Ratings: 19 | Reviews: 15 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by ToasterChef:
4.94/5 rDev +4.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$
The newest beer store in the Portland area has been open for a couple of weeks now, but it wasn't until today that I made it in. I already felt familiar with the store though. The owners have done a good job of crafting a helpful online presence that no other bottle shop in the area has been able to do. Between Twitter and Facebook updates, I have a good idea of what is happening in the store in near real-time. The e-mail updates have been a revelation though. A summary of new arrivals? Check. Special offers? Check. A loyalty program of subscribers (5% off after for each $100 spent)? Check. The only other store in Southern Maine that offers a e-mail (that I know of) is Tully's, and that generally consists of a schedule of upcoming tastings and a note to check Facebook for updates. What Bier Cellar is doing is very helpful much appreciated.
Now, onto the store itself. Being freshly opened, the space is still very clean and has the feel of a recently renovated area. None of the center aisles is very tall, letting you get a good look around the entire store no matter where you are standing. Beers are generally organized by country and then brewery. The flags from each country represented sitting atop the appropriate shelf is a nice touch. On wall has a row of coolers, holding some six packs and singles, as well as white and sparkling wines. There may have been more in the coolers, but I didn't really look them over.
The room temperature selection is well laid out. Each 4 or 6 pack has an accompanying row of singles, so you don't have to break up someone else's pack if you only want one bottle. Also, each selection has a description, pack price and single price. If you do decide to go with singles, a 5% discount is applied to mix and match 4 pack, and if you buy 6 bottles, the discount bumps up to 10%. All of the craft breweries available in Maine are represented, as far as I could tell (except for Lagunitas, because they were sold out!). There are plenty of imports as well.
The shelves directly in front of the window are empty. I assume this is to avoid and skunking/spoilage from sunlight exposure. It's a nice touch!
In the second room of the store you'll find more beer, plus wines and meads. I didn't spend any time with the non-beer selection. It looked to be smaller than the selection found at other stores in the area, but unlike the Bier Cellar, none of those places focuses mainly on beer.
There is a small area for glassware and books, but I was more interested in the stack of LPs and the records player that provide the background music. Very cool.
I got to talk to the owner, Greg, while I was there. He was very friendly and told me about all the new items into the store, plus stuff he should have soon. It never felt like a sales pitch...just two beer nerds discussing their hobby.
After this one visit, I find myself really liking Bier Cellar. It doesn't have the biggest selection of beer in the area (RSVP has all of the adjunct lagers and malt liquors not found here), but it has the best selection of craft beer in the Portland area, as well as the best organized. Plus, it has it's own parking lot, something that has caused me to not go to Downeast Beverage more than once.
I'm really excited for some of the things Greg is planing. The discounts already in place are great (other stores may have similar discounts, but if so, that aren't advertised very well). Plans for Pack Club look promising (you get a mixed 6 pack, plus 1 22 and 1 750 of classics and new releases), and the beer geek socials sound like they will be a fun and well attended event.
I know that I'll be visiting this store a lot. It outshines all the other options in the area, and is easier to get to. The only thing I can possibly say it is missing is homebrew supplies, but since Maine Brewing Supply is right down the road, I don't mind. Those of us who regularly respond to the "Where should I visit in ME/Portland" threads in the New England forum have a new store to tell all of you from away to visit first.
06-15-2012 19:01:58 | More by ToasterChef
More User Reviews:
4.61/5 rDev -2.5%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | $$
So great beer store no doubt. Clean, knowledgeable staff. Great import selection of rare, strange beers. American Craft selection was decent. But the store is not filled up, there are 4-5 facings of each beer, it is not even close to capacity which hurts it. Looks more impressive then it is. Location is pretty bad pulling into this place is a chore. Worth a stop though.
03-13-2014 22:53:31 | More by redleaves
4.93/5 rDev +4.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75 | $$
Going into Bier Cellar is the best possible experience for a novice, intermediate, or super-geek beer drinker. Owner Greg Norton gets to know his customers almost immediately, and in addition to his excellent suggestions, the other staff are also completely obsessed with beer. When I walk in I can always know what's new, what's good, what's okay, what I might like - and I barely have to even ask. The selection is only limited by what can actually be distributed in Maine - Bier Cellar has anything you'd need. With ample cooler space, they're also able to keep a great selection of beer cold, so you can drink that deliciousness as soon as you get home. This is small business done 100% right - and you will not regret the experience if you're in the Portland area.
01-31-2014 22:34:40 | More by thebeerbabe82
4.82/5 rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75 | $$
I have been going to Bier Cellar since it opened and want to commend them with a review. Greg certianly knows his beer and has a passion to share it. The store is well stocked but you never feel.overwhelmed because they will happily walk you through and answer questions and even pick out an assorted 6 pack for you. They are frequently doing tastings and it is highly recommended to get on the email list so you can get the best descriptions and chance to buy new products. They apologize for sending too many emails, but they consistently get the beat product and I welcome the chance to know when they are coming. And the mix and match is a HUGE plus. Best beer store in Maine that I have found hands down.
08-16-2013 00:16:25 | More by meehandennis
4.85/5 rDev +2.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75 | $$$
Bier Cellar is great in the fact that the owner of the establishment knows his beer through and through, and will have a nice conversation about the brews you purchase, and is more than willing to suggest something with enthusiasm. The experience is really highlighted by the great selection of international brews, great local glassware, and some harder to find domestics.
The one downside is the price. Many of the options you can get here, you can drive a couple of miles down the road to RSVP and pick up the same thing likely a bit cheaper. I won't fault the Bier Cellar too much for this, as this is a boutique establishment catering to craft brew enthusiasts with no BMC to be had (or many of their European counterparts), so you make up for the price with exceptional service, and a hand picked selection. It is up to you, as a consumer, what you want more, and if Bier Cellar is worth the trip.
06-23-2013 19:32:57 | More by supercodes
4.82/5 rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75 | $$$
Best beer store in the Portland area. Great selection of basically every craft beer available in the state and no BMC in sight. They also sell cider, mead, wine and have a small selection of homebrew equipment and supplies. The store is well laid out and easy to navigate. Prices are a touch higher then some other stores in the Portland area but that is to be expected due to the lack of the BMC sales foundation most other stores have. The place the Bier Cellar really stands out is the service. The owner, Greg, is usually there and he really knows his stuff and always willing to chat or give a recomendation. A refreshing change from some other more high end stores in Portland where the owners don't know squat about beer (I'm looking at you Downeast). Bier Cellar is definitely a must stop for anyone looking for great beer in Maine.
06-13-2013 19:39:29 | More by Chowdahead
Bier Cellar in Portland, ME
99 out of 100 based on 19 ratings.