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You’ve likely seen or heard of plenty of different clubs for beer lovers, but if you’re looking exclusively for IPAs, the pickings can be rather slim. There’s a reason for that.
Tomme Arthur, co-founder and COO of Port Brewing and The Lost Abbey, explains: "An all IPA (or IPA-focused club) would have some great upsides and a few downsides as well. In terms of consumerism, I feel a club like this would allow the very fresh beer to be shipped from brewery to consumer. That's a win at a time when the freshest IPAs are less than a couple of weeks old––this allows the beers to be sampled and judged with less oxidation, which is the chief staling mechanism in hoppy beers."
Because IPAs have such a brief window of freshness, clubs are obligated to keep a much closer eye on stock than they would with other beer styles, and members simply need to consume their orders in a timely manner. With the latter in mind, if you love hoppy brews and are game to go through your cans or bottles relatively quickly, an IPA club might be perfect for you. Here, we explore a select few of the best on the market.
The Best IPA Clubs
Craft Beer Kings: Best Overall
Craft Beer Kings, a Los Angeles-based retailer and beer club, is perhaps the most well-rounded in the game. The online shop’s selection is impressive—you can peruse a boatload of different beers, along with meads, ciders, seltzers, wines, snacks, and more—and the variety doesn’t end there.
On the subscription front, Craft Beer Kings offers almost a dozen different themed clubs that together cater to every kind of craft beer enthusiast out there, and you’ll find IPAs in at least four of them. Whether you opt for the general IPA club or Hazy IPAs, or a combination box (choose from the IPAs and Sours or Stouts and IPAs monthly subscription plan), you know you’ll be getting a fresh and fun assortment of 16-ounce cans each month based on your tastes.
Each of these clubs offers a choice of six- or 12-can boxes, except the Hazy IPAs club, which only offers a six-can option. Six-can shipments are roughly $60 (about $10 per can) and 12-can boxes are around $100 (approximately $8 per can).
Shipping is included with all Craft Beer Kings shipments, which is a huge plus as alcohol delivery costs are notoriously pricey at times. While there’s no fixed-month option at signup, you can simply subscribe to any of these clubs and cancel without penalty whenever you’d like.
Craft Beer Kings ships to most states.
Half Time: Best Value
Great beers and reasonable prices always make for a satisfying combination. With Half Time’s Hop Head Beer Club, you can look forward to a monthly delivery of 12, 12-ounce cans of craft ales from six different breweries at roughly $96 per box maximum (you get a slight discount if you sign up for one of the longer plans).
With shipping included, this club makes its way around the map with selections from England, Asia, Belgium, and the United States. As far as the selections go, Half Time does its best to strike a balance between rare beers, unique styles, new releases, and breweries big and small.
Choose from a three-, six-, or 12-month IPA club plan; or, if you don’t want to commit right away, you can always shop Half Time’s IPA or general selection on your own via the website’s Domestic or Imported craft beer tabs.
Gluten-free options are also available.
The Hop-Heads Beer Club: Best Customizable
With a handful of different subscriptions for the food- and drink-obsessed, Beer of the Month Club offers something for just about everyone, including IPA die-hards.
This top-rated club focuses on the breadth of the IPA category and the hoppy beer landscape as a whole. In addition to IPAs, as a member of Beer of the Month Club’s Hop-Heads Beer Club, you’ll receive double, hazy, and session IPAs along with IPLs (and imperial and session IPLs), hoppy red and pale ales, and more.
What sets Beer of the Month Club’s selections apart is how they’re chosen: The company’s beer tasting panel has over a century of experience in the industry (collectively) and they taste everything themselves, rating over 500 different brews annually, only 20% of which end up in club members’ deliveries. These guys also have the added benefit of strong brewer and importer relationships, and through that, they’re able to offer an abundance of exclusive club beers that nonmembers won’t have access to.
Seasonality is also a big factor in club selections. When it comes to tailoring the logistics of your club experience, Beer of the Month Club’s various themed subscriptions each offer plenty of shipment flexibility, which is something you won’t see with a lot of other beer clubs.
Choose the number of boxes you or the recipient will be receiving (the options range from two to 12 bundles, or you can select an ongoing membership). Then, select when over the next four months you’d like the membership to begin. From there, you can decide how often you’d like the shipments to be sent out (monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly) and whether you’d prefer to be billed upfront or by shipment.
Pricing ranges from about $100 for two boxes to roughly $600 for 12; these numbers reflect box prices with shipping and handling included. Bonus: Order three shipments or more, and you’ll receive a pro bottle opener at no cost.
HonestBrew IPA and Pale Ale Subscription: Best International
HonestBrew has found a lot of fans in its time. For instance, Dwight Zähringer, a co-founder of an event production company in Cabo San Lucas that's heavily involved in international tourism, says "The HonestBrew Pale Ale and IPA subscription box is the way to go if you're like me: a huge fan of traveling and experiencing global flavors in hoppy beers.”
According to Zähringer, HonestBrew sources and features brews from all over the world, and not just the usual European suspects. What that means is encountering a diverse range of IPAs by country, hop-growing conditions, and regional brewing techniques.
When it comes to choosing your box, you can select six (about $27 per box), nine (around $35), or 12 beers (roughly $43). And when it comes to cancellations, they're hassle-free, and pausing shipments is easy. UK-based members receive free, quick delivery on orders over about $59, but if you’re ordering from elsewhere in the world, expect longer wait times and varying shipping rates. Note: as of January 2021, international shipping has been temporarily suspended.
Hairless Dog Brewing Company: Best Alcohol-Free
Let’s face it: Even if you’re not consuming alcohol, you should still be able to enjoy your drink of choice at any given time. In case you thought alcohol-free beer clubs weren’t a thing, we’ve got some good news: Hairless Dog Brewing Company is not only an entirely alcohol-free craft brewer, but it also offers a handful of different clubs for those who wish to partake without the alcohol content.
Founded by “two beer-loving friends who quit drinking but not living," Hairless Dog’s current non-alcoholic beer offerings include an IPA, black ale, Citra Lager, and coffee stout, all of which are available in subscription format either on their own or as combination packs.
When you subscribe, you essentially sign up for a regular case delivery at a 5% discount; IPA lovers can select from an IPA-only subscription or a variety pack split down the middle between IPAs and Citra Lagers. All subscriptions are about $42 per case, are shipped and billed on a monthly basis, and can be canceled at any time without penalty.
Domestic shipping is a flat-rate ground shipping fee of around $5, which is quite the steal. Note: In order to preserve flavor and aroma, Hairless Dog does not use filtration, so you might see a bit of sediment here and there.
How We Chose the Best IPA Beer Clubs
We consider it perpetually important to make sure there’s something for everyone—in this case, that translated to ensuring style variety, international and domestic options, a healthy price range, and selections for those not consuming alcohol, to name a few.
The IPA category isn’t as limited as some might think—there’s bitter and then there’s not-so-bitter; high alcohol and less alcohol (session IPAs and zero-ABV, for example); and hoppy, and the hop-and-malt combo that is a double or imperial IPA. And, of course, the beer type can take us all over the flavor and mouthfeel spectrums from bitter-forward to fruit-laden and from creamy to sharp and zingy.
While we made sure to tick all the boxes here, it really comes down to you following your personal preferences, and if you’re not quite sure what those look like yet, a subscription with a healthy variety (such as one of Craft Beer Kings mixed IPA clubs or Beer of the Month Club’s Hop-Heads Beer Club) should do just the trick.
What Is an IPA Beer Club?
An IPA beer club is like any other beer subscription, just focused on IPAs, either exclusively or as a prominent component of a mixed selection. Some of these clubs charge upfront and some bill monthly, or they might offer a choice between the two. There are beer subscriptions that include shipping in their pricing and some that charge for shipping separately, so that’s something to be aware of. If you’ve never tried an IPA (short for India Pale Ale), here are a few things you should know:
- IPAs are a subcategory of the pale ale category and are hoppy by definition.
- There are several different styles of IPAs: New England IPAs (also known as Hazy IPAs), Session IPAs, Belgian IPAs, English-Style IPAs, and Imperial (or Double) IPAs, to name a few. To determine which style you prefer, consider opting for a club with a good variety of IPAs and narrowing it down as you go.
- More often than not, you can send this kind of club as a gift, which is great to keep in mind for holidays, birthdays, and the like.
What Is Included in an IPA Beer Club?
The specifics of what’s included in your box depends entirely on which club you’ve joined, but you can generally expect anywhere from three to 12 cans or bottles of expertly selected beer, usually a mix (unless you’re subscribing to one specific beer, such as Hairless Dog’s monthly case subscription). Often, the beers will be accompanied by details on the brews and the stories behind them, and some also include swag here and there.
How Much Does an IPA Beer Club Cost?
The IPA beer clubs we’ve featured cost as little as around $30 per box (plus shipping) and go up from there. Pricing is influenced by frequency, the number of cans or bottles in your shipment(s), and whether or not shipping is included in the cost. Many of these clubs offer a discount for longer subscriptions.