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Buying & Shipping (mostly Belgian) beer inside the USA
Cataloging a few recent experiences (again)

Jan 24, 2023

Following this post about shipping beer to the US from Belgium I wanted to follow up with a a similar one, this time highlighting a few recent internal buying & shipping experiences of Belgian (and other) beer.

Once again this catalogs only three recent experiences, from three specific vendors (I have used many others), but I wanted to make an approx. apples-to-apples comparison for the purposes of this post.

The thing to note about the shipping times is that the orders came from different parts of the country; the West Coast, the East Coast and the MidWest, and that I live in the MidWest. I placed the orders in such a way (on a Monday for West Coast, a Tuesday for East Coast, and a Wednesday for the Midwest) in an attempt to have them arrive at approximately the same time. They actually all arrived together, on the same FedEx truck on the following Friday! It may be that FedEx has great logistics to help make that happen, but either way it worked out perfectly with the three boxes arriving as one.

Bine and Vine (West Coast)

  • Order placed: 1/9/23
  • Arrived: 1/13/23
  • Number of days: 4 days
  • Tracking/communication history: FedEx, so pretty straightforward and good communication if you have deliveries hooked up to the FedEx app
  • Contents: 750 mL Lost Abbey Lost & Found, 750 mL Lost Abbey Judgment Day, 750 mL Unibroue 30th Anniversary x 2, 500 mL Ayinger Weizenbock, 550 mL Sam Smith’s Yorkshire Stingo, 355 mL Lindemann’s Cuvée Rene Oude Kriek 2021, 11.2 oz Westmalle Extra x 2, Uerige Doppelsticke, JW Lees Harvest Ale 1986 Yeast
  • Cost: $164.70
  • Other notes: This is the old South Bay Drug store I believe, that us old school BAs on the East Coast used to used back in the day. ‘The Day’ being the early 00s mostly, so getting on for 20 years ago! You’ll note that my shipment was far from exclusively Belgian on this occasion, but you’ll see a few, and there are a ton of Belgian options available from Bine and Vine. Personally I like the ability to mix and match with German and British beers that I can’t get locally. A win-win for me.

Hop, Cask and Barrel (East Coast)

  • Order placed: 1/10/23
  • Arrived: 1/13/23
  • Number of days: 3 days
  • Tracking/Communication history: FedEx so pretty straightforward and good communication if you have deliveries hooked up to the FedEx app
  • Contents: 750 mL De Garre Tripel x 4, Uerige Doppelsticke (2012), 750 mL De Glazen Toen Ondineke, 750 mL Straffe Hendrik Xmas Blend 2021, 16.9 oz Ridgeway Foreign Export Stout, 16.9 oz Conniston Bluebird XB Bitter, 11.2 oz Achel Trappist Brune, 11.2 oz Westvleteren 12, 275 mL JW Lees Harvest Ale Calvados
  • Cost: $224.77, with $19.99 subsequently refunded
  • Other notes: There was free shipping on orders of $200 or more, so I took advantage of that. They actually only shipped four of the five De Garres that I originally ordered and I had to call to let them know. A return call, and about two hours later I had a $19.99 refund (more than the original cost I believe) and all was well. Again, not an exclusively Belgian shipment this time, but the presence of De Garre and Westvleteren should tell you that there are plenty of Belgian options available here. The De Garre I suspect will soon be a thing of the past internally to the US, and the Westvleteren was criminally expensive, but this was my first time using these guys so I wanted to experiment a little.

Belgian-Style Ales (MidWest)

  • Order placed: 1/11/23
  • Arrived: 1/13/23
  • Number of days: 2 days
  • Tracking/Communication history: FedEx so pretty straightforward and good communication if you have deliveries hooked up to the FedEx app. I’ve also made it a point to communicate with Will via Facebook and Facebook messenger and he has been responsive. They also have a customer service number that you can call, and that a human in Cleveland answers – BIG plus!
  • Contents: 750 mL Corsenbok Christmas, 750 mL Saison de Pipaix, 750 mL Saison tremist, 750 mL Chimay Green, 11.2 oz Glazen De Toren Saison d’Erpe-Mere
  • Cost: $89.70
  • Other notes: They are based in Cleveland so Midwestern shipments are fast. One advertised beer included in my original order (750 ml of Glazen De Toren Jan de Lichte) was unavailable, and I opted to simply leave it out of the shipment rather than replacing it with something else. Happy to get Chimay Green in 750s that seems to be an otherwise tricky find for me, and the speed of shipping and customer service a big plusses. Belgian-Style Ales are affiliated with Monastery Greetings which offer glassware and other related products, and you can combine the beer shopping with other items.

The good news about all of these shipments is that everything arrived intact with no breakages. That is usually the case, and I think in all of the shipments that I’ve had I’ve only lost 2 or 3 bottles. On a couple of occasions the Belgian Post/USPS boxes have been battered, but any losses that have encountered have been made right by the various shippers. In that regard I think it’s relatively low-risk.

The orders here are made for multiple reasons, but mainly simply to acquire Belgian and British beer that I can’t get locally, and for some special stuff. The shipping is of course infinitely quicker, a little less expensive in some cases, but of course the selection a little less exotic, although De Garre and Westvleteren certainly represent some serious players. Good luck!


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