Riley's Wines of the World
Ratings: 66 | Reviews: 54 | Display Reviews Only:
2.7/5 rDev -34.1%
I walked in and I saw the most liquor I have ever seen in one place. Then I saw the three coolers reserved for beer. The selection had a few I was looking for, but mostly not a lot for the local people. A bomber was 7.99+tax and that's pretty pricey for Wisconson it turns out, if I had known that I would'nt have bought very much from here and got the better price in Milwaukee. Service was pretty ok, they were ready to help me out and I saw and met skids (a fellow BA). The selection could've been better and bigger, but it was ok. I wouldn't go again for a few years to see how it's going.
After my second trip I have to re-review this one. Initially I thought the beer coolers in the back were for BMC (Bud Miller Coors) only, however as it turns out the back coolers are full of local and other microbrews that look really great. Cheers to Riley's
After pricing Riley's with other stores around the Madison area I have noticed that these guys are marking up their beer a lot because they keep lot of it in the back and slowly put it out. And because it is rare when they put it out (2 months after it's release) thy can mark up their prices. No one I have met yet there even knows about good beer. The lady who owns the place is just taking advantage of the local beer drinkers by hiking up prices for more money while at the same time she gets lots of money from the local college kids who go there because it's within walkin distance from the college.
We found a couple of 2004 Sammichlaus's there a month ago and I were asked if I wanted to buy the rest that were in the back (at $5/bottle), I said ok and bought half a case of '04 Sammichlaus. Today a month later I went back and saw two more '04 Sammichlaus's for almost $6/bottle. These people are rude and don't care about their costumers, no baskets, no carts, I guess you just keep having to carry your beer up to the counter.
07-03-2006 00:25:13 | More by Erdinger2003
3/5 rDev -26.8%
It's funny. With all of this selection, you'd think this place would be a haven for microbrews. Well, the fact is most of the people who get their beer here are college students. And college students are broke. And broke people drink Keystone Light.
As a result, most of the microbrews (a lot which are unrefrigerated) are outdated and dusty. To make things worse, the service is pretty lousy. It's a steady stream of meatheads who think it would be cool to work at a beer store.
You can get a decent selection of microbrews, but pay attention to how old they are. Try to grab a sixpack of a hot seller, that way you know the stock has been rotated.
11-16-2004 13:54:24 | More by Sixpoint
3.35/5 rDev -18.3%
Skidz and crew have turned this around of late. It gained a beer entity unto itself, as many fantastic brews are available here and nowhere else in town. I still have some gripes (see below, but mute it somewhat), but its definitely heading in the right direction. I stop here with a good degree of frequency, which I never have in the past, even when I lived much closer nearby. The singles selection is very solid. I currently recommend a stop for all Madison beerhunters.
Next to Woodman's West, and the two Steve' stores, Riley's has the best selection of beer in town. And it is located right on campus, which would logically make this a favorite of mine. However, I will only shop here occasionally to pick up beers I can't get someplace else.
The reason? The service and management absolutely suck. Most of the clerks are too stoned to answer any questions (and I'll give them leeway here), But the owner must be a descendent of Pol Pot. Students and campus area customers are victims of some of the highest prices in Madison (although some brews are reasonable). The MO here is $$$, thus care for the brews they offer, or the customers is nonexistant. Old stock is rampant, and no one seems to give a shit.
Quote from the owner when I addressed her with some outdated beer: "Put it back then, if you care. Someone else will buy it. Those dates don't mean anything".
Worth a stop only to get what can't be obtained elsewhere, otherwise steer clear.
01-02-2003 22:04:45 | More by cokes
3.4/5 rDev -17.1%
Believe it or not, this is the cheapest place to buy good beer near campus (downtown Madison is really pricey).
The place is laid out nicely and clean, no issues in the quality of the store.
The service isn't great, I've never really gotten any help for buying beer there so if you want to get something new I'd suggest surfing BeerAdvocates first.
The selection is pretty good, probably the best near campus, but it's still a little disappointing for being near University of Wisconsin. They have a good selection of Wisco micros, Dogfish Head, Old Rasputin, etc. They also have some Belgium beers and bombers of various different beers.
Overall if I'm going to buy beer (seeing as I live on campus and have no car) I go to Rileys.
03-22-2009 00:31:23 | More by DarbyOGill
3.55/5 rDev -13.4%
An imposing two-story building on Gorham & Broom, Riley's is blessed with an enormous sign, good word of mouth, and a very tiny parking lot that makes it seem like an exclusive club. It is not, however, blessed with a particularly good selection of beer. Being in Madison allows it to carry growlers of Lake Louie, which is a godsend, but their other beers are scattershot. They do have quite a lot of singles, all refrigerated, but it's extremely hit or miss. They even lack some Capital Brewery varieties; being in the same city, I'd expect them to at least carry a full line of that. They also advertised having Rogue Brutal Bitter, but didn't, which pissed me off. As for six-packs, they have have another refrigerated wall kitty-korner to the singles with most of the same stuff. Directly across from this is a shelf with some haphazard other sixers. Employees are friendly and eager, but ignorant. Prices are higher than I would have expected, by a couple bucks sometimes.
07-17-2005 20:27:48 | More by battlekow
3.65/5 rDev -11%
Rileys Wines of the World, as the name would suggest, is very much a wine shop. Signs hang overhead listing the country of origin for the bottles on display. The wine selection is very impressive.
But, this is supposed to be about the beer. So, to the rear of the store is an elevated level with handicap access. Here the warm beers are stacked and coolers line the rear wall. The beer selection is fairly good.
I spotted labels from brewers across the country. Beers from Michigan, Ohio, Texas, California, and Colorado are among your options. The brewers of Wisconsin were well represented. New Glarus, Capital, Lake Louie, all the big ones and a few from smaller breweries too.
The staff was friendly and helpful, the only thing negative was that they were maybe a little pricey.
10-16-2006 12:59:20 | More by EvilKeith
3.7/5 rDev -9.8%
For an on campus joint, this place is pricey. They have a decent selection of singles, but pricey. Most average micros run $1.99, good ones are $2.99 to 3.49.
A very good selection of Wisconsin and Midwest beers:
Tyranena, Capital, Lakefront, Lake Louie, Central Waters, etc.
Problem - I have purchased some Wisconsin micros I had not had and asked the help what they thought - never much help - and in come cases - awful (all above NOT included).
Decent Belgian and other import selction, but a bit cramped. Back coolers have a nice six pack collection of Wisconsin beers, midwest and decent Rocky Mountain selections.
A good choice for micros - but I suggest you stick with well rated beers. Don;t count on much help.
12-20-2008 05:13:43 | More by sweethome
3.7/5 rDev -9.8%
Not a bad place, I usually stop here when I am in madison to pick up a few things. There selection is not too shabby. The things that bring me in here are the Lake Louie (obviously), central waters, and viking. None of which are available in Milwaukee. Everything else pretty much is at one store or another. I have found some prices to be solid, such as 2.49 for new glarus unplugged, where i pay 2.99 in town, but other times such as 8.99 for a sixer of three floyds, which i can pick up for 6.99. Such is life. I've only been to one other place besides this in madison, so its hard for me to compare quality wise, but if you are in the downtown area and want to pick up some wisconsin gems, hit this place up
03-23-2005 22:08:46 | More by bnuttz
3.8/5 rDev -7.3%
Stopped at Riley's on a recent trip through Madison, based on Beerfly reviews.
The layout was easy enough to figure out, I made my way to the singles and import cases on the right side of the store. Small selection of glasses in the aisle closest to this end of the coolers. It was nice to see singles of WI micros here, such as Viking, Central Waters, Lake Louie, etc. Plus Bell's and Dark Horse singles. Extra bonus was the 10% discount for the mixed-six. The downside was that there were only one or two of each in the cooler, and I cleaned out several individual selections. This may have just been an in-between day for stocking this particular area, so no points lost there.
Good selection of imports and seasonals on the shelves behind the right end coolers, including Fantome Noel & De Ranke Pere Noel. In the back coolers, many six-packs to be had, focus on domestic micros. Also shelves full of sixes facing the back coolers.
Service was ok, no one on the floor at the time I visited, but staff were helpful at the counter. There were a couple seasonals in the "employee only" cooler that I spotted, that they retrieved for me. They explained that there wasn't room on the shelves for them at the moment. They were also rare, so go figure.
Overall, Riley's is certainly above average in all aspects, and worth the stop in Madison. Traffic was heavy on a saturday morning getting to the area.
2008: On the last couple visits, the import shelf looks almost exactly the same. A little dusty, some singles in the cooler don't seem to move. Be wary of dates, or out of season seasonals, etc.
11-21-2006 16:38:42 | More by emerge077
Riley's Wines of the World in Madison, WI
91 out of 100 based on 66 ratings.