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.


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!


Wineification and the Passion of Good Beer

wineificationSo I got invited to this special event last night hosted by a third generation CEO of a hundred year old company that was put on by the USC Marshalls Family Business Program to guide folks on the trials and tribulations of running a family business.  My girls are just about to turn seven so I may be jumping the gun a bit here, but I figured there could be some good stuff for me to think about and indeed there was.

But that’s not what I want to write about today.

So I’m heading out to a pretty amazing home overlooking Cameo Cove in Laguna Beach thinking I should bring the hosts a bottle of wine or something.  I’ve never met either of them.  Have no idea if they like wine or if they drink at all, but then I get to thinking, everybody brings wine and I’ve got a lot of really good beers to share so why not bring something cool from a local brewery thinking they more than likely will never have heard of them, but if they like it, they can get more.  Well I’m lucky enough that The Bruery is one of our local breweries so I grabbed a bottle of 7 Swans a Swimming, a big ass Belgian Quad that would do well with some age on it.  When I met one of the hosts and shared the beer with him, he proceeded to tell me that he was good buddies with Patrick, the owner of The Bruery, that Patrick had just been over the other week hosting a beer tasting, and that he had nothing but beers from The Bruery over at the bar for the event!  How cool is that?  And best of all, he didn’t have 7 Swans in his cellar so I turned him on to that one.

Ten minutes later, as I was laboring over the selection and which beer to try first, I’m introduced to what had to be the biggest beer geek at the event who not only knew about The Rare Beer Club, the owner of the company he worked for was a member!  It wasn’t long before he offered up a glass of The Bruery’s Wineification, a 15.7% glorious beer made by taking Black Tuesday, their landmark Imperial Stout, and fermenting it with late harvest Syrah grapes before aging it in French Oak.  Man, it was nothing short of a religious experience.  I sent a note off to my guy at The Bruery this morning seeing if there was any way to score a few cases of a future run for an RBC special offer.


Jolly Pumpkin’s Rosie del Barrio Lives!

Rosie front 1How cool is this label?  I couldn’t be more pleased with this project. From start to finish, Ron Jeffries, co-founder and head brewer for Jolly Pumpkin, has been super cool about creating a beer to pay tribute to an old friend of mine, Rosie, my 19 year old Maine Coon cat that passed last October.  We wanted to make a big and unique red ale to match his personality and have the beer community and our customers name the beer.  The people chose “Rosie del Barrio”, loosely translated to Rosie in the hood, which is pretty appropriate as he always pretty much made himself at home in my neighbor’s houses and was always largely considered a neighborhood cat.

Ron just sent over the label design today and I absolutely LOVE IT!  It actually really looks a bit like the neighborhood I lived in when we were just starting the business and where Rosie spent his rowdy teenage years.  In fact, the label is pretty much the view from my old bedroom window and front porch. Tom’s house is on the left, Jerry’s on the right.  Rosie in fact did used to jump from Tom’s roof to Jerry’s roof all the time (Not until this day did I note the irony of my neighbors being named Tom & Jerry).  He’d get up on Tom’s roof by climbing a big avocado tree we had in the courtyard.  It was a solid little community and Rosie was a big part of it.

Adam Forman is the artist behind Jolly Pumpkin’s labels and is a longtime friend of Ron and Laurie Jeffries.

Nice work Adam!  Thank you!