Thankfully, there are the bottle shops out there that let you browse their excellent wares from behind the safety of a screen, so you can keep the cellar stocked with just a couple of clicks or have the essentials at the front door for when the going gets rough.
There’s no denying that Sydney’s best pubs have seriously upped their beer game in the last handful of years, or that the best local breweries are now also some of the most fun places to hang out and knock back a couple of rounds. But because those possibilities aren’t always viable options, it’s a very smart idea to have a stash of beer at the ready in the fridge. It’s even smarter to leave it to the experts and find the season’s freshest and finest brews waiting at your doorstep. Here are the ones worth signing up for.
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1. Beer Cartel
Australia’s longest-running beer subscription is a solid place to start. You’ve got three choices here: $39.99 a month lands you a six pack (three limited releases and three favourites) while $69.99 and $89.99 both score you a dozen, with more premium and rarer goodies thrown in the mix. Expect detailed tasting notes, a range of styles from all over the world – and best of all, you’ll never find a repeat.
2. Craft Cartel
Sydney’s Craft Cartel Liquor opened the doors more than two decades ago, and began stockpiling craft beers about ten years after that. The inventory list is now 700 strong, and you can begin making a dent in it by subscribing to their beer club. On the 15th of every month (or quarterly), expect 8 beers from Australia’s tip-top breweries, along with detailed and illustrated tasting notes for $59. If you’d rather double your pleasure, $99 will get you two of everything in the box.
3. Bucket Boys
Marrickville’s much loved brewery-cum-bottle-shop offers a host of possibilities. There are one-offs like the ‘Beer Explorer Box’, with 16 different styles for $95, or if you want to keep it rolling, you can subscribe to four different options. Stick to the signature ‘Beer Box’ ($89) if you want 16 distinct brews delivered to you every month or quarter, or go full geek with the ‘Beer Expert Box’ ($160) that promises the weird and wonderful from all corners of the world.
4. Hops to Home
Hops to Home ships the first Monday of each month, which means you’ve got something to look forward every time you flip the calendar page over if you join the Fresh Can Beer Club. For $69 a month, the team will pick five different fresh beers from independent breweries around the country and ship you two tinnies of each so that you and a mate can debate the age-old question: just how hoppy is too hoppy?
Melbourne’s trusted source for all things craft beer was actually the country’s first shop devoted exclusively to the handiwork of local microbreweries and eclectic imports. The collection now features more than 2,500 different beers, so it’s safe to say the selection is a little overwhelming. Fret not – these folks know what they’re doing, but they let you have a little bit of control. Specify what styles you like, what styles you don’t, whether you want delivery monthly, bimonthly or quarterly and nominate a budget between $80 and $150. Then, let them take care of the rest.
This independent, family-owned bottle shop in Melbourne’s Northern Suburbs puts together three different boxes for your drinking pleasure. The ‘BeerThusiast’ pack combines old favourites with new releases and the latest bottlings in a $50 12-pack, but if your tastebuds are crying out for an adventure, ‘Club Hops’ and ‘Club Wild’ both promise a dozen extreme styles every two months for $108 and $120, respectively.