30 June 2010

Beer of the Month Club

Many years ago, sometime in the early-to-mid-90s, I got one of those unsolicited phone calls from a Beer of the Month Club who wanted me to subscribe to their services. I told them that I lived in Texas, and that I thought they would have a problem delivering their product. They assured me there would be no problem, so I gave them my credit card. I never heard from them again. No charge on the card, no phone call, no nothing. So I assumed that Beer of the Month Clubs were illegal in Texas.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from Dan Sullivan of Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club, who asked if I would be interested in a sample of their service. Let's see. . . Free Beer? Sure! Why not! I do not know if this is the same company that contacted me all those years ago, although they have been around since 1994.

In the interests of fairness, let me assure you that I have never been paid for a post. I took the sample, and told Dan I would review the service honestly. Dan replied that was what he was looking for. At this moment I do not subscribe to the Beer of the Month Club, and I am telling you about my experiences. Except for the free beer, I have not been paid for this review.

Ok, first off, we had some communication issues. My web hosting software labeled Dan's email as spam, and my replies got caught in their spam filter. So my package arrived while I was at NHC in Minneapolis. Fortunately I had my mail covered so the package was taken inside to await my return. The package I received was The International & Domestic Variety Beer Club that costs $29 a month.

I opened the box to find a four page pamphlet describing this month's beers: Cottrell Brewing Old Yankee Ale; Atlanta Brewing Company Red Brick Blonde Ale; Carlow Brewing Company Curim Gold Celtic Wheat Beer; and Oxfordshire Ales Pride of Oxford Ale. The newsletter gave a brief history of each brewery a description of the beers including all the stats that us homebrewers love: IBUs, malts and hops. It even suggested the best glassware. The only thing missing was a short list of foods that the beer could be paired with. For example, the blonde ale could be paired with chicken, salmon, bratwurst; Monterey Jack cheese, brick or similar light nutty cheese;light apricot or mandarin cake;lemon custard tart. A small thing, but since there were two sessions about food pairings at NHC this year, it would have been a nice addition.

Under the pamphlet was a nice packaging system that kept the bottles separated and safe. Look, I know that UPS requires all packaging to be able to survive a 4 foot drop. This packaging system looks like it could do that, even though the box was in perfect shape. A rare first for UPS in my experience. I have had computers arrive in more mishandled boxes than this. I honestly think UPS asks us if things are fragile just so they can see if they can break them.

So I inspected the beers. Turns out, I didn't get the Old Yankee Ale, but instead got Mystic Bridge IPA. But there at the bottom of the box was a note that told me they got the wrong beer in the newsletter. No worries.

I'll be honest here: I probably won't subscribe to Beer of the Month Club anytime soon. I don't even have a NetFlix account that costs $9 a month, for crying out loud! I have other, more frivolous bills to pay. But, I can't complain about any of the service. The box arrived in great condition, and the selection was amazing.

If you have the quatloos to spend on this, I think it would be worth it. As for me. . .

Well, let's just say that blogging doesn't pay as well as it used to.

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posted by Jeff Holt at 05:57

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