Review: How Curbside To-Go Craft Beer Works

Breweries have resorted to selling their beer for takeout and delivery. I tried four this week, and this is what I’ve learned.

For the past two weeks, I’ve been updating a list of places you can still buy local craft beer during the coronavirus shutdown. I thought it was a little weird that I’ve been suggesting something to people that I haven’t tried myself.

So I went to four different breweries this week to see how the whole thing works.

Here’s my breakdown of each place: What does it cost? How did I buy it? What can be improved?

1. LauderAle

Beertender Patrick Bushong at LauderAle Brewery and Taproom cleans off excess beer from crowlers.

I bought four 32 oz. crowlers for $58 – each was $14.50

  • Beer: One C Porter, two Indigenous Basterds, and a Lunch Money pale ale.
  • Price: $14.50 a crowler. I spent $58 on four. It’s the equivalent of eight draft beers.
  • How I bought it: Pre-ordered online and picked up.
  • Experience: LauderAle has been sharing a link through its social media platforms. I clicked the link, chose my beers on their online site, and paid by credit card. A minute later a receipt was sent to my email. There was one guy leaving when I showed up. Beertender, Pat, wore gloves while he crowlered up the beer from the draft. A couple was walking up as I left.
Two 32 oz. crowlers from LauderAle: (Left) Lunch
Money pale ale, (Right) C Porter.

2. Bangin’ Banjo Brewing Co.

Adam Feingold owner of Bangin’ Banjo Brewing Co. outside taproom.

I bought eight 16 oz. cans for $33.

  • Beer: Two She’s Crafty goses, two Hop of the Muffin IPAs, one Vital Information double dry-hopped IPA, one Cypress Creek cream ale, two OJ Session citrus wheat IPAs.
  • Price: Most cans were $3.50. The Vital Information is a double dry-hopped IPA that was $4.50 – and the cream ale was $3.
  • How I bought it: Pre-ordered online from my phone and picked up.
  • Experience: I made the mistake of ordering 10 minutes before picking it up while in my car across the street. Adam from Bangin’ Banjo suggested placing orders an hour before. I just didn’t catch this notice on social media. But it seemed like everyone else who was picking up did because they got their orders when they arrived. When my order was ready, Adam walked it out to my car.
Eight Bangin’ Banjo beers I bought curbside.

 

3. Black Flamingo Brewing Co. 

Al from Black Flamingo poses with beer and thermometer in front of Food-co-Holic food truck.

I bought two 32 oz. crowlers and two meals from Food-co-holic food truck for $40.

  • Beer: Muther Pucker sour and Tres Ces double-dry hopped IPA.
  • Price: $20 for a crowler and select meal from a food truck.
  • How I bought it: Showed up to place an order and took it to go.
  • Experience: The IPA I ordered is typically $23 and the sour is $18. I’d suggest this deal more to people looking for both beer and food. Breaking down the value, I paid $10 for a 32 oz. crowler and three crispy chicken tacos that were very tasty. There wasn’t an online order system so I had to tell Al when I showed up. I would suggest calling (786) 340 – 0658  to place your order ahead of time.
Two 32 oz. crowlers: (Left) Tres Ces (Right) Muther Pucker

4. The Mack House

Kyle Hatfield, Mack House owner and head brewer taking orders curbside.

I bought two 32 oz. growlers and had my personal 64 oz. growler filled.

  • Beer: Jazzertime IPA, Spring Break blonde ale, and 954 IPA
  • Price: Mack House growlers were $12 with additional $5 deposit fee for each. It was $22 to fill my 64 oz. growler.
  • How I bought it: Showed up to place an order and took it to go.
  • Experience: Mack House has a loyal following and there was a long line to get beer. I was happy to see Kyle wearing gloves and providing hand sanitizer to everyone. Normally a Mack House beer is about $6 to $7. The growlers fill about two and a half pint glasses. The price is obviously better if you have your own growler, but you get the $5 deposit back when you return.
32 oz. growlers from Mack House in Davie.

My takeaways and suggestions

  • Online orders: Place them at least an hour before pickup. At two different locations, I placed my order and immediately went to pick it up. Both times the person filling my order hadn’t received it yet.

 

  • Delivery service is expensive: I placed a delivery order at LauderAle, which is 12 miles away from my house. It was $20. So I said “screw it,” placed a takeout order and packed Lysol wipes and hand sanitizer in the car. I’ve heard Barrel of Monks in Boca Raton is doing a free delivery service in honor of their 5-year anniversary.

 

  • Safety: If news reports are telling us to distance ourselves from others – this seems like a safer way to buy beer than a grocery store. I took a trip to buy a few 12 packs from Publix and Winn Dixie recently. Both times, the stores were crowded and the cashiers weren’t wearing gloves. Every brewery I’ve gone to won’t let you indoors. They all keep hand sanitizer and at least the beertenders at LauderAle and Mack House wore gloves.

 

  • Suggestions: Anyone handling money or beer should be wearing gloves. It’s good to see everyone had hand sanitizer. People should take distancing more seriously. I felt most comfortable at LauderAle and Bangin’ Banjo because everyone was spread out. I liked having beer brought to my car. More breweries should do that for customers to feel more comfortable. Delivery services sound awesome. Take advantage if you find one for free. I just can’t justify spending $20 to have beer dropped at my doorstep. Limit your times out of the house. I’m buying a good eight – or more –beers every time I go to stay home as often as possible.

My refrigerator is stocked for a while. The next time we need beer, I’ll create a new list. Everyone’s selling great liquid these days and I have to spread out my support.

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