This week, I’ve been back in the UK. I decided that this is the perfect opportunity to try out Beer52, a monthly beer subscription operating in the UK.
So how much does this delicious idea cost and what do you actually get for your money? Well what I have here is the 10 beer box, which would normally set you back £29 per month. This includes 10 beers, a magazine, and a small snack. I got this box as part of a special promotion (I think through the Untappd app), and I just had to pay the postage costs. They also have a £24 per month subscription for a box of 8 beers. To be honest, I’m not sure what the point is in having two sizes which are almost the same but I guess it means you have some choice. If you are not bothered about a snack or the magazine, you can ask for them to be left out and it will save you a bit of money.
Alongside the beer, the box also contains a small magazine called Ferment, and a small snack. In this case Pitta crisp type things. The magazine is a nice little addition with some decent articles, as well as giving a brief overview of the breweries that produce the beer in the box. In the magazine, there’s also well as a short tasting guide, a couple of food recipes, and a single homebrew recipe. The snack is fine, but doesn’t exactly add much value to the box.
Each month, the selection of beers you’ll find arriving at your door is themed in some way. Unsurprisingly, this month’s theme is the Six Nations. For those of you living outside of Europe, the Six Nations is a rugby tournament between the six significant rugby-playing nations in Europe: Wales, England, Ireland, Scotland, France, and Italy. This is an excellent excuse to play without New Zealand, because if New Zealand play, they might win, and that wouldn’t be fun for anybody would it?
So how are the six nations represented in this box?
– Tempest Brewing co., Scotland x1
– Boss Brewing, Wales x2
– Blacks Brewery, Ireland x1
– The White Hag, Ireland x2
– Ninkasi, France x1
– ORA, Italy x2
– Five Points Brewing, England x 1
So there’s a decent variety from the six nations, with perhaps Ireland slightly over-represented (but that is not necessarily a bad thing). Here’s the style break down of the box:
– 2x Pale Ales
– 3x IPAs
– 1x Saison
– 1x Blanche (wheat beer)
– 1x Brown Ale
– 1x Porter
– 1x Stout
In terms of style, I get that American style fruity Pale Ales and IPAs are very popular at the moment and to sell boxes a company will have to include one or two, but half of the box seems like a bit much to me. Especially considering the wealth of traditional styles of the Six Nations that could be explored. Basically where is my Wee Heavy and my Red Ale and my Barleywine?
That said, I am intrigued by a lot of what this box has to offer. I can’t wait to crack open the ORA Limoncello IPA, brewed with real lemons. And as popular as it is across the pond at the moment, I’ve still never had a Brut IPA so I’m hoping that Grand Slam by Blacks brewery will delivery that bone-dry finish I’ve been waiting for. All in all, these are probably not the beers that I would have picked out for myself. But that’s a good thing. This is clearly where the true value of this sort of subscription service lies, in digging out the sort of stuff you wouldn’t even think of looking for.
So the big question: Is the monthly subscription worth it? Errm… maybe? At £2.90 a beer, Beer52 is definitely more expensive than your average supermarket. But then it should be more expensive than a supermarket. After all, this is a nice selection of beers delivered straight to your door. Whether or not this is worth it depends on how much money you have to spend, how much time you have on your hands, and how good your local shops are.
If you have a decent amount of money to spend on trying out new beers but don’t have the time to spend shopping for them yourself, or if you do not have a good shop nearby to get your beer, then this could be the ideal solution for you. If, however, you are a bit strapped for cash, there are certainly cheaper ways of getting beer. It’s important to remember that the point of drinking beer is to enjoy the beer, not to add as many different breweries to your list or drinking app. There is absolutely nothing wrong with saving a bit of money by sticking to the local beers that you know and love. It’s great to try new things and I would never tell anyone they shouldn’t use a beer subscription service, nor would I rule out using it myself sometime in the future. It’s also important to remember though, that by drinking locally, you not only support your local breweries but, through reducing the miles your bottles and cans have travelled, you can also help to reduce the negative impact that your drinking has on the environment.
Will I continue to use Beer52? Well, right now I’m only back in the UK for a week so this was a bit of a one-off. I might try it again in the future, but that depends on where I end up living. If I end up somewhere with a really good beer shop with a good selection and regular new beers, that I can visit in person, and get excellent advice from people who know what they’re on about, then no, I probably wouldn’t use Beer52 again. If, however, I didn’t live near an amazing shop like that, then I would definitely consider using Beer52 again. If you feel like you’ve tried most of what you can get hold of locally, and you have the money to spend a bit more on beer, then I think you should at least consider Beer52 as a possible solution to your thirst-quenching problems.
What do you think? Would you try one of these subscription box deals? Or maybe you already do? Let me know in the comments below. If you fancy trying out Beer 52 yourself, you can check out their website here.