Abe's Cold Beer

Not Rated.
Abe's Cold BeerAbe's Cold Beer
BA SCORE
99
world-class

98 Ratings
Ratings: 98
Reviews: 81
rAvg: 4.5
pDev: n/a
Taps: --
Bottles: 2,000
Cask: N
[ Eatery, Store ]

1301 W Broad St
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 18018-4920
United States
phone: (610) 997-0831

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
Place added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-15-2007

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 98 | Reviews: 81
Reviews by Durge:
Photo of Durge
4.65/5  rDev +3.3%

What a place! This may be the greatest number of different brews I have ever encountered despite the relatively tiny confines of this psuedo deli shop crowded with six packs and singles. The import selection was not super extensive but the domestic micros were well represented. It was a bit hit-or-miss but the big advantage was being able to take single bottles of anything, $2 each, $11.75 a six assorted. Some select 12 oz. singles are marked as much as $4 which seemed a bit steep in some cases but generally prices were reasonable considering that they were breaking up six packs. They also offered lots of bombers. Locals were well represented as were many from other regions including Bells, Holland, Mad River, and on & on. Breaking up the packs leaves an obvious chance for aging bottles on the shelves and I did note a number of bottles that showed obvious sediment collected at the bottom but most appeared to be pretty current and fresh. I loaded up pretty well and will test the freshness later. I have to say that the store manager, who was working unassisted at the time of my visit, was extremely attentive and helpful, Emma "The Beer Woman". She spent an inordinate amount of time helping me search according to taste while also assiting numerous other customers. She was quick to offer ordering things that weren't available, she knew her beers pretty well and overall this is the place to stop before loading up on cases that you have to buy most other places that might offer any selection close to this. It was somewhat loosely organized and a bit haphazard, lots in coolers, lots not, but I found some goodies that I will happily bring home to Connecticut. They also had a fair number of macros and oh yeah, sandwiches, too! Wish this place was close to home.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Brushkanna
3.81/5  rDev -15.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3 | selection: 4.25

MKy complaint is the bad 70's almost disco music one guy in there plays and his constant whistling to the terrible music, makes me want to leave. The beer selection is good. Prices are high, but i belive that is due to the weird PA beer laws.

Photo of JNForsyth
3.75/5  rDev -16.7%

Vast inventory of beer, not organized but a good way to browse an hour away. Pricing seems to trend on the high side for the area.

Photo of macesq
2.58/5  rDev -42.7%
vibe: 2 | quality: 2.5 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5

There are two arguments, I believe, that I hear most frequently regarding the value of supporting locally owned small businesses. The first, perhaps more quintessentially "liberal," centers on distribution of resources; a society with more independent owners distributes resources among a wider group of persons. The second, perhaps more quintessentially "conservative," centers on the value of localism as such; the local community is preferable to a larger society of unknowns and local business owners deserve money in a way out-of-town big businesses do not.

I'm nonplussed as to these two arguments, for reasons I need not concern you with. Frankly, I prefer smaller-scale establishments in the most selfish way -- what they have to offer me. In the abstract, the human touch of (for our purposes here) a small six-pack store provides benefits out of reach in the faceless retail outlet of big-box bureaucracy: attention to details with which only beer consumers concern themselves; friendly and personal service; a sense of passion in seller as well as buyer for the goods being transacted. These things, moreso than abstract structural concerns, make me inclined to pay a higher price for beer from a small business than from a large seller peddling six-packs within its echoing facade.

Abe's, the six-pack store of the locality of my youth, unfortunately offers few of the benefits for which I'm happily willing to pay a premium. To be sure, they offer a wide variety of beers; and although that advantage is dwindling in the Lehigh Valley market, they remain the only place to buy singles of great beers (the make-your own six-pack section at Wegman's remains sparsely populated with good brews) and do have a spread of six-packs only approached by the recently-renovated Allentown Wegman's. However, service is often surly and they attend to remarkably few details. Beers can be many months out of date; organization, layout, and general upkeep evince a general lack of respect for consumers; and they can't be bothered to shave off the price stickers on every bottle with a razor, a staple of dingy corner liquor stores and high-end wine boutiques, but lost on Abe's.

All of which would be no sweat off my back, frankly, even for a slight premium. The ability to make your own six-pack of top-tier brews really is worth that much to me, even if you need to check the born on date of every bottle you pick up. But Abe's isn't just a few dollars more than Wegman's, a fact which I could accept unblinkingly. Abe's is as expensive as beer stores in New York and Washington, D.C. Hell, I recently had a bottled beer at a craft beer *bar* in New York shortly before returning to the Valley to visit family; when I stopped in Abe's I saw they were selling it to-go for just a dollar less. That would border on unacceptable even if Abe's offered the benefits of a small business that cares about its goods and its consumers. That Abe's is run like a convenience store with a six-pack license that stumbled into the world of craft beer in a beer-starved Lehigh Valley market only makes this more ridiculous.

Photo of bshiban
4.25/5  rDev -5.6%

excellent selection but $$$$

Photo of NJBeer265
4.64/5  rDev +3.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Went here on the way to a bachelor party in the Pocono's and glad I did. The place doesn't look like much from the outside but huge selection inside, I could have spent hours in this place. Big Make-Your-Own 6-Pack section, big bomber section and a ton of International beers. Emma is amazing and if you e-mail ahead of time they will set aside large quantities if you are looking. Sign-up for the e-mail blasts.

Photo of derek984
4.9/5  rDev +8.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75

A great local place to find beers from all around the world, some very rare and hard to find. Sign up for their email blast to get up to date emails on some of the rare things they get. It can get disorganized from time to time, but they have thousands of bottles of inventory, ask if you are looking for something specific. They have a very nice and knowledgeable staff. You could shop at Wegmans which has a small selection or shop and support a local business with an even better selection!

Photo of TTripp725
2.48/5  rDev -44.9%
vibe: 1.75 | quality: 2.5 | service: 1.75 | selection: 3.5

A decent selection of beers. Not of the greatest of places but with limited options to get craft beer six packs, I don't have much of an option. The arrangement of the store is very poor and has no reasoning. Its like they get the beer in stock and then just place in on the shelf so you have rows of beer three six pack deep and none of the six packs are the same, so it is very time consuming. When asked if they can obtain a certain been beer its like it's an inconvenience for them and they brush you off

Photo of skiofpinsk
4.01/5  rDev -10.9%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75

As my local bottle shop now that I’ve relocated to Bethlehem, I felt it was time to put up a review for this place.
It’s an easy place to get to, but it can sneak up on you as it’s slightly set back from the street to allow for parking, and can be somewhat hidden by the Mint on one side and a dollar store on the other. Just a heads up.
They manage to pack a wide selection into a small area. A variety of countries and styles are represented. Beer is arranged mostly by country, with most brewery offerings grouped together. It can get a bit disorganized at times; if you don’t see something the first time walk by again or ask the clerk. They’re usually pretty helpful and know whether they have something or not.
Prices are fairly decent. Being familiar with Philly suburb pricing, Abe’s prices are about the same and sometimes slightly higher.
Be sure to check dates on some of the styles that have a limited shelf life. I’ve made the mistake of grabbing something past its prime a couple times.
They do get some hard to find stuff, including Cantillon and Founders Backstage series. Some of the most recent Black Note release made its way there as well.
Selection is very good; it’s hard to walk out without finding something that suites your tastes. A wide variety of styles are present; the last time I browsed through they had two Goses available. I can’t remember the last bottle shop I was in that even had one.
I highly recommend a visit if you’re in the area. Just be sure to check dates on some of the more time sensitive styles.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.32/5  rDev -4%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 5

Holy hops! This place is insanity. And not the Weyerbacher version. I'm talking the real-deal insanity. I walked in here and saw tons of stuff I didn't even see at The Foodery in Philly, or have seen anywhere else for that matter. Love the mix-a-six. That alone ensures I'll be back. Found a J.W. Lees Harvest '08 for a reasonable price and didn't hesitate to pull the trigger. Service will vary at times, I think. But, this place is awesome. If I lived in the area, I may be in here twice a week.

Photo of Budinetz
4.44/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

This place has an awesome selection of beer, some of which is has a reasonable price tag. If you really dig around in this place, you can turn up some pretty awesome finds. Some of the main stream beer that people are really hunting for, Abe will jack up the price due to supply and demand, but that's how you do business and I get that. I must say though, overall very good value for most of the beer available and for PA this is probably the best beer store in the Lehigh Valley. The staff is very knowledgeable as is Abe the owner. Place has later hours also, which is nice for the late shift beer lovers out there. I can definitely walk in here and spend 2 hours looking around, there is THAT much selection. You are able to purchase just one bottle if you wish, or mix and match six packs! Awesome!

Photo of TheBigBoy
4.08/5  rDev -9.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75

Lots of Beers, all different kind of beers. I try to stop here whenever in Bethlehem area. $12 for a mixed six is pretty standard and you will likely see some beers here never encountered. Many other sixes and single bottles to pick from as well. I know they do some special orders for "hard to finds" often as well. If near, just stop here. Warms and cold to go. You'll be impressed.

Photo of Neorebel
4.81/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

This is hands down one of the best places to buy beer in NEPA/NJ area. The owners and staff are very helpful and knowledgeable, and most importantly, fair with selling coveted limited releases. I scored a Bell's Black Note here recently. The selection is great, with a lot of beers that are somewhat harder to find in your average PA bottle shop or supermarket. The prices are reasonable, if you are used to what single bottles generally go for in PA. Def. hit them up if you are in the area.

Photo of dcoms233
4.74/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

A great place for 6 packs and bombers in the Allentown area. He knows his beer and goes out of his way to ensure that he has a good stock of both the regular and rarer beers.

If you are into craft beer and in the Allentown area this is a place you must stop by at!

Photo of NEhophead
4.3/5  rDev -4.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

What a pleasant surprise while traveling through Central PA this past week. Easy to find on West Broad St., this place looks like a pretty standard convenience store, but once you look closer you soon notice that practically every inch of the store is stocked with beer...really good beer. As a New Englander, a lot of Abe's selection was news to me including offerings from Bethlehem Brew Works, Sly Fox, Flying Fish, etc. In addition to a ton of local stuff, offerings included pretty comprehensive lines from Pretty Things, Stone, DFH, Mikkeller, Nogne, etc. Definitely a place to stop in and stock up if you're even remotely in the area.

Photo of Rifugium
4.08/5  rDev -9.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Good quality shop here. The place isn't huge, but they make good use of the space. The shelves were well-stocked--though it seemed to me there might be some items that have been sitting for a while. There was fridge space for macros as well as crafts, with the more popular brands (DFH, etc.) available in 4/6-packs or greater. You really can't complain about the selection, though there really wasn't anything outrageously rare there that I could see. As I'm not from the area, I'm not sure if they offer the more rare items when they are released. But with reasonable prices and diverse selections from the likes of AleSmith, Bruery, Mikkeller, and so forth, you really can't beat this place.

Photo of NoLeafClover44
4.28/5  rDev -4.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Abe's is pretty much the only option in the valley for a great craft selection if you want to buy singles/bombers/sixes. They have a great selection of US craft and imports. If you wanted the limited release stuff you can't get at the distributor or Wegmans, Abe's is your place. All bottles are available individually which means they are slightly more expensive than normal, but on the other hand you can break up any six if you just want one or two of a certain kind. On average the bombers are a few dollars more expensive than other stores I have been to and the individual bottles .25-.75 more expensive, but you are paying for the selection. Some of the employees can be helpful, but some have no idea, it all depends on who is working. I am still unclear on their policies for highly sought after stuff, as I have been unsuccessful on acquiring it despite calling ahead and being told when it would arrive. My only knock on Abe's would be that sometimes their stock is a bit aged. This is to be expected because they have a huge selection, but there isn't a huge craft drinking population in the area. This has hurt me (old IPA) but can be quite nice when you find year or two old stouts. Overall, the best Bethlehem, and perhaps the LehighValley has to offer in small quantity.

Photo of nrs207
4.58/5  rDev +1.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Abe's definitely has a lot of beer, and a lot of variety. They like to be helpful when they can, and it really is the only place I buy beer except when I want a 6 pack of something not too special (I then go to Wegmans, which is a bit cheaper with most 6 packs). The real key is being able to buy as many or as few of any bottle you want except for the more common stuff (then you have to buy whole 6 packs). This only came into play for me once because Sierra Nevada is only by 6 pack and I wanted Celebration, which Wegmans doesn't have. Was happy to buy a 6 pack, but it was $12. Gone within a couple days. I got 120 Minute here, I've even seen a couple bottles of Russian River, although never PtE.

The only thing I don't like about Abe's is that sometimes their selection isn't the freshest. I was in a couple weeks ago and saw an IPA from 2010. This usually doesn't come into play, only for the less well known stuff or the expensive stuff. Its not in a location where I feel that a lot of people want to drop $8-10 on a bomber, etc. I see most people walk out with BMC or not really know what they're doing when looking at the craft selections. So I can't really blame them, because if they didn't have out of date beer at all, you probably wouldn't be able to get that beer anywhere in the valley except maybe a case at Shangy's. If you're into craft and don't want a case, this is really the only place to go in the valley.

Photo of RonfromJersey
4.64/5  rDev +3.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Let's keep this simple. If you are looking for bombers, sixers or singles (and you can break up any craft sixer) anywhere near the Lehigh Valley this is the place to go.

Great selection, great prices, seems to be good turn over. Personable service from both of the counter folk. Good access from Route 22.

I mean, for all the talk about PA bottle shop prices, I've found plenty of bombers here cheaper than in NJ.

Just don't ask questions about the how. Accept it for what it is, the best place around for small scale purchases.

Photo of 57md
4.64/5  rDev +3.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

A: Outside, it looks like a place to go and pick up a 12 pack of Natty Bo or a 40 of Old E. Inside, it is craft beer heaven (though, oddly, you can also get nasty cheap beer there).

Q: Sometimes see old beer hanging around, but generally they keep up with the new releases.

S: Abe and his wife are very friendly. Also, you get a real sense of the tremendous charity work that Abe does for families in his native Africa.

S: Simply an unbelievable selection that rotates very regularly. You will not find a better variety of single bottles/six-packs anywhere in the Lehigh Valley.

F: n/a

V: Prices are reasonable, but become exceptionally so when you consider that the ability to purchase a single bottle of beer saves a ton of lost money on buying a case of beer that you find sub-par. I rarely purchase cases of anything without first stopping by Abe's to taste test the beer in question.

Photo of DaveHack
4.64/5  rDev +3.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Abe's always has something I want. The shelves are a bit crowded and can be a total disaster. Sometimes half the fun (or frustration) is digging through the bottles to find a hidden treasure. Abe doesn't drink, so he is hard to help with tastes and styles. The Beer Woman (Emma) is much more helpful with taste, style, and any other questions. They send out beer club email when they get something rare. (Picked up Fantome tonight) Prices are pretty good, Wegman's occasional has a bottle for a tiny bit cheaper, but cannot compare to the selection. I never leave disappointed.

Edit: After visting a lot of bottle shops, I realize just how good I have it here. I just wish they would let us reserve via phone or email.

Photo of Hophead101
4.29/5  rDev -4.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

so I was in Bethlehem for work. stopped by on my way home based on reading reviews here on BA.

this is a small little place - like a tiny Turkey Hill (convenience store). He has a restaurant license which allows him to sell till midnight every night.

anyway - for PA - the selection is AWESOME. see other reviews for specific brands, but has a lot of good beer. you really need to look around the entire place as there are beers on shelves, in coolers and on endcaps.

none the less - i also like that he has a computer for patrons to use if they want to look something up on BA to get a rating. he has quite an extensive selection of Belgian and other foreign bottles (Canada, Europe and other places).

For PA, pricing wasn't too bad. I have seen other bottle shops with much higher mark ups, so I was ok with his pricing.

highly recommend going here - owner is a good and personable guy, which is nice. good beer and decent prices.

Photo of richbrew
4.18/5  rDev -7.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Ah yes, Abe's. Been trying to get out here for a while now. What a great place.
Few blocks outside of downtown Bethlehem and probably 5 or so minutes from the Sands Casino. Walk in and BAM, this store is the bomb! Absolutely every beer NJ lacks, well almost & good enough for me. 1st aisle is all domestic micro bombers & 750's. Next was I believe all import bottles and the 3rd was all warm 4/6packs followed by the cold case aisle in back which also rounded the left side of the building as well. I only spent about 15 minutes as I was just passing through and only dropped $100, easily could've dropped 5.
Off the top of my head; Pretty Things, Russian River, HOTD, Alesmith, Sprecher, Great Lakes, Port/Lost Abby, Nebraska and the list went on & on. Totally reasonable pricing and a great selection.
Store is a must for the traveler passing through or a couple hour round trip if its nearby. Great shop!
I will knock them on some old stock as a couple bombers I purchased in the past turned out to be skunked. Nothing to cry about though.

Photo of alf212
4.6/5  rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

As a nearby college student I come here more frequently than I go to the supermarket, or any other store for that matter...seriously. One of my favorite beer stores I've been to anywhere and that's not a biased opinion. Their selection is amazing, they keep updating several times a season. They have tastings from time to time. Staff is very knowledgeable although they aren't the friendliest of people except for the one dark skinned worker (not sure where he's from but he's always happy and chatting with you while you shop or up at the cashier). I'm aiming at trying every beer they have in the store. They do singles so I try different beers each time and I'm still nowhere close. If your in the area you gotsta stop by. It is a bit pricey cuz they sell in singles (you get a discount if you buy a sixer of one beer/4 pack but its not that greata discount) but I've seen much worst in cities and other places.

Photo of canjeeps
4.44/5  rDev -1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Abes: I have going there for over an year now. The first time I went I was blown away of this little hidden gem. So much beer stuffed into a previous getty mart. Each time I go I have a different experience. Sometimes they have some real gems or times just average stuff. One thing they have been much better about it just organization. My first few visits everything was all over the place, now they are stepping up and it is much better.
Prices is about the best part of Abes, everything is cheaper then anywhere.
Service is ok. Abes a nice guy but does not really seem to know uber amounts of beer knowledge noneless some of his inventory. Emma seems to be the one who tries to get as much beer in there as they can. No complaints though. That kind of service is not needed for most.
Abes is must if anywhere new Allentown. Heck I drive an hour and half to go their and its well worth it.

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Abe's Cold Beer in Bethlehem, PA
99 out of 100 based on 98 ratings.