The Wine Thief & Ale Jail

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BA SCORE
97
world-class

28 Reviews
Reviews: 28
Visits: 45
rAvg: 4.48
pDev: n/a
[ Store ]

1787 Saint Clair Ave
Saint Paul, Minnesota, 55105-1941
United States
phone: (651) 698-9463

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @alejail

Notes:
Place added by: summitepale on 01-28-2006

No notes at this time.
Place: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 28 | Visits: 45
Reviews by zeff80:
Photo of zeff80
4.08/5  rDev -8.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Located a short distance from Groveland Tap in a neighborhood that looks straight from the 1960s. It is a nice, clean well-lit store with an entire room dedicated to beer. Less than a quarter of the beer is kept in coolers. It is organized by style throughout the room with a large selection of single 12oz bottles. The service was helpful and pleasant in late afternoon on a holiday weekend. The quality of every beer I've tried so far has been good. The selection was good but not as great as I had pictured from the other great reviews. I hoped to see more local/Great Lakes area beers in bombers/750s. This is a really good store that is pretty close to downtown St. Paul. It is worth taking the short drive to visit. (721 characters)

More User Reviews:
Photo of NateMac13
5/5  rDev +11.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

This place was fantastic. Great selection, some decently hard to find stuff, friendly service, discount when you buy so many bottles, prices were pretty good. I went here and to total wine and this place killed it. Must stop if you are looking for a bottle shop in St Paul. Not a single complaint. (297 characters)

Photo of maedhros09
4.37/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25

The Ale Jail is a great place to make your own 6-pack. It seems like most of the beers they sell in 4- or 6-packs you can also find individually. I went looking for a few seasonal specialties from Great Lakes and Sierra Nevada and was a little surprised that they weren't in stock given the selection. The service was good, though - they pointed me to some alternatives, and I was pretty happy with the singles selection. Most of the stuff seemed fresh. (453 characters)

Photo of mikevanatta
4.6/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.25

An incredibly friendly, knowledgeable staff. Always fun, new stuff on the shelves. (82 characters)

Photo of Monkeyknife
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of djhowell
4.07/5  rDev -9.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4

Photo of XmnwildX12
4.24/5  rDev -5.4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

Photo of lonewolfcry
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of CCutch
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Great and variable selection with excellent turnover on IPAs and local beers. Nice and knowledgable staff that will help you find what you need and provide some honest opinions and great recommendations. (206 characters)

Photo of jarrgal
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of fuzzcherry
5/5  rDev +11.6%

Photo of mnredsoxfan69
4.48/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

The Wine Thief & Ale Jail are two halves of a whole store with a wall and open doorway dividing them. The senior beer staff is extremely knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. The junior staff, not quite as knowledgeable, but still friendly and helpful. Their selection of superior beers is excellent with less attention paid to the low end. I saw no Keystone or Mountain Crest, but I did see a large variety of sours and Belgians and lots of other goodies. The prices are reasonable, some a little above what I've paid elsewhere, and some a little lower so it all evens out in that respect.

I'll be doing more shopping here. (624 characters)

Photo of mothman
3/5  rDev -33%

Photo of Jimandhisbeerd
5/5  rDev +11.6%

Photo of Chudem
5/5  rDev +11.6%

Photo of greenspointexas
3.75/5  rDev -16.3%

Photo of SlightlyGrey
4.25/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of TGanyone
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of heytomcat
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%

Photo of DaftPatrick
5/5  rDev +11.6%

Photo of mattmarka1
4.75/5  rDev +6%

Photo of Fluffheady
4.32/5  rDev -3.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25

We are from out of town and visited several beer stores in Minneapolis. This place is where we gladly dropped most of our budget, and the place that any BA reader should visit. There is a great collection of growlers. They had the original half acre growler AND the new one. Any time I see that, I’m SOLD (living on the north side of Chicago). And the Russian River growler, etc, etc, etc. The man working the beer side of the store was extremely knowledgeable, and another one of the customers was a certified beer tasting judge. It is a great place. Stop here if from out of town. Shop here if you live here. These places need to survive. (642 characters)

Photo of Sludgeman
4/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of JosephThompson
3.2/5  rDev -28.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3

The store itself is nice. Cool concept and it's played up and out on the walls all around you. Front entrance walks you into the wine area with a door frame a few steps to the right opening into the beer area.

Product is laid out nicely. I'm sure they have stock somewhere but oftentimes you'd only see one bottle of a label on the shelf. Whether to encourage you to buy or simply to save some space I'm not sure. There was nothing rare or special about the selection though what they have is what I'd consider the better quality of beers from the market.

Lots of local stuff including Braun Brothers, Steel Toe, etc. Remember a pretty decent sized Mikkeller selection if that's your thing. Of course, mix a six pack is available.

Service-wise, not much to say. They didn't bother me as it seemed they had other things going on. I visited on a weekday afternoon and saw one other customer so perhaps there was a massive event being planned that took up their time. (968 characters)

Photo of augustgarage
4.6/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

I had the good fortune of staying less than a mile and a half away from this establishment during my visit to Saint Paul and was able to make repeat visits during the week.

The store is divided cleanly into a small room full of wine and a small room full of beer. A short wall is devoted to coolers, while the longer walls are lined with floor to ceiling shelves where you can select bombers, singles, etc. Everything is clean and well organized and protected from excessive light exposure.

I purchased an embarrassing amount while I was there, and the quality of every beer was superlative. You won't find a fresher can of Surly in the city (e.g. TWO DAY old Furious!).

Selection was fairly wide ranging in style with plenty of excellent German and Belgian beers intermingling with the wide array of local (Summit, Surly, Flat Earth, Steel Toe, Brau Brothers, August Schell) and mid-west/southern (Tall Grass, Bell's, Founders, Great Lakes, Rush River, Left Hand, etc.) offerings.

The staff was incredibly kind, knowledgeable, and accommodating without ever being pushy. It doesn't take long to realize you are among fellow enthusiasts when you step through the door (I noted a few growlers in the back of the fridge as well, shared among the employees as well as empty bottles of rarities the staff had obtained in trade). There is a secondary emphasis on food/cheese pairing to further elevate your beer enjoying experience.

With the 10% discounts on mixed 6 packs (make them up yourself), you can walk out with a large burden of bottles and cans for not a lot of money.

The only fault I could find is that they sold no glassware, but if this leaves room for more ale and wine it's a very minor complaint. (1,719 characters)

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The Wine Thief & Ale Jail in Saint Paul, MN
97 out of 100 based on 28 ratings.