IPA has become huge in North America following the craft beer renaissance that happened in the early 2000s. Since then many businesses and companies have tried to ride this wave with deals and offers to draw the craft-sceptics in. One of these business tactics, that is pretty helpful, is the IPA beer club.
The idea of a beer club is that you subscribe a certain amount to a company and they will curate little boxes full of IPA that they have sourced from all over the US, and occasionally from the whole world.
Certain companies cater towards the experienced IPA drinker who wants the interesting and premium brands, others cater towards beginners and introduce styles by giving context and tasting notes to read while you drink.
Who knew beer drinking could be educational? Finding the right company to provide you with a subscription can be hard, and those who support the local breweries so that their brick and mortar sites don’t go out of business can be really important too.
Beer clubs are great at getting the novices and curious involved and help them understand different varieties of IPA, and ultimately which tastes they enjoy.
Much like wine or whiskey, it can seem an impenetrable market until you have had some experience tasting things and figuring out which styles of IPA you like and which ones you don’t like, whether that’s West Coast IPA or New England IPA, beer drinking has become a choose your own adventure story.
However, a subscription of any kind can be a relatively long term investment, so it can be important to in the know with which beer club is best for you before you fork out the dough.
In this guide we have found what we see as the best IPA clubs on the market, and have detailed what each club offers, and what each club focuses on, so that you can find the right beer club for you.
OUR TOP PICK
Hop Heads Beer Club focuses on IPAs and the more hop-centric brews on the market.
If you particularly love the hoppy and hazy IPAs then this is a subscription which focuses on the styles you already love, although if you aren’t maybe consider another beer club.
That doesn’t mean that they just serve you crazy hoppy beer, rather they enjoy finding all the different hop varieties and flavors out there so you can try them.
This translates into a variety of hoppy beer styles including IPA styles, IPL styles and other Pale and Red Ales, so they aren’t only limited to IPAs, although this hoppy style is their focus.
In the pack you receive four bottles (or three cans) of three different beers. This is where your specific preferences come in.
While you get less variety per package, with Hop Heads you get more samples of the one brand, this allows you to really get a taste for a beer brand and see if you like it.
Having 12 different varieties could cause a lot of palette confusion.
With each package you get Hop Heads newsletter ‘Malt of the Earth’ where you can find detailed tasting notes as well as the brewers story, food recommendations, and details about the brew itself (ABV, IBU, etc).
This comes from the experts rather than beer fans, which we love, from genuine ex-brewers and beer experts so you are getting the best bang for your buck.
- Beer is reviewed and chosen by experts who spend time on their choices
- Plenty of IPA styles
- Beers from both the US and from abroad
- 3 beer styles and 4 bottles (or 3 cans) of each, if you like the beer then this can be great, if you come across one you don’t like you might feel hard done by.
- Focus on hoppy styles means it isn’t accessible to newcomers.
This beer club is one for the IPA fanatics. The Rare Beer Club offers the most exclusive and rare beers on offer that month, which is really helpful to the beer fanatics who want to stay up to date on releases and not have to spend their day doing the research, The Rare Beer club has people to do it for you.
As this beer club sources beers from across the world, you can’t really compensate for the service they provide.
How else are you going to get an exclusive limited edition beer from Germany and a limited micro brew from Oregon delivered straight to your door?
Don’t worry, they change each month. Don’t expect this service to be cheap due to the premium level of service you are getting here, that service is exclusive access to limited brews and researched and sourced rare beers.
We love the customizability of their club’s subscription too, as well as some other cool and defining features.
The beers usually come in a 750ml bottle size, although if this is less then you will get more bottles, which splits the difference between 12 individual beers and 4 bottles of 3 varieties.
Also, depending on how much you drink, or want to spend, you can change the size of the order pretty easily. You can choose from either simply 2 bottles, 4 bottles, or 6 bottles. 6 bottles is the equivalent in volume to a crate of 12 normal sized bottles.
What is great about the Rare Beer Club is that they have a personalized shipping programme.
This personalized shopping programme means that you can choose the size of each month's order, re-order past favorites, swap out beers you might not want for past favorites, choose not to receive one of the beers, and even skip the entire shipment.
This enables a great amount of customizability so that you don’t waste precious beer.
- Customizability of orders
- The rarity and exclusivity of the featured beers
- International and US sourced beer
- Detailed newsletter from experts
- The featured beers and price isn’t accessible to everyone.
For those who want an all-American lineup, the US Microbrewed Beer club is for you.
Each month you receive 3 bottles of 4 different US-based brewers, guaranteeing the best craft brews made in the US that month. Not only is this for the red blooded Americans among us, but is also quite accessible to the craft beer newcomer.
Moreover, if your interest lies in the American craft beers, then this is a great choice for you. Many people enjoy a focus on Us brewers because they know there will be a chance they can potentially catch one of these on draught at a local bar.
One thing we love is that you get a different style of beer for each brew they chose, so there’s no duplicate styles. This allows the customer to get a good variety of styles and try new styles they hadn’t had the chance to before.
The monthly newsletter you get in each box can be a little more interesting in this club as they are based in the US you might find more time to read the brewers stories.
As the American craft beer market is constantly growing and changing you can guarantee that there will be a lot of variety in each month's box.
The curators of each box have a great relationship with the respective brewers so you know you're getting the most exclusive and choice beers on the market.
- American focussed curation
- Supports local brewers
- Always new styles
- Doesn’t have the exclusive choices other bespoke brands will offer the IPA connoisseur.
- No international brews here.
At Craft Beer Kings, unsurprisingly, they offer some great craft beer subscription boxes. One of their options is the IPA subscription.
This gets you 6 or 12 16 ounce cans from some of the best brewers around. Expect Hazy IPAs, Hazy DIPAs, and Triple IPAs, and more, to enjoy. If you specifically enjoy the Hazy IPA style, they also have a box for that too.
Craft Beer Kings are based in LA, and if you are too you are in luck as they have two physical sites in the LA county which allow you to go into the store and physically pick up some of the beers from your box that you enjoyed, with an added discount from your box.
We think this makes up for the lack of quantity per style, you only get one can per style/brand but if you really like one then you can go into the store, or online, and buy it too.
Also worth noting is that ground delivery is covered by Craft Beer Kings, so you don't have to worry about that extra cost which is great as transporting alcohol does have some expensive shipping costs.
Craft Beer Kings are a really accessible brand with both pricing and the selection of beers too, so if you are new this could be an interesting choice for you.
Your subscription can be altered slightly by skipping orders but you can actually cancel anytime with no extra fee.
- Delivery costs are covered
- Can cancel anytime without fees
- Really accessible to the novices
- Brick and mortar shops where you can buy your favorite brands
- Only one can/bottle per brand
- Lack of limited and exclusive brands
Tavour runs a highly customisable beer club through the use of their modern app. Tavour works with over 600 independent brewers across America, and with at least two new beers being introduced to the menu everyday, you can guarantee that there is something for everyone on there.
Tavour’s service gives you high customizability with unique craft beers from across the globe.
The idea with this club is that you can make your own box rather than having them chosen for you, this means you can easily pick the beers that you know you will like while also choosing outliers you haven’t tried before.
This type of box is great for those experienced IPA drinkers who know what they like and what they want.
However, if you are newer to the IPA and craft beer game you can easily opt for their option where you can fill out a survey that will narrow down the tastes you may enjoy.
Based on your survey they will choose beers for you that they will think you will enjoy, you can rely on their experts to know the safe choices as well as the left of field beers that you may actually really like.
Having a choice to choose the bers you like or to trust the experts make this beer club suitable to both beginners, experts, and everything in between. If you are an IPA connoisseur seeking the most limited microbrews then Tavour has that too.
The ease of using their app makes choosing your favorite beers easier than ever and from the safety of your armchair. You can save the trees with this club as the tasting notes and food pairings, etc, are all stored on the app and are easy to look up.
While everything is located on the app, it would be great if there was access to a website for the off the grid hipsters and oldtimers among us who don't have smartphones.
- How easy teh app is to use
- At least two new beers every day
- Being able to rely on the experts to choose or deciding to have your own customisable crate chosen by yourself.
- Modern apps may cut out the older demographic
- Premium prices aren’t accessible to everyone
Our Final Word
Beer clubs are a great way to get into the craft beer community, or simply to expand your already existing enjoyment of IPAs.
As the American market for craft beer continues to grow you should expect to find many more beer clubs especially as things start to move away from the highstreet.
The American market for craft beer is constantly changing and experimenting with new things, so if you purely want to keep an eye on what this market has to offer, a beer subscription service is a great place to get a swatch card of the industry in the US.
If you have local breweries nearby then this may not be the best choice for you. While beer clubs are fun they are for the drinking introvert.
Many people enjoy going to local breweries and seeking out these rare and exclusive brews in person. While beer clubs are really cool, practical and helpful, let's not forget about the humans behind the taps who brew and pour beer for us.
Don’t forget to support your local craft brewer, as no matter where you are in the US, we can guarantee that there will be some local micro breweries nearby who will have exclusive stuff on tap.
Moreover, if you are a newbie, there is nothing like speaking to an educated human being in order to settle upon what your specific flavor preferences are.
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