Costco is one of my favorite stores. I love walking around, checking out the new stuff, and eating the free samples. They also have a great selection of craft beer (sadly, no samples). The day I was there, they offered Widmer Hefeweisen, Ninkasi Total Domination IPA, Rogue Dead Guy Ale, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and Mirror Pond Pale Ale. If you're into the "King" of beers, they've got Bud as well.
I'm also a big fan of Costco's private label brand, Kirkland Signature. In my experience, Kirkland Signature offerings are as good, if not better than the name brands, and are usually sold at a lower price. So I was pleasantly surprised to see a huge pallet of Kirkland brand beer.
Costco engaged Hopfen Und Malz Brewing Co, a contract brewer from Santa Jose, CA to brew and bottle the beer. I conducted a web search for this brewer, but strangely couldn't find anything. Many in the blogosphere believe the Costco beer is actually brewed by Gordon Biersch Brewing Co., who happens to have a brewery in San Jose. An arrangement with a large craft brewer like Biersch makes sense given the huge volume needed to supply Costco.
In Oregon, a case of 24 bottles was $17.99! That was only slightly more than a case of canned Bud! Each case has 6 of the following:
So while this is a great price, how do they taste? We will soon find out, as I will be reviewing each of these.
Have you had tasted Costco's Kirkland Signature craft beer? Did you like it? What do you think of Costco selling craft beer?
1/15/11 update: I finally finished reviewing all four of these beers. Personally, I'm not crazy about them. However, Costco is wise to enter the craft beer segment and I think they have a lot of potential. The big question is who is Costco trying to attract with these beers?
If they're going after the industrial lager swillers, I expect they've got a hit on their hands. These beers are orders of magnitude better than the standard Bud or MillerCoors fare. However, if Costco's trying to attract craft beer drinkers, I don't think this current incarnation will do it. They need to reformulate each of these beers if they want to win over the craft beer crowd. However, I expect they're targeting the Bud and Miller crowd.