Beer Baron

Not Rated.
Beer BaronBeer Baron
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

41 Ratings
Ratings: 41
Reviews: 29
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: n/a
[ Store ]

19610 Middlebelt Rd
Livonia, Michigan, 48152-2126
United States
phone: (248) 987-6563

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
Place added by: icculus304 on 07-07-2010

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Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 41 | Reviews: 29
Reviews by DavidRandall:
More User Reviews:
Photo of SaisonRichBiere
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Huge selection and some of the highest prices around...resulting in a lot of long-term shelf turds. I wouldn't buy many IPAs here. Nice guys, just a bit overpriced.

Photo of Hammer28
4.49/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Great beers and decent prices, just grabbed a 6 pack of freedom 78

Photo of acostuhhh
2.47/5  rDev -41.2%
vibe: 1.5 | quality: 3 | service: 1.25 | selection: 3.5

Their instagram is well kept, the store not so much. Place seems like a dirty whole in the wall with sticky floors and the walk in cooler smells horrible. Selection is decent, great single bottle mix 6 program but not rotation. Not going out of my way to come back.

Photo of 1chuckx
2.31/5  rDev -45%
vibe: 1 | quality: 2.5 | service: 1 | selection: 4

I stop in when I visit family in that state up north. Beer Barron has gone downhill fast over the past few years. The owner sits on a chair behind the counter, offers no help and only gets up when you approach the register with something in hand. I was there a few weeks ago and there was beer all over. Six packs all over the floor, random dust covered bottles.. The place looked like an old person/hoarder home. Really embarrassing. I'm bummed bc I live in ohio and only get to the state up north when I visit family, and this is apparently the only place near Farmington hills with a good selection. Our stupid laws in ohio prevent beer over 12% so we miss out on a lot.
I hate to say it, but I'm done with beer Barron. I'll find another place even if it is out of the way.

Photo of PaulyB83
2.49/5  rDev -40.7%
vibe: 1.5 | quality: 2 | service: 2 | selection: 4

Visited this place on a weekend trip to SW metro Detroit. I searched online for the best bottle shop in the area and this was supposed to be it.

A- Looking at the place from the outside it looked pretty nice, it's in a nice new looking brick plaza building. As soon as I opened the door though I was surprised that it had the feel of a dirty 7-11 as opposed to craft beer store. The tile floor was yellow and sticky, it's hot as hell, and the old guy behind the counter looked at me but never said anything. In fact during my time there he went to where the glassware was and took some glasses off the shelf and broke them in a cardboard box, very strange.

Q- Everything seemed pretty dirty and I was afraid to touch things.

S- The old guy was scary and kept breaking glasses in a cardboard box.

S- This place does have lots of different things, a variety of domestic and imports as well as many things I can't get on the west side of the state. However almost everything that was bottle dated expired and they were keeping many IPAs in out on the shelves in very hot temps. It was hotter inside this place than it was outside.

F- Bottle shop not food shop, unless you count Slim Jims and Cheetos as food.

V- This is the first time I've encountered a bottle shop with what I would call unreasonable prices. No wonder this place has 9 month old IPAs. There were a few Belgian beers I wanted to get but the inflated price stopped me on principle. Also they had stuff from The Bruery that I wanted to get but paying and overprice for an already overpriced beer is insane, I'd rather trade for it.

Photo of FedExPope
2.81/5  rDev -33.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2 | service: 1.5 | selection: 5

I'm updating a review that I left in May 2011. At that time, I had never experienced service and selection so great that it prompted me to hop online and leave a glowing review. I lived in West Michigan for six years -- just down the street from Siciliano's Market, widely-regarded as the best beer store in the state -- so I was thrilled to find a great beer store for when I came to visit family on the east side of the state. A few months ago, I moved back to the area full-time and thought being a 10-minute drive from the Beer Baron would be a blessing.

I'm not one of those people who thinks, "a bad review, yeah, that'll show 'em," but I'm more throwing this out there because there are no recent reviews up here, and I'm wondering if the regulars here have noticed some changes that haven't made this the stop that it once was.

First, the service. The selection was always great, but many of these reviews single out Darren as the go-to guy, and I always found that to be true. It was always him or an older gentleman working in there when I stopped in (probably 10 times over two years). He was super passionate. Never pushy, but always excited to show you what's new, find out what you like, etc. When the older guy was there, he'd always openly admit that he didn't know the beer as well, seemed like he owned the place and couldn't believe how craft beer has taken off, etc. Commented to me once how they have to constantly reconfigure the store to fit the supply and demand of craft beer.

Since I've been living back here, I haven't seen Darren, just the older guy. I think Darren's moved on to bigger and better (and good for him). But everything about the beer, from the prices to the organization of the shelves, has suffered. The tags that once designated "new" or "rare" or "last chance!" bottles are gone, and it's difficult to work your way through their still-impressive selection.

The worst part, though, are the prices. How it's always worked here is, the prices for singles are a little high, but you get a 15% discount when you mix your own six pack. And there aren't many mix-your-six stores out here, so that was great. The discount brought the beers back to where they should be. Now it seems like they've raised the prices where you aren't really getting the normal shelf prices -- and then some. In fact, I once heard a woman complaining about his price on stamps (seriously, stamps!) to the older dude, and his response was "hey, I've gotta make a buck." Seems the same philosophy has hit their shelves. You won't find many singles at all for under $3, and any limited releases or even-remotely-rare seasonals are going to be $5/6 minimum. You still get the discount, but 15% off that is still going to leave you scratching your head over why your six-pack is pushing $30. But seriously, who's spending $2.75 for an Oberon when Meijer or Busch's has a 12-pack on sale for $14 bucks every other week?

You'll certainly find whatever you're looking for here -- it might be a few months old and stored in direct sunlight, and you'll pay a premium -- but there's no doubt that the east side of the state is lacking in stores that will break apart any six-pack. However, it's just odd that the prices are gouged so badly here when one of the other stores that singles everything is less than two miles away -- check out the Wine Palace on Five and Middlebelt. No "Darrens" there (in fact, I don't think I've ever been offered help there, which is fine now that I know what I'm looking for), but everything is individually priced -- no discount, so the prices are what they should be. Even the Wine Castle, which is just a few streets down, has better prices, although their single selection is lacking.

End rant. Just an odd evolution for a place I once considered an east-side staple. It seemed like they were once excited to be pioneers in the beer community, but now they just want to cash in on the demand for craft beer. The old dude is well within his rights to "make a buck," but it certainly won't be coming from my pocket from here on out.

Photo of sugarcaneE
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25

This is a go-to when around town. Service here has always been great. I don't know the name of the man behind the counter, but he is always willing to help out. For example, he stopped to open a case of beer for me that hadn't been added to the shelves. They carry everything local that i can think of including limited releases. Of note, prices for singles can be a bit pricey but you can get a discount if purchasing in quantity.

Photo of Jas45678
2.78/5  rDev -33.8%
vibe: 2.75 | quality: 2 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5

I stopped in at lunch today to check this place out. Place was a little dirty(sticky floors), no big deal. Picked up a mix 6 and a bomber. First one was a Racer 5 which looking at the date now is 9 months old. Drain pour. Stone IPA was fresh and rest were beers that it shouldn't matter. I also noticed they still have some Mikkeller IPAs, I believe Shelton Bros hasn't distributed to MI for about a year. They do have a good selection and still have beer that sold out quickly at other stores. Be cautious and check the dates here and be prepared to pay more.

Photo of buddha5050
5/5  rDev +19%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Just got back from my maiden voyage to the Beer Baron in Livonia,MI. This place is awesome! They had everything I was looking for and more! The staff know's what they are talking about, which is a huge plus in my book. They are a little pricey, but you get what you pay for and that is quite a bit! Today I picked up a mixed six pack and a bomber for $28 bucks...

The six pack included Great Lakes Nosferatu, Shorts Brewing Bloody Beer, Bell's Porter, Bell's Kalamazoo Stout, Dark Horse Percolater, and Founders Breakfast Stout, the bomber that I picked up was Southern Tier's Pumking! So all and all I'm realy happy and can't wait to pop the top on these bad boys.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.64/5  rDev +10.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

By now, everyone knows that Darren is the man at the Beer Barron. I will just add that, yes, the dude is one righteous brother. Chill, personable, and ready to help. The beers are definitely Michigan centric here, as they should be. I don't think I had any quality issues, as I found with another place. It's a bit out of the way, if you are visiting Detroit. But hey, it's worth the drive. At least, I think so. I walked out with two cases full of beers that were new to me. Anytime I'm back in the Detroit area (if ever), this will be a must stop for me.

They also had all of New Holland's distilled spirits right behind the register, which is an added bonus, I think.

Photo of Lawl3ss
2.21/5  rDev -47.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 1 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5

I don't generally rate beer stores that I go to once, but in this case I felt I had to, just to balance out the ridiculously high scores that led me to waste my money here.

Atmosphere is meh. Neither particularly dingy nor well-kempt. My biggest gripe here is the lighting and arrangement of the beer- macrolager in the refrigerator and the good stuff on shelves in direct sunlight. I realize that the nearest shelf to the door is twenty feet in, but I went in here at around 6:30, and the west-facing windows allowed in enough light that I had to shield my eyes while looking at the shelves. The mix-a six pack area has two or three deep empty sixers taking up the first foot or so of floor near the shelf, although they are conveniently placed. The liquor wall and well-loved feel of the interior redeems it a bit.

Quality- Here is where my biggest problem is. There should be no reason that I drainpour 2/3 of a $20 six pack. Perhaps I made a mistake selecting only from the mix-a-six pack area, but I wanted to try a few things I hadn't seen before while I was in town. I stayed away from obviously dated beers, but once I got back I discovered that all of the beers that should have had printed dates on the bottles themselves had had the dates rubbed off. A missing date on one bottle is plausible; four different bottles from the same store is less so. I'd also grabbed an Anchor Humming Ale (one of my favorites, I figured what the heck) that turned out to be about sixteen months old once I looked up their obscure labeling scheme. Closer inspection revealed the dreaded floaties, so shame on me for not being more careful. Unsurprisingly, everything but the one canned beer was skunked. I realize that old beer happens, but like I said there should be *no* reason that I pay 20 bucks only to pour most of it down the sink.

Service was ok (as in no attention, but I wasn't expecting any) until I asked about glassware. the gentleman behind the counter pointed to the back of the store and I had overlooked the few dozen glasses down by the end of the counter. A plain unembellished 12 oz. weizen glass for $8 wasn't in the cards, so I passed. I didn't appreciate when he tried to push it on me again. He did take the time to mention that I had saved $3 by buying a full six pack. I'm mostly docking this one because it appears that someone that works here took the time to wipe the bottling dates off of the old stock.

Selection- The selection was decent, stuff from the East to West coast, a decent number of MI beers, plenty of bombers and imports, and a number of things that I hadn't seen before, although I haven't purchased much beer in Michigan.

Prices ranged from slightly over par to extravagant. As I mentioned, my mix-a-six totalled $19 and change after a $3 discount, and I don't think I picked anything too crazy- four Michigan beers, a Sixpoint, and an Anchor. The Sixpoint was a pint can, but in general I felt everything (craft singles, sixpacks, and bombers) was a dollar or two more than it should have been. If I based the value on "my overall impression of the prices vs. what I got." as the category suggests, it would probably be in the $$$ range, as I really got one $2.25 can of beer and a few skunky sips for $20, but I'll go on the average prices in the store vs. what I'm used to.

I won't be coming back here if I'm in the area again, after discarding my original purchases I looked for something different at a grocery store called Hiller's in the area and was pleasantly surprised with the selection. I don't really know how the Baron gets away with this kind of business.

Photo of Sixt9coug
5/5  rDev +19%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I will review this as a Californian that makes it out to Michigan a few times a year for work. Coming from a state that has excellent distribution to begin with is great. However, there are many beers that we cannot get hold of out here. Shorts, Bell's, Founder's Southern Tier to name a few are seemingly out of reach for us all of the time.

So this is why Beer Baron is such a treat. A huge availability of midwest forbidden fruit is amazing. Darrin is a great guy to deal with and he is always up for a good beer chat. You really have to appreciate it when someone really loves what they do, and the pride in his beer knowledge certainly shows. Unlike many other beer stores, he is no snob, but quite the hardcore enthusiast.

Beer Baron is a must stop whenever I am in Michigan. They are very reasonable with prices, and I just love this place. If you are into more than just beer, they also have a great selection of mead too. This is another thing that we don't get much of out here in CA.

Great job guys. I'll be back in September!

Photo of Rogee64
5/5  rDev +19%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Probably the best beer store in Michigan, Nice helpful owner. If your looking for something rare this is the place to go, the owner is well educated in all that is beer. If you want to get something reserved just look them up on facebook or send an email and the beer baron will provide. Huge beer selection, very impressive single selection, mix and match your own 6 pack and recieve a discount. One of the few stores that have every beer they sell avalible as singles. I make it a point to stop in a couple of times a week just because you never know what new beers they will get in because they get it all. Best beer store in Michigan.

Photo of 3morley
5/5  rDev +19%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

As far as Michigan goes (where distribution tends to favor in-state brews, and not enough West Coast or Southeast breweries) this place is as good as it gets. They have an outstanding selection of Michigan brews, and have a great selection of European beers as well.

Their greatest attribute is the ownership which is very eager to hear from their customers, maintain a great Facebook page about incoming deliveries, and (at least the son) are beer geeks too. They seem very willing to search for hard-to-find or seasonal brews and are refreshingly open about the difficulties of distribution in Michigan.

I often go out of my way to visit here. They're a bit pricey, but such is the lost of craft brew in Michigan. A gem for the area.

Photo of sjdownie
5/5  rDev +19%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

The first time I went into the Beer Baron in Livonia, I was completely blown away. I had never seen such a wide variety of good craft beer. That was just over a year ago. Now, it blows that store from a year ago out of the water. The craft beer selection has seemed to double in size.

Not only that, the owner and the employees are all extremely helpful. They will gladly give you good suggestions on all sorts of stuff, not just their beer. Plus, you can "Like" them on Facebook, and if you request a certain type of beer, if they are able to get it in Michigan, they will attempt to get it for you.

The prices are not bad at all, and if you build your own six pack, you get 10% off.

If you even live remotely close to this place, I HIGHLY recommend it.

Photo of travMI13
4.86/5  rDev +15.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

This bottle shop has built quite the following in a very short period of time. The selection of craft beer here expands monthly. The owner is very committed to supporting craft beer on the whole, and I think he does a great job at helping people of all levels of craft beer knowledge.

The Beer Baron has a good selection from a couple of breweries that many of the other local bottle shops don't carry much of: Dieu du Ciel! and Mikkeller. As you would expect, there is a full selection of Michigan beers, all available by single bottle or mixed six if so desired. Pricing is in line with local industry pricing, and is on the less expensive end many times. Mixed sixers get 10%(?) off single bottle price.

A final note that I think shows the owner's commitment to the craft. I was incredibly impressed with his handling of the CBS release last year. He took every name down and drew the names randomly. When notifying of being selected, he also asked if you had already gotten a bottle elsewhere. I was thoroughly impressed. Even though I was the one relinquishing a bottle of one of my favorite beers, he really made me feel like he was doing all he could to take care of as many customers as possible. In my opinion, this type of care is great for the craft and doesn't happen often enough.

A final note is how well the selection is updated on Facebook. This is incredibly helpful.

I will continue to support the Beer Baron as one of my go-to bottle shops in the area.

Photo of IlPostino
5/5  rDev +19%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

As a newbie in the world of craft beer exploration, I am happy to have found this place early on. The selection is unbeatable, especially compared to the weak number of shops offering singles in the metro area. The staff really takes pride in their shop and the quality of products they offer, so you're very unlikely to find a bottle that has been sitting on the shelf longer than it should.

The only downside to this place that I can think of is that it isn't located on the eastside... But I'm seeing myself as a regular here for some time to come, despite the distance.

Photo of jonp5150
4.94/5  rDev +17.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I stopped in to the Beer Baron, as I am back in Michigan for Thanksgiving. They have a really good selection, especially singles. I was able to get 2 six packs of singles and its 15% off the bottle price. Plenty of locals to choose from (so many, I will have to wait until my next trip back to try more).

I also grabbed a couple of bombers (Southern Tier), and I am kicking myself for not grabbing a third. Maybe I'll make another jaunt up there before I leave.

Great Place, I definitely recommend it!

Photo of robertvrabel
5/5  rDev +19%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

The reason this is the best Beer store around is it's customer service. They go out of the way to to help make recommendations and are always up for chatting about beer. Their beer selection is unbelievable. They stock just about every michigan beer they can get their hands on. They receive new beers on a weekly basis and are always striving to get those hard-to-get specialty releases.

They sell singles of every beer and you can pickup a custom 6pack at a discount.

I go here a few times a month to pickup beer and always leave more than satisfied!

Photo of Archelon
4.9/5  rDev +16.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

Like rusty, I live within walking distance of Beer Baron, and, considering that the new "marketplace" across the street doesn't even have a place to get a macrobrew, they're like a third refrigerator for my wife and I.

Selection is excellent/ Although not the cheapest in town (but do you really looking to get cheap Trappists?) it's service that sets them apart. They have a unique blend - friendly, helpful and willing to talk, and listen, to customers. Ever innovative, their modest deli section always has something decent- if you are lucky enough to go when they have their shish-kabobs, you will regret not partaking.

They even do a good job with their facebook page. What's not to love?

Photo of rustyhamilton
4.8/5  rDev +14.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4.5

I'm very lucky to live within a quarter mile of The Beer Baron. As has been mentioned, the singles selection is fantastic and I love being able to try something new for two or three bucks instead of getting an entire six pack. The overall selection is fantastic, and Darren is the most knowledgable beer store owner I have come across. Like everyone has said, this is a beer store first and foremost. The prices seem competitive compared to other stores in the area. I picked up a six of Oberon for 8.99 today, which is a dollar cheaper than most stores sell it for locally.

Another plus is the extensive import selection. While practically every Michigan beer is available, I love the diversity of beers in stock.

Also, they have recently added a deli counter featuring homemade pulled pork sandwiches (and other sandwiches). I love pairing a good brew with some yummy pulled pork!

Photo of FanofHefe
4.94/5  rDev +17.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I'll pick up a few brews from time to time when traveling, so will check out places like this for new items I haven't had. Well, this place really rocks. I LOVE the fact that they have so many singles and let you mix your own six pack. Stopped in this week since I was in the Detroit area for a couple of days. The guy behind the counter was VERY helpful and took the time to show me all his new arrivals.

The selection is better than any other store I have found in the western Detroit area and the prices are very reasonable, especially because they give you 15% off of a mixed six. I will be a regular here when I'm in town and looking for a few new brews to try.

Highly recommend.

Photo of myspoonistoobig
4.86/5  rDev +15.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

I stopped here quite by chance on a recent business trip in the area. I had just stopped at another shop down the road and hit a red light right outside the Beer Baron. I had maxed out what I could bring back to NY with me at my previous stop and really wish I hadn't. Not because this store had anything the other one didn't, but because this is a Beer Advocate's store in a very literal sense. Thankfully, I still needed something to quench my thirst for the evening and decided to pull in.

The other reviews are spot on: this is a Beer store first, and they have some wine and spirits. I started poking around, seeing largely what I would hope to see: loads of locals and and excellent selection of other US micros. I was a pleasantly surprised to see such a great selection of imports (loads of Mikkeller, Dieu du Ciel, others) and then the clerk engaged me. Extremely knowledgeable, especially regarding the plethora of local brews from Michigan. And they offer discounts on mixed 6ers, further discounts on mixed cases. We chatted for quite a while about beer in general, homebrewing, etc. He explained that it's a family business and also the mentality behind their 1-bottle-per-customer KBS allocation ("better to share it with 24 people getting a bottle each than 6 people getting 4 each" - if that's not Beer Advocacy, I don't know what is). Oh, and his suggestions were excellent: the recently released collaboration between Arbor and Dark Horse, one bottle each. And he swapped them out for cold ones upon checking out.

If I'm back in the Detroit area, I'll definitely be back to the Beer Baron.

Photo of fishtremble
4.58/5  rDev +9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Just tried this store out for lunch and I was very impressed. There is still room for improvement on the selections but the people are very open minded and certainly looking and listening to the customers as to what they can do to improve. Prices were very good and I had no problems finding something good to come home with. This store easily makes my top 10 craft brew stores list and I will certainly take my business back there again. Now I want to see how they do with the limited edition brews (KBS and such) because I did not see any bottles of the Batch 10000 Bell's there so like I said still room for improvement.

*edit* Well I had to edit and improve the score a bit since this was the only store that went out of their way to be sure to save me my first and only bottle of KBS. This is the stuff that will keep me coming back for a long time.

Photo of SBMRL
4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

I live near this establishment nice looking store, very clean look really open and warming short shelves (The younger guy who knows his beer must have taken a marketing class or two) it looks similar to the way 7-11 lays out the isles which is a good thing, good service, good selection but there price on most beer makes me shop else ware $5 for founders Russian imperial stout when i bought it for $3 at two different places within 2 miles and that is just an example they do offer 15% off when you buy 6 beers but when you have a store in royal oak that sells all singles and they are between$.40- $1.20 cheaper a 12 oz. bottle.It makes it hard to shop here.

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Beer Baron in Livonia, MI
93 out of 100 based on 41 ratings.