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Ledger's Liquors

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

56 Ratings
Ratings: 56
Reviews: 52
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 9.03%
[ Store ]

1399 University Ave
Berkeley, California, 94702-1710
United States
phone: (510) 540-9243

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: GClarkage on 07-01-2005)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 56 | Reviews: 52 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MilwaukeeCrusher
5/5  rDev +15.7%

I heard good things about this place so I decided to stop in and everything I heard was true. Tons of bombers and other singles to choose from, and the man who worked there was genuinely interested in send me off happy. He helped me with some choices, gave me publications as to events in the area and around California, and even threw in a few free beers for me since I was from out of the area. It seemed to be an old place but you can't judge a book by its cover. While it had some beers in the cooler, some where on the floor but considering the outstanding service there turnover is probably brisk and not an issue... I mean they excelled at everything else so they must know what they're doing.

MilwaukeeCrusher, Jan 04, 2011
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.98/5  rDev -7.9%

There is certainly a lot of beer going on here. My only complaint would be that there seems to be a haphazard style of organizing it for display. Stuff here, stuff there, stuff everywhere. Don't be too let down when you walk in and the place seems old and run down. There certainly is a lot here that will keep you happy. But if you live in San Francisco, or this is out of your way, I can't really suggest the trek. It is 1.5 miles from Jupiter though, if you feel like doing the two-fer thing.

RblWthACoz, Jun 20, 2013
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%

I dropped a Benjamin here on my way out of town and would have dropped two if I had had a bit more space in my luggage. Included in my purchase: multiple bottles of Stone RIS, Runination, IPA, RR Temptation, Damnation, and Salvation, PP SPF 45, etc… Service was phenomenal. After browsing for a minute or two, the owner walked over and asked me what I was looking for. I began rattling off my list of topnotch, west coast beers that I hoped to take back to Wisconsin. His reply was two fold, either… “yes I have it, here you go,” or “sorry, I don’t have that but I’ll order it or drive to some far off city to pick some up right away.” When I explained that I was from Wisconsin and would not be a repeat customer he was still insistent on getting the beers I had asked for because he figured they were good and others would like to have them. Then as I was checking out, I remembered that I had not picked up or seen any Pizza Port. No sooner than I had asked, then he was in and out of the back with his last bottle of SPF 45 and a good story about a recent road trip to Southern California to stock up on beer for his shop. Apparently, the Ledger’s guy regularly drives all over the west coast picking up beers that he can’t get delivered to him. Now that’s service! The owner also gave me plenty of print info on California beer festivals, new releases, other good beer stores, bars, etc… He was a real talker. I probably spent thirty minutes gabbing with him about beers/beer bars. In addition to the brews I picked up, Ledgers seemed to have a pretty good handle on obscure, small west coast breweries and tons of great Belgians. Prices were a bit high on some of the more obscure stuff and a bit low on some of the more common items including many of the Belgians. All-in-all a great shop and well worth a trip.

DaPeculierDane, Jun 05, 2006
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.1/5  rDev -5.1%

Quality, lots of it. No problems there, lots of high end and limited quantity stuff.

Service, I've never had anyone ask to help me, but no big deal, I like looking around and I'll ask if I need help.

Selection: Problems. Where are the six packs? They carry like less than a dozen six packs. Its all bombers and the like. Sure, that has its place, but the 6er should not be an endangered species.

The organization is highly lacking. There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to the arrangement of bottles. Its a small place, but that should mean they should have the place organized better, to maximize the limited floorspace. Gotta love that selection that close to campus though.

EDIT: The owner was running almost 1/2 hour late before the IPA festival, I almost gave up hope. Dude gave me 10% off on my order to make it up to me, without asking. Gotta bump up the service points for that.

But I will repeat: Dude, 6 packs.

Beerandraiderfan, Mar 11, 2010
Photo of flexabull
4.05/5  rDev -6.3%

A nice easy stop just a few blocks off the highway.

Looks can be deceiving. From the outside this looks like your average run down wino shop. But inside there is a pretty nice selection of beers. Focus seems to be on Belgium and California. Saw tons of Belgians, and great Cali stuff like Russian River, Lost Abbey, and Marin.

Wish more of the beer was stored in the cooler, but it didn't look like they had a whole lot of space.

Service was fine. Nobody really to help you shop, but I usually like it that way.

Prices were a bit high, but not outrageous. Maybe a $1 or so higher than normal.

Definitely worth checking out.

flexabull, Jun 27, 2008
Photo of Seanibus
3.85/5  rDev -10.9%

A fairly run-of-the-mill liquor store that just happens to have an amazing, if extremely disorganized, beer selection. There is an aisle of imports and a couple of islands of domestics, with a good selection of regionals and locals, but a scattering of good East Coast offerings (Including some oddballs that are hard to find out West, such as Victory's Otto). Did I mention that it was disorganized? Because it is - take some time and pick through the selection carefully because there are treasures back in there somewhere. I didn't speak with the staff, but I overheard some conversations with customers that suggested they are friendly and knowledgeable and love beer themselves.

Seanibus, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

I live in Georgia, but I've spent lots of time out in Berkeley on business over the last 19 years. I hadn't been to this place in years, and the last time was a desperate late night beer run before they closed. I always remembered it being slightly sketchy, with an average west coast beer selection and homeless dudes out front hassling you for one of your bottles out of the six. Needless to say, I hadn't really made it a destination. After reading about the place again on BA, I said to myself, "Really?, Shit, that place ? Its right down the street, I better go check it out."

This place rocks! It has only a medium selection size wise, but it makes up for that in knowledge of the beers and in quality. They have some real rare stuff here, and its stuff you won't find a lot of other places up in the East Bay (or the South Bay, where I also spend a lot of time). I was headed out of town to work at a program for the next month, and decided to stop here to stock my fridge. Check out what I bought: Port Saison; Stone Vertical Epic and Ruination; Hair of the Dog Rose and Doggie Claws; St. Bernardus Abt 12; Russian River Temptation, Salvation, and Damnation; Anderson Valley Brother David's Triple; and Drake's Anniversary Lager. A really well chosen selection at this store, and the owner is filled with news about rarities and forthcoming releases from west Coast breweries. Highly recommended- I'll definitely be a regular.

Georgiabeer, Jul 20, 2006
Photo of atpca
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

atpca, Jul 17, 2014
Photo of wethorseblanket
4.33/5  rDev +0.2%

wethorseblanket, Sep 18, 2014
Photo of brywhite
4/5  rDev -7.4%

brywhite, Sep 04, 2014
Photo of htomsirveaux
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%

This is my regular bottle shop when I am in the area. Looks like nothing much from the outside (well except for that confusingly awesome new adult swim ad painted on the side of the building) but the inside is filled with beery goodness. The guys at the store will leave you alone but are helpful if you ask. Selection is good, prices are good, service if you need it. Layout is a little haphazard. Logoed glassware at the front for sale.

Not much else to add that hasn't already been said. Go. Buy a case of beer. Get the discount.

htomsirveaux, Dec 04, 2009
Photo of aforbes10
3.85/5  rDev -10.9%

I stopped here yesterday on my way to visit a friend in San Francisco. I was excited because it was to be my first trip to a really good store since i arrived in CA (slim pickings further north so far). I found the place, which is sort of run down, though not disagreeably so. Walked in and started looking around and decided to grab a cart for the goodies. They had a lot of Port Brewing and Russian River and Lost Abbey, which was nice since i dont see those up here (RR coming soon to Davis though!) Import selection was fairly wide-ranging, as was the west coast beer selection. I have to say that i didnt see anything mind blowing, but a pretty good selection nonetheless. Paid a decent amount for what i got and talked to the clerk a bit, who said that they rotate the selection every couple of weeks or so. Id stop in again if in the area, its a good store.

aforbes10, Nov 16, 2008
Photo of OStrungT
4/5  rDev -7.4%

I stopped by this place on a trip to Jupiter, and on the advice of my beer loving mom. It looks like any liquor store from the outside until you notice the Dogfish Head sign in the window. That tips off what is to come. Inside you are greated with a good selection of beer glasses. I can not comment on their price because I want shopping for them, but it is always good to know where to find a good glass.

The beer is all the way to the back of the store. One full wall with a cooler, and a nother smaller cooler on an adjacent wall. Then one row both sided with many beers, and another one sided row. They had a lot of stuff. No Dogfish Head, which was a let down from seeing the sign.

I got a lot of Russian River stuff, saw lots of Lost Abbey, and lots of great Belgain beers. After 7 months on deployment in the Gulf of Oman, this store was like being a kid in a candy store. Definately something for everyone.

I dropped about $100 and was happy with the beers I got. Some of the reviews say this place is a little pricey, but I really cant comment because after being out of the country for 7 months with the current state of the economy, and the hop shortage, I am just not as up to date on current prices as I should be.

Overall: This place is great. It a little out of my way, but as I plan to stop by Jupiter again in the future, I will definately stop bace here.

OStrungT, Oct 12, 2008
Photo of mjl21
4.85/5  rDev +12.3%

Every time I go in to Ledger's Liquors I always think about how many times I drove by this place not knowing what was inside.

When you walk in to Ledgers you are greeted by a very loud bell, the kind that you hear in a corner liquor store where you sole purpose is condoms, King Cobra, and Swisher Sweets. But don't let that ring fool you. Immediately to the right of the entrance and in front of you are cases stocked with all kinds of cool glassware. There are rows stocked with tons of good booze and towards the back is where the beer is located. They have a coolers along the wall which are stocked with everything. All of the popular guys are here including RR, HOTD, Port/Lost Abbey, Stone, Deschutes, The Bruery, et. al. You can slo find limited stuff from smaller guys such as Iron Springs and Schooner's.

Besides the beer in coolers there is beer in boxes on the floor and along several shelves. It is always fun to go through the shelves because there is always something new and interesting. They also have shelves dedicated to the Euro offerings. In the back is where they keep the Belgians.

Another nice feature is you can make your own six packs from any of their beers so you are not left feeling burned if you try a beer that you do not like.

The service is outstanding. Ed owns the place and Sonny is his right hand man. Both guys are extremely amiable. I have been told Ledger's is also frequented by bartenders for their rare liquor selection.

If you are visiting this is a must stop as Ledger's has great prices and selection.

mjl21, Mar 09, 2009
Photo of coldriver
4.1/5  rDev -5.1%

visited on December 23. Pretty non-descript look from the outside, but what a joy on the inside. Two aisles of beer seemingly randomly dispersed. It would easy to spend at least an hour digging through the inventory, but the 20 minutes I had was very enjoyable. Very high quality selections from Russian River, Alesmith, Belgians, etc. Some selections were a bit dusty, which in a way is a good thing (you know it might be a little old rather than trying to guess among dusted bottles). Prices were reasonable. A very solid east Bay bottle shop.

coldriver, Dec 24, 2011
Photo of clickpush
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%

Finally, after months of reading about Ledger's, I trekked out there from SF to see what all the fuss was about. Immediately I understood. Belgians out the wazoo... that's all I have to say. Tons of 750ml bottles had hopped across the pond and landed in Ledger's and Ledger's only. Three full aisles of room temp beer and another 1.5 aisles of beer coolers. I loved the disorganization, the half empty cases, and all the mysterious labels - this is beer shopping at its best. When there's this good of a variety, I don't want to skim the shelves that are billboarded by brewing company - I want to be forced to look at every label and say "ooooh, I've read about this one" - one after another after another. Only reason that selection is not a 5 is because I felt that there were some obvious holes in the California selections (though some small distribution So. Cal beers had somehow made their way there), but I did not see a single Russian River or AleSmith selection, some of which are quite easy to locate in other stores in the Bay Area. But nonetheless, here's what I came away with (after negotiating a budget w/ myself (which I then promptly exceeded))...
-Fuller's Vintage Ale 2004, $7.95 / 500ml
-Unibroue Edition 2004, $9.25 / 750ml
-Urthel Quadrium, $9.50 / 750ml
-Belhaven Twisted Thistle, $3.25 / 500ml
-Firestone Walker Porter Reserve, $4.59 / 22oz
-Fantome's La Gourmande, $11.95 / 750ml
-Brouwerij St. Bernardus Grotten Brown, $9.25 / 750ml
-Brouwerij St. Bernardus Grotten Flemish Ale, $9.25 / 750ml

Okay, so the walk back to the BART station was a slow one, but well worth it. Service here did not appear until I was checking out, but they were friendly and extremely beer savvy, which surprised me as my experience has been that at a beer/liquor/wine store the clerks focus most heavily on wine, then liquor, then beer.

Anyway, this will not be the last time I am swiping the plastic through Ledger's machines.

clickpush, Nov 27, 2006
Photo of DaveHS
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%

Ledger's is a little out of the way (unless you live in Berkeley) but it's always worth the trip. Whenever I go here, I find things I thought were completely gone. For instance, last time I went in I saw a dozen or so bottles of Angel's Share. They were in the refrigerator. That's the thing about Ledger's...you can find all sorts of rare and interesting beers, but they are completely disorganized. I get the impression that most of the people who work there don't know a whole lot about beer. Ledger's has been around for a long time, and they have serious connections. Last year they were selling Lost Abbey Red Poppy and Older Viscosity from behind the counter.
So overall, a great beer spot, but you will need some time to poke around.

DaveHS, Mar 24, 2009
Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
4.7/5  rDev +8.8%

Ledger's is one of the biggest surprises I've found in the San Francisco Bay Area. From the outside, it doesn't look like much; in fact, it doesn't look like much from the inside either. It looks like a typical "hole-in-the-wall" liquor store.

But the beer selection IS very impressive. In fact, I'd rate it the #3 beer store in the entire San Francisco Bay Area; it's probably on par with Healthy Spirits in San Francisco in terms of overall selection, but Ledger's has better prices. Only Perry's in Livermore (#1) and Monument in Concord (#2) have more beer in my estimation.

The owner pretty much leaves you to browse unless you have questions for him, which I like, and then he's very helpful. You'll find some very nice surprises here. However, it'd be really nice if they updated their website to list their beer selection, as many other big beer stores do.

All in all, an excellent beer store.

Falcon91Wolvrn03, Nov 14, 2009
Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.05/5  rDev -6.3%

Ok my 3.0 on quality is not because they don't take care of the beer but because... It's every where. They literally have boxes on the floor stacked up and made to look like a display but you have to search through the boxes and open some and check lables just to make sure your not missing out on anything good. I almost missed the Abyss because it wasn't opened and buried under a couple other boxes. Also I'm pretty sure they are suppose to be cold storing the Pliney and Blind pig but it was out with the other beers. There was also a bottle of Cuvee de Tomme I had to move some bottles around to find.

You do have to check this place out though if you wanna find some rare beers and a nice selection of beers you won't find else where. But it's just bad business to not take care ogf your stock. They would sell so much more if it was there and you could see it without having to search.

Staff was helpful in helping us locate a Utopias. They seemed to be knowledgable enough too.

Prices were very fair too. They weren't trying to stick you with extra cost for the more rare offerings.

Allin all. Go check it out. Yull find some awesome beers. I just wish they would get it together so you don't have to search.

PeprSprYoFace, Jan 12, 2010
Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
4.6/5  rDev +6.5%

When it comes to the quality, I state "good" because from the outside, it looks like a hole in the wall and that it may have been robbed a few times.

That's the beauty of it once you walk inside. Everything opposite. Arguably the best selection in the east bay and less expensive than the known beer stores in the city. (Healthy Spirits to name one)

The best aspect of this store front is the owner Ed. He's more than happy to spend time with you, educate you and just make you feel welcome. Selection is fantastic including all the latest releases. $15.99 for Parabola when at Toronado sells it for $20 and Perry's liquor sells it for $28.99 (LMFAO!) Just one example.

The second example is a conversation Ed and I had about vintage beers meaning 2009 and 2008 Barleywines, RIS's and other older Barrel Aged Beers that's stuck around on his shelves some. Keep in mind other beer stores look to profit off these and upcharge for them once they feel the age is right (less than a year in most cases) Can you say City Beer and Perry's Liquor to name a few...

The conversation went like this when I asked about keeping his prices the same on vintages:

"If they stayed on the shelves, I still payed the same price for them. The price shouldn't change on the consumer just because it's still on my shelf".

I can't tell you how many times he's thrown a extra in my bag after a decent haul. Not cheap extra's either let me tell you. After plenty experience in shopping beer in SF and the greater Bay Area, I can honestly say Ed is looking for your continued business and loyalty. He's not caught up in getting the most $$ out of your wallet and over charging rarities.

I highly recommend Ledger's as hands down my favorite. A better experience than every location in SF in my experience.

RBassSFHOPit2ME, Jan 06, 2011
Photo of GClarkage
4.45/5  rDev +3%

Let me start off by saying....what a find! I found this place from a recommendation from the local Stone Brewery rep. I was looking for a case of Stone IRS and he filled me in on Ledger's. I had always seen this store listed in the Celebrator beer monthly, but never really took a second glance for some reason. Located in Berkeley on University, it's about halfway to Cal. They have a parking lot that holds about 10 cars or so. Not the best of neighboorhoods, but not horrible. The owner (Ed) is a fantastic and very knowledgeble guy. Seemed like he really knows his stuff. He even takes special orders. The selection is pretty amazing. Lots of micros and other beers that you normally can't find around here. Plus lots of stuff that is long gone from just about everywhere. The first time I visited I was lucky to find so many great items. Unibroue 11, 2003 Anchor X-mas, leftover Bigfoot, Delirium Noel, three varieties of Fantome, many obscure brews from all over the world. I even found Pizza Port stuff that I didn't even know was bottled. Was lucky enough to get a couple Frank DIPA. Just a great beer store. If you are into the harder stuff they have about 100 different bottles of single and double malt whiskey. Lots of treasures to be found here.

GClarkage, Jul 12, 2005
Photo of bbothen
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%

Ledger's is my go to spot to stock up.

Ed is an awesome guy. Always friendly and goes out of his way to get beers you won't find at the run of the mill stores around the bay.

The beer aisles are kinda sorted by region, but are in a slight state of disarray. This makes hunting fun. About 10 fridges stocked with cold selections.

A regular stock of Stone, Bear Republic, Deschutes, Port, Lost Abbey, etc. An excellent belgian selection as well. I've got some gems here I wouldn't find elsewhere like Older Viscosity, The Abyss, Firestone 11, Schooner Old Woody, Port Signature, etc.

If you're looking for one of the 2 best selections in the bay area, this is it. You might pay a dollar or two more, but it's worth it. Support the good guys like Ed, they deserve it.

bbothen, Feb 26, 2008
Photo of bcm119
4.6/5  rDev +6.5%

Ledger's seems to just keep improving. It has a great selection of California beer and Belgians, all displayed in a random fashion to make your beer hunt a little more fun. The owner is knowledgeable, friendly and not the least bit pretentious. He really caters to the beer enthusiast by seeking out stuff that can't be found elsewhere in the bay area, and when he has something really special like Abyss he'll keep it in the back so you have to ask for it-- thereby saving his stock for the enthusiasts. There are new things arriving all the time so frequent trips here are recommended. As a nice bonus he carries a good selection of glasses. All this in a seedy liquor store atmosphere... it doesn't get much better.

bcm119, Jan 27, 2008
Photo of Lothore
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Let me start off by saying I love small beer stores but absolutely have not been impressed with any stores in the Bay Area. While City Beer has its advantages, driving into the city sucks any way you look at it and the vibe there is just too cramped in my opinion. In comes Ledger's Liquors. While this is in a fairly decent part of town, this store looks to be like just another run down liquor store from the outside...WRONG! When one approaches closer there is a wide variety of glassware in the window. As I started to peruse the isles of beer I absolutely loved how things weren't very organized but there was enough room for them to be spread out. This lead to a treasure hunt for beer and I ended up finding some gems. What was also amazing was that every 6 pack I saw could be broken up into singles (and there were quite a few). I hate it when expensive six packs can be broken up but the common or cheap ones usually can't at normal stores, there is no such problem here. I found 4 Russian River Brews here as well as a good selection of Lost Abbey/Port Brewing, etc etc. While the selection wasn't mindblowing, it was great for the Bay Area. The prices weren't all that bad. From other reviews I was expecting this place to be super expensive but it seems to only be a matter of a buck or two here and there off from bevmo and I would much rather give ledgers my business. After I paid and was about to leave I remembered that I wanted a bottle of water so I went up to the counter and took my wallet out only to have the owner tell me not to worry about it and to enjoy the beer. Great service, awesome vibe, this place is hard to beat.

Lothore, Jan 01, 2008
Photo of scottfrie
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%

I've lived in Oakland most of my life and I've just now finally made it to Ledger's. They have a great easy to find location, a great beer selection, and competitive prices. Their beer is kept in the far back of the store away from most of the light from the windows. There is a fairly large wall of cooler but another couple row of room temp bottles of shelves. The selection is of that of similar big named stores of the greater bay area (Bottle Barn, Perry's, Monument, etc), and there are always a few brews that you can find only at any one store. Pricing is very good, and closer to a store like Bevmo than a specialty bottle shop. One thing of note is they had fresh Pliny for $4.18 a bottle which is cheaper than most places. They the normal RR sours there as well. Overall, a great store for the area with a great bottle selection and friendly service. They had a pretty good selection of glassware as well. I highly recommend hunting here if you're in the area.

scottfrie, Aug 21, 2010
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Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA
96 out of 100 based on 56 ratings.