In Praise of the Variety Pack | Craft Beer & Brewing

In Praise of the Variety Pack

The humble variety pack has stepped into the spotlight as of late thanks to Sierra Nevada Brewing’s impressive undertaking.

Emily Hutto 5 years ago

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Beer Camp Across America, a variety pack featuring twelve collaboration beers brewed with twelve different breweries: Allagash, Firestone Walker, Russian River, Ninkasi, Ballast Point, Asheville Brewers Alliance, Victory, Oskar Blues, Bell’s, 3 Floyds, Cigar City, and New Glarus, along with a seven-city traveling beer festival to which they’ve invited every brewery in America.

And last week in Denver, during the State of the Craft Brewing Industry presentation at the Craft Brewers Conference, Staff Economist Bart Watson noted that variety packs seem to be chipping away at seasonal beers’ dollar share. They now are the number four “beer style,” holding 7.7 percent dollar share (IPA still reigns in the number one spot with 18.4 percent dollar share).

For the craft beer consumer, the variety pack makes sampling a few different beers in one sitting that much easier. In addition, the packs of bottles or cans are perfect for groups or parties and are often cheaper per ounce than buying a few six-packs or a bomber. Here are a few for every occasion.

For Hop Lovers

Sierra Nevada Brewing 4-way IPA


California's Sierra Nevada breaks down the IPA from white to black with this 12-pack featuring Torpedo Extra IPA, Snow Wit White IPA, Nooner Session IPA, and Blindfold Black IPA, which evolved from a Beer Camp recipe.

Samuel Adams Latitude 48 IPA Deconstructed Pack

In a creative twist on the 12-pack, Boston's Sam Adams deconstructs its Latitude 48 IPA, which showcases five different hops grown around Latitude 48, aka the “Hop Belt.” Each single hop IPA features a different variety—East Kent Goldings, Mosaic, Hallertau Mittelfrueh, Simcoe, and Zeus—for a more educational drinking experience. This variety pack will be available for a limited time in June.

Stone Brewing Mixed 12

Trust these southern California IPA experts to put out a hop-heavy 12-pack of some of their boldest beers: Stone IPA, Stone Ruination IPA, Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA, and Arrogant Bastard Ale.



New Belgium Brewing Folly Pack

Colorado's New Belgium Brewing’s Can Folly Pack spans the spectrum from wheat to IPA to lager with four cans each of Snapshot Wheat, Ranger IPA, Fat Tire, and Shift Pale Lager.

Baxter Brewing Backpack

Maine’s Baxter Brewing launched their first “Backpack” variety pack this January, featuring their Pamola Xtra Pale Ale, Stowaway IPA, Amber Road amber ale, and Phantom Punch Winter Stout. They plan to release it every season with three cans each of the three production beers, plus three of the current seasonal.

Seasonal Sipping

Victory Brewing Variety of Victory Summer Selections


New to their summer 2014 lineup, Pennsylvania's Victory Brewing Co. announced a Variety of Victory Summer Selections 12-pack including their Summer Love Ale, Whirlwind Witbier, and two beers from Victory’s draft only Hop Ticket Series: Session IPA and Dry Hopped Pils.

Boulevard Brewing Sample Twelve

Boulevard Ginger RadlerMissouri's Boulevard keeps their 12-pack fresh by adding two new Tasting Room beers to the pack every rotation. This time the Ginger-Lemon Radler and an ESB will join the Unfiltered Wheat Beer and Single Wide IPA.

SweetWater Brewing Spring Tackle Box

Atlanta, Georgia's SweetWater Brewing's Spring variety box features a new beer, Road Trip, a 5.2% ABV pilsner brewed with Vienna and pilsner malts and Sterling and U.S. Golding hops. Also included are LowRYEder, IPA, and 420 Extra Pale Ale.