Trader Joe's - Brookline (501)
Ratings: 15 | Reviews: 15
3.23/5 rDev -9.3%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 2.75 | service: 4 | selection: 2.5 | food: 4 | $
You don't go to TJ's for selection, period. If they happened to stock something you like, you're in luck. To add to the misery, the Brookline store--one of four in the state that has a liquor license (after they paid $200,000 to have a full license in Peabody, once the state removed the three-license "chain" limit)--is not well stocked and always buzzing with customers. That's good for turnover, but not for shelf organization--items are constantly moved, with no rhyme or reason for some items being next to each other. When I stopped in yesterday, they had Three Philosophers and Hennepin bombers, three Pretty Things, three CBC, a couple of Smyttynose bombers to go with 6ers or regular IPA, Bengali Tiger and another Sixpoint four-pack, Duvel and Chimay Blue 750s, Guiness & Smithwicks, SNPA and Summerfest, Brooklyn Lager, Allaghash White 4pk, plus Harpoon 12s and Anchor Steam. The rest were their own brands, mostly, most of which are pretty awful. Because of MA distribution laws, prices are higher than in most other states (and have gone up in the last couple of years), except on local bombers--CBC and Smutty are significantly lower than neighbors' prices and Pretty Things is 10-25% lower as well. The best deal in the house is TJ-branded Unibroue seasonal bombers at $6. The winter brew was pretty good and the current selection is a Belgian Golden Ale.
The kids who stock the beer section tend to know the selection but not distribution, but they are still learning and rotate around the store, so you should not expect a whole lot of information. If you've seen something in one of the stores and ask at the desk, they will find out who in the state carries it, whether they can get it and whether it was a one-off. They can usually put in an order, but they have no control of whether or when they will get the stock in.
Generally, it's a good place to grab some semi-random beer while shopping for food. But their wine selection is somewhat better and relatively cheaper. Don't expect any great finds beyond the basics. Oh, and one more thing--I heard TJ's is negotiating with Pretty Things and a distributor to be allowed to lower the price. That means bringing White Rabbit to $6 when the store across the street sells it for $9.
07-21-2013 15:41:36 | More by VictorWisc
3.3/5 rDev -7.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | $$
off the top, giving food an N/A here; they have some tasty pot stickers and a free sample stand, but I'm unconvinced that this sort of thing applies. as for the beer: not bad. the usual locals (Sam Adams, Harpoon, Wachusett; lately I've started seeing some CBC stuff), a few Trader Joe's exclusives, and a handful of offerings from breweries like Sierra Nevada, Smuttynose, Unibroue, and Chimay. a couple Lindeman's lambics on the top shelf. everything reasonably priced. grabbed some SA Noble Pils, Smuttynose Barleywine (from the "big beer" series), Trois Pistoles, and a Wachusett Green Monsta sixer. definitely not a place you'd go out of your way for (beer-wise), but if you're here buying your granola or have been shanghaied by your wife (*raises hand*), the beer department is respectable. type of place where you might grab a sixer or bomber to complement dinner, but if you need a larger selection look directly across the street: Coolidge Corner Wine and Spirits.
09-05-2012 21:50:52 | More by BostonHops
2.7/5 rDev -24.2%
quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 3 | $$
This location is selling 22 oz. bottles of Smuttynose IPA for 5.99 as a 'Big Beer'. When I showed the manager that the regular IPA is not a 'Big Beer' while a Wheat Wine is (which I put next to the IPA bottle for demonstration purposes i.e. it says 'Big Beer Series' on the Wheat Wine bottle) I was told that I was wrong because 'That's what the computer says, and it's always been this price in the computer and this price came directly from the brewery.'
The manager clearly doesn't know the beer that exists in his own section. I tried again. I pointed to the 6-pack of Smuttynose IPA for 8.99 and asked him why anyone, in their right mind, would pay 5.99 for 22 oz's when they could get 72 oz's for only three dollars more? He told me that, yes, the 6-pack was the better buy but, sorry, the 22 oz. were 5.99 and I was wrong.
08-20-2010 17:59:00 | More by calebkeen
4/5 rDev +12.4%
quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $
This place did surprise me when I walked into this smaller grocery store and found rather good craft beer selection. There was some pretty interesting choices to be had with some Sierra Nevada beers and a Stone or two to some imports that looked really great. What I was really surprised about was the amount of beers that were exclusive to Trader Joe's. Not sure if these beers would end being any good but they looked like they could be worth a try and the prices were really good. There was essentially one person that seemed to know a little about the beer there but that would be enough for the amount of beer that was there. Worth stopping by.
03-12-2010 04:23:52 | More by Duhast500
3.85/5 rDev +8.1%
quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | $
Because why not get a beer while you're getting your food? This Trader Joe's is right across from my favorite beer store, Coolidge Corner Wine & Spirits, but that doesn't stop me from buying the occasional beer here.
The selection is fairly good, carrying a decent selection of some more well-known American microbreweries and a pretty solid selection of singles, including the Smuttynose Big Beers. Of course, they also offer their brands of beer, which are good when you're feeling cheap. The selection is clearly better across the street, but if you're in here for food and don't have time to run over, you can easily make do.
Service in general is excellent, and I've found that a lot of the people working here are pretty knowledgeable about beer, which is definitely nice in a grocery store. Still, it is a grocery store, not a beer store, so unless you know what you want or are willing to take a risk, you're better off going across the street.
09-24-2009 21:31:49 | More by FrankLloydMike
3.5/5 rDev -1.7%
quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | $$
It's a supermarket with good food and beer. A rarity in this blue law state.
Not a great selection, but a decent one. Magic hat, BBC, Chimay, Ommegang, the plethora of TJ brand beers.
The service is always good. The place however is always packed, and I always feel like pushing over people who refuse to move away because they need their organic granola and they need it now!
Sunday mornings will find the beer selection under the clever, and unstoppable barrier of fish nets. No liquor sales till noon.
Parking sucks, so walk or take the Green line (C train)
Yet, a convenient and handy stop off the C line.
08-20-2008 04:02:23 | More by Freshie
3.45/5 rDev -3.1%
quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | $
Trader Joe's is great in general but just alright as far as beer is concerned. Not a great selection to choose from but the beers that they do have are certainly not your run of the mill macro brands. Plenty of Magic Hat, Young's Double Chocolate, Beamish Irish Stout, and their own brand of beer are just some of the beer they offer. Definitely worth a look, especially because of the very reasonable prices, but don't expect to find bottles kept in great condition or anything that will blow you away.
06-10-2008 23:47:34 | More by leif86
3.85/5 rDev +8.1%
quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | $
Trader Joe's? Hell, yeah! This place is awesome! Quality meat (even the frozen variety!), non-guilty snacks (mmm, flax seen tortilla chips!), fresh produce... oh, and beer? Yeah!
Quite the little selection for a grocery/natural food store. Sixers of Smutty, Magic Hat, Sierra Nevada and Sea Dog (which is the bargain of the day at 5.49 a six pack!) I've seen people break up sixers and mix and match as well. Also, sometimes they have singles set aside. They have a pretty decent variety of bombers too. I've seen Smutty, Rogue, and a few others I can't think of off the top of my head.
Get your belgians here, too. 8.99 for Duvel and I believe Allagash White was 3.49.
Also pick up some Chuck for the wife/girlfriend.
Word for the wise- DON'T go on the weekends, it really is a madhouse. And avoid driving if possible. Take the T, or park somewhere on Beacon Street, as the parking lot out back can be
10-04-2007 12:34:49 | More by jaygates
4/5 rDev +12.4%
quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $
Whenever, i go to the States, i always swing by Trader Joe's. Good selection of micros like Mendocino, Rogue, etc. Also, imports like Sam Smith (counted 3 or 4 different ones). What i like about them is that you can break a case of 6 or 12 & they don't mark it up. So for 6 different singles, paid around 7$! That included some Mendocino, Sea Dog & others. Also, staff is very helpful, especially when it came to deciphering my Canadian ID. If you've never been to a Trader Joe's, you must check it out.
08-20-2007 19:20:18 | More by papat444
3.7/5 rDev +3.9%
quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | $$$
Stopped in here too early on a Sunday to be able to buy beer, but I still snuck in and checked out the selection. Located on one of the main streets through Brookline, Trader Joe's has a tiny rear lot that is well-policed. Otherwise you have to hope for some nearby street parking, or walk from a hotel like we did.
The interior is similar to other Trader Joe's. It's a grocery store with a pretty decent wine and beer selection that caters to more upscale products.
The beer selection is decent, as is the norm for this chain. Some regional fare like Geary's is available, as is Stone, Avery, Rogue, Allagash et al.
Service here is dependent upon who you happen to run into. However my requirements for beer knowledge at a grocery store are much lower than elsewhere.
Overall this is a good place to shop for beer in the area. The small liquor stores I either visited or passed did not come close to the variety I found here, nor did they seem to take as much care in stocking and presentation of the beer.
06-20-2007 04:04:32 | More by Dogbrick
Trader Joe's - Brookline (501) in Brookline, MA
85 out of 100 based on 15 ratings.