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.
Top 10 Beer of the Month Clubs & Subscription Boxes (October)
#1 The Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club (Our Favorite)
The Microbrewed Beer Company by Monthly Clubs is perfect for anyone looking to try new brews. They have been in business since 1994 and specialize in tasting and hand picking a nice-tasting brew.
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, they have several different clubs that you can sign up for. 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:
- 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 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 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 taste 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.
This is one of the most expansive clubs and can give you tastes from around the world for a pretty decent price. Here’s a full list of the clubs they offer:
- The U.S. Microbrewed Beer Club
- The Hop-Heads Beer Club
- The U.S. and International Variety Beer Club
- The Rare Beer Club
- The International Beer Club
#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 domestic brew and want to learn a little bit more about the microbrew culture.
Price: Their prices are definitely not cheap. It’s a little more expensive than Microbrews, but it includes a few more bottles each month. This way you can test out more brew types without having to pay too much more of a premium price.
Click below to check out their website.
#3 Clubs Of America Beer Club (Third Place)
Next on our list is Clubs Of America, which also happens to be one of the longest running beer of the month clubs. Originally founded in 1994, the team there have been doing a fantastic job at creating more than just a random monthly beer delivery.
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.
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. But it also has some great news and general homebrewing information.
Shipping: the price is already included in the price!
Subscription: There’s no need to sign up for long periods, but you can save a good bit of money when you do. 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 nut!
Other Popular Clubs
Don’t See One You Like? Design Your Own Club
For a summary of all these impressive clubs, check out our video below:
#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…
Our recommended beer of the month club for variety US & International Club by Microbrewed (see full review).
They categorize their beer by country, brewery, and style, and guarantees you’ll get an awesome range that will never leave your taste buds bored!
Subscription boxes comes 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.
Most clubs do offer pretty close to the same diversity as this beer club, but since they’re throwing in a mix of international and US beers, it changes the game.
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.
#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 beers from two different microbreweries. You’ll never receive the same drink twice.
- 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 recommended beer club as a gift: The Original Craft Beer Club
They have a “Gift announcement” feature that we like.
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 the subscriptions: if you aren’t a procrastinator and want to purchase gifts 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.
What is a Beer of the Month Club?
A monthly beer club is similar to any mail order service or the recently popular “subscription box” services, with the added benefit that a) it’s beer!, b) you get to customize the order a little bit based on your tastes, c) it fulfills a need for craft beer fans, since staying up to date on new beers and expanding your palate and knowledge is not easy (or cheap). 
Your monthly shipments normally include:
- A case of 6, 12 or 24 select beers
- Tasting notes newsletter
- Some free gift (e.g., bottle opener)
These can be brews that you pick out from their vast selection; or, they can send a variety pack of the specials that month.
If you try one that you like, you can go ahead and order more of it. This is the impressive part; it exposes you to new drinks that you would never have even heard of. Some clubs even learn your tastes based on which brews you tend to pick, and they suggest beer for you to try each month. This is by far the best way to experience new beers and really branch out with your tastes.
Now, let’s talk about what you should look for in a club before you sign up for one…
There is nothing worse than signing up for something that isn’t going to work for you. So here are a few criteria to consider.
Benefits of Joining a Beer of the Month Club
There are so many benefits to joining a monthly beer club that it’s kind of difficult to touch on all of them.
Expand Your Palate – Obviously, the main benefit is to try a wide variety of different beers so that you learn new tastes and figure out what your preferences are. If you want to expand beyond the traditional beers you see at most bars and supermarkets, and especially if you aren’t the adventurous type that proactively orders something new each time, having someone else pick the beer and “force” you to try a new taste is important and worthwhile. Another way to think about it – a beer club doesn’t just teach you new tastes, it also gets you out of your beer-drinking “comfort zone,” which is easy to fall into when you get so much comfort from beer and you want to make sure you get something you like.
Saving Time – Another obvious benefit is that you don’t have to do any research or even leave your house. They will pick out different featured brews and mail them right to your door. There’s no going to the store or even traveling hours to go to the next local brewery. You just have to wait until the next package arrives. 
Affordability – With that being said, though these clubs are exclusive, the cost is much more affordable than trying to travel to these small breweries and purchase the brew yourself. Remember most of these places don’t sell their brews to the public online. You can only get them through dealers or go to the brewery yourself. Joining a club is much cheaper and affordable than doing either of these things.
“Modern hermits can even take part in the craft beer movement, thanks to a growing number of craft beer clubs.” – Chris Morris, Fortune
Beer of the Month Subscription Boxes vs Clubs?
Within the homebrew world, subscription boxes and clubs are used interchangeable all the time but they differ in one significant way.
I see it on your face now… you’re confused. So what is the difference between the two?
Beer Clubs – Upon subscribing, it will give you a set number of beers right at your doorstep (this could be 2, 12, or 24 beers). You will also get a newsmagazine and some gift, e.g., a bottle opener. Being a member is an excellent way of tasting high-quality and hand-picked craft beer as recommended by beer experts.
Subscription Boxes – On the other hand, having a beer subscription box will also deliver your beers right in front of your doorstep. However, the beers within subscription boxes are not “randomly” picked, but are personalized to the distinct likings of beer connoisseurs who know what they want. It can be beer-style specific for some.
5 Things to Look For in a Monthly Beer Club
I’ve been a member of different brew clubs over the years and I know what makes one worth joining and why some are worth staying away from. I want you to find the club that fits your tastes and something that will work for you.
For instance, if you primarily like domestic beers and really have no interest in trying imports, it would be pointless for you to sign up for something with options that include 90 percent imports.
I’ve narrowed down the criteria that I look for in a beer of the month club to five main topics. I think that if a club can pass these five main areas, it will not only be a perfect club to join but you will have fun being a member. If you are anything like me, you will wait in anticipation for the next month’s shipment to come because you enjoyed the last one so much.
Here are the 5 things to look for when you shop for a beer club:
- Beer Variety
- Monthly Selections
- Customer Service
1. Beer Selection
I think the first thing that I always look at when evaluating any type of brew club is the types of beer they offer as well as the total number of different options to choose from. After all, it doesn’t make sense to join something that doesn’t have much selections than your average small town liquor store.
I typically evaluate the this based on the number of imports and domestics as well as the diverse homemade brews. I enjoy just about all types of drafts, so I’m not too worried about whether they offer ale, porters, wheat beers, or stouts. I simply look to make sure there are a consistent diversity of different brands, makes, styles, origins, and ages.
Most companies have a directory of different brands they offer. You should look through this and make sure there’s a mixture of brands you like and also a lot that you’ve neve heard of.
2. Monthly Beer Selection
The range of beer is obviously one of the most important parts of joining a club. If they don’t have a good selection, why would join one? But how do they actually pick the brews that they send you on a monthly basis? This is the second most important question. They can have the best set in the whole world, but if they always send you something that you don’t want, it doesn’t do you a lot of good.
I recommend reviewing how they pick the beers that you actually get in the mail. Most clubs have a range of different options you can choose from. You can go through their list of different beers and pick a case of your own. I like doing this occasionally if there is something I want to have again.
Or the more adventuresome option, you can let them pick that month. Typically, the owners handpick a bunch of different ones randomly for you to try. This is kind can be a little hit and miss because you never know what they are going to pick, but isn’t that part of the fun of joining a beer club—trying new stuff?
Lastly, most clubs offer an option to have their featured beers sent to your house. They usually have a few different beers featured each month for a number of reasons. Some might be new while others are popular season brews. Either way, you can look at the list of these ahead of time, so you can decide whether this option is right for you.
The main thing is to look at how the club picks out the drinks each month. You don’t want to get stuck with a few cases of drinks you will never want because they keep picking out beers you don’t like.
3. Beer Community
This might sound like a strange thing to be concerned about with a mail order club, but its community is one of the most important parts to me.
Drinking brew is just as much about the experience and community as it is about the taste itself. What is a good craft beer if you have no one to enjoy it with?
Most clubs have online forums and ways to interact with other club members. This is helpful because you can talk about the different options and give suggestions to people based on what they liked versus what you tried in the past. Believe me. 
This concept of an online community seemed a little strange to me at first too, but it is, in my opinion, one of the most important parts of any club.
Being about to talk and email other subscribers will allow you to enjoy your membership much more than if you were just receiving shipments without any interaction with members. I know I’ve had a lot of fun interacting with other enthusiasts online. I’m sure you will too.
4. Shipping and Handling
With any mail order service, shipping and handle is always a big concern especially when you are talking about shipping glass bottles.
Pretty much all clubs package their shipment well, so there isn’t really anything to worry about as far as the packages actually getting to you.
The main thing that you have to be concerned about is costs. And sometimes, it ain’t going to be cheap. Not all clubs include the shipping costs in the price of the membership.
If you are in a remote area, it might be somewhat costly to have monthly shipments sent to you. With the US laws about shipping alcohol, I would suggest looking into the distribution centers of the different clubs I recommend and figuring out a shipping option that will work for you. 
5. Customer Service
I think customer service is important to everyone no matter what product or service you are buying. A monthly club is no exception. I like to look up reviews and ask around for the customer feedback about any club I am thinking about joining.
It only makes sense that if you are ordering bottles of craft beer in the mail that you want a friendly and helpful staff of people who are ready to help you if there is a problem with your shipment or something arrives broken.
The clubs that we recommend have great customer service with quick response times.
In the event that a shipment arrives broken or damaged, they ship another one out the next day – no questions asked.
Also, you can cancel your membership any time – this is important since it means you are not committing to a long-term subscription that you may not like or end up having to end for whatever reason. This flexibility is an important aspect of a great product and user experience.