American Solera membership discussion

Discussion in 'Southwest' started by DRRxH, Apr 3, 2018.

  1. DRRxH

    DRRxH Initiate (80) Feb 12, 2015 Arkansas

    First things first... I don’t want this to come across as complaining or just full of negativity. I haven’t seen any discussion about the American Solera Society since it’s inception and I wanted to see what other members thought (yes, currently am a member and have been since the start in 2016). I’ll cut to the chase: I don’t see the point in it anymore.

    I was very excited to hear about A.S. and the society. I’ve had some good beers since and the quality isn’t the problem. It’s what the membership has offered to this point that has me scratching my head.

    It seems like every member beer has been offered to anyone who walks into the brewery any given day and they can leave with any quantity they want. That’s ok if that’s the brewery’s intentions... it just removes almost all incentive from the membership. Why would I pay $xxx and be forced to take 4 bottles of Peach Fellowship when I could walk in and just grab the 1-2 I want? If I’m not getting anything exclusive, there’s zero bonus to letting them “spend my money” for me rather than me using those same dollars to pick what I want or even grab stuff elsewhere.

    I DO appreciate their decently long pickup windows (Perennial gives me like two weeks and I’m 5 hours away). And I do think allowing members to purchase non-membership included beers first is nice... although, again, all of these beers are readily available for a long time seemingly if you just walk in to the brewery. I dunno, man.

    Sons of Darkness was nice. The one bottle limit wasn’t great, but I understand. That really has been the only highlight for me in two years. And unless I’ve missed stuff (don’t think I have), have they really only released Balaton Key and Peach Fellowship in year 2 thus far? Balaton Key (cherry... much like year 1’s Foeder Cerise) and Peach Fellowship seemed super lazy and basically rehashes of beers we already had. Again... why am I paying for this?

    What are other members thoughts? Why have there only been two year 2 member beers? Are YOU going to renew for year 3?

    I really do hope this stays positive. I just had some hard questions bouncing around my head for awhile and wanted to have a good discussion.

    texasalec, thebaucom and Erikone like this.
  2. texasalec

    texasalec Initiate (69) Jul 18, 2013 Texas

    I have been in the society since last year and feel the same way. In year 1 there was a lot of transparency on the offerings we would receive weeks in advance of the release. This year I am trying to understand what I am paying for, SoD was the only beer where I saw the benefit of being a member. Chase has been teasing that next year there will be more stouts produced but I am not sure that is enough to keep me around because I am in the Cigar City El Catador Club (essentially all BA Stouts)... I am going to hold my breath for some impressive member-only beers later this year but as of now I do not plan on renewing for year 3. I will be pissed if we get more repeats of lasts years society beers.. How many beers were we guaranteed this year?
    #2 texasalec, Apr 3, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
    DRRxH likes this.
  3. thebaucom

    thebaucom Initiate (35) Aug 29, 2017 Missouri

    I'm interested to hear everyone's input on this as well. I was thinking about trying to join up with AS next time, but I kept hearing the same general opinions and there didn't seem to be anything that was exclusive to the Society. I'm in the Prairie Dawg club, and while the entry price was steep, the number and quality of the members only offerings has been fantastic. I'm definitely staying in for year 2 on that one.
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  4. texasalec

    texasalec Initiate (69) Jul 18, 2013 Texas

    I regret not joining. I purchased my American Solera Society membership one month before Prairie Dawg Club, I wasn't about to spend $1,100 a year on memberships ($300 ASS, $300 El Cat, $500 PD).
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  5. MWOKC

    MWOKC Initiate (43) Oct 13, 2014 Oklahoma

    IIRC correctly, Chase said on the group FB page that a new member beer was bottled last week, and another member beer is being bottled soon. Are you sure that non members are getting balaton key and this years peach fellowship? We were told that all member beers this year would be for members only.
    DRRxH likes this.
  6. MWOKC

    MWOKC Initiate (43) Oct 13, 2014 Oklahoma

    We are guaranteed 20 bottles. 5 member only releases, 4 bottles of each
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  7. Pldevo

    Pldevo Initiate (47) Jul 25, 2015 Texas

    Second year returning member here. Probably won't be returning for 3rd year because my wife and I are going to be moving to Maine. I joined for the convenient 8 week pickup window and members first online purchasing ability. I live in Dallas and logistically it is much easier for me to buy what I (or others) want online, select my pickup date, and know when I am going to be making a road trip so I can plan my life around it. Rather than say, Jester King, which might announce the release of I beer I want on a Thursday afternoon, leaving me to rearrange my weekend plans, or just skip the release entirely.

    Balaton Key and Peach Fellowship were not released to the general public. Balaton Key was on draft, but I'm not sure about Peach Fellowship. I wasn't too happy about the Peach Fellowship released this year; it seemed to be lacking a lot of the fruit character that was present in the year 1 batch. I did a side by side of the two batches, so it wasn't based off memory. This has been the only let down for me, so far.

    I'm hoping that the remaining 3 releases for this years membership are all standouts. The cherry beer they just bottled aged in Frederiksdal barrels sounds amazing, hopefully that is one of them.

    Overall, I'm very pleased with what I have received from the membership and able to pre-purchase online (sons of darkness being the standout). But, If it weren't for the online purchasing perks and 8 week hold time, I probably wouldn't do it.
    DRRxH likes this.
  8. WPZY

    WPZY Initiate (84) Jan 17, 2014 Tennessee

    Second year member, was a huge fan of year 1. Don't feel like year 2 has been worth it, so far, at this point probably won't renew.

    SoD was the big "perk" and I missed it due to the 24 hour window being noon-noon on Wednesday-Thursday of Thanksgiving, since I was traveling and trying to unplug from my phone. Visited the taproom and had Party Stout a few months back, which was fantastic, so made missing out that much worse.

    Next two members bottles, according to Chase on the FB group, are Bluebarrel with double fruit and vanilla beans, and a stout. Blueberry was bottled March 21st, stout was supposed to be bottled the week after.
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  9. DRRxH

    DRRxH Initiate (80) Feb 12, 2015 Arkansas

    Man, double blueberry with vanilla and ANY stout might pull me in for year 3 if they’re good. They both sound better than the previous offerings. Hope the stout is experimental of sorts in the vein of Party Stout
  10. ShepOK

    ShepOK Initiate (41) Feb 6, 2016 Oklahoma

    As a local, the 10% taproom discount has helped offset some of the membership cost.

    I was definitely not thrilled about the Peach Fellowship being a member bottle this year and thought it had an off flavor. I also enjoyed both releases of Cerise over the Balaton Key.

    I am a homer though and will still renew since there are a ton of different barrels filled with stouts currently.
  11. WPZY

    WPZY Initiate (84) Jan 17, 2014 Tennessee

    Erica posted the below update in the FB group, Our Queen sounds interesting and excited for the non-member BA Stout as well.

    Picpoul, Zin, Pom Foo and Ryemera were all scheduled with a pick up deadline of April 7. We originally hoped to have the next member beer out by now but since it has been delayed, we will allow late pick-ups of the above mentioned beers.

    Here is an update on your member beers and what's coming up:

    Our Queen (member beer) will get blended and bottled on the 18th. Assuming no setbacks, members will be able to pickup that Saturday (April 21). Our Queen is a barrel aged stout. Its a blend of an orange bitters barrel, vanilla extract barrel, and 2-3 regular bourbon barrels.

    Blueberry Dreams and Magic Beans (member beer) is bottled and awaits artwork. This sour ale is double bluebarrel with vanilla beans. Look for it around May 5th or 12th.

    The final member beer is a blend of super fruited black and red raspberries. It should be out around the end of May.

    We will have a very limited run BA Stout and a whiskey barrel aged version of Ground is Shaking that will be available exclusively to members in the next few weeks.

    Membership renewals will happen around the end of May as well.
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  12. Pldevo

    Pldevo Initiate (47) Jul 25, 2015 Texas

    So what does everyone think about the renewal for 2018-2019?

    I like that they are doing 500ml bottles for the member beers, but they dropped the total quantity down to 16 (4 beer varieties) from 20 bottles (5 beer varieties).

    The two member stouts intrigue me, but probably not enough for me to pull the trigger again.

    It is seeming less and less likely that I am going to renew.
    DRRxH likes this.
  13. DRRxH

    DRRxH Initiate (80) Feb 12, 2015 Arkansas

    I originally created this thread thinking my likelihood of renewal for year 3 was around 10%.

    However, I’m about 100% positive I’m going to renew. I don’t know if they saw this thread, but a couple of changes convinced me it’ll likely be worth it.

    First, allowing members to buy up the remainder on the stouts first is something I think that could be an incredible value. Sons of Darkness was fantastic and I’d love to have gotten a few more Our Queens.

    Being a little more upfront about what’s coming (two guaranteed stouts) definitely helps alleviate concerns on if I’m going to be interested in the member beers for the upcoming year.

    Finally, I’ll just be honest... I joined A.S. year 1 knowing stouts weren’t guaranteed and it was going to be sour heavy. I had hopes stouts would follow and it looks like we may see a somewhat steady diet of them. I’m here for those mainly. This combined with just how good SoD was and how inventive Our Queen is makes me think I’d rather renew A.S. instead of Prairie Dawgs. I was leaning the other way when I made this post. But at the end of the day, I think both Prairie and A.S. will put out great stouts... I just think Chase’s will be more inventive and less repetitive that Prairies. Prairies are good, but they’re all realllyyy similar pastry stouts ha.

    Kudos to the year 3 changes. I’m back, baby.
  14. Pldevo

    Pldevo Initiate (47) Jul 25, 2015 Texas

    What is with the random emails at 10pm saying extra bottles are on sale? Kind of annoying we have to be on our toes at all times about extra bottles being released to the society.
  15. Pldevo

    Pldevo Initiate (47) Jul 25, 2015 Texas

    Any updates on FB regarding the limited run BA stout?
  16. shinyOBJECTS

    shinyOBJECTS Initiate (25) Apr 5, 2018 Oklahoma

    Life Distractions (blue corn distraction) went on sale for members on July 10th at 5pm. It sold out in under 5 minutes. There were 216 bottles available for roughly 400 members.
  17. icetrauma

    icetrauma Devotee (479) Sep 7, 2004 Texas

    That’s terrible, why even bother brewing a beer if you can’t get enough to cover your club members?
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  18. Pldevo

    Pldevo Initiate (47) Jul 25, 2015 Texas

    It wasn't part of this years club membership. They sent out the release information beforehand, so if you were a member and wanted a bottle, you knew where you had to be when it went on sale.

    Same goes for the Endicott Farms Estate Blueberry release. Only 160 bottles were made and put on sale for members to purchase. These lasted for about an hour.

    I've had no issues getting extra bottles of membership beers, or limited release beers like Cryptozoology, Endicott, or Life's Distraction. I think the only limited release beer that had bottles available for each member was Son's of Darkness.
    icetrauma likes this.