Craft beer is all the rage these days and pubs are stocking bigger and more varied selections than ever before so it’s no surprise that some web-based beer subscription services have popped up. Edinburgh-based Beer52 is one of those such sites, borne out of a love of discovering new beer they have been around for over a year now so I’m sure most “beeries” already know them. They offer a similar service to Flaviar, which we reviewed recently, and Pact for coffee (which we hope to review soon), unfortunately they attracted some unwanted attention earlier this year following a Groupon deal, mainly as a result of too many vouchers for such a small company and people not reading the fine print properly…
Beer52 asked us if we could kindly review one of their boxes…we’re big beer fans so how could we say no? The subscription based service works like this: each month you receive 8 unusual beers that could be from anywhere in the world, a magazine and some snacks (chocolate or crisps or nuts etc) for £24 (inc. VAT and P+P), so that’s less than £3 a bottle for stuff you won’t find down your local off-licence. We also received a fairly solid looking bottle opener in out introductory pack.
Being the type who frequent beer festivals and Glasgow’s real ale pubs we can boast (currently soberly) that we’ve had thousands of different beers so we were immediately surprised to open our beer box and the find that of the 8 beers in the box we had only seen and tried 1 before (the Dogfish Head & Charles Wells collaboration – DNA New World IPA that was and perhaps still is on tap in Bar Soba on Great Western Road).
So here’s what we thought of the beers:
American pale ale, 4.9% ABV, Netherlands
Initial aroma = mmm, so floral & hoppy with a lively foamy head. A really light pale ale taste with an expected bitter finish. Sadly though it didn’t taste quite as good as the aroma suggested but it was still pretty good and something we’d like to drink again.
Altbier, 7.5% ABV, Germany
Strong & malty with a slight whisky-ish oak cask aroma. A caramel taste with pleasant bitter aftertaste, not thick and tar-like but strong and pretty decent, we would drink this again.
American pale ale, 5% ABV, Spain
REALLY lively, when the bottle opened it um, spurted out! Aroma really nice but with a slightly unfortunate paint tinge to it, but that aside it was smooth & lively with tangy tart fruity bitterness and overall pretty great!
American IPA, 6.6% ABV, Sweden
Good head, lively. Strong beer aroma, a bit tropical with IPA lip-smacking grapefruit bitterness. A beer that’ll put hairs on yer chest! We liked this one too.
Golden ale, 4.7% ABV, Spain
The second Spanish beer in the pack but unlike the first we weren’t into this at all. A plastic aroma. Too fizzy and tasted of…nothing! So not unpleasant, just a bit tasteless – like alcoholic soda water. A beer for people who don’t like beer perhaps?
White beer, 5% ABV, France
Aroma like a white wheaty beer…but perhaps a bit amonia-ish & tasted like something was missing. Bland and well, basically gassy bitter water, a bit like the Cerveza Mica but certainly more unpleasant. We couldn’t finish this one and poured the majority down the sink. 🙁
English IPA, 4.5% ABV, England
Slightly hoppy, perhaps not as much as expected and dark & bitter with caramel sweetness. Pretty good and out sort of beer!
Belgian Strong Pale Ale, 7% ABV, Belgium
We liked the look of this bottle the best and we love Belgian beer so felt we were saving the best for last, were we? Cloudy, good head but not fizzy, sweet & sour champagne-ish Belgian ale with lots of sediment at the bottom. Not our favourite but very good – a real beer that will put hairs on your chest!
Overall, although not all the beers were to our liking the majority were very very good and ones we also knew nothing about, much less tried before and we’re always trying to seek out new beer and improve our Untappd credentials! Beer52 is a great idea and a great way to discover new and unusual beers, many of which we (even a couple of months after trying the beers) still haven’t seen in the shops!
Sign up here and use code FOOD10 for £10 off.
You can also give beer as a gift using their gift card service so it might make the ideal Christmas gift for someone.