Editor’s Note: This weekly column is sponsored by Georgetown Square Wine and Beer (10400 Old Georgetown Road).
There are numerous reasons why the craft beer renaissance is taking place today. One of those reasons is the exploratory nature of today’s craft beer drinker. Craft beer drinkers are willing to try something new, no matter the brand.
Cognizant of this, craft brewers have made variety 12-packs part of their year-round brewing schedules. It’s a win-win for brewers and consumers. Breweries get to put out a variety of beers they brew and consumers get to taste the newest offerings from the brewery. The goal is for the consumer to find a beer they like without having to purchase an entire six-pack first.
Even though the variety pack trend is hot right now, it’s nothing new.
Sam Adams and other beer industry giants have been carting out variety packs for some time now. The difference: Smaller breweries have jumped on the trend and Sam Adams has started making seasonal variety packs offering beers not sold in any other package.
Now, I can’t order enough Sam Adams seasonal variety pack and Sam Adams can’t make enough. One other interesting thing about variety packs is that they are labor intensive for small craft breweries. They cannot be assembled on your normal packaging line and need to be packed one bottle at a time. So these packs are literally hand made!
I’ve made it a priority for our store to have as many different variety packs as possible, especially during our summer beer season. Customers have responded very well and love picking up a variety 12-packs instead of their usual go-to beer. Here are a few variety 12-packs that we have currently in stock.
Flying Dog Shock and Awe
My favorite local brewery, out of Fredrick, Md., introduced this variety pack two years ago and has quickly become a customer favorite. This pack has great artwork on the outside and tasty beers on the inside. Comes with Flying Dog’s popular IPAs, Raging Bitch IPA and Snake Dog IPA, and two relatively new beers from the brewery, Underdog Atlantic Lager and Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout.
Oskar Blues CANundrum
The CANundrum is one variety pack that craft can beer drinkers have been waiting a long time for. From the makers of the popular Dale’s Pale Ale can beer — which arguably started the craft can revolution — Oskar blues has hit a home run on this variety pack. It arrives at a perfect time in our summer season. This pack has four Dale’s Pale ale, four Mama’s Little Yella Pils, and four Old Chub Scotch Ales. This variety pack is very limited and will not last.
Sam Adams Beers of Summer
Sam Adams is a great brewery. You can give them credit for the entire craft beer explosion. Pending more research, I’m going to go ahead and give them the credit for producing the first craft variety pack as well. Sam Adams is also the first craft brewery to make a variety pack for each season making their variety packs a top seller no matter what time of year. This summer variety pack includes six different types of beers, making it a nice selection: Porch Rocker Lemon Shandy, Sam Summer Ale, Blueberry Hill Lager, Belgian Session, Boston Lager and Little White Rye.
Best of Belgium
InBev, which now owns Budweiser, also owns three juggernaut Belgium everyday drinking favorites. Not new to the market, InBev has been producing Best of Belgium for quite sometime now. It was only available during the winter months, but due to popularity they have started producing it year-round. You can argue this is not a craft variety pack, but nonetheless it is a great variety of good beer. This twelve-pack comes with six Stella Artios, three Leffe Blondes and three Hoegaarden.
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