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Beer Baron

Not Rated.
Beer BaronBeer Baron
BA SCORE
95
world-class

36 Ratings
Ratings: 36
Reviews: 26
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 18.43%
[ Store ]

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

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: icculus304 on 07-07-2010)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 36 | Reviews: 26 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by DavidRandall:
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4/5  rDev -7.8%

DavidRandall, Apr 22, 2014
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msumike89, Jul 23, 2014
Photo of PaulyB83
2.49/5  rDev -42.6%

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.

PaulyB83, Jun 29, 2014
Photo of tommy5
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

tommy5, Jun 17, 2014
Photo of FedExPope
2.81/5  rDev -35.3%

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.

FedExPope, May 26, 2014
Photo of Drk93TT
2.75/5  rDev -36.6%

Drk93TT, Dec 18, 2013
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4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

salinasa, Nov 28, 2013
Photo of HardyA
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

HardyA, Nov 09, 2013
Photo of I_BYE_MI_BEER
3.5/5  rDev -19.4%

I_BYE_MI_BEER, Oct 08, 2013
Photo of sugarcaneE
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%

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.

sugarcaneE, Jun 27, 2013
Photo of Jas45678
2.78/5  rDev -35.9%

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.

Jas45678, Jun 27, 2013
Photo of buddha5050
5/5  rDev +15.2%

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.

buddha5050, Oct 03, 2012
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.64/5  rDev +6.9%

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.

RblWthACoz, Aug 30, 2012
Photo of Lawl3ss
2.21/5  rDev -49.1%

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.

Lawl3ss, Aug 25, 2012
Photo of Sixt9coug
5/5  rDev +15.2%

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!

Sixt9coug, Aug 06, 2012
Photo of Rogee64
5/5  rDev +15.2%

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.

Rogee64, Feb 15, 2012
Photo of 3morley
5/5  rDev +15.2%

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.

3morley, Feb 06, 2012
Photo of sjdownie
5/5  rDev +15.2%

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.

sjdownie, Feb 06, 2012
Photo of travMI13
4.86/5  rDev +12%

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.

travMI13, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of IlPostino
5/5  rDev +15.2%

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.

IlPostino, Dec 09, 2011
Photo of jonp5150
4.94/5  rDev +13.8%

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!

jonp5150, Nov 21, 2011
Photo of robertvrabel
5/5  rDev +15.2%

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!

robertvrabel, Nov 16, 2011
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Beer Baron in Livonia, MI
95 out of 100 based on 36 ratings.