Bottle clubs and brewery memberships are great ways for passionate fans to connect with their local brewery. It also helps small breweries share experimental and special beers with loyal customers. The Bruery, based in Placentia, CA, was one of the first to do the bottle club right. They offer an annual Reserve Society membership with 14 to 16 guaranteed 750 ml bottles equivalent bottles, plus access to over 40 member-exclusive bottles. For those who find the $300 price tag of an annual membership difficult, The Bruery also has a quarterly Preservation Society membership.

For $70 a quarter, Preservation Society members receive four 750 ml bottles plus access to member-exclusive beer and discounts on taproom visits. The quarterly membership offers those interested the opportunity to try out The Bruery’s exciting and rare offerings without committing to a full year. Preservation Society members can pick up their boxes at the California taproom or at The Bruery’s Washington, D.C. store. Interested in trying out the Preservation Society? Readers get 10% off their first quarter with code ‘HOPCULTURE.’

We decided to crack open a Preservation Society box and test out the beers ourselves. Below, we’ve included some pairing recommendations, plus occasions where these beers might be a good fit.

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Old Ale, 16.9% ABV

Acier, French for “steel,” is one of The Bruery’s famed anniversary releases. The Bruery’s eleventh-anniversary beer is an English-style old ale aged in bourbon barrels and blended using the solera method. At 16.9% ABV, it’s a hefty beer and carries strong notes of caramel, toffee, and dark fruit. The flavors become even stronger as the beer warms up!

Pair with– This is a bold and boozy beer. Pair with a meal that can withstand Acier’s power — perhaps steak or a burger. If you want to break this open for dessert, try it with some chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream.

When and Where to Open– You’re reclining in an easy chair in front of a roaring fire with snow falling outside.

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Sour Ale, 13.5% ABV

Another solera beer, Annuel is a blend of sour and anniversary ales in oak and bourbon barrels. It’s a complex, robust, tart beer with soft wine and oak notes.

Pair with– A salami plate with a cheese and citrus board. Or a sausage sandwich.

When and Where to Open– If you have a birthday coming up and want something special to share with friends, this is it.

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Kisses Betwixt Mr. & Mrs. This Is Ridiculous

Saison, 7.6% ABV

This collaboration between Bruery Terreux and Dogfish Head was funky and strong. A saison aged for seven months in French oak foeders, it had a tangy zest and grape skin flavor. It finishes with a powerful Brett character and maybe a little bit of char.

Pair with– Two words: raw bar. Get some oysters, shrimp, grill up some salmon, and you’re good to go.

When and Where to Open– Summer weddings or date nights. Make it romantic.

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Mash & Coconut

Imperial Brown Ale, 13.5% ABV

Mash & Coconut was a flavor explosion. Coconut, vanilla, and bourbon meld in this tropical imperial brown ale. I wouldn’t recommend starting your day with this beer, but it’s a good one as you’re winding down the night.

Pair with– Grilled chicken, tacos, anything with a little spice. Or, break out a sponge cake or banana cream pie.

When and Where to Open– Bring this one on vacation and enjoy after a day at the pool or the beach. Or just crack it open during any party you’re throwing this summer.

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