A review of Beer52, the craft beer delivery service, which I have got really into over the past year.
I first got into Beer52 through a free case offer, but have stuck with it because it has been great. Each month you get 8 or 10 different craft beers from around the world. You can choose the ‘light’ option, which is mostly pale ales, lagers and wheat beers; or the regular option which includes heavier porters and stouts.
There’s a backstory to how I got into it, at the bottom of this post, but you’re probably here for the review, so read on…
Cost of Beer52 subscription
It’s something I look forward to every month, and sure, at £29 for 10 beers it’s quite a lot on the face of it. But the quality is outstanding and I’ve had some stunning tasting beers that I simply wouldn’t have found anywhere else. I’ve also learnt loads thanks to the complementary ‘Ferment’ magazine, which gives tasting notes for each bottle/can and has articles about the brewers or country featured that month.
You save £12 on your first case, which is a great way to try it out.
I get a free case if you stay subscribed, but you don’t have to – it’s easy to cancel online.
Sign up using this link: https://www.beer52.com/join/162843/249147ee3bca1ea2
Problems with Beer52 subscription
Beer52 is delivered by courier, and for people in apartments in city locations, this could be a problem. If your home isn’t easily accessible for deliveries, or if you don’t trust your neighbours, this could be a problem. I am in a suburban area though, so it’s not an issue for me to have the case left with a neighbour or at the back of my house.
Beer52 cases are sent at a fixed time – there is limited flexibility with when it is sent. (With Pact Coffee, one of the features I love is that you can customise your delivery schedule, as well as bring forward and delay deliveries). If you drink it all quickly, and want more, you can order an extra case though, and if you are going on holiday, you can skip a delivery, but it isn’t as flexible as some other delivery services.
If you don’t like strong-tasting beer, it won’t be for you. The beers are small-batch, craft brews that can have intense hoppy flavours. Some of the wheat beers are pretty odd and there are fruit-infused ones with grapefruit, peach and mango in them. To anyone who is looking for more interesting beer though, they are perfect.
If you just want to drink beer and be done with it, Beer52 probably isn’t for you. There is a magazine with articles about brewing and tasting notes for each beer in the case. For the price, what you get includes ‘better understanding of beer’, but only if you are interested in learning a bit more about it.
There’s a risk you’ll become a chin/beard-stroking craft beer snob. This is entirely up to you though! I’ve just learnt what styles I like, which means I can get stuff I like when I’m in the pub or supermarket, making the most of the ever-increasing options for small batch beers out there. (and avoid the stuff I don’t – sours, bleurgh)
If you don’t like dark ales like porters and stouts, don’t worry though. You can sign up to the ‘light’ option, and you won’t receive any of these in your case.
If these issues don’t sound like a problem for you, please sign up using this link: https://www.beer52.com/join/162843/249147ee3bca1ea2
Beer52 vs Honestbrew
Beer52 is a monthly subscription that helps you discover new brewers, beers and beer styles. I like the ‘set and forget’ aspect of it, and although the themed case arrives at a set time every month, it’s something I look forward to. You can still order extra cases if you want, but these are re-orders of the monthly ‘themed’ cases.
Honestbrew is an alternative that is a bit more flexible. It allows you to order your case whenever you want. You can also order individual beers, which you can’t do with Beer52. If you set up a direct debit with them, and you deposit £20 per month, you get £2 ‘free’ to spend on cases when you choose to order. It’s their way of rewarding regular customers. Like Beer52, they have a magazine and useful articles on their website. They don’t have a refer a friend scheme though.
Both offer a monthly subscription, and both allow you to choose mixed style or light. Mixed style includes the heavier beers like porters and stouts. The light option is pale ales, lagers, wheat beers etc.
Honestbrew is better if you really know your beer and know what you want. In my opinion Beer52 is better if you are looking to get more into craft beer, although Honesbrew covers this too. Beer52’s monthly subscription is a bit cheaper if you compare the Beer52 case of 10 with the Honestbrew case of 9.
Beer52 monthly subscription
Mixed or light options
Monthly case of 8 – £24
Monthly case of 10 – £29
*both come with a magazine and a snack
Honestbrew ‘we curate’ option
Mixed or light options
Monthly case of 6 – £22.90
Monthly case of 9 – £29.90
Monthly case of 12 – £36.90
Honestbrew ‘you choose’ option
Monthly direct debit – £20 +£2 free
Why I started subscribing to Beer52
Interesting wee story – my subscription to Beer52 came about in 2016 when the Co-Op got in touch with me on twitter after I had praised their improving range of bottled beers.
— Owen Philipson (@owenp) November 13, 2016
After they saw this tweet, I got invited to an online craft beer tasting – with a free pack of 4 beers. I joined a Google hangout video call and discussed the beers with other tasters. The downside was that I had to drink them all in an hour! I invited friends over to help me finish them off.
— Owen Philipson (@owenp) April 7, 2017
In the end, the Co-Op didn’t expand their craft in the way they expected, and switched to working with the Beer52 monthly delivery service. Again, I got a free case and was asked to rate and review the customer experience and products. I have enjoyed it so much that I stuck with my subscription.
— Owen Philipson (@owenp) August 1, 2018