Can one beer club appeal to everyone? Noble Brewer attempts to find out!
I wanted to go in a bit of a different direction with this review and review not just a single beer, but a beer “club”. If you’re anything like me, you like to sample lots of different beer styles from many different brewers. It isn’t often that I go into the store and pick up a 15 pack of a beer that I have had a lot of, even if I enjoy it. I am constantly looking for variety in my beer drinking and I thought this type of club could put beers in my hand that are both unique and excellent. With the added bonus, of course, that I don’t have to leave my house.
Enter Noble Brewer. They offer the homebrewer a way to sell their wares to the public since it is illegal for a homebrewer to sell their beer. Every quarter, they select four award winning homebrew recipes to produce, bottle and send to the club participants. Each comes in a 22 oz bottle with a pamphlet describing the beer and the history of the brewer who made the recipe. For the luxury of having award winning beer delivered to your doorstep, you will have to give up $42. That amount doesn’t seem terribly unreasonable to me since bombers of short run beer at the local store can run you anywhere from $9 to $16 depending on the type you choose.
I just received my first shipment a couple of days ago and I’m anxious to tell you what I think of each beer in the shipment as well as tell you my first impressions of the service itself.
First out of the chute was Paul Hilse’s Angels Nectar Dunkel Weizenbock. This brew was a beautiful brown color. It had the characteristic yeasty, slightly sour taste of a german wheat beer with the slight sweet additions from the malts. It was the highest ABV of the shipment at 8.3% and 27 IBU. It was good, but was practically flat right out of the bottle which I hate. This selection was 3.5 kegs for me.
Next was West Coast Kolsch from Kevin Nanzer. This was light and refreshing with lots of citrusy hops. It’s described as a belgian but tastes a lot like a session IPA, drinkable and fresh. This one was 5.5% and 62 IBU. Definitely session IPA territory there and definitely tasty. I give this selection 4 Kegs
The third to hit my glass was Hazelnut Coffee Blonde Ale by Jason Coleman. It’s 5% and 24 IBU. This one was interesting and probably the most bold inclusion in the box. To preface this, I have to say that I love coffee, but it has to be hot. I think iced coffee is the single most disgusting thing in a cup. That being said, it probably won’t surprise you that I didn’t care for this. The coffee and hazelnut weren’t there when you smell it and that is where coffee shines for me. The smell of fresh ground coffee beans or a fresh pot off the brewer is great in the morning. Sipping from the glass, you can taste the attempt at hazelnut and coffee, but for me it tastes more like something trying to taste like coffee rather than coffee. A strange chemical-like taste. This one was probably my least favorite of the selections I tried. This I give 3 Kegs.
Last but not least was the Jaded Little Pale American Pale Ale from Dan Picciano coming in at 5.5% and 23 IBU. This one was probably my favorite out of the bunch with the Kolsch running a very close second. It was a beautiful amber color with great effervescence lending to great mouth feel. At 5.5% it’s something you can drink a lot of and the low IBU won’t wear out your taste buds. The jade hops add just a touch of pepper and citrus to the flavor profile but it doesn’t overwhelm the brew. Solid 4 Kegs there.
So, now that I have sampled each one of this quarters selections I can say I like the idea of this club. It doesn’t break the bank and the deliveries are only once per quarter so it doesn’t feel like you’re spending a lot of your beer budget. On the downside, I think they are a bit conservative in the beer selection. I wouldn’t say any of these beers were really pushing the envelope and they would appeal to a wide variety of subscribers. This is probably what a club like this strives to do, as one bad brew (in one person’s mind) could put someone off the service entirely. Personally, I think I would like to see a bit of envelope pushing with the occasional blatant shove out into the homebrew limelight. For now, I will keep the service and let you know what the fall shipment brings!
If you want to check out what Noble Brewer has to offer (they have more than just this offering) check out www.noblebrewer.com
They also have a presence on twitter @NobleBrewerBeer