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Ales Unlimited

Not Rated.
Ales UnlimitedAles Unlimited
BA SCORE
96
world-class

15 Reviews
Reviews: 15
Visits: 27
rAvg: 4.51
pDev: n/a
[ Store ]

2398 Webster St
San Francisco, California, 94115-1807
United States
phone: (415) 346-6849

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @alesunlimited

Notes:
Place added by: DoubleJ on 07-10-2011

No notes at this time.
Place: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 15 | Visits: 27
Reviews by mactrail:
Photo of mactrail
4.14/5  rDev -8.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I found a better selection of unusual beers here than almost anywhere in the city except for the Jug Shop. They are especially strong in Belgians and have a thorough sampling of interesting brews and breweries from around the US. They seem to have an affinity for oddities.

I only found this place because I wrote down the actual street address. It seems to be called Ales Unlimited now, which much more accurately describes the business and the appeal to beer geeks. It's a tiny corner market space but a treasure hunt as you twist and squat among the narrow aisles.

For the tourist, this is in an interesting neighborhood just east of upper Fillmore where bus and trolley coach lines converge. Bring your backpack. (718 characters)

More User Reviews:
Photo of bostonbeans
4.27/5  rDev -5.3%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Photo of senglish7
4.94/5  rDev +9.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of Rutager
4.66/5  rDev +3.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

The girl that helped me was so awesome. She even offered me something special from the back. Great store!! (106 characters)

Photo of Flabbyjandro
4.72/5  rDev +4.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Photo of Fogindex
4.04/5  rDev -10.4%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4

Photo of spark3148857
4/5  rDev -11.3%

Photo of JonahNW
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%

Tiny; packed to the gills -- dig! (33 characters)

Photo of LittleDon
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%

I have to a agree with a few of the other posters, probably my favorite bottle shop in SF. Small, but well stocked. When I was there it was like a treasure hunt, seeing what might be lurking behind some of the bottles. I also had fun talking with the owner, who was very enthusiastic about what she liked. (305 characters)

Photo of halo3one
4/5  rDev -11.3%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of hambone
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of WillyB123
4.58/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75

A good, small place. They seem to try and get as much new beer as possible. I've seen some rare stuff come by here. They do a great job on placing limits on certain beers so that more people can come pick some up. Occasionally they'll focus on a brewery from out of state and pick up 6 or 7 of their beers. I like this, because then its like a whole introduction to a brewery I might not ever try. I trust them. (411 characters)

Photo of Jvrdz24
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of NickRivers
4.57/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.25

Awesome cozy shop here, Steve was a great guy to talk to, and really knows his stuff. I like most people went in looking for Pliny. I ended up walking out with some Mogli, 1 Pliny on the shelf, Some Fantomes, Prairie, RR and more.

Located in the beautiful Pacific Heights, this corner shop is sure to do its job and fix that itch for craft beer. The prices we're reasonable, parking as mentioned in other reviews seems like it can be a pain but who drives in this town. Also, follow them on instagram. That'll help the hunt of the whale.

All in all if your in this area make an effort to visit this shop. Very sleek and well done. Cheers! (641 characters)

Photo of Steffano
4.75/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of flexabull
4.23/5  rDev -6.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25

Founds this place while out on a morning walk, returned later in the afternoon to check it out.

Small tiny little corner store that is packed to the gills with high quality beers and wine. It was almost too small when a couple of other patrons came in to shop with me. But it's a really cool looking place.

Quality is top notch, only high quality craft here.

Service was good. As usual in a beer store, I rarely ask for help, but the guy was friendly and talkative when I checked out.

Selection is good, and impressive for such a small place. My only minor complaint was the selection seemed mostly import heavy, and there wasn't a whole lot of local craft.

Prices were fair for most everything I saw.

Overall, a very nice little beer store. Especially if you are looking for imports. (791 characters)

Photo of TxUltraRunner
5/5  rDev +10.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Best bottle shop in the city by far! Owner is a blast to talk to and is willing to suggest to your taste. Being a Texan myself, the owner gushed over Jester King. Ended up getting stuff from The Bruery, Almanac, Russian River, and Firestone Walker. The walk from Chinatown was hell considering I ran the San Francisco Marathon a few hours before. (346 characters)

Photo of brewandbbq
4.5/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Great little place with tons of great beer. You would never know what this place was about just passing by. Tiny interior with just a lot of great beer-domestic and imports. The owners a helluva nice guy and he's really into it for the love of beer.

Highly recommended. (271 characters)

Photo of nrb1
4.75/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75

My favorite beer store in San Francisco. Great selection and Steve really knows his beers. I have found a lot of hard to find old favorites here as well as found a lot of new favorites. Great selection of both Belgian and US craft beers. Only down side is that parking is tough to find. (286 characters)

Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
5/5  rDev +10.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I found this place while searching for a beer on beermenus.com. This was the only store in the Bay Area I could find that seemed to have was I was looking for, so I came in to see if they actually carried it. Not only did they carry it, but they also carried a huge selection of other very good beer.

This store is relatively new, which explains why I haven’t heard of it before (and why there aren’t that many reviews yet on BA). The selection is fantastic. I saw a number of beers here that I couldn’t find at Healthy Spirits, and overall, I think the selection here is as great as the selection at Healthy Spirits, if not better. Prices are reasonable as well. If it means anything, beermenus.com shows they carry 921 beers as of this review compared to 788 at Healthy Spirits. They recommend following them on Twitter or Facebook for the latest updates.

The Steve and Betty are extremely friendly, and very helpful. They recommended some very good beer based on my tastes that I may not have otherwise found in their huge selection. I found them to be interesting to chat with, and very willing to go out of their way for me if I had any requests.

Overall, I feel this is the top beer store in the Bay Area. Definitely worth checking out!

Edit: I went there recently near closing time because it took me a while find parking, and the owner said he'd be happy to stay open longer for me. Not only did he keep the store open, but after talking with him about what I liked, and after he learneded I genuinely appreciated great stouts, he found me a Black Tuesday, along with a few other rare gems! With that kind of service (and hard to find beer), how can they not get a 5? (1,688 characters)

Photo of TaxDork
4.41/5  rDev -2.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Having just moved from a place that was a half block away from City Beer, I was thrilled to stumble upon Ales Unlimited so close to my new place.

If you took a neighborhood convenience store and converted it into a bottle shop, you'd get this place. It's in a fairly small space on a quiet corner in Pac Heights. Parking on the surrounding streets is unmetered, but pretty hard to come by.

The selection is impressive given the somewhat cramped quarters. As other reviewers have pointed out, they carry a good mix of well known brands like Stone and Russian River as well as a wide variety of Belgians. I've definitely seen a number of breweries and releases on their shelves that I hadn't seen carried anywhere else in town.

My first time in I chatted for a while with Steve, who I think is the owner. He was super friendly and offered to try to acquire anything they don't currently carry. He also does good job of updating Twitter to let you know what has just hit their shelves.

One detail that I appreciate is that they post the Beer Advocate or Ratebeer scores for a large share of their stock. It's a small thing, but I like not having to pull out my iPhone when I'm figuring out which of a half dozen new Mikkeller releases is a can't miss.

The center of the store is made up of wine racks. I'll be curious to see if they eventually phase that out in favor of more beer shelves as they get more popular. (1,416 characters)

Photo of GJ40
4.3/5  rDev -4.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

I stopped in while in SF on business. The space is small but it fits nicely in its residential area not all that far from the touristy areas. They were in the process of adding a large new refrigeration unit so it was a little chaotic but I think it's going to be a great addition. Despite the activity, the selection is pretty impressive and the atmosphere is very authentic. They had several from Russian River and lots of Belgians. The guy in the shop is very helpful and happy to talk beer. This place is well worth a visit. (528 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.58/5  rDev +1.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Awesome selection of beers. I love it when I walk into a place and there are more new beers that I'd like to try than I am willing (or able) to carry out of the place on my trek home. The store from the outside is pretty unassuming really. But once you get inside and start perusing the aisles, you see that this is not your typical little store. Lots and lots of goodies here to try. I mean they even had Sink the Bismarck here. And oversized bottles from d'Chouffe I had never seen before. I think they were some holiday special or something. They also had Rayon Vert pretty much the day after it was officially released. I still haven't seen that beer in many places. I met the owner and we chatted it up a bit, which honestly, is not something I normally seek out. I just like to get my beer and head on out. But he was cool. He's got the love (clearly) for the brew and he's doing what he can to promote things and move it all forward. It's too bad there aren't more beer stores like this one, or that it was nearer to my place. (1,033 characters)

Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.41/5  rDev -2.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

I'm glad they finally added this spot for me. I found this place through City Beer Store after they had sold out of Black Butte XXIII. It took me a minute to find it after I called ahead. When I got there and introduced myself I was warmly greeted. My requests had been put aside and I got a nice little tour. They have a very nice selection in cramped quarters, but for the service and selection it is well worth it. The owner even told me he'd be willing to try and hunt down a few beers not normally shipped to CA. Kick ass sir. I'll go back soon. (550 characters)

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Ales Unlimited in San Francisco, CA
96 out of 100 based on 15 ratings.