14 Nov Review: Boxing Rock Brewing’s Brewmance Box
I received my box as a free sample to review, but wasn’t compensated financially for this post. I believe it’s important for journalists to disclose this. I prefer to pay for review beer, but this was the only means of acquiring the Brewmance Box before public ordering/shipping started. Free stuff doesn’t sway my opinions.
Beer and mail are two of my favourite things, so I was thrilled when Boxing Rock Brewing asked to send me its new subscription offering, the Brewmance Box. I didn’t know what I’d find inside, but I joined beer subscription boxes before and love the idea.
The contents of the box were concealed by tissue paper in Boxing Rock’s trademark orange. It’s a lovely added touch as opening more layers increases the surprise factor. Inside I found:
Three four packs of 473ml cans:
- The Vicar’s Cross double IPA (noted on the packing list as “an old favourite”)
- Puck Off lagered ale (“your favourite”)
- Unobtanium Intrepid amber ale (“a new favourite”)
One can of Temptation Red Ale (“a bonus surprise”)
And some “special swag”:
- Cosmic Wimpout
- A toque, bandana, and patch
- Egyptian Summer Spice blend from Big Cove Foods (Pictou County) and a recipe for grilled halibut
When ordering the Brewmance Box, you select a style profile, hence Puck Off ‘s listing as my favourite. Yet The Vicar’s Cross was the big treat for me. It’s one of my favourites, but at 8.5%, I won’t crack a 750ml bottle unless I’m sharing. I know I beat this drum often, but single people drink beer too. Enough with bombers being a predominant packing option.
My initial reaction to the lone can of Temptation Red was “at least there’s only one.” This is no snub at Boxing Rock. Red isn’t my taste. Here the malt profile is caramel without being overly sweet, and the spicy hop finish is unexpected but welcome. This isn’t a beer I’d normally buy, but now I might. If it’s in the box as a means to convert folks to an under-consumed style, it worked like a charm.
Boxing Rock’s move to cans this spring was a surprise given the brewery’s long-held motto that beer tastes better in bottles. N.S. beer internet had a fun time trying to figure out if the April 1 launch was an April Fool’s joke or major shift in packaging.
Canning is key to making a subscription box like this possible. When I joined similar services in the past, I received broken glass and soggy cardboard more than once or a plethora of styrofoam to feel guilty about throwing out. Years (and several apartments) later, I still have some of those styrofoam mailers.
The toque is another winner for me. I have thick hair that does what it wants. Hats tend to slide right off my melon of a head. This one is thin enough to be a great fall hat and kitten soft.
Most subscription boxes send a set number of beers each month, plus style info, tasting notes, and paring ideas to make the service feel like more than mail-order beer. I love the idea, but you might receive a style you dislike, especially if the trend on the horizon doesn’t tickle your palate. This box’s bonus is picking your style profile, which ups the chances that you’ll enjoy the contents.
Price is key with an offering like this. The Brewmance Box ships quarterly. A one time purchase costs $89, but a year-long subscription nets a 10% discount ($80.10). I added the retail value of everything in the box to about $92, so on the annual rate, subscribers save about $48.
HRM and Shelburne County residents can pick up their box to save on shipping, which costs $15 for the rest of the province.
The big question, would I subscribe to this box? In better financial times, likely. The savings plus the surprise make it worth it for me. It also strikes me as a great Christmas present for a local beer lover.