All the variety you could possibly want, matched to your tastes, budget, and drinking volume, shipped via the mail to your place.
These clubs provide a subscription service through which they will mail you beer each month. You’ve heard of makeup box subscriptions, razor subscriptions, dog toy subscription boxes… these are the ones for beer!
There are many different clubs to choose from. Below we review three of them and provide our recommendations on which one(s) to choose. Each has their own merits and since it’s a meaningful investment, it’s important to understand which one will work best for you.
By the way, for a little background information on what beer clubs are and how to pick one, check out our background article.
- Top Beer of the Month Clubs & Beer Subscription Boxes
- #1 The Microbrewed Beer of the Month Clubs (The 52Brews Favorite)
- #2 The Original Craft Beer Club (Runner-up)
- #3 Clubs Of America Beer Club (Third Place)
- Other Popular Clubs
- #1 Beer of the Month Club for Variety
- #1 Monthly Beer Club for Value
- #1 Beer Club as a Gift
- #1 Beer Club for Customization
- #1 Beer for IPA fans and lovers of Hoppy Beer
- Parting thoughts – don’t overthink it!
Top Beer of the Month Clubs & Beer Subscription Boxes
The Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club
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The Original Craft Beer Club
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Clubs of America
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#1 The Microbrewed Beer of the Month Clubs (The 52Brews Favorite)
The Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club is perfect for anyone looking to try a wide variety of new beers.
In business since 1994, this company is one of the most respected in the beer community because of their commitment to quality and diversity in each month’s selection. Also, knowing that tastes and preferences vary widely among their users, they have created several different clubs that you join. Each has a different theme and offers a slightly different selection. This is great because you can pick a more “niche” subscription better suited to your interests. More specifically:
- The U.S. Microbrewed Beer Club – They send twelve 12-oz. beers from two different domestic microbreweries. The 12 beers in your beer subscription box includes three bottles of four different brew styles.
- The Hop Heads Beer Club – Focused on hoppier brews like IPAs and IPLs, for the true hophead or IPA fan!
- The International Beer Club – perfect for people who want to get a taste of beer made outside the US. You get 12 beers – two beers of six different styles each month – that originate from Germany, England, Belgium, and a few other countries.
- U.S. and International Variety Club – a mix the best of both of the first two clubs. This is their most popular club and is fantastic for any beginner or even veteran drinker with a taste for diversity.
- Rare Beer Club – originally founded by M. Jackson to be one of the world’s most creative and exceptional clubs, offering bold US and imported Farmhouse Ales, Russian Imperial Stouts, Barley Wines, Belgian Abbey Ales, Strong Ale and cask-aged ales.
What you get: Apart from the beers, each month they will also send you a monthly newsletter that explains their month’s picks, brewery information, staff tasting notes, upcoming events, and food pairing suggestions.
Shipping: only available within the U.S. only. Orders that are made in Massachusetts or Texas can take an extra week to arrive.
Until the end of the year, use coupon code 52BREWS35 for $35 off any Prepaid 12-shipment order! Just click below.
#2 The Original Craft Beer Club (Runner-up)
In the 1970s there were only about 50-100 craft brewers in the US. Today, there are several thousand. Each one of these has their own unique history and taste. The Original Craft Beer Club’s crews sample hundreds of different brews each year and pick out the best. They are “sommeliers” of American craft beer and you can trust their taste – this allows you to rest easy knowing a pro picked your beer and you don’t have to do the research, especially since many small breweries may have excellent beers but you would never have heard of them.
Each month’s shipment includes three bottles of four different styles including: American Amber / Red Ale, American Amber / Red Lager, American Barleywine, American Blonde Ale, American Brown Ale, American Dark Wheat Ale, American Double / Imperial IPA, American Double / Imperial Pilsner, American Double / Imperial Stout, American IPA, American Pale Ale, and many others.
What else do you get: a newsletter talking about the history of each brewery, the styles, and tasting tips.
Who this is best suited for: The Original Craft Beer Club is a better choice for people who want to start exploring different US domestic brews and want to learn a little bit more about microbrew culture, as opposed to getting a wide variety of beers.
Price: Similar to Microbrewed, their prices start at ~$42 a month total.
Click below to check out their website.
#3 Clubs Of America Beer Club (Third Place)
Next on our list is Clubs Of America’s Beer of the Month Club, which also happens to be one of the longest-running services on our list. Originally founded in 1994, the company Clubs of America has been a pioneer in the “club as a gift” space going beyond beer into other areas like wine, coffee, cigars, and chocolate.
What you get: Each shipment contains four different types of beer with three 12-ounce bottles of each.
The beers are hand-selected, and throughout the year you get a vast range of different types of beer. From amber ale to lager, and traditional stout to hefeweizen, these guys know how to pick them to really please the recipient! This is a benefit of their specialty of being gifts.
What else do you get? You also receive a magazine called Beer Expeditions. This contains information about the craft beers you receive and the breweries behind them.
Shipping: already included in the price!
Subscription: There’s no need to sign up for long periods, which is great. For example, if you want you can just sign up for a 2-month subscription (ideal for you commitmentphobes!). That said, you can save money with their longer subscriptions, of course. You can also mix your subscription with their other monthly clubs (wine club, coffee club, cigar club, and chocolate club). Become a well-rounded beer lover!
Other Popular Clubs
For a summary of all these impressive clubs, check out our video below:
52Brews picks its favorites in different categories! Drumroll…
#1 Beer of the Month Club for Variety
When deciding on exactly which beer club you should be a member of, you must first decide which aspect of the subscription is most important to you. Specific styles? Specific countries? As wide a variety as possible? Price? Volume? Frequency? Know what you’re looking for, and choosing will be much easier.
They say “variety is the spice of life” – and if in fact you are after variety, we recommend the US & International Club by Microbrewed (see full review).
They categorize their beer by country, brewery, and style, which guarantees you’ll get an awesome range that will never leave your taste buds bored.
Subscription boxes come with 12 beers (per month) that are specifically chosen by Microbrewed’s highly respected panel of judges. These shipments will include 12 beers from two different breweries, one international and one from the US. Each brewery will send you three of their top two best tasting beers, which will give you six beers from each brewery.
What makes this particular club so good is the ability to mix US and International in the same shipment with effortless ease. Sure, you can find great widely-known international beer anywhere (for example), but when it comes to finding international microbreweries and less-known beers, this club takes the cake.
If you’re on the lookout for a membership that delivers an incredible diversity of craft beers on their menu and still does a killer job in every review category, pick up a US & International Beer Club membership from Microbrewed!
View their website by clicking below. Remember to use code “52BREWS35” at checkout for a $35 discount on a 12-shipment order.
#1 Monthly Beer Club for Value
Our recommended beer of the month club for value is The Original Beer Club (See the full review).
Why is this the most amazing club for value?
It ranks well on number of beers, the available range of styles, and last but not least, customer service.
- Variety: 12 beers total per shipment, four different beer styles with three beers of each style.
- Selection Process: Each month’s beers are chosen by a panel of experts based on the overall taste, smell, color and the limited availability of the beer. You’ll only receive premium picks.
- Community: The membership does not include a wonderful community like some of the other clubs offer.
- Shipping: Each shipment is carefully packed and guaranteed that it will arrive in perfect condition or your money back.
- Customer Service: These guys have been in the biz for over 12 years and have served over 1 million satisfied customers and still earned a 99% customer satisfaction rate.
This is also a great club if you’re new to craft beer and aren’t sure yet what your precise tastes are. You want to sample a variety of beers, stay up to date, without over-investing in a membership for more specific tastes.
#1 Beer Club as a Gift
If you’ve got family members or friends that are beer lovers or just absolutely obsessed with beer, this is seriously the perfect gift for them and it will surely please them. I’ll share my experience and knowledge and help you understand why, so continue reading on.
Our recommendation: The Original Craft Beer Club
They have a “Gift Announcement” feature that makes gifting it really easy.
If you’re looking for a last-minute gift idea, this information can also be printed off immediately and put right into a card. So save yourself the hassle of finding something unique and get your friend or family member a beer subscription gift. These personalized gift cards are a great touch!
Something to keep in mind when deciding to buy beer subscriptions as a gift (and why you should do so!)…
There are over 3,000 different breweries in the United States alone and over 12,000 worldwide. Using a very conservative estimate, let’s say that each of these create just 10 different craft beers over the course of a year. That’s 120,000 beers per year that you could try – in just one year.
For comparison, think about how many types of beers your local supermarkets carry, or your local liquor store, or even your local craft beer bars. Also, think about how frequently they actually change out the beers. It’s simply impossible for a beer fan to really get their hands on a wide enough variety of beer any other way.
So, “beer of the month” subscriptions aren’t just convenient, they are also a necessity if you or the person you’re shopping for cares about beer variety and trends.
What’s also cool about Original Craft Beer Club’s subscription as a gift: if you aren’t a procrastinator and want to purchase it ahead of time, they give the option to choose which month you would like to start the shipment. To subscribe (or if you just want more info), visit their site by clicking down below.
#1 Beer Club for Customization
When it comes to being able to micro-customize your beer shipments in a club, nothing beats Microbrewed’s Rare Beer Club.
You can choose to get 2, 4 or 6 bottles per shipment, rather than the traditional 12, so that it’s all about quality and specificity to your tastes, rather than just variety and quantity.
Each beer is 750ml and a pricier, more exclusive selection, so making sure you love what you’re getting is crucial in this club – thus the higher than normal customizability. You get a heads up ahead of the shipment of what beers are coming, so that if you like the selections, you can get more of them in the shipment. You even get to change out the beers altogether if you don’t like any of them, or skip the shipment. Microbrewed calls this the “Personalized Shipment Plan” and it’s a great idea.
#1 Beer for IPA fans and lovers of Hoppy Beer
If you love IPA and hoppy beer, the Hop-Heads Beer Club is your dream come true. From traditional IPAs and IPLs to more serious hoppy flavors like DIPAs, this club has got it all for the hoppy beer lover. Hop-Heads focuses on a wide variety of hop flavors, aromas, and brew styles, rather than solely on hop bitterness, thus creating a more vibrant selection for you to sample from.
A monthly subscription will get you twelve 12 oz. from both U.S. and International breweries. That way, you’ll be able to try different hoppy styles in each subscription and never repeat (unless you order your favorites from them, which is also a possibility). Also, members receive a Malt of the Earth newsletter in their monthly subscription, which details food recommendations and beer specs, including beer style, ABV, IBUs (crucial for hoppy beer lovers!), malts & hop varieties, and more. This will make you an IPA expert by next month.
To top it all off, the club also often sends beer that is made-to-order by their featured breweries. This means that you will be seeing exclusive limited edition beers. For the true hop head, this club is a godsend.
Parting thoughts – don’t overthink it!
You really can’t go wrong with any of these clubs. The trick really is to pick the one that best fits what you are looking for as far as styles, variety and price. You also shouldn’t overthink it too much – try the one that seems like a good choice, or maybe just get a sample shipment, and if it’s good, renew. All these clubs compete for your business and know that they have to provide superior service in order to keep it; so more likely than not, you’ll love what you get every month!