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Riley's Wines of the World

Not Rated.
Riley's Wines of the WorldRiley's Wines of the World
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

72 Ratings
Ratings: 72
Reviews: 54
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 8.29%
[ Store ]

402 W Gorham St
Madison, Wisconsin, 53703-2004
United States
phone: (608) 257-0400

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @rileyswow

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: cokes)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 72 | Reviews: 54 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of emerge077
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.

emerge077, Nov 21, 2006
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%

The first time I pulled into town and drove past Riley's I assumed that it wasn't worth a visit as it seemed like a college beer shop. Boy was I wrong! I drove for miles in all directions looking for a place that sold single bottles and came up pretty dry. Oddly, the other place right near where I was staying (Steve's Wines?) also had a good selection, but I didn't go there at first either. Finally, on about my third trip to Madison, I stopped in at Riley's just to see if they had anything that I'd missed. I started with the coolers of six-packs along the back wall and was impressed, but still left wanting, and then I found the bank of coolers on the east wall loaded with single bottles! Beer nirvana! I took home $80 worth and could easily have done that three times over. They have a great selection of imports, and an excellent selection of local beers! So don't be fooled by the surrounding campus and give it a shot. It's without a doubt the best selection of single bottles in the area!

NeroFiddled, Dec 23, 2007
Photo of Sammy
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%

Top notch beer store. Everything they can get their hands on from the state, plus great stuff from other states. They do not concentrate on Stone and the like, just their top picks. This put me in the unique position of picking up almost everything in stock, ex the Shelton brothers stuff. Single bottles of everything. I was here well over an hour fulfilling my customs import limit from cooler after cooler. Only the very high abv are available non-cooler, and given the shelf life of most regular beers, and the heat in the state over the summer, cooling makes good sense. Service OK, mostly younger guys, and it was buzy.

Sammy, Sep 05, 2011
Photo of dirtylou
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%

I used to use beerfly all time...lately ive been "stuck" in madison(believe me you could do much worse as a lover of music, politics, and beer), but i think these reviews can be quite useful to people

Well, the worst thing about this place is definately the level of difficulty of getting there....Traffic is very bad right around here, at least when I'm driving by (daily around 4:30-5). The traffic patter is quite obnoxious and slightly dangerous, and the parking is minimal.

All that aside, if you make it inside, theres plenty of things to keep you happy. There seems to be a large selection of premium liquors and fine wines. The beer selection is pretty impressive too. The back wall is where the 6 packs are held....a pretty large wall of refrigerated beer across from a few shelves of non-refridgerated. Expect to find the standard(read low alc) bell's beers, some founders (no bfast though), everything the locals (lake louie, new glarus, and capital) have to offer and a fair amount of other things (great lakes, DFH, viking, etc)

That stuff is all good and dandy but its the singles cooler that really gets the job done for me....They usually have the more premium bells beers(tcoa, expedition, 7000, etc), premium founders(devil dancer), the avery bombers, a few rogues(imp ipa singles), some goose island, all the dfh premiums(d'extra, wws, etc), some locals, some belgians, and even more.

There seems to be way too many people working...if you ask them something they know whats up, but i dont usually need much help

location is crucial for me, its literally right on the way from my work (wisconsin ave) to my apt(west main)

prices seem to be rather hit or miss...some things are very cheap, others are not(why did batch 7000 increase 1$ a single? and why was it not sold in 6 packs in the first place?)

overall...there are 4 places you must go to in madison...Steves on the west side and univ ave, Rileys, woodmans, and ....(another place im trying to keep on the hush, but its near my apt!)

dirtylou, Oct 25, 2005
Photo of MilwaukeeCrusher
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%

This is probably one of the better stops in Madison if you want to get high end micros. Their service is top notch and the place really uses their space well considering their size. Pretty much everything is there you can get, with the exclusion of maybe some lesser or lower demand stuff. If something comes out new, this is a place to go and get it. Staff is courteous and knows quite a bit about beer. Will be back again, and probably would be more often if parking wasn't a pain and all the wild college traffic in the area.

MilwaukeeCrusher, Jan 13, 2011
Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%

Riley's is a piece of cake to find just a few blocks up from where Gorham magically transforms into University. With Sunday hours, how can you go wrong?

The store is well lit and the beer is presented in sixers in a back cold case up a level and some warm sixers in front of the case. The case is mainly filled with Midwestern micros, some macros, and a few imports. To the left as you enter is a cold case and shelving unit that contains single bottles of Midwestern brews and Belgians. The Belgian selection is small, but the beers from the area are plentiful.

The pricing at Riley's is in line with other places and the service was acceptable, but on our second time in the store we still were never asked if we needed any assistance despite the persons restocking and blocking the beers. At any rate, no dust in the store.

I'd go back to Riley's in a heartbeat!

I wonder what is located in the other two stories of the building?

GCBrewingCo, Aug 17, 2005
Photo of TX-Badger
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

TX-Badger, Jun 10, 2014
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%

Riley’s has some tremendous ups and some pretty hefty downs. I’ll start with its weaker points.

Bad

1. Location: They have 4 parking spots, 6 if you’re really clever, and 7 if you count the handicap spot. They are located on a bizarre corner between a bunch of busy streets so actually getting into their parking lot is really hard. They are located mid-State Street so there are no parking ramps near by to park in and walk from.

2. Prices: Prices are a little hit but mostly miss. Some singles are priced ridiculously high. Six packs have the collage campus surcharge on them so they're all a buck or two higher than most places.

Good

1. Great selection of Belgian imports.

2. Best singles selection in town. A 10% discount if you buy 6 bottles helps relieve the aforementioned high prices.

3. Solid service. They even have a BA or two working there. I’m always complemented for buying good brews. That makes me feel special.

4. Tons of Saison and Geuze.

DaPeculierDane, Dec 02, 2005
Photo of crossovert
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%

This is a great shop in Madison, right net to Brickhouse BBQ.

The craft is split up into singles which is great, too bad I was broke when I went in and just got 1 can of 8 Bit Pale ale.

A lot of shelton beers are represented including 14.99 bottles of Mikkeller weasel and those expensive as all fuck Italian beers.

Most of the beer was in the coolers except the big high abv brews and some seasonals. I didn't even get to the 6 pack area. This place probably has everything distributed to Madison giving it a pretty wide selection.

The service is pretty good too. A great store.

crossovert, Mar 24, 2012
Photo of blackie
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%

quality: I've never had a beer here that seemed to be either light struck or past its date.

service: I've never really had to ask many questions here, but most of the guys seem to know their product well.

selection: Great selection, especially for Wisconsin and Midwestern goodies. Great selection of six packs of Lake Louie, Capital, Central Waters, and New Glarus...and plenty of others that I could never recall. Nice rotating singles selection as well, well representing the wonderful Wisco breweries.

blackie, Aug 14, 2006
Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -2.4%

spycow, Nov 08, 2014
Photo of spointon
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%

I visited this place on 11/29/2008.

On a Thanksgiving weekend trip to Madison, WI, I stumbled into a beer store on State Street and saw only a few bottles of craft beers. Disappointed, I selected 2-3 good ones and went to the counter. Fortunately I was wearing my Beer Advocate winter cap and the guy behind the counter told me to forget those 3 beers and walk a block over to their sister store, Riley's Wines of the World.

Upon entering, I noticed that the place is mostly wine, but they had a large amount of cooler space dedicated to 4 packs and 6 packs as well as a bunch of coolers dedicated to single bottles. They let you build your own mixed six packs w/anything in the singles cooler. Nice.

Selection was mainly local and regional brews (Sprecher, Capital, New Glarus, Bell's as well as some more national stuff I can't get in IL like Stone brewing).

I really liked this place and would be glad to have it in my town! If you find yourself in Madison, I highly recommended a visit.

spointon, Nov 30, 2008
Photo of shivtim
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%

I stopped in here to by some Wisconsin beers, and boy is this the place to do it. From the outside it just looks like a little crappy liquor store. As soon as I walked through the door I saw that the place is about 4 times bigger than I thought. Straight in the back are various 6 packs of all kinds of microbrews. To the right is exactly what I was hoping for: single bottles! All kinds of Wisconsin stuff here, with many WI microbreweries well respresented (Central Waters, Sand Creek, Tyranena, Harbor City, Capital Brewing, etc). They have a better New Glarus selection than the actual New Glarus brewery does! Mix and match 6 packs save 10%, so it's not too expensive. This is a great store to put together a "wisconsin sampler" at.

Oh, they also have a lot of non-wisconsin beers, and more wine than you can shake a stick at, but I wasn't paying too much attention to that.

shivtim, Aug 17, 2006
Photo of rhoadsrage
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%

I was in Madison for work at the capital and it was in walking distance. I was interested in lots of good local beers and they did not let me down. I am a big fan of singles, 12 oz., bombers, or 750ml it doesn't matter. They had a great selection that was about 2 cooler doors full of local singles.

When I got to the parking lot it was small but if it gets full wait 5 minutes and you can get a spot. It is lots of college kids buying everything from kegs of the Beast to wines with trendy logos. Inside they have a medium size space with stairs to the wine loft. The beer coolers of to the right was all that I was concerned with. The have good regional beers with some Belgian, English and California beers.

I was happy to find lots of local along with the East cost beers that are afraid to sell in Illinois. If you buy a 6-pack you get a discount on the singles so I had to buy in several 6-packs.

The Tuesday night I was in there it was pretty busy so the employees didn’t have time make rounds through the isles they were all working at the cash registers, but they were friendly enough.

If you are downtown and having a good time at the Great Dane make sure to get to Riley's for some good local brews to take home.

rhoadsrage, May 18, 2006
Photo of zeff80
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

zeff80, Jan 24, 2014
Photo of jera1350
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

jera1350, Jun 16, 2014
Photo of MarcatGSB
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%

Another highly recommended stop on your way through Madison. We went to Woodman's first, and stocked up on some bombers of FFF, and some four packs of DFH Burton Baton, but saved some money in our wallets to head over to Riley's, and are glad we did.

The back wall is a large cooler, with a great selection of beers from Wisconsin and abound. The main reason for stopping at Riley's for the slim hope of scoring some Central Waters Peruvian Morning, and sure enough, they had it. I had never tried to beer, but read alot about it, and glad I picked up a few four packs. They had more of the limited releases from Tyranena, Central Waters, New Glarus, and Ale Asylum than Woodman's did, and a better selection of bombers and singles. They stocked quite a few (maybe 8-12) varieties of Jolly Pumpkin, which I was happily surprised with. Also some of the limited release DFH (Namaste, Theobroma, WWS, etc).

Woodman's is definitely cheaper, but Riley's will have some things that Woodman's does not. I would suggest stopping at both, and get the best of both worlds.

MarcatGSB, Feb 14, 2011
Photo of CuriousMonk
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%

A gem in downtown Madison right off the UW campus. I heard about this place through other beer seller who suggested that I stop by this place for 3F bombers. This place sold all the New Glarus beers among the many microbreweries of Wisconsin. They also sold an arsenal of Mikkeller, 3F, Stillwater, and Dark Horse beers. This place is a little disorganized, but still you found the good stuff if you look long and hard enough. Friendly service but didn't come to you while looking at the beers. Just am glad I was able to buy a bunch of New Glarus and 3Fs here due to the extremely limited distribution!

CuriousMonk, Jun 20, 2011
Photo of BeerBelcher
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%

This is one of the best liquor stores I have ever shopped. WI is a great state for liquor stores (far better selection than many other states I've shopped), and this is one of the top couple in the state, if not #1. There are a lot of beers in WI that don't make it out of state, and Riley's has all those plus many others I've not seen elsewhere. A giant selection, big coolers, lots of singles for mixed 6-ers, a knowledgeable staff - this place pretty much has it all. Throw in a downtown location convenient to other places in Madison you'd like to visit and you've pretty much got anything you could want in a liquor store.

BeerBelcher, Aug 16, 2009
Photo of goodbyeohio
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%

interesting shop to say the least. i see people complain about the parking.. well, it's in a city. at least there IS a lot and little to no parallel parking is required. could be alot worse! regardless, the place is hard to miss with expansive signage. on our trip, the facade was accented by a crackhead lady out front screaming into a cell phone (always a nice touch).

the store itself has beer divided into two areas. coolers and shelving on the right wall, and coolers and stacks in the rear left on an elevated platform. place even carries a slight assortment of brewerania- glassware, hats and tees. everything from singles to sixpacks, kegs and cases are available here.

selection was decent. lots of imports but i was here primarily for midwestern stuff. this place stocked all of the sprecher 1L limited bottles, all bell's including the wheat series, central waters stuff, pretty much everything by lake louie and a great selection of new glarus including unplugged series beers. the opportunity to purchase from a large range of refrigerated singles was great for someone like me who would be 'carrying on' my beer treasures when i fly home. sixers would be lost on me as i wanted to try a large variety of stuff.

prices.. eh. $19 for sprecher barleywine and $4 for fish tale 10? sounds slightly on the pricey side to me.

the service was really good during my visit. i believe the young lad assisting me was BA skidz (not 100% though). i told him i didn't know much about LOCAL local stuff. he looked through my basket, gave honest opinions on my purchases, and filled it out with some things i just couldn't leave without trying. i consulted with the other guys i was with who agreed he had suggested quality items. also, another member of our group wanted a certain out-of-stock beer that he went searching for in the back and actually found. A for effort and knowledgeability.

all this, and you can walk from great dane on a nice day. recommended.

goodbyeohio, May 02, 2006
Photo of Stevedore
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Stevedore, Oct 22, 2013
Photo of KAF
4/5  rDev -2.4%

KAF, Nov 09, 2014
Photo of 22Blue
4/5  rDev -2.4%

22Blue, Oct 10, 2014
Photo of bpfrush
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

bpfrush, Jun 24, 2014
Photo of tavernjef
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%

Stopped in for a big stock up on beer goodies while cruising through town on my to and from the Chicago area for a weekend clinic. - Small parking area in front and some street parking. From the outside it doesn't look promising but once you walk inside the place is pretty damn big and packed in there with all sorts of stuff. And so the seeking begins.

Beer is to the right with a few coolers available to pick through of singles with what is available in sixers in the back area in coolers. New Glarus, Capital, Three Floyd's, Two Brothers, Central Waters, Lake Louie, Dogfish, and quite a few others are all sitting there for the taking and in good supply. The coolers in back are impressively stocked and quite a bit more to choose from what was available in the sigles coolers. Lagunitas was a surprise to see as was some cool Sprecher 750's of some specialty brews, but were way to pricey. Most of those were labeled for $18.99 per bottle, yikes. Overall the selection was super solid for local micro madness. Some Belgian, German, and England stuff is here too. Easily could come here everyday and find something new for a year and beyond. My head was swimming with glee, yet the pocketbook only had so much room to expand.

Service was good. They opened 5 minutes early for me and my group, yet once inside they never asked if we needed any help with anything. Most of the youngster help was busy straightening up and downing the espresso from the market they purchased form the ongoing market square. Check out was a snap and we were on our way. This is definately a place to stop into again and again without much hesitation to drive the extra 15 minutes into the city off Hwy 90 when driving through the state. And of course if you happen to be in Madison for whatever reason, then its a must.

tavernjef, Jul 17, 2006
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Riley's Wines of the World in Madison, WI
92 out of 100 based on 72 ratings.