Tis this giving season, and what better way to give than with the gift of beer. Sure, a 4- or 6-pack works, but let’s set our sights on something a bit bigger, with an overview of various memberships, societies, and even academies. Oooh, fancy!
Giving breweries cash up front for beer later allows them to plan for the upcoming year–and yes, gets you beer. Sometimes that beer is exclusive or experimental, and when it comes to alcohol “firsties” is still very much a thing. Also, these memberships make great gifts. Win-win-win.
But don’t just take our word for it. Here’s Wheatland Spring’s Bonnie Branding. “First, contributions defray costs associated with purchasing agricultural products (mostly seeds and starts) and equipment so we can prepare the land, as well as process and store last year’s grain harvest. Second, contributions support planting and harvesting this upcoming season’s crops. We’re thinking of what’s happening in our fields 12-18 months from now, if not longer, and the certainty of membership commitments helps us plan ahead.”
Many of these include early access to ticketed events at breweries, which, fingers crossed, will happen in the back half of 2021 and are sure to be popular given that we’ve been beerfest-less for much of the past year.
A non-exhaustive round-up of area brewery memberships is below.
3 Stars Funkerdome and Illuminati Societies: This club comes in two flavors, funky and barrel-aged. Both are $100, both get you first crack at exclusive large-format bottles, five per year. Prefer more “normal” beers? the CSB, Community Supported Beer program, is still in effect, too.
Aslin Mug Club: Enjoy drinking on-premise? Then maybe “The OG” Tier 1 is for you. Higher up price points include access to the barrel-aged pastry stouts, and sours, the brewery is known for. All levels get you discounts on pours, merchandise, and early access to ticketed events. Aslin’s Herndon taproom is about to open, giving Loudon and Fairfax another local option.
Beltway Inner Loop: We’ll let the tweet tell the story.
— Beltway Brewing Co. (@BeltwayBrewCo) December 17, 2020
Bluejacket Officers Club: For $200, members receive eight 500 ml bottles and three 4 packs of 16 oz. cans per year, an invite to the 2021 Officers’ Club Holiday Party, 15% off of all additional can and merch purchases throughout the year, a hat, glassware, and lots more. They’ve also got it all planned out in advance.
Bruery Preservation and Reserve Societies: With pick-up, or delivery, via DC”s Bruery Store, we’re including these as local options, because why not. Preservation is $70 a quarter and includes four bottles, 10% off other purchases, and access to other member exclusives. The Reserve Society ups the ante with twelve exclusive beers over the course of the year for $300 as well as additional discounts and access to events. Choose between barrel-aged imperial stouts, sours, or mix and match.
Churchkey Beer Academy: For the first time since 2012, Greg Engert, will offer Beer Academy – a full year course in craft beer. Quarterly Zoom classes cover a range of topics and accompanied by 12 delicious brews each and every time.
Hoppy Beers – From East India Pale Ale to Haze & Beyond (January)
The Beers Of Belgium – Tasting the World’s Greatest Brewing Tradition (April)
Lagers! – Light, Black, Bitter, Smoky, Strong (August)
Sours & Stouts – A Transformation through the Ages (November)
Enrollment is open now, and is priced at $175 for the year. Membership to the CKBA includes these quarterly classes and a total of 48 beers, 12 per each session, over the course of 2021. Pick up the beers at Bluejacket or the Rusticos, or have them deliver.
Dynasty Founding Fathers: 4 barrel-aged beers, 10% off on-premise pours, 20% off cans, quarterly exclusive events, and a shirt. $200.
Port City Porter’s Union: 2021 membership will begin with their 10th anniversary in February. Stay tuned!
Silver Branch Year of Beer 2021: One 6-pack or 4-pack of beer per month, all throughout 2021, for $125. Pick up or delivery.
Wheatland Spring Farmer’s Stash Bottle Share: This membership comes in small–three bottles on a quarterly basis, $66/quarter–or large, which doubles both the bottles and the price. Fork and Rake membership, their beer CSA, is also available at a variety of price points, and includes cans on a monthly basis, merchandise discounts, events on the farm, and more. Yes, it’s further afield, but they deliver and ship to DC and NoVA.