Read on to find what I thought of the Flavourly Craft Beer Club – a service that delivers a box of craft beers and ales to your door every month. There’s a voucher code for a £12 discount off your first order at the end of the review.
The obvious benefit of home drinking, apart from not having to negotiate your journey back after a few pints, is that it’s a good chance to try something new or out of the ordinary.
That said, unless you’re lucky enough to have easy access to a specialist off-licence like The Bitter Virtue or Casks and Corks where you can buy ale to take away, it’s tempting to drink the same beers over and over again rather than risk buying something that you’re not going to like. And, despite many supermarkets now stocking a more varied selection of beers and ciders, what’s there is limited to the suppliers that their buyers prefer or the ones they can get the best deals on.
This is where it can be beneficial to join one of the mail order beer clubs that are springing up in the UK.
For a fixed subscription fee, they deliver a varying selection of beers to your door regularly – usually once a month.
No more plumping for your “go-to” beer on your weekly shop – now you can let the experts help you discover new brews.
The Craft Beer Club
One of these subscription services is the “Craft Beer Club” from Flavourly.com.
They recently offered me a complimentary craft beer box so that I could try it out. Each beer box includes eight different craft beers and two free snacks. Flavourly also offers a gourmet food delivery service.
I must admit that when I first heard about the Craft Beer Club, I wasn’t sure if it was for me.
Firstly, I’m not the biggest fan of beer in bottles and cans – I usually drink real ale and find that it tastes much better straight from the cask. Hence why I often try to get to a local brewery like Cracklerock to pick up some fresh beer when I’m drinking at home.
I’m also not sure what to make of the “craft beer” movement in the UK as my limited experience of it has consisted of expensive pints at festivals and pretty packaging.
That said, I’d enjoyed drinking bottled beer on my trips to Belgium. And the craft beer I tried at Birra and Blues and Beers and Travels in Valencia certainly hit the spot. So I was interested in giving Flavourly a go.
Ordering and delivery
When you order for the first time, you can choose whether you’d prefer a light, dark or mixed beer box depending on the type of beer you like to drink. I went for the mixed box.
Then you enter a few details such as your email, delivery address and billing info, and choose what membership plan you’d like.
There are four plans ranging in price from £17 a month (where you sign up for 12 months) to the basic monthly plan at £20 (which you can unsubscribe from at any time). You also need to pay postage and packing for each delivery – this comes in at £4 a month. The average monthly cost, per beer, is comparable to other beer clubs such as The Beer Isle, Beer52 and Beer Hawk.
Once you’ve paid, your first delivery will arrive two days later. Delivery is tracked so you’ll get an email from Royal Mail to tell you when they will deliver your beer.
Unpacking and tasting
I was impressed with my beer box when it arrived.
The first thing I saw when I cracked it open was a personalised message welcoming me to the club with an explanation on how to pour beer correctly (something I’m notoriously bad at) and how to get the most out of the experience when sampling it.
On the other side of the sleeve, there was a detailed description of each of the beers as well as information about the breweries they came from.
I also learned that a chap named Arden packed my beer box for me – Flavourly clearly doesn’t want to be another faceless company.
As I dug deeper into my box, I found my free snacks – a packet of cheddar-flavoured tortilla crisps and two small packets of toasted corn kernels – as well as a handy bottle opener and a 2/3 pint Hardknott beer glass – the ideal size for the beers, which mostly come in 330ml servings.
What about the beers then? Here’s what I had in my box (all bottled, except the Fourpure “Amber Ale”):
- Eden Mill “19th Brew Golden Ale” – 3.9%
- Fourpure “Amber Ale” – 5.1%
- Hiver “Brown Honey Ale” – 4.5%
- Stewart “Black IPA” – 5%
- Firebrand “Black Saison” – 5%
- Tempest “Marmalade on Rye” – 9%
- Seven Bro7hers “Seven IPA” – 5%
- Ticketybrew “Rose Wheat Beer” – 4.5%
(Arden also chucked in an additional Innis and Gunn “Rum Finish” beer.)
I actually held off drinking any beers for a few days on account of receiving my package in the middle of the week. I finally gave in as we sat in the garden on a warm Friday evening.
I started with the Ticketybrew beer to go alongside some barbecued sea bass, which was a very tasty wheat beer made with ginger. Next, I had the “Seven IPA”. With more than a hint of citrus, this was perfect for the summer. So far, so good – I’d even forgotten that I was drinking bottled beer.
Over the next few days I sampled a few more including the high-strength “Marmalade on Rye” beer from the Tempest brewery.
It didn’t taste of marmalade. But that’s probably a good thing as I drank it with some fish and chips. I wasn’t so keen on the Eden Mill or Fourpure beers.
Overall, it was the “Seven IPA” that stuck out as the one I’d like to have more of. It’s handy then that Flavourly have an online shop where you can buy the craft beers you enjoy most. You can also rate your favourites in your account on the website – they say this helps them understand your tastes so that they can send you more of the beer you like in the future.
Flavourly.com’s Craft Beer Club is a great little service for those who like to enjoy a drink at home. With eight new beers delivered every month, there’s no pressure to rattle through them all before the next batch arrives. The way that your receive your delivery – with tasting notes and interesting snacks – is nice, too.
The only thing that puts me off slightly is the cost – £24 a month for the basic membership equates to around £3 per 330ml bottle, which is quite high when you factor in that you’re not drinking in the pub. You do get to discover new beers and support independent breweries though – something you’re less likely to do if you buy your beer from one of the big supermarkets.
The important questions is, am I now a craft beer convert? If the average craft beer is as tasty as some of the beers in my craft beer box, I might well be…
Info: Flavourly offer new customers £5 off their first beer box. But you can get £12 off when you sign up using the voucher code TOM12. That means you can get your first box for only £12 – that’s only £1.50 per beer.
Disclaimer: Flavourly didn’t charge me anything for this box of beer. In other words, it was free.