Variety Packs - 2019 edition

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by bubseymour, Nov 5, 2019.

  1. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,546) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland

    Did a forum search and saw there really hasn't been any discussion for about 3 years on this topic. Do any of you still like the 12 pack variety packs or is there nothing out there for you these days of note worth buying?

    Great Lakes just came into MD distribution, and although I've had most of their beers from out of state travel/purchases in the past, I decided to buy a mixed 12 pack from them for $18.99: 3 bottles each of Dortmunder Gold/ Elliot Fitzgerald Porter / Commodore Perry IPA and their Amber Ale.

    Have to say it was one of the most fulfilling 12 packs/$19 I've spent in quite some time on beer for at-home consumption. Great variety of styles /solid beers/great value.

    So not for this to turn into a Great Lakes fanboy thread, it got me wondering where other Beer Advocate members are at with buying habits as of late with 12pack variety packs.

    Me personally, I see them all the time in stores, but very rarely, if ever, buy them (maybe 2-3 times in past 12 months?) simply because the mix of beers being offered are either:

    1) all in the same style/no variety offered (i.e. 3-4 different takes on IPAs, 3-4 different takes on Gose etc.
    2) uninspiring beers offerred and/or lower craft quality

    If the variety pack options would get back to true variety (i.e. the Great Lakes example...4 different styles), I would probably buy them alot more often, simply because they are a great value overall. Most of my mixed 6'ers these days seem to hove around the $20 mark...about the same as most mixed 12 packs. Don't get me started on the 4pack 16oz can pricing. That has been well discussed.

    Please share your thoughts.
  2. Smakawhat

    Smakawhat Poo-Bah (7,083) Mar 18, 2008 Maryland

    Really dug the Stone 12 pack of Tiki Escape of late.
    AWA likes this.
  3. SudsDoctor

    SudsDoctor Zealot (579) Nov 23, 2008 New York

    I've mostly bought variety 12 packs from Sierra Nevada and Sam Adams. The only exceptions I can recall were a St. Bernardus pack years ago (6, 8, 12, & tripel), and very recently the Schlafly Lunar Lager pack. I enjoyed that, but I don't see too many future purchases of such packs due to the general lack of variety within them these days.
    bubseymour likes this.
  4. jageraholic

    jageraholic Disciple (329) Sep 16, 2009 Massachusetts

    I look for them often and but dont buy them very often because many of them don't provide a variety of styles unfortunately. That great lakes one sounds good.
    Ranbot likes this.
  5. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,624) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    I used to buy variety packs pretty often. Now I keep seeing what you noticed. Nothing but packs of the the same styles. I don't want a pack of 5 IPA's and a strong Pale Ale. I want a variety of styles instead of a variety of IPA's.

    While the Sam Adams mixed packs still have a variety of beers, they're mostly just flagships now. It used to be 2 bottles of Boston Lager and 10 seasonals. Now it's the exact opposite. While still good, I miss the older approach. They're also victims of seasonal creep, too. It won't be long before they start selling seasonals 6 months in advance.
  6. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,520) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    I used to buy variety packs when I was trying to drink a variety of beers in my learning process of craft beers (back then few stores offered singles for mixed six packs) but it reached a point that the variety packs contained one selection of 3 or 4 bottles of a beer that I'd already had and was neutral on it. So I stopped buying them because I didn't want to feel 'forced' into buying something I didn't want. The exception has been the Short's Hoppy Holidays pack because I really like anything hoppy from that brewery, regardless that I've already had it.
  7. Ranbot

    Ranbot Champion (888) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania


    If there's actual variety of beer styles I'll buy a variety pack, especially if it's a brewery I haven't tried much from. Assuming the pack is reasonably fresh, of course.

    EDIT: I've had the GL pack @bubseymour mentioned and it's good. I like Yards variety pack too.
    #7 Ranbot, Nov 5, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2019
  8. ZebulonXZogg

    ZebulonXZogg Crusader (744) May 5, 2015 Illinois

    Last variety pack was from Great Divide, it included a BA versions of Yeti, Old Ruffian and Hibernation ale.
  9. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,546) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland

    I bought the Sixpoint Jammer "Gose" pack this summer. They make several good Gose's but it was tough to plow through that 12 pack (took me at least 2 months), simply because although I like Gose on occasion, it's not something I seemed interested in reaching for out of my fridge on the regular.
    Beer_Economicus and PapaGoose03 like this.
  10. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,546) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland

    Actually, for all these non-hyped/run of the mill local brewers trying to break into the shelf / store market, they probably would do much, much better in sales volume if they offered a mixed sixer of their beer portfoliovs. $15-$20 4pack cans that are a risky gamble for most consumers, many people pass on them (at least I do). I'd be much more willing to pay a premium of say $15 for 6 different beers (12oz can/bottles) from an relatively unknown brewer from the surrounding area.
  11. altstadt

    altstadt Aspirant (217) Nov 1, 2015 British Columbia (Canada)

    The variety pack section of our local liquor store is where I always start. If I can't find something new, I usually default to a seasonal 12 pack (6 different beers) from Unibroue. Often I will have both.
    PapaGoose03 likes this.
  12. AWA

    AWA Aspirant (263) Jul 22, 2014 California

    You know, I thought I wasn't crazy about that 1, but I kep buying it. Clearly I have no idea what I like.
    Smakawhat likes this.
  13. ESHBG

    ESHBG Aspirant (239) Jul 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

    It's their Amber Lager in that pack, Eliot Ness. Important to clarify because I don't think that beer gets nearly the love that it deserves.
    officerbill and bubseymour like this.
  14. tobelerone

    tobelerone Poo-Bah (2,689) Dec 1, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    Wow that sounds amazing, they did a barrel aged mix pack of those three? How much was it? Definitely didn’t see that here on the east coast. BA Old ruffian is amazing.
  15. laketang

    laketang Meyvn (1,159) Mar 22, 2015 Illinois

    I went through a few 12 pks of Revolution league of hero's. I enjoyed them very much. Let's see there was northeast hero, northwest hero, Midwest hero and their classic anti hero.
    Redrover, scootercrabb and spicoli00 like this.
  16. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,812) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    My issue with variety packs is that I prefer darker and stronger beers - particularly BBA, but variety packs are most often lighter beers which are lagers, pale ales, and IPAs. I have found a few packs that are all BA beers or all darker beers, and I'm all over that.
    Cait612 likes this.
  17. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,972) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    We used to get Great Lakes, no idea where it went except to poor sales. But Dortmunder Gold was a very good beer, I’d buy it on sight.
    officerbill and GOBLIN like this.
  18. johnnybgood1999

    johnnybgood1999 Disciple (343) Oct 31, 2008 Virginia

    I regularly bough Sierra Nevada and Sam Adams variety packs until SN discontinued their seasonal packs and SA started half assing theirs. I mentioned in another thread I will buy one Winter pack from SA, despite Sam 76 being included yet again.

    The most recent pack I bought was from Elysian, called a pumpkin pack or something. My total came to less than $20 and I got 3 each of punkuccino, dark o the moon, night owl, and the great pumpkin. That's an outstanding deal and I loved the pack. Was sold out when I went to get more.
    bbtkd and Maestro0708 like this.
  19. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,102) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    On occasion I'll see local breweries do this. It's rare, but they may put similar vintages of beers in a mix four pack for sale.

    Aeronaut has a beer called, "A Year with Dr. Nandu", and they've done 2 years with Dr. Nandu, 3 get the point.

    They did a variety four pack with these last year. I think Nightshift may have done this with multiple batches of their Morph series too.

    Personally, I just buy a lot of singles now for beers I don't want more than one or two of/haven't had before. And then I buy full six/four packs of beers I really enjoy.

    Yeah it's more expensive, but whatever. I look for what I want first, price second (if at all).
    PA-Michigander likes this.
  20. jimmyfishkin

    jimmyfishkin Aspirant (213) Nov 17, 2008 Wisconsin

    I'll buy the SN ones if I can't find anything else, or in the case of the last one had a gift card to use. I wanted the Flip Side and Coffee Stout, but now I'm sitting on the remaining 3 Weight and pale ale. Not because they're not good, I just have other things to drink first.
  21. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,546) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland

    I would buy the Firestone Walker mixed 12 packs on the norm if they were <2 months old. Everything they make by most any style is very good (when fresh). Nothing new to report on that front however.
  22. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,546) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland

    Yes that is correct, thanks for clarifying (I was having memory failure on that one). Elliot Ness is very solid and easily drinkable as well. Adds nicely to the variety of their mixed 12pack.
    ESHBG likes this.
  23. dele

    dele Initiate (44) Mar 13, 2019 Massachusetts

    The reason I don't buy these much is that it's very difficult to count on freshness with these packs. They're rarely kept cold, and with many of them, there's no way to see when the beers were packaged. Even some that have a date on the outside of the carton often contain beers whose own bottled on dates are quite different from when the cardboard carton was stamped. Too many times I've bought a variety pack I was excited about only to find that the beers were all 6+ months old.
  24. Cait612

    Cait612 Initiate (5) Nov 8, 2019

    I was looking at OmmeGang's Three Philospher's 4 pack variety, but didn't pull the trigger lol
  25. Cait612

    Cait612 Initiate (5) Nov 8, 2019

    Damn. I would've loved to get the Elysian Pumpkin pack. We're so limited here in PA with Elysian pumpkins. We only get Night Owl usually. One time I saw (and had lol) Punkuccino
    johnnybgood1999 likes this.
  26. keilerdunkel

    keilerdunkel Initiate (174) Apr 8, 2004 Illinois

    I liked the Sierra Nevada mixed case (24) that was sold at Costco this fall- 6 each of pale ale, flipside, Vienna and Octoberfest.

    I saw some chatter that flipside and Vienna were different. I thought both were great. It’s the first time I’ve been able to get the Vienna and didn’t notice anything off about flipside.

    I’ll also get several of the Guinness 200 anniversary mix 12 pack with Original( not extra stout), antwerpen, foreign extra, and 200th anniversary. All excellent and each brings something different to the glass.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  27. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,102) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Oh shit, does that come out every year? I thought they just did it for the 200th Anniversary?

    That was one mix pack I loved.
    meefmoff and ecpho like this.
  28. johnnybgood1999

    johnnybgood1999 Disciple (343) Oct 31, 2008 Virginia

    We were somewhat limited here with pumpkins in general this year. It was a pleasant surprise, until I went back to get more and it was already gone!
  29. Cait612

    Cait612 Initiate (5) Nov 8, 2019

    Lol, I hear ya. Around my way (Philly area) you gotta get your pumpkins in August, early September or that's that!
    johnnybgood1999 likes this.
  30. keilerdunkel

    keilerdunkel Initiate (174) Apr 8, 2004 Illinois

    I had thought it was to be a one-off, but it’s been on the shelves all year around here. If they are old, they still taste fantastic...actually, it’s about time for me to pick up another.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  31. TheEpeeist

    TheEpeeist Devotee (439) Nov 5, 2008 Pennsylvania

  32. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,899) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Society Trader

    I know for a fact there has been discussion (threads) on the Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada mixed packs in the last few months on here. I buy them if there are beers in them that interest me. As the SN mixed packs have moved to focus on IPAs I have stopped buying them. I did buy the six point Jammer mixed pack this summer and enjoyed that.
  33. officerbill

    officerbill Disciple (378) Feb 9, 2019 New York

    Picked up a variety 6 pack from Brouwerij Van Steenberge with Gulden Draak, Gulden Draak Quad, Gulden Draak Black, Piraat, Piraat Dry Hopped, and one of their blondes (Augustijn maybe?) for $18. Happy with that price since the quad, dry hopped, and blonde aren't available around here.
    FBarber and JackHorzempa like this.
  34. ManBearPat

    ManBearPat Devotee (459) Dec 2, 2014 Colorado

    IMO no one fucks with Odell when it comes to these variety packs- their Montage packs.

    Always changing, including seasonal releases, along with specialty one-offs that are only found in these packs or in the taproom. I buy these fairly often.

    I will add to the OP’s point- grabbed a mixed bucket of Great Lakes about a month ago when I was out east and not a single one of those beers left me unsatisfied... especially that Edmund Fitzgerald :fire::fire::fire::fire:
    beaulabauve and officerbill like this.
  35. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,185) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Wow! That is a great price.

    I just did a quick websearch of this pack and the first hit was Total Wine & More. This pack is priced at $21.99 and unfortunately it is not available at my 'local' Total Wine & More (Claymont, DE).

    If I see this pack at one of my local PA beer retailers I will consider purchasing it but I am expecting the price to be more like 25 bucks here.

  36. Gunslinger711

    Gunslinger711 Initiate (187) Apr 16, 2010 Indiana

    Variety packs I've picked up/plan to pick up:
    • Shorts Hoppy Holidays.
    • Schlafly Mixed Stout Pack
    • Terrapin IPA Survival Kit
    • Terrapin Dispensary Pack
    • Revolution League of Heroes
    FBarber likes this.
  37. jgido759

    jgido759 Aspirant (270) Oct 7, 2014 New Jersey

  38. officerbill

    officerbill Disciple (378) Feb 9, 2019 New York

    Checked the box after I got home, I was wrong about the dry hopped.
    Gulden Draak, Draak Black, Draak Quad, Piraat, Augustijn Blonde, and Monk's Cafe Grand Cru (Flemish ale).
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  39. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,899) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Society Trader

    Im planning to grab that one when Im in St. Louis later this month. Looks good!
  40. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,185) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Still a nice pack IMO. I am uncertain whether I will pay the likely higher price for buying this in PA but...maybe this will be a Christmas present to myself?:slight_smile:

    officerbill likes this.