I came across something interesting while perusing the local bottle shop on my lunch hour – a box containing an unknown assortment of craft beers. All it said on the side was “Craft Beer Variety Pack” with no description of what may lie within. A craft beer mystery pack, hmmm? Intriguing…
I took a peek into one of the handhold cutouts and could make out the top ring of what looked like a tallboy can of Deviant Dales. I figured if there’s a DD in there, the rest of the beers can’t be half bad, and at $14.99 for 12 beers, it was a craft brew bargain. Plus, I recalled hearing that the box was put together by Hunterdon, Northern New Jersey’s leading craft beer distributor, and they know their stuff. So I bought a box and hoped for the best.
I haven’t been this excited about a beer purchase in a long time. What treasures were held within this cardboard cube? Would it be a bunch of mid-line Saranac stuff? Something more exotic? Shiner Bock?
I really had no idea, because each box is a collection of beers brought together by bad luck. The Craft Beer Variety Pack is a way for Hunterdon to sell the bottles that survive when part of a case or a six pack is lost to breakage. The castaways are collected and combined into these mixed boxes, and as my kids say, “you get what you get, and you don’t get upset.”
Here’s what I got:
All told I am very pleased with this haul, especially at $14.99 for the lot. This is a mix of beers I like (Deviant Dales, which has gotten better lately, Lagunitas Censored, Smutty Brown Dog, Weyerbacher Merry Monks) and beers that I’ve been interested in trying, but never pulled the trigger on. These include Yard’s Tavern Ale, Troegs DreamWeaver (I always hesitate when it comes to wheat), and in particular, Session Black Ale, which was really, really enjoyable.
The rest is a mixed bag, but there are no obvious stinkers here, although a few of these might be saved for non-beer-geek company. Still a raging value for fifteen bucks.
So this time it worked out – we’ll see what happens next time I buy a box on blind faith…