1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

The Wine Thief & Ale Jail

Not Rated.
   No picture uploaded.
   Have one? Upload it now.

36 Ratings
Ratings: 36
Reviews: 25
rAvg: 4.45
pDev: 11.91%
[ 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

None, yet.

(Place added by: summitepale on 01-28-2006)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 36 | Reviews: 25 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dirtylou


4.64/5  rDev +4.3%

I built the Ale Jail into my itinerary on a recent drive from Madison to Seattle. Of all the heavy hitter beer stores in MSP, this added the least amount of time to the trip. Other location notes - gas station right on the corner, Thomas Liquors a few blocks away and a Whole Foods in the immediate vicinity.

The focus of the stop was to grab a light stock of Surly cans and keep travelling. I was a little delayed by a lethal lightning/hail storm and had to wait outside the store for 15 minutes before it was safe to leave the car.

Surly bender, coffee bender, bitter brewer and hell were available. They had drained their furious stash but were kind enough to proactively call down to Thomas Liquors and gave me detailed directions on how to get there - very cool.

The focus of the main room is wine while the back room houses all the beer. There are a lot of bombers/750's and 4/6 packs in coolers and a large dry storage area housing singles, imports, etc.

Surly, Brau Brothers, Flat Earth, Rush River, Daves Brew Farm and lots of other midwest staples highlight the stash. I saw the Deschutes/Boulevard collaboration along with all the other Boulevard highlights as well.

A farmhouse 750ml (Auroch's Horn) was suggested by the shopkeep and thoroughly enjoyed.

Cool stop - very satisfied. Oh and whatever music they were dialed into was strong - heard an LCD Soundsystem song while browsing.

07-28-2011 15:33:09 | More by dirtylou
Photo of Tamarack22


4.36/5  rDev -2%

Let me get straight to the point; this is by far the best store I have ever been to for buying single bottles of beer. They have a great selection, but the best part is the price. Every bottle is priced in relation to it's case price. Every other store I've been to seems to round up to the nearest dollar; $2, $3, or $4 per bottle. At Ale Jail you pay the same price per bottle whether it's a 12-pack, 6-pack, or single bottle. Awesome!

Not a single "BMC" brand is to be found. Only the finest craft breweries on their shelves. Lots of Belgian beers and hard to find bombers and 750's. Cooler space is limited, but that doesn't bother me.

Knowledgable staff that is always willing to answer questions with straight answers. Great atmosphere. This is a beer store for beer advocates by beer advocates.

07-06-2011 03:44:08 | More by Tamarack22
Photo of cpolking


4.64/5  rDev +4.3%

This is a large, roomy, area and bright with natural light, boutique looking store. However, the prices are reasonable.

There is an extremely large selection and basically everything is available as a single. There is a great and varied selection of American craft beers, both those local to the Twin Cities area and nationally. There is also a decent international selection.

The staff when I visited was friendly and helpful but not pushy or hovering.

This is in a nice area of St. Paul and is a must stop if you are in the Twin Cities. It is my new favorite beer store.

07-01-2011 22:46:34 | More by cpolking
Photo of Expedition


4.44/5  rDev -0.2%

I love this little joint in the East Side. A great destination beer store with a great selection, and the place is organized really well. It is not pretentious in any way. The cooler space is adequate as well. I see some folks complain about it where other beer stores in St. Louis Park have a single 2 door. Cooler space is over-rated.

I had a great time looking around here and the staff was great as well. I will always make a stop here when in the St. Paul area. Thanks Paul and crew! You made my day!

06-28-2011 17:04:43 | More by Expedition
Photo of gatornation


4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

was in st paul today and went down snelling to st claire,,and parked right in front,,you enter on the left front door,,wine is immediately in front of you the beer is on the right thru another entry,,place is very cool inside.. its an old building with all wood floors inside.. beer chilled 4/6 packs are in a cooler on the back wall with a limited chilled selection..big single selection by variety is all around the floor space by style in bomber/750ml and singles imported and domestic..so much to choose from ..the help is knowledgeable,and great to talk with about brews and knowledge of product..really like this place

06-14-2011 00:04:59 | More by gatornation
Photo of KarlHungus


4.8/5  rDev +7.9%

I am very impressed with the beer selection at The Wine Thief and Ale Jail. Their singles selection is among the best in the Twin Cities, as is their Belgian selection, and their selection of unique/hard to find beers. The only thing I can say negatively about their selection is that their cooler space is somewhat limited. The service is really good, and even the wine guys seem to be very beer savvy. The atmosphere is inviting with a lot of space to move around in. I will definitely be going back here when looking for something odd.

06-09-2011 19:29:23 | More by KarlHungus
Photo of

3.45/5  rDev -22.5%

Well I had heard so many great things about the place and I finally had to make the trip in to check it out. I do agree with some of the things that have already been mentioned, but when I was in the store they did have a couple of guys in. I did wait around to talk to the beer guy but was unable to on a couple occasions. I had tried to inquire about items and was kind of ignored, seemed like he was too busy talking to his regulars/ buddies. The selection is nice but it's a lot of things that I can find at a lot of other stores. Cool vibe to the store, might stop back sometime in the future I would really have enjoyed a chance to talk to a cicerone. :( As for price a wee bit on the high side on some items.

03-17-2011 19:51:25 | More by
Photo of doucmehu


4.78/5  rDev +7.4%

The Ale Jail is one of my favorite beer stores in all the land. I have only been coming here for a couple months, but they do not disappoint.

* Tastings - Every Tuesday they do a really nice tasting with at least 4 bottles. Examples are: Lips of Faith series, Lagunitas, Great Lakes, Great Divide, Brau Brothers....

* Social Media - Great job on posting good info, reviews, reminders, upcoming events, humor, etc.

* Selection - over 1000 beer sku's, all categorized and sortable online with current stock status!!

* Approachable - amazing staff, they can geek it up or be very down to earth for a newbie.

* The Boss - the manager of the beer store is a really nice guy, easy to talk to, extremely knowledgeable and unpretentious.

* Singles selection - simply excellent, including lots of imports.

My only two gripes with this store could be the prices and refrigeration, but honestly paying an extra buck or two for this selection and dealing with room temp on a lot of beers is acceptable for me.

03-17-2011 02:47:23 | More by doucmehu
Photo of zeledonia


4.8/5  rDev +7.9%

Seems like every time I go there, it's empty. And I can't fathom why. In fact, I'm tempted not to review it so I can keep it to myself and the others who already know about it.

You have to walk through the wine side to get to the "Ale Jail." Once there, it's roomy and quiet. Great selection, a wall of single 12 oz. bottles, a wall of bigger bottles, a wall of coolers, and tables in the middle with 4- and 6-packs.

The mixed 6-packs are the best value I've found; the per-bottle prices are the same as if you bought a pack of each. Awesome selection, mostly organized by style. They also seem to get less traffic than other spots with similar selection, so they have the limiteds and other sought-after stuff for quite a bit longer (e.g. they had plenty of Founders Imperial Stout long after it was gone from my local more-popular shop).

Staff is super helpful, and usually very available. Seriously, why is there never anyone else there?

Great place, well worth a visit for the value and selection. And I hear the weekly tastings are great, though I haven't yet made it to one.

02-21-2011 02:46:58 | More by zeledonia
Photo of corcoranjc


5/5  rDev +12.4%

This is a wonderful place, and I regularly drive out of my way to visit this store. Prior to the Ale Jail side opening (there is both a beer store - Ale Jail, and a wine shop - The Wine Thief on the premises), my wife and I would regularly go here for wine. Now that the Ale Jail has opened it's an incredible one stop shop. Really the only reason I go anywhere else at this point is if I am pressed for time and need to just stop at a local shop in South Mpls where we live or if I'm short of cash and am looking for some sale items.

The shop is small and they do not usually have a lot of items on sale, but it is the best place to find some rarer beers and to try a wide variety of selections (their singles wall is exceptional). Adam who runs the beer side is very knowledgeable and approachable. Also, stop by on Tuesdays for their tastings....really great!

01-28-2011 16:45:58 | More by corcoranjc
The Wine Thief & Ale Jail in Saint Paul, MN
97 out of 100 based on 36 ratings.