Ratings: 32 | Reviews: 15 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by ToasterChef:
4.94/5 rDev +9.3%
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:
3.65/5 rDev -19.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75 | $$
Solid selection of American and overseas stuff, but really no different than most of the shops in Portland. Not a huge store. Two guys working in the store seem to be decent guys, but one had an Ian Poulter -like attitude when I first started talking to him. His attitude seem improve the longer we talked. Overall a good experience and I would go back if in the area.
07-12-2014 23:19:32 | More by stearns16
Bier Cellar in Portland, ME
98 out of 100 based on 32 ratings.