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Episode 146 – Green Flash – Le Freak vs Port Brewing – Wipe Out IPA

Complete run down of the Beer Hoptacular. Four More Beers! Beer Auctions go big time?

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Episode 145 – AleSmith Ipa vs Speakeasy Prohibition Ale

5 Rabbit now at Chipotle. Half Acre tap room officially open. BCS bramble rye drinking well. River North Wine and Bourbon barrel saisons head to head.

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Episode 144 – Anchor – Old Forghorn vs Dogfish Head – Punkin Ale

Buffalo Trace coming clean. Springfield Brewpub Obed and Isaacs. Barley Genome project. DDBA vs Sucaba.

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Episode 143 – Founders – Harvest Ale vs New Belgium – (Red) Hoptober

Big beer boxes and brewery memberships. Cellar math. Trunk beers.

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Episode 142 – Two Brothers – Resistance IPA vs Great Divide – Barrel Aged Old Ruffian

Special Guest: Steve Kadlec. We talk with Steve about his recent trip to Michigan, as well as GABF weekend.

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Episode 141 – Ale Asylum – Hopalicious vs Stone – Russian Imperial Stout

Sour tastings, atom bombs and Budweiser.

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Episode 141

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Online Beer Retail Innovations Part 3

This is the third part in a 3 part series (Part 1, Part 2) detailing experiences with using new and innovative online beer retailers. Many physical retailers have sold beer via an online presence for years, but only recently has the model been updated and focused directly on online sales, and sometimes without an affiliated retail location.


Craftbeerconnect.com

I was referred to this site by Adam Nason over at BeerPulse. This site is a blend of Netflix and a beer of the month club. Basically you queue up beers you would like to buy and each month they send you a box of 6 (2 of each) of the beers in your queue. (If you have nothing in your queue, will they choose for you? This part is unclear and I did not test.) It is fairly easy to browse their limited selection of mostly California breweries. They were “out” of some things like Russian River stuff, though I am not sure why as that should be plentiful in CA. I am also not sure how they can be “out” of something if they only do shipments once a month?

Setting up your queue of beers is easy enough. The hard part is the waiting. You know what beers will come, but there is no instant gratification as with other online shipping experiences.

In a single simple comparison to bineandvine.com – pricing is somewhat cheaper – $66 total for a case of 6 bottles with CraftBeerConnect, or $90-100 for the same 6 bottles including shipping at BineandVine (pricing is similar if you were able to pickup in person in California at a retail location).

Selection doesn’t seem to change very much, and there aren’t many higher end options. Additionally, you might not appreciate getting 2 of each beer if you like to try a lot of things or end up disliking something.

As for the website itself, you can’t browse within your selected tier, rather you can only browse by brewery or style. There are some additional slight bugs in the website such as adding dealers choice won’t add the proper tier beers and you can’t see what beers were sent to you on in previous months. No order/shipment history is a major flaw.

I ended up cancelling this service after two months (when you do cancel, it completely locks you out of the service – no records, no going back). This service is not worth it for a more experienced craft drinker – but perhaps good for someone looking to easily try new things with little effort. 2 out of 5 stars.

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Episode 140 – Nectar Ales (Firestone Walker) – Black Xantus vs New Belgium – Belgo

Decade episode recap. Plan for the end of the BeerDownload tournament? Fobab planning.                                                                          -

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Online Beer Retail Innovations Part 2

UPDATE: As of January 15, 2013 Beerjobber stopped taking orders.

This is the second part in a 3 part series (Part 1, Part 3) detailing experiences with using new and innovative online beer retailers. Many physical retailers have sold beer via an online presence for years, but only recently has the model been updated and focused directly on online sales, and sometimes without an affiliated retail location.

Beerjobber.com

I discovered Beerjobber after a mention in a NYTimes.com article. This site’s focus is to broker transactions directly between breweries and customers. After an order is placed, it is forwarded directly to the brewery who then packages the beer from their own stock and ships the beer directly to the customer.

I placed an order on a Thursday to get a variety pack from Voodoo Brewing Company in Meadville, PA. This enabled me to try 6 different beers from the same brewery instead of 12 of a single beer (you must order a full case). I ended up splitting the case with Steve so we each got to try 6 different beers with no extras – a great way to use this site if you ask me. Cost worked out to be $7.88/22oz bottle. It shipped the next day on Friday and was delivered to Chicago on the following Tuesday. The box arrived intact in great condition. It was packed as a standard 12 22oz bottle cardboard beer box, set with Styrofoam corners inside a larger box. Also inside the box were 2 extra beer lables (stickers) and a handwritten thank you note from the brewery. The beers all tasted fresh and I really enjoyed the White Magick of the Sun the best.

The main drawbacks of this site are the availability and restriction to a full case. The site seems to only work with smaller breweries that make less well-known beers. There are a few above average choices from time to time, but they might not be included in a variety pack – otherwise you need to order a full 12 case of a beer you might not end up liking. Additionally, due to the nature of the site, they might be an outlet for breweries to get rid of older, less fresh beer (for example “Summer” beers being sold in September).

I am less likely to continue ordering from this site unless they expand to include more breweries with good regional names but limited distribution to Chicago. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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Episode 139 – Tilquin – Oude Gueuze vs Terrapin – Moo Hoo

Special Guest: Mike Lahti from Figure Eight brewing in Valparaiso Indiana. We talk with Lahti about all things Indiana beer, but specifically Figure Eight’s new brewery.

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