I’d like to think that I know you, men. If you join us here at Gear Patrol regularly, there’s a pretty good chance that you belong amongst a rare breed of man. You represent that intransigent quality within the human spirit which is never content with the status quo. As always, we here at Gear Patrol salute you. However, undertaking this journey together sometimes means that hard, yet true words must be spoken. It sometimes means that petty comforts which have served us in the past but now impede our aspirational path must be purged from our midst. Yes, my fellow men, I will boldly name the scourge that is too often tolerated in our circles: cheap, unworthy beer.
If your idea of proper refreshment, relaxation, or celebration calls for a six-pack of PBR tall boys or High Life, then I am bound to inform you that there is a better way (full disclosure: I love nearly all beers, including the aforementioned “Champagne of Beers”). I would urge you to consider the broadening of your beer drinking horizons a matter of crucial importance and urgency. Luckily, we have found you an excellent tutor and mentor. Whether your be unschooled in the enjoyment of quality brews or seeking to lay hands on a variety of delicious bottles, you’ll be pleased to become acquainted with The Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club.
I have long heard of the mythical existence of various “Beer of the Month Clubs,” and so I wanted to find out if they were more than a mere wishful dream and, if so, which was the crème de la crème. Having performed an exhaustive search and comparison, I am confident in saying that The Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club is a standout in the field. Established in 1994, the MBMC offers its patrons their choice of 4 membership plans which include lightly distributed domestic brews, beers from international breweries, and collector’s varieties, as well as an combined international and domestic subscription (Gear Patrol’s recommendation).
We sampled February 2009′s monthly shipment and were well pleased to do. On the domestic side it included Abita Brewing Company’s Jockamo IPA as well as Mercury Brewing Company’s Ipswich Nut Brown Ale, both of which were excellent. Internationally, the selections were both from EKU Brauerei in Kulmbach, Germany. We received both EKU 28 (an 11% beast that serves best as a digestif) as well as their Classic Pils. Though a simple Pilsner, the EKU Pils might have been my favorite of the bunch, having taken the crown by purely sentimental means. Its slight bitterness and crisp finish took me immediately back to the local gasthauses that I remember fondly from my days in Germany.
The pièce de résistance of membership in The Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club is this: your educational need will be as well attended to as those of your taste buds. Each MBMC shipment arrives with an informative microbrew primer, cleverly disguised as a simple newsletter. You’ll enjoy expanding your beer knowledge (nearly) as much as you enjoy precious nectar to which it pertains. The MCMC also has sister clubs that offer monthly selections of wine, cheese, chocolates, cigars, and flowers. All of which offer the same level of excellent service and selection as their beer-shipping brother. If you are looking for a great gift idea, look no further. Particularly, if you are looking to give yourself the gift that truly keeps on giving.
Cost: $29 + S&H for the International & Domestic Variety Club (as sampled by Gear Patrol)
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