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Austin Liquors

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

25 Ratings
Ratings: 25
Reviews: 24
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 10.92%
$$ - reasonable
[ Store ]

117 Gold Star Boulevard
Worcester, Massachusetts, 01606-2800
United States
phone: (508) 853-8953

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
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(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
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Ratings: 25 | Reviews: 24 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of antaydos
antaydos

Massachusetts

4.7/5  rDev +16.6%
quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$

I live not too far from Austin, and love it. Their selection is fantastic, as many here have noted. I don't have much to add to what others have said.

However, I do have a negative to add. For the most part, their staff who roam the aisles are helpful. Unfortunately, not all their cashiers are familiar with the concept of bottle conditioning, and as a result, have had (on many occasions) the cashier flip the bottle all around looking for a bar code to scan while I stand and watch in horror. Small quibble, though. Only gotta wait a couple days to drink it.

Apart from that, I love this place.

06-23-2008 20:56:48 | More by antaydos
Photo of ubermunkey
ubermunkey

Massachusetts

3.95/5  rDev -2%
quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$

you won't find anything better in worcester. while i still drive an extra 20 minutes for a slightly better selection, Austin can hold it's own, and i still visit when i happen to be in the area. they have a very good selection of 22oz and 750's, but since there is next to no 12oz singles selections, i usually take that long drive when i'm looking to try something new. i did manage to find alesmith speedway stout in both the bottle aisle and (very suprisingly) the cold selection, this was one i had looked for the last 4 times visiting my other regular store. speaking of the cold selection, while they did have some good choices in there (alesmith, stone, a few others), there was way too much room dedicated to the common brews i can get everywhere. i guess i can't complain though, everyone has to make money somehow.

02-26-2007 22:08:16 | More by ubermunkey
Photo of krantul
krantul

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -0.7%
quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$

Austin Liquors is the seat of good beer at retail in Worcester, and pretty much always has been. There's some subtle differences between their two stores, though, and the Gold Star Blvd. store is basically the better establishment for most purposes.

The "warm" beer aisle is plentiful. You have the usual array of New England beers, ranging from your Harpoons to your Magic Hats, before the selection gives way to the finer craft beers from other parts of the country: Great Divide, Dogfish Head, and the like. There is an excellent selection of 22 oz. bombers. Plenty of imports as well, ranging from bottle-conditioned english beers to a good selection of Belgian beers. Austin almost always has some "3 for $XX.xx" specials going with the bombers and Belgians, and you can actually get some pretty good bargains on some fairly complex beers. It's pretty cool that they encourage experimentation like that. And they finally dispensed with those light bulbs right on top of the shelves...

A small selection is naturally available in the coolers. Some bombers, some Belgians, some sixers of craft beers, and growlers of Berkshire, Burnside, and sometimes Paper City. The flaw here is that the cold selection is relatively small, and virtually never rotates to bring in different stuff. Choices are limited if you're popping in for something on your way to the BYOB restaurant.

Oddly, the other store (Shrewsbury) has the opposite situation. Larger selection of cold six-packs (that changes regularly), somewhat mediocre warm aisle.

Substantial real estate is, of course, devoted to BudCo trash, both warm and cold.

06-06-2006 16:52:05 | More by krantul
Photo of Knuckles
Knuckles

Washington

3.95/5  rDev -2%
quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$

I had spent the day out at the Cape with FirstMan and my sister, made a frantic stop in Braintree to get my sister an assload of stuff for her apartment at Bed, Bath and Beyond...

****Editorial aside: One thing the West Coast does very, very well is make it incredibly easy to get off the highway, do some shopping, and get back on the highway. The East Coast does not do this. It's difficult enough just to stay on the right fucking highway, much less get off and back on, that shopping becomes something you have to dedicate a day to, rather than stop on your way by.

and then the plan was to go to the CBC and hook up with BeerPanther and polskapanda for a pint or two, then mosey on out to Worcester to hit Austin Liquors before closing time. Well, weather, shopping, end of weekend traffic and the Massachusetts DOT's predilection for not putting highway signs out until the last possible second conspired against us so that we had to, very reluctantly mind you, cut out the stop at the CBC with BP and PP. Hell.

After we escape the shoppers paradise that is Braintree, the wrath of God touches down on Boston. I've seen rainstorms in Seattle, I've seen rainstorms in Florida, I've seen rainstorms in Louisiana (I'm really getting this creepy-ass James Taylor-esque feeling right about now), but few of them have approached the ferocity and doggedness of this one. This is "Hey Noah, can I catch a ride?" kind of rain. I find out the next day that train track signals have been flooded out, all sorts of houses are trying to float away, that sort of thing. Again, I ask myself, "Why was it the Puritans stuck around?" Anyway, the end result of this is an extended period of clock watching where FirstMan and I are convinced that there's no fucking way we'll get to Austin on time (Sunday hours are 12-5 for those to you who are curious).

But no, what's this? We get into Worcester at 4:45! Holy crap, we may have time. Of course, it's all the way across town, and the entire highway system is either under construction or submerged under the tears of god. But we go screaming into the parking lot at 4:57, leap out of the car in a very Starsky & Hutch fashion, and run as fast for the door as my flip-flops will allow me (for the record that speed would be "Not Very Fast"). The Austin chick is turning the sign as we get there, but she unlocks the door and lets us in, and FirstMan beats a path to the beer aisle.

I have to say, I'm quite impressed. It appears to me that they have organized by style, rather than region. So all Belgian styles are together (meaning I can grab an Allagash Tripel, Ommegang Rare Vos and a Gouden Carolus from the same section), all German styles are together...you get the picture. And the selection is huge, with singles lining the aisle to the right, cases and half racks to the left. I'm assuming this store used to be a grocery of some sort, as it has all the atmosphere of the Prairie Market my mom used to take me to by the Crest Theatre in Shoreline (Prairie Market is now a bingo hall, and retains the same old school charm). The main difference between Austin Liquors and Prairie Market is that you don't have to write the prices on the hooch with a grease pencil. And Austin doesn't sell 'BEER'.

Our time here is short, almost painfully so. The selection is vast, and my space is horribly limited. I've already got bottles to take home from New Glarus, Snake River, Smuttynose, etc. so I need to make my choices wisely. I settle on an Allagash Tripel and an imperial stout and a barley wine that I cannot recall at the moment (and yes, I'm embarassed as hell by that). I find it to be incredibly badass that they have growlers in the cooler in the back, Paper City, Berkshire, etc. Actually, we had the Paper City Pilsner down the Cape on Saturday night, and I quite enjoyed it.

My only criticism of the store is this: The lighting is incredibly harsh, and I know from talking to FirstMan that he's gotten a fair number of bad bottles out of there. There are actually flourescent lights on the beer shelves at the top, and then there's the charming flourescent lighting thirty feet in the air on the ceiling of the store. Whatever you do, if you take a bottle off the top shelf, try and grab it from the back, and the same goes for their coolers. The lower shelves don't appear to be nearly as at risk.

If you're expecting the atmosphere of a bottle shop like Bottleworks in Seattle, you're going to be horribly disappointed. If you're expecting a huge ass store with a huge ass selection of top notch beers that are questionably stored, you're going to be thrilled. I was, and am envious of FirstMan's luck in finding this place. I don't have anything with near that selection that near to me in Bremerton.

08-17-2005 18:27:01 | More by Knuckles
Photo of macpapi
macpapi

Maryland

4.15/5  rDev +3%
quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$

Although I just left Worcester a couple of weeks ago, my many experiences at Austin's necessitate a Beerfly review. It is by far the best place in Worcester for purchasing beer--though that is not saying much. But still this is a quality store. Until recently, they held beer tastings on Fridays and Saturdays for such quality brews as Stone, DogFish Head, Ommegang and Unibroue, among others. Still do wine tastings on the weekends, but that is beyond the purview of this review.

Overall selection is usually excellent. There were a few times, when they seemed to be behind on ordering or receiving of products and there were quite a few holes on the shelves. But between the many fine selections of Belgians, local brews (in both sixers and growlers located in the back cooler), traditionally popular craft beers from out of region (good run of Stone, Bear Republic, Rogue, and Victory among others) and others from just about every global region, you can always find something worthwhile to purchase. While their prices aren't the best, there are a few staples that are more than reasonable for my tastes. (Hop Devil at $6.99 was a steal compared to most local places pricing at two-three dollars more.) And I always looked forward to the times when they placed slightly out of seasonals on clearance (summer sixers for $2 in October; Concord North Woods for $3.49 in January for example).

Service was usually very good. All employees are helpful and you could always find one or two very knowledgable about beer. Aaron who ran the tastings was extremely helpful and up on his beer styles and info. Worcester is not the easiest place to find good quality beer, but Austins is definitely a diamond in the rough!!

07-21-2005 13:18:20 | More by macpapi
Photo of FirstMan
FirstMan

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -0.7%
quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

I just moved to Worcester from the Seattle area and have been itching to find a good place to get samples of the local brew.

Never did I imagine that Worcester would have a selection like this.

Austin has a great selection of foreign and domestic beer. Three or four shelves full of Belgians, more for Germans, Czech, you name it. I turned the corner, expecting to see a wall of Bud and was stunned. A great variety of locals on the shelf and in the coolers. I even noticed growlers of Berkshire brew in a case at the back. That I had never seen before.

The place is a little run-down from the outside as it is really the last place left in what was once a larger strip mall. That said, the selection of beer, wine, and all other exotic booze is excellent. Highly worth the trip.

Austin is definitly making my move to Worcester a LOT easier.

03-31-2005 01:04:50 | More by FirstMan
Photo of Billolick
Billolick

New York

4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$

This is a large white box of a place, in a mall/shopping/highway kind of area, real close to rt. 290, just north of Wusta. Huge selection of wine, and an equally impressive selection of fine beer from near and far. They have got the goods. Locals, regionals, imports etc etc, they have all their beer bases well covered. Cases of macros all the way to the left, the good stuff takes up an entire, huge row, 2nd from the left. Also coolers with cold brew in the rear, including growlers from Berkshire Brewing. A nice feature was a display they had up front, showing beers that were being recomended for consumption with various types of food. This type of beer/food education I have never seen before in a liquor store. A very cool touch. They also have a newsletter, with wine and beer info/education. I highly advise making this a stop on your beer travels.

11-22-2004 02:36:33 | More by Billolick
Photo of konabrewer
konabrewer

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev -0.7%
quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

I scheduled on Offshore Tasting here not really knowing what I was getting myself into. I did not expect what I was in for....

Ben ad Aaron were both very helpful in getting me set up right at the entrance and were pouring my beer for me as I discussed it with customers. Apparantly this store does not allow brewery reps to pour beer, t must be an employee of Austin's.. Cool with me, it gave me more time to talk wit people. I sold several cases by the way.

So.. why review? I was happy to find the store clean, stocked to the ceilings with fine beers among the clouds of everyday stock. The large Belgian department has obviously been revamped since my last visit 2-3 years ago. The have many great imports and domestic "craft " beers to choose from. The entire Craft, Atlas, Atlantic and United Books as far as I could seen. That is pretty much everything to non-industry folk.

The nug though: They do not tend to have great prices from looking at everything. $7.49 plus dep for a six of Wachusett (hum?) $6.99 for cans of Sherwood is typical though. (Offshore is $6.99 too, which is a better price than I usually get)

SO the NUG: Deus! $23.95 what a fair price. I have seen it from $23-$32 at off-premise and $40 for on premise. Damn tootin' a great beer at a fair price.

Incidently, they were doing a wine tasting with some wines ranging in the 10-30 range. Nothing even comes close to Deus! Well maybe De Ranke at $8.49

Great store with excellent finds. check 'em out.

11-13-2004 04:38:23 | More by konabrewer
Photo of Plughfish
Plughfish

Pennsylvania

4.15/5  rDev +3%
quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

This was an awesome find while visiting some relatives. We were just looking to find a liquor store to replenish some of the beer that we consumed at our uncles house and stumbled into a beer oasis.

Austin’s offers a great local selection as well as beers from around the world. The selection includes Smuttynose, Wachusett’s, Magic Hat, Victory, Stone, Rogue, Bear Republic, Dogfish Head, just to name a few from the American breweries. They also have a nice selection of English, German and Belgians.

I really did not need help when I was there but the staff seemed eager to answer any questions we may have had. I am unfamiliar with the typical liquor store in Massachusetts but being from Pennsylvania and our screwed up liquor / beer laws, this store was a real find.

11-08-2004 16:05:51 | More by Plughfish
Photo of masterbruewer
masterbruewer

Ohio

4/5  rDev -0.7%
quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

This store is making me want to visit my in-laws more often.

Two very big aisles of beer and most if it aint macros. A dizzying array of regional beers in 24, 12 and sixes. Many sampler 12-packs and singles of the more exotic imports.

Among the items on the shelf: Chimay, Young and Co. Harpoon, Wachussetts, Shipyard, Magic Hat, Petes, Stone, Dogfish Head, and many, many more.

I didn't need any help because of the open layout, but there was staff nearby if I needed help.

Great selection of really great beers.

08-20-2004 01:03:29 | More by masterbruewer
Austin Liquors in Worcester, MA
90 out of 100 based on 25 ratings.