Limited Offering Smokey and the Bois


The day has come. We’ve made the call to part with the last 67 bottles of our highly coveted Smokey and the Bois, a very special blend of three different barrel aged beers that was crafted for us nearly 3 years ago to celebrate our 20 year anniversary. I’d be hard pressed to part with it if it weren’t for the fact that I’ve already got 5+ cases stashed in our in-house beer cave! We’ve been sitting on a small portion of our remaining inventory with the intent of releasing it to our members after it had been laid down for a few years. The holidays seem like the right time to do it. It’s available only to active members of The Rare Beer Club and you will be limited to just two bottles.

Smokey and the Bois was crafted from three different Bruery beers: Black Tuesday (The Bruery’s famous ~20% ABV imperial stout), Bois (an exceptional, bourbon-barrel-aged old ale), and Smoking Wood (an imperial rye porter brewed with beech- and cherrywood smoked malts). And, for even more dimension and complexity, the final blend was aged with vanilla beans and Ecuadorian Nacional cacao nibs.

This is the last of it. Once it’s gone, it’s gone, so if you haven’t already grabbed a bottle or two, now’s your chance.

Merry Christmas from me to you.


Interview with Men’s Journal

us-and-international-variety-beer-clubSeveral weeks ago, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Ethan Fixell, a writer for Men’s Journal. He asked some great questions that really made me sit back and take a good look at how this business has evolved over the years. I’m happy to say that 22 years in, I feel like we’re holding true to our original charter of continually curating outstanding, hard to find or exclusive beers to our members while providing A+ BBB rated customer service. The craft brewing industry and ecommerce have evolved significantly over the last two decades and so have we.

We now offer Five different beer clubs, each uniquely suited to specific palates, and the ability to combine any or all of them into a single membership with our Design Your Own Club Program. We’ve grown to the point where we can now work with breweries to create and deliver exclusive beers to our members such as the 14% ABV Barrel Aged Blended Barley Wine brewed by Broken Bow featured in The Rare Beer Club® this month. It was split into three parts that were aged in rye whiskey, bourbon and red wine barrels before being blended into the final product which is nothing short of kick ass.

Some of our members asked us to send them only hoppy beers and we recently delivered the goods having just launched our new Hop-Heads Beer Club which focuses on hop-centric beers such as IPAs, Double IPAs, Session IPAs, IPLs, Imperial IPLs, Session IPLs, hoppy Pale and Red Ales, and more from two or more breweries each month. Our Rare Beer Club® members can participate in our Personalized Shipment Program which allows them to customize their shipment each month, ensuring they’ll only get the beers they want to get.

This month, we’re relaunching our website so that it’s mobile friendly. No small task, but absolutely necessary for our many customers that prefer to interact with us on their smartphones.

Back to the Men’s Journal article comparing online beer services. Ethan’s questions were indeed thoughtful and in the end, I feel really good about how we stack up against our competition. We are delivering a superior product in so many ways. Check it out. It’s a good read.


Beyond the Bottle: Highlights from GABF

Kris & Ken at the 2016 GABF

I didn’t screw up anything badly last year, and was pleased to get invited back as a judge for this year’s Great American Beer Festival in early October. (As a relevant side note: I also got to hang with Rare Beer Club owner Kris Calef out in Denver this year, and he definitely was on the hunt for some new and exciting selections for the club.) Overall: 3 days of judging + 3 days of festival.

Of the World Beer Festivals (and upcoming Beer Quest in Charlotte) I help organize with our team over at All About Beer, the majority of the events are happening in our company’s home state of North Carolina. The GABF awards are a lot more interesting when you have a horse in the race, such that (in addition to our NorCal peeps and such), it was a blast to see many of those North Carolina breweries we work with take home a disproportionate bunch of hardware this year. NoDa took gold for their Nodajito. Hi-Wire took gold for Zirkusfest. Wicked Weed won a silver for their Lunatic… And, seemingly out of nowhere, Brown Truck Brewery from High Point, North Carolina was awarded an assortment of medals (including gold in the American- or German-style light lager category, over Coors Light) as well as Very Small Brewing Company of the Year. So not shabby for a brewery established in 2015.

Additional key notables: Pabst took home Large Brewing Company of the Year (and will be joining us for Beer Quest next month). Our editor John Holl and I got sneak peeks of some amazing stuff, including High Water’s new barrel-aged Campfire Stout (with the un-barreled version taking home a gold medal in the Specialty Beer category the next morning). We got a sweet 2016 judge cooler from Mountainsmith (way better than last year’s cutting board). The judging panels were packed, and I ended up reviewing about 150 beer entries over the course of three days—a wee sliver of the 7,227 total entries in this year’s competition. Also: I got to witness a brewery nearby at the Saturday awards ceremony go bonkers when they found out they’d won a category I’d judged the medal round of, which was particularly cool + edifying. The fest and judging rounds ran like clockwork, and I already can’t wait for next year’s event.

DIY Craft Beer Advent Calendar

Advent-Christmas-Tree-with-BeerThe holidays are packed with traditions. Things like Christmas trees, carols, cookie baking, and frantic, last minute shopping keep us busy throughout the season, but it’s the little traditions that make it so enjoyable. Customary gifts, like advent calendars, are classic holiday mainstays that plenty of parents give to their kids. What’s not to love about getting a surprise piece of candy every day for 24 days? Count us in. But, what about those who want a little more in their advent calendar? Well, The Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club™ has got the perfect solution: a Craft Beer Advent Calendar.

Yes, you read that right: an entire advent calendar full of sweet, delicious craft beer. The Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club™ has noted the rising popularity of these great gifts, and we’ve decided that it’s time to ensure everyone knows how to make one for the beer enthusiasts in their life. When you give someone a Craft Beer Advent Calendar packed with tasty microbrews, you aren’t just giving them a craft beer Christmas gift – you’re giving them 24 days – you’re giving them 24 days of great beers. Santa’s got nothing on you.

Advent-ButtonHow to Build a Craft Beer Advent Calendar

Building a Craft Beer Advent Calendar isn’t as easy as grabbing a random box in your house, throwing in your extra/unwanted beer, and putting some wrapping paper over the top. You need the right materials, some spare time, and a little bit of craftiness (or at least those “cut stuff up and glue things together” skills you hopefully mastered in kindergarten).

Start by deciding which design you want to use. There are three common options: square, rectangular, or triangular. You can find plenty of DIY beer advent calendar instructions all over the web, but making a Craft Beer Advent Calendar doesn’t require a Master’s in structural engineering. The Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club™ has got you covered with the basics.

Materials for a square or rectangular Craft Beer Advent Calendar:

• A box or a case of beer
• Cardboard dividers
• Glue
• Scissors
• Wrapping paper
• A marker

For the square and rectangular options, you can easily use a moving box or a used case of beer, specifically the kind with built-in cardboard dividers – any case of bottled beer should have these. You can choose to lay the box on its side, or keep it flat on its bottom. Simply place your beers into the box, make sure they’re held in place with the dividers, and cover the top with festive wrapping paper. Mark the locations of each beer using the numbers 1-24, and you’re set. Feel free to pat yourself on the back and enjoy a celebration beer (NOT one of the beers from the calendar). If you want, you can add a 25th slot for a little extra something something. More on that below.

Advent-Christmas-Tree-SuppliesMaterials for a triangular Craft Beer Advent Calendar:

• Poster/shipping tubes
• Glue
• Scissors
• Wrapping paper
• A marker
• Stickers (optional)

Now, for those with a craftier side, the triangular option offers a little extra fun. You’ll need to buy some long shipping tubes capable of fitting bottles or cans, and then cut these up into 24 even sections. Glue them together however you want, though we suggest making it triangular, as it’ll look a little like a Christmas tree. You could even put a star on top if you’re feeling festive – we won’t judge you.

After gluing the tubes together, fill the tubes with tasty beers, cover the front with a little wrapping paper, and mark the tube openings with the numbers 1-24. You now have a triangular Craft Beer Advent Calendar to give to your best beer buddy. He’s gonna love it.

An important side note that must be mentioned: don’t be lame and fill your Beer Advent Calendar with a case of the same macrobeer. Be creative with the beer you choose by selecting unique beers from all 7 continents. Well, 6 of the 7, at least. We don’t think anyone is brewing in Antarctica (even though that’s an awesome idea). You could be extra festive and fill it with nothing but unique holiday beers!

Keep in mind that a Craft Beer Advent Calendar isn’t confined to Christmas time. Arbor Day, Flag Day, Bring Your Daughter to Work day, it doesn’t matter – you can make the 24 days leading up to any holiday special (and tasty) with your Craft Beer Advent Calendar.

Improving Your Beer Advent Calendar

Advent-Christmas-TreeSo, how do you improve on something as awesome as a Beer Advent Calendar? It’s simple, really: you spread that cheer throughout the year.

A traditional advent calendar features 24 slots representing the 24 days leading up to Christmas, but who says that you have to follow tradition? Add a 25th slot, and give your friend a gift that keeps on giving: a membership to The Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club. After all, who doesn’t want amazing craft beers from around the country (and the world) delivered to their door once a month throughout the year? No one, that’s who.

For the widest selection of beers, choose between our brand-new Hop-Heads Beer Club, our U.S. Microbrewed Beer Club, our International Beer Club, or get the best of both worlds with our U.S. and International Variety Beer Club. But, if you’ve got a beer lover who spends their time and energy hunting down the rarest, most obscure beers, we’ll suggest The Rare Beer Club™, our only club that features the world’s best hand-selected rare beers.

Now, go out there, build your own Craft Beer Advent Calendar, and make some lucky beer lover’s Christmas the best one they’ve had. And remember: if you really want to make sure they have the best Beer Year of their lives, give them a membership to the The Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club. Santa always likes those who are nice.

Got Hops? We do. Introducing The Hop-Heads Beer Club™

hop-heads-beer-clubYou made it clear to us that quite a few of you wanted more hops. Actually, only hoppy beers to be specific.  We stuck our toe in the water earlier in the year and officially offered our members a way to customize their shipments each month, essentially calling us at the beginning of the month, finding out what the featured beers were and having us put only the hop-centric ones in their box that month.  It was better than nothing, but in the end, not optimal because you guys had to remember to call us and if only one or two of the four featured beers were aggressively hopped, you’d only get one or two beers that month.

So we’ve been quietly working with a lot of different breweries, better understanding how much it would cost to deliver a club that only features kick-ass, hoppy beers each month.  Not just IPAs mind you.  That would be so limiting, and you’d miss out on some really amazing hoppy beers.  Brewers are creating styles faster than ever.  More and more, you can’t easily categorize a beer neatly into any given style.  Take for example Mikkeller’s Wit Fit, which the brewery describes as a hoppy imperial wit.  Clearly not an IPA, but I’m here to tell you, Hop-heads will love this beer as it delivers plenty of citric, floral, and resinous notes, some acidity, and a clinging bitterness that hangs on in the finish.  Don’t panic. We’re going to run a ton of IPAs in the club.  In fact the majority of what we feature will be IPAs, but we’re also going to run India Pale Lagers (IPLs), hoppy Red and Pale Ales, and other hop-centric beers.   Hops are obviously the key ingredient used to balance the malty sweetness in a beer’s flavor profile, but they also contribute some pretty amazing aromatics and flavors so we’re not just focusing on beers that have crushingly bitter hop profiles, but also beers that explore the many hop flavors and aromas available to today’s brewers.

The club will feature two or more breweries each month and we’ll even drop in an import in there from time to time when it makes sense. There are some really neat breweries out there now like Mexico’s Agua Mala and Germany’s BRLO that are crafting outstanding American style IPAs and other hoppy styles that are just now making their way to the American marketplace.  That said, I expect something like 90% of our featured beers to come from US breweries.  We’re gonna send ya twelve, 12-oz. beers in each shipment, 3 different beers (4 bottles or cans of each).

We’ve got some pretty sweet beers lined up for our inaugural shipment in November, including Route 1A, an 8.2% ABV big, boldly flavored Double IPA from Ipswich Brewery in Massachusetts.  You’re gonna dig it.

No one else is doing anything quite like this in the market today, so naturally we’re really excited about this club and hope you are too!