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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 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 Hershdawg
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Other than being a great store for non beer related drinks and possibly the best wine store in Southern California it has an impressive beer selection. The prices while a little more then Total Wine the selection of special release and import beers are impressive. The shear amount of breweries featured is great. Also the cooler is walk in. The only reason a beer case is stuck outside of the cooler is lack of space. I've found everything from Hitachino special release to Stone to Russian River. The store allows you to buy 12oz Singles out of the six packs allowing for the ability to try many different beers rather then being stuck to 6 packs and bombers. They have a top shelf for rare beers which I have seen Infinitum, vintage Stone releases, and other barrel aged beers.

If you are in the OC this store is a must stop.

Hershdawg, Jun 23, 2011
Photo of Bonsall_Phil
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Bonsall_Phil, Apr 19, 2014
Photo of AlexM
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Hi-Time has been around FOREVER and is arguably one of the best retailers in the entire state of California ... and not just for craft beer, but for wine, cigars and spirits. It's like being in an adult candy store ... just EPIC!!

The beer selection is amazing and selections are properly stored ... cold ... so make sure when you browse the beer choices, bring a jacket or something as it gets cold.

Prices are reasonable ... probably lower in other establishments, but nothing over retail suggested value.

If you are in the area, Hi-Time is a must stop ... the store is simply amazing!

AlexM, Jul 18, 2011
Photo of TaylorIPA19
5/5  rDev +10.1%

TaylorIPA19, Aug 04, 2014
Photo of Fred28
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Fred28, Aug 11, 2014
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 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 nolenelam
5/5  rDev +10.1%

nolenelam, Feb 26, 2014
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
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 chefscott79
5/5  rDev +10.1%

I love this place...

I can't get enough of it....great selection not only in their big walk in cooler full of lots of treats from everywhere...best beer selection that I have ever seen!
anywhere!

only if I could get a job there

also their liquor section is awesome!

I could not find their beer book selection and it was kinda frustrating

and I hear their wine selection is pretty unbelievable....but sadly I have never ventured anywhere but the beer and liquor section...what can I say I love the beer cooler so much!

and also their staff is super knowledgeable! and friendly!

great deals sometimes on the whisky!

chefscott79, Oct 12, 2007
Photo of DrinkinSurfer
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Hi - Time Wine Cellars has to be without a doubt one of the best establishments to purchase liquor, beer, and wines. I have found the staff to always be very approachable. I found a very nice bottle of 15 year old Pusser's rum, Nelsons Blood, that was very reasonably priced for the rarity and quality of the bottle. They have an outstanding selection of vintage and modern ports. As far as beer is concerned I'll just say, make sure to bring your credit card because there is plenty to choose from.

DrinkinSurfer, May 06, 2009
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 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 drewmprs
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Without a doubt, the #1 beer store in the OC. Beer manager Trayce is a stand up guy and serious beer geek. They have a massive walk in cooler so bring a coat.
They get more Russian River allocated to them than any store I know of. The store is a bit disorganized but the employees can help you find anything you want.
Also, they have a shipping department and an up-to-date website.
I've spent plenty here over the years without any regets.
They also do tastings of their vintage beers a couple times a year.

drewmprs, Dec 29, 2010
Photo of msmezher
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Hi-Time Wine Cellars is one of the best places to purchase beer, wine, spirits, and tobacco as well as drink related products and high quality cheeses. Hi-Time's beer selection is great, a wall of solid six packs, and a chilled cellar room of singles from breweries and styles around the world. Prices are very reasonable for what is available, and the employees seem knowledgeable and helpful.
Hi-Time is also the best place I've ever been to to purchase tobacco, they have an incredible selection of pipe tobacco and cigars (as well as pipes and accessories for both) at the best prices around. Lan and the other workers in the tobacco section will also let you take samples of some tobacco and make recommendations. I can't make a trip to Hi-Time without a few friends scrambling to come along.

msmezher, Sep 15, 2010
Photo of PuckLSHS
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Hi-Time Wine Cellar is beer heaven for people who live in Southern California. Besides Beverage Warehouse in Culver City, this place is amazing. Their single bottle selection is enormous and their keg selection is great. They have a homebrewing area in the store also, so it is one stop shopping for most beer people.

They do beer tastings every now and again and their wine selection is quite amazing. I go down there to pick up a few beers, taste a few wines and enjoy the company of people who really appreciate what they are selling.

They stock the shelves with great Craft beers, a HUGE selection of Belgian, English, German and other assorted beers. The selection really is amazing.

This is a MUST STOP for anyone who is visiting and trying to pick up a few new beers.

PuckLSHS, Apr 19, 2006
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 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 Bazyx
5/5  rDev +10.1%

Bazyx, Apr 15, 2014
Photo of GRG1313
5/5  rDev +10.1%

I have been purchasing wine here for years and one of the wine buyers is actually a member of my Italian wine tasting group that meets several times a year.

I finally started looking here for beer the past several months and when I'm in Orange County. This place is worth a special trip! Just seeing all that booze and wine is probably worth the trip; but, the beer selection is noteworthy. The selection is great, diverse and ever changing and the prices are fair.

The service cannot be beat. I apologize that I forgot the name of the beer manager. However, he saw me with a full cart and engaged me in a discussion. At the time I was a relatively new devotee and he spent a great deal of time with me! He would have spoken with me as long as I wanted.

Then, after asking more and more foolish questions to which he gave serious and thoughtful answers, he said "wait a minute, I want you to try something." He went into the cooler and brought out a bottle which was one of two he'd been saving for himself. He told me to try it to get a very good example of something that we'd been discussing...then, he didn't charge me for it.

This is a must visit if you're anywhere near the area and like beer. A must.

GRG1313, May 28, 2009
Photo of jraras
4.86/5  rDev +7%

I was in CA for business last week (between LA and OC) and found this place via a BA search. The "world class" rating it currently has is certainly deserved. I will only focus on beer, but the range of spirits and wine look to be much more impressive than even the beer section.

After gawking a bit in the spirits section I made my way over to the beer section (annex). Upon entering I clearly saw the walk in cooler, but opted to chat up the guy at the register who was doing some tasks. I told him I was in from MA and would love to have him tour me around the cooler while recommending what I should get / can't get elsewhere. He was awesome and recommended some great stuff. After picking a few things from the main cooler he escorted me to the smaller/reserve cooler. Here I had my choice of 4 50/50 Eclipses, Pure Hoppiness and various other gems. For RR they only had Damnation and Redemption, but I can't fault them too much for that.

In the reserve cooler we bumped into another gentleman who worked there and he joined the conversation--talking about his favs from the Eclipses, Rayon Vert and the Bear Republic Berliner Weiss. He continued with me to check out, get ice and acquire a cooler as well as some shippers to help me prepare my beers for travel back to MA via Delta (checked baggage).

I wish I could remember the names of these guys as they were super helpful. No worry, I'll ask next time I'm there--which will be the next time I'm in SoCal. I hope soon!

jraras, Jan 11, 2012
Photo of IntriqKen
4.85/5  rDev +6.8%

Wow...I felt like a kid in a candy store here.
Yes, they have wines and a wonderful selection with a tasting bar downstairs.
Yes, they have snacks, chocolates, olives, glassware, tableclothes and everything you would need for a wonderful evening.
But the beer.
OH MY GAWD.
The largest walk in cooler I have ever seen with an absolutely incredible selection of craft and import beers. In large volume, too. Large enough so that specialty and one time beers can usually be found there after they are long gone from other stores.
Store? Did I say store?
This is a beer supermarket!
Don't come here looking for macros....the macros occupied only one stardard cooler with Bud being one six pack wide and bud light being one six pack wide. The same amount of space they devote to the obscure and hard to find micros.
AND...
If that isn't enough, you can choose ANY beers as singles to make your own six packs.
ANY.
Just take one from a sixer....one from another...one from...
you get the idea.
I walked out tonight with a winter warmer I love that is long, long gone from the shelves elsewhere....two bombers of a Lagunitas one timer that I could find on where else....2 sixers of one's I've been looking for forever, and 6 single 12 oz. I've wanted to try.
And I had TWO people there who were very knowledgeable about beers eager to answer any and all of my questions and help me.
Oh, yeah...
I've found a new favorite.

IntriqKen, May 11, 2006
Photo of Zorro
4.85/5  rDev +6.8%

Pretty much the Mecca of beer stores for the west coast of North America.

A bit out of the way be sure to print a map before starting on the road to find this place.

Primarily a Wine and Luxuries shop, but beer has its own section and it's own door. The small bar down below is primarily wine and brandy.

Very first thing you should do is go to the walk in cooler, and the moment you do it is like stepping through the looking glass like Alice in Wonderland. Probably 1000 different beers at anyone time and a great many are "I have never even heard of that before" type of beers. Beers from the whole planet and more than a few from California like... Pliny The Elder and Lost Abbey stuff I never see anywhere else. In addition to obscure stuff there is always some beers made from pure unobtainium here; this time they had some bottled Japanese micro-brews that I never expected to ever see much less buy.

Service can be too helpful at times but if you know exactly what you are looking for just ask they will know where to look.

Selection? If they don't have it you can't get it in LA.

Can be a little pricey but then again a lot of this stuff is simply near unobtainable, but some how they get it and put it on the shelf. Then again they have a club card and quite a few specials on the less exotic stuff.

I always feel a little guilty after I visit this store because I always feel a bit ashamed of how much beer I walk out the door with. But I can't help it, this place is about as close to beer heaven as exists on earth. If you are wise you will use a hand basket and limit yourself to what you can carry. I was able to limit myself to just $200 of beer this time.

Zorro, Feb 08, 2009
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Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, CA
100 out of 100 based on 118 ratings.