Craft Beer Connect is a California-based beer of the month club that was founded in 2012 by two brothers. The brothers had recently moved from the East Coast to San Diego and were amazed by the quality of the local microbreweries. They decided to start a unique monthly beer club that would specialize in Californian breweries and would allow members the option of choosing which beers they wanted to receive each month. CBC currently has relationships established with 42 breweries around the state and features over 200 unique beers, some of which have been produced in such small quantities that you wouldn't ever find them in a local store.
Of the four membership programs CBC offers, the Specialties Club is the most premium one and offers access to their entire inventory of beer. For $60 a month (plus S&H), you will receive six 22-ounce or 750-mililiter bottles of high quality beer. Each shipment will contain two bottles of three different types of beer and a short newsletter that provides updates on the club's recent activity. Membership is ongoing until you cancel and you have until the 22nd of each month to make your beer selections or CBC will choose beers on your behalf. Shipping costs will vary depending on how far from San Diego you are, but prices appear to be competitive with other beer of the month clubs.
We give the Craft Beer Connect Specialties Club (Tier 3) an A- because we have been consistently impressed with the quality and variety of the beers we've received. We also love that you can choose your own beers and easily reference ratings from other members, Rate Beer and Beer Advocate to help make your decisions. We had to deduct a few points because CBC doesn't offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee and also because we wish the shipments included background and tasting notes on the beers. However, CBC is still a relatively young company and we think it will only continue to improve over time. The bottom line is that the beers we've received from the Specialties Club are amazing – some of the best we've ever tasted – and we highly recommend the club to our members.
There aren't any consolidated customer reviews of Craft Beer Connect's beer clubs on independent (unbiased) websites, but it seems like the individual reviews I saw were mostly positive. I have personally been paying for a Specialties Club membership since June 2013 and have been very happy with my experience. I love that you are able to choose which beers you want to receive and that their website includes each beer's ratings from other members, RateBeer and Beer Advocate. Since I'm not from California, I find it especially helpful when trying to discover more obscure breweries.
Whether I have chosen my own beers or let the club choose for me, I have been consistently impressed with the quality and variety of the beers I've received. While I do wish the club offered a satisfaction guarantee, I have never gotten a beer that was bad or had an issue with the shipments. All shipments have consistently arrived on time and in perfect condition. The only other complaint I have and think the club could easily change is including background and tasting notes on the beers in each shipment. This information is on the website, but it is kind of a pain to look it up when you are trying to enjoy your beer. Overall, the CBC's Specialties Club is an awesome beer club, and we would highly recommend it to our members as a gift for themselves or for another beer lover in their life.
* indicates required field