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Hi-Time Wine Cellars

Not Rated.
Hi-Time Wine CellarsHi-Time Wine Cellars
BA SCORE
100
world-class

118 Ratings
Ratings: 118
Reviews: 98
rAvg: 4.54
pDev: 10.13%
[ Store ]

250 Ogle St
Costa Mesa, California, 92627-3808
United States
phone: (800) 331-3005

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @mrhitime

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 118 | Reviews: 98 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SwillinBrew
5/5  rDev +10.1%

I did some xmas shopping here so i thought i'd finally review it since i'm here almost every week.

You cannot get better than this place. It used to be an old Pacific Bell Central Office and now it's been turned into a wine cellar per se. But there's not just wine. You can get cigars, glassware, literature, cheese, caviar, candies, and of course liquor, beer and wine.

The beer cooler is in the back and you walk in. It has one of those automatic sliding doors. Wear a jackeet because you will be spending time in here looking at all the brews. Domestics, belgians, flemish reds, baltics, italian, german, bavarian, local breweries... they pretty much have it all. From the 6oz to the jeroboams. The staff is very helpful and will help you any way you ask. Talk to Mike the beer guy and he can suggest for you or let you know whats's new. Actually, anyone will help you with that. You can also mail order. Pretty much if you cannot find it here, it probably cannot be found.

Make it a point to stop by here!!!

SwillinBrew, Dec 21, 2005
Photo of DogFood11
4.85/5  rDev +6.8%

Thanks to all on Beeradvocate as I would have never found this place without beerfly reviews. It is truly a gem and a cant miss if you live anywhere in So Cal. I traveled 50 miles for this and was not dissapointed. $200 dollars later I was on my way home with tons of Glorious beer. I will make this journey again in a couple of months when my relatives will be in town as it has the largest selection by far of any place I've been to in or near LA. It makes bev-mo's look like a 7-11. lets put it this way I've been searching LA for 2 years to find a kristall weizen and I found 1 variety at bev-mo in west hollywood. At Hi-Times I found 4 varieties and I didn't search that hard as the saison's caught my attention and had to move on. Perfection.

DogFood11, Aug 22, 2005
Photo of Southernbrew
5/5  rDev +10.1%

I just received my first order from Hi-time and I could not be more impressed. I ordered 6 12 oz. singles and when it arrived and I opened it up I knew they would be in good shape. They pack this stuff so it could survive being run over by a truck. The selection on the website was great, at least 90% of the stuff is unavailable in Georgia, if not most of the Southeast. The service is wonderful too. The day after I placed my order, an employee (Tre maybe) called to let me know they were out of one of my choices and helped me pick out something else and was happy to answer all my questions, some of the best service I've ever had. My one gripe is I ordered a full-sail amber ale and was sent a saint louis obispo amber, oh well. I'm not sure where I would dock points since the whole experience was so nice. I will order from them again for sure.

Southernbrew, Feb 10, 2005
Photo of rowew
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%

This was my first stop as soon as we moved to LA. Luckily it's a relatively short drive. Store has a very eclectic selection - very easy for my signifigant other to entertain herself with chocolate, wine, glasses, etc while I stared slack-jawed at the beer cooler. Nice selection of liquor, wine, and obviously beer. They also have a decent humidor and some cigar accessories. Nice to combine several vices all in one store! Several hard to find imported beers and a solid collection of craft brews. Helpful employees and several check out counters make for a nice shopping experience.

rowew, Jan 10, 2005
Photo of oggg
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%

This place is full of random junk on one side, then huge aisles of hard liquor, then a wine cellar downstairs. At the end, there is a walk in fridge, not too huge, but stocked with lots of beer. Lots of west coast brews, but nothing that BevMo wouldn't have. Huge German beer selection, but mostly dunkels, hefes. A couple of bocks and a kolsch. Belgian section is pretty nice. I grabbed Hanssens Oude Geuze. English section is pretty expensive. Several singles that I haven't seen before, but they were pretty expensive -- $4-6 for a regular strength ale, 16 oz size. Maybe when my curiosity gets the better of me I'll dig in.

Overall: Good Belgian selection. I won't be making the trek back though..

oggg, Jan 10, 2005
Photo of alexgash
4.85/5  rDev +6.8%

Was very excited and had very high expectations for this hallowed place. I wasn't disappointed. Stopped by on the busiest shopping day of the year in the early evening. The place was pretty busy, but not insane. Walked in and past a cool little tobacco corner (I don't smoke, but it smelled good). I noticed glassware in the back corner and checked that out. Some cool stuff (especially high-end wine ware). But I didn't come here for glassware. I quickly paced past a dozen or so aisles of hard liquor (very good selection of that by the way) until I reached the beer section. There were 6 or so coolers full of six-packs, several little mountains of cases of bombers and sixers stacked on the floor at room temp., and a small glass door that led to the walk-in. The six-pack coolers had lots of good W. Coast micros, and very few BMC. It was nice being able to buy single 12 oz. bottles. The walk-in was the highlight though. Inside were tons of US micro bombers and 750s (Stone, Marin, Moylan's, Rogue, Alesmith, AK Smoked porter and many more). Surrounding these floor case stacks were the imports. Very impressive Belgian section with stuff I've never seen before. England was decently represented, and Germany was very well represented. Staff was very helpful, if a little scarce (they were busy though). The only bad thing about this place is the amount of money one will spend! Yikes! I dropped 125 bucks before I could even get my list out. The wine cellar is an amazing place too--make sure to check it out, if you can pull yourself away from the beer!

alexgash, Nov 30, 2004
Photo of BrewMaster
5/5  rDev +10.1%

This is simply the best all around beer store (not to mention wine and liquor) that I've ever been to. They treat their beer like a member of the family, not a commodity to be sold. Their selection is second to none. Rare beers from around the world are easily found here. When I visited yesterday I found a wealth of Liefman's and other great brews. It would be impossible to list even a fraction of hte excellent brews they have. And the best part is that they have a walk-in cooler where most of the beer is stored.

The staff is very helpful and unpretentious. They go out of their way to help you find what you need. They know their beers as well so it is pleasure shopping at Hi-Time.

BrewMaster, Nov 07, 2004
Photo of mzwolinski
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Visited 9-18-04

This place is simply amazing. This was my first visit, but from what my fellow beer-lovers say, it is even more amazing now than it used to be in the past. The walk-in beer refrigerator is now expanded and much more spacious, allowing for easier browsing and a wider selection.

Outside the walk-in are display cases featuring six-packs of various, mostly west-coast domestic beers. This is a pretty decent selection in and of itself, and you can, of course, break up the six-packs any way you like, purchasing a single here, a single there...

But inside the fridge is where the real action is. Beers along the wall are organized by country of origin. I spent some time browsing through Germany, than England, then various Eastern European countries (I've learned to be rather wary of these but my friend EyeChartBrew has some sort of sick fascination with them). Then Belgium. Glorious Belgium. Cantillon is, of course, well-represented, as well as the Trappists, and just tons and tons of exciting stuff I'd never seen anywhere else. Really a treat. Finally, in the center of the fridge are more US six-packs and bombers. A very good selection here, though mostly West-Coast stuff. It's the imports where this place really excels.

Reasonably priced. I didn't talk to any of the staff, but I hear there's always somebody around who knows his shit.

Anyway, this is all very abstract, so here's what I came away with from my latest trip. Total bill was $78:

Spaten Optimator
JW Lee's Harvest Ale 1997
JW Lee's Harvest Ale 1998
JW Lee's Harvest Ale 2000
Dulle Teve Mad Bitch
Harvey's Elizabethan 1998
Dolle Oerbier
Sinebrychoff Porter
Harvey's Christmas Ale
Hanssen's Oude Gueze
Aect Urbock
Aect Marzen
Cantillon Lou Pepe
Paulaner Salvator
Unita Anniversary Barleywine

...and I was *restraining* myself. :-)

mzwolinski, Sep 19, 2004
Photo of drewbage
4.8/5  rDev +5.7%

Finally made the trek down to Costa Mesa to come to one of the highlights of the SoCal beer scene.

Hi-Times is located in the rear of a strip mall in their own standalone building. This store is a warren of aisles and shelves filled with vices of all natures, tobbaco, chocolate, candy, and of course wine, beer and spirits.

The beer selection around here is grand, all manners of Cantillons, Micros, Belgian and German imports and a few of the increasingly rare Baltic Porters. Virtually everything is stored in a giant walkin cooler. The staff is knowledgable and helpful. Always willing to give a hand.

All in all if you're in the area of Costa Mesa, this should be a stop that you make. Top Notch! (Oh and the store is all of 5ish blocks from the Goat Hill Tavern.)

drewbage, Jun 27, 2004
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.8/5  rDev +5.7%

After living and working in this area for nearly three months a couple summers ago, I never found this place in person. We searched local Wild Oat stores, Trader Joe's, and grocery stores for beers to bring out but we never heard about this place even though we frequented the Yardhouse and Goat Hill Tavern a stone's throw away. Selection on the online store is massive all of the west coast brews that don't come to Pittsburgh can be found, and in addition to west coast micros they have a slew of others plus imports including German and Belgian ales. After placing my order within a couple days they called my cell to confirm my order in person, now that's service. I couldn't have been more happy with my purchases got some hard to get Alesmith brews great source of finding beers online.

WVbeergeek, May 06, 2004
Photo of Dukeofearl
4.8/5  rDev +5.7%

Made my first excursion to this place (40 miles from my work, in the opposite direction of home) on the receommendation of the folks here at BA, and was I ever NOT disappointed. As others tell you, this is mostly a wine shop, but their walk-in beer cooler was amazing. I got away with only spending about $70, and it was only that low because I kept telling myself that I could go back! The selection is excellent- lots of Belgians for me, and lots of everything else for everyone else. The only store I've ever been to in the US that sold Cantillon products- and they had several.

Mike (the beer manager) saw me with my mouth open, and he started telling me all about the place with obvious pride. He's a great guy, and very knowledgeable. His monthly tastings are what I really want to check out, but haven't had a chance yet.

My only complaint (minor) is that the beer area is really cramped and kind of dark, and I was afraid I was going to knock something off the shelves with every movement.

I'll be back...

Dukeofearl, Feb 25, 2004
Photo of beergeek279
5/5  rDev +10.1%

This is done as a mail-order review rather than an in-store review.

Quality/Selection: Hi-Time has one of the largest selections of beer of any website I've seen. Just about any California brewery that I could think of (Stone, Alesmith, Bear Republic, Lagunitas, North Coast, Lost Coast, just to name a few) was represented here, along with most of the great West Coast beers, and unique beers like Kona.

Service: If the beer selection is great, then the service is even better. They made a phone call to me in order to note that my original order would have been exceedingly expensive to ship (but fortunately I trimmed it down to a box). When I called to confirm, I spoke to Trayce for almost half an hour about beers, the best of the beer on the West Coast, and the great beers from out East, and he showed that he had a genuine love for beer. In addition, he went out of his way to keep the shipping down for me ($34 dollars for a whole case from Califonia to PA!). When the box arrived, it was excellently packed with packing peanuts and cardboard sleeves...there was no way it was going to break. Thank you very much, Trayce.

I think that Hi-Times stands up with Vintage Cellar and Liquid Solutions as one of the top mail order beer purchasing stores in the country. A simply fantastic selection of beers combined with top-notch service. A place that I'd urge other East Coast BAs to give a try, and certainly someplace that I will order from again!

beergeek279, Feb 20, 2004
Photo of grasshopper
4.65/5  rDev +2.4%

Hi-Time wine Cellars. This was one of the best liquor stores I have been to in California. The store its self was very nice. It had a very impressive selection of wines and scotches, cigars, beers and chocolates. I found the beer selection to be most impressive and priced well. Good beer stores are very hard to find in California(Very hard). This one had a great local selection as well as beers from other states. The European beers selection was very impressive also. Most of the beer is in a walk in cooler with various sections marked off to direct you to your interest in taste of beer. This is a great store to visit it is layed out very well and set up to appeal to you as the consumer. This would be worth a visit especially if you are in the area or for that matter the region.
This is a very nice store in terms of indulging most vices one might have.

grasshopper, Feb 04, 2004
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Well I have the “new beer bug” pretty bad at the moment, you know where you want to try something new, but you have pretty much wiped out all your local beer stores and even tried the crappy beers. So being as I had some time on my hands this morning I figured it was time to spread my wings and take the 25 mile drive south to Costa Mesa and the legendary Hi-Times that I have heard so much about from my fellow BA’s who all live much further away from here than I do oddly enough.

Well, first off, I was not disappointed, this place just oozes quality, as soon as you walk in you know this Alcohol Heaven. As the name suggest it has a strong focus on Wines, but it also has fantastic range of just about any other fermented or distilled beverage you can think of. In addition, it has all those mechanical accoutrements required to keep even the best bar stocked, Bottle Openers, Corkscrews, more Glasses than you can shake a stick at, etc. etc. I even noticed a large range of Chocolates and some Olde World Candies piled high in Glass Jars.

But I was here for Beer. To the right as you enter there are some coolers that are full of multiple bottled beer packs, and these alone are a good range. But the real deal is a little further back. A Walk-In Cooler. You will have to leave your Trolley outside and pick up a smaller hand basket, put this does at least help to prevent excessive “involuntary beer grabbing”. For once inside there is a fantastic range of beers. To the left is a wall full of German beers, to the right British and Belgium, in the middle there are many US Craft beers. On shelves and in open boxes, it’s like Xmas time and Santa’s Grotto for Beer geeks. Too many beers to list – just check the Website, but a very good range of traditional lambics is sold here, and they still have supplies of Our Beersel Gueuze. Several check-outs make the hard part a quick and painless operation. Very friendly staff that was incredibly helpful to this Virgin Hi-Time shopper. I’ll be back.

The only minor complaint I had was that it was quite busy when I was here, but sadly with what I call “eye shoppers” rather than the real deal, you know the ones that wonder around and buy nothing – they stumble about and shout “ooh look dear” at every pretty bottle and then they just stop dead in the aisles. Negotiating the aisles with a Trolley even only half-full of Beer isn’t easy here, but there is talk of expansion I see.

*Highly Recommended*.
Bring the Reserve Credit Card, you’ll need it!

Last Visit: 27 Dec. 03

TheLongBeachBum, Dec 27, 2003
Photo of Eyedrinkale
5/5  rDev +10.1%

I've first got to say thanks to everyone before me that rated this place. I knew there was a good place in OC to buy beer, but NEVER expected anything like this.

The walk in is big, but there are plans to make it 3X BIGGER. I too spent an hour in the walk-in.

Wines, ports, tequilla's grappa's, ect, this place has it ALL. Chocolates, glassware, the whole nine yards. The only thing I would like to have seen was perhaps a cheese selection. They do wine tastings downstairs. I heard they will begin a monthly beer tasting. Please call for details, as the beer guy Mike is EXCEPTIONAL.

THIS PLACE IS A MUST-SEE.

Eyedrinkale, Dec 03, 2003
Photo of Rumrunner
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Excellent! This place has it all for the liquor inclined person.

Hi-Times is a large and very clean establishment. They carry a ton of wine and spirits. From cheap to expensive. They have a wine tasting cellar.

Here is a list of the other stuff this place carries besides liquor. Glasses, cigars, smoking accessories, fresh made candy, aprons, knick knacks, liquor related gifts, wine and beer bottle fancy gift bags, utensils and a bunch of other items.

We are here for the beer. I will just state what many others have said. This is the best selection I have seen in California. The beer cooler is a wonderful place to visit. A large selection of craft beers. The west coast states are well represented as well is Alaska. Dogfish Head is here and Victory and just too many to name. They are also carrying the Rogue Dead Guy Ale in the growler. A great selection of English beers and Ales. This is the only store I have seen Trafalgar IPA sold. A very good selection of Belgians and Germans and many other countries are represented. They even had some made to ready sampler packs. Old Scottish Ale styles is one example.

The beer prices are very fair and compete with what many other stores sell their beers for. I thought some of the imports were a bit pricey but they are probably competitive with other liquor stores.

The staff was very friendly and helpful. They made sure I was happy and I left the store with all I could carry. Cha ching! The only thing that would make this store better is if they could get more beers from the rest of America.

Check this place out if you have not already. It is worth a trip. A person could spend a long time in this place deciding what to spend their beer budget on.

Note: As of my last visit 11-04, the beer cooler is now in a different place in the building. More to the back to be exact. It is much larger and accomodates a cart much more easily. I don't know if this is a good or bad idea. Many more beers can be thought to purchase now. There is also an outside cooler. So many beers to contemplate. Oh the credit cards do shine and the bills do add up. The cooler is a brilliant sight to see. Cheers!

Rumrunner, Oct 10, 2003
Photo of jcalabre
4.85/5  rDev +6.8%

Moslems go to Mecca; beer geeks go to Hi Time. The beer selection is huge! The walk-in beer fridge has virtually every beer available in Southern California. The funny thing is, this is far more a Wine (the underground wine cellar w/ tens of thousands of bottles is a must see) and Cigar store than a beer store. For example, I just received their monthly flyer. It's 36 pages long. The only mention of beer was a 2" (5cm) by 5" (7.5 cm) column listing their monthly beer tastings.

jcalabre, Jul 09, 2003
Photo of mickeymac
5/5  rDev +10.1%

This place is a drinker's paradise. It has a phenomenal selection of beer, wine, and spirits. Make sure you hit the walk-in beer refrigerator behind the beer display. HT has a great selection of Belgians, British, and German beers to go along with beers from the rest of the world. More local selections include a wide range from Alesmith, Bear Republic, Stone, Moylan's, Marin, and others. HT also had a walk-in humidor in case the urge for a Churchill strikes as you're walking out with a bomber or two of barleywine. The people are very friendly, hepful, and knowledgeable. Finally, it's only about 2 miles from Goat Hill Tavern, so you can stop in to pick up a case of the stuff you tried on draught at the tavern.

mickeymac, Jun 08, 2002
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Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, CA
100 out of 100 based on 118 ratings.