The Beer Temple

Not Rated.
The Beer TempleThe Beer Temple
BA SCORE
100
world-class

129 Ratings
Ratings: 129
Reviews: 41
rAvg: 4.77
pDev: n/a
[ Store ]

3185 N Elston Ave
Chicago, Illinois, 60618-7133
United States
phone: (773) 754-0907

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @thebeertemple

Notes:
Place added by: MasterSki on 01-01-2013

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Ratings: 129 | Reviews: 41
Photo of SomethingClever
4.55/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Purely an online experience. Their website and the order process is amazing, step by step of where your order currently is after being placed. Everything was packed great arrived in excellent condition.

Photo of Dr_Fox
3.54/5  rDev -25.8%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 2.75 | selection: 4

Overrated. Sure, its better than most beer stores, but there are better places to buy in a city the size of Chicago. I visited Binny's on the same day, and Binny's had not only a FAR better selection, but lower prices too. In fact, I found the prices at The Beer Temple to be equivalent to several other small liquor stores in the city that mark their beers up by $1-2 per bomber. Selection was ok, but again, I didn't see anything in the store that wasn't available at all of my other stops. On top of that, the guy working gave me a very condescending answer when I asked a question about finding a beer. Just not a great place when there are so many other good ones around.

Photo of WiscoTerr
5/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Rarely is any place perfect, but I can't think of anything negative here. Meet someone for an IP trade here, and went in after. Owner was extremely helpful and walked me around the store showing me some things they had. Place has everything you could think of, and more you don't know exists. Store is clean and well organized, and I enjoyed beer needing out with the owner and other patrons for a while.

Will be a regular stop when in town for mr.

Photo of rwf08
4.72/5  rDev -1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Great staff, good selection, fair prices. Great first experience for an out of towner.

Photo of donnierickles
5/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Amazing selection at great prices (for the most part). The service was great and not snobby. Huge Pipeworks selection. To top it off, they had a free sample of a 2013 Bourbon County Stout. Cheers!

Photo of HOPSareKey
5/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Awesome selection and free daily tastings. Can't really get much better than that.

Photo of chazmcbro
4.82/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75

Stopped in on a Monday afternoon to finally check this place out. What it lacks in size, it makes up in service and selection. i didn't see many beers I wouldn't be interested in trying, and got a few suggestions of things I probably would've passed on otherwise due to my unfamiliarity with some of the less hyped Chicago beers. The thing that impressed me most was how dedicated they are to freshness. If the beer wasn't clearly marked with a bottle date, thete was a price sticker that had it on the front of the carrier. Thats definitely going the extra mile for customers/education, pretty awesome.

Photo of Barnoloid
4.89/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 5

The Beer Temple is an extremely well curated bottle shop with a focus on stocking fresh beer. It is well known that they will not sell beer that is past its’ prime, which is commendable. This justifies the prices of the products offered, given that you know you are getting premium quality. The owners are knowledgable and friendly and provide a welcome offering for the neighborhood. My only regret is that I don’t live within walking distance, although maybe that is for the best.

Photo of Thirsty_In_Chicago
5/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Conveniant location, excellent selection, friendly service, great prices. Also love the youtube reviews. Keep up the great work!

Photo of SerialTicker
4.64/5  rDev -2.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Can't believe I forgot to post this review I typed up last year on Yelp. Well, here it is

Naturally, after going to Kuma's Corner, I had to come to The Beer Temple. If it weren't from the help of a fellow BeerAdvocate, I probably wouldn't have known of this place.

Upon entry, I initially thought the place seemed a little small. After looking around for awhile and asking the owner, Chris (more on him in a minute), where certain beers were, he pointed me in the direction. The Beer Temple really isn't small at all. How dumb of me.

Being from Michigan, I wanted to get me some stuff that I can't get there. Well, I spent about $60 and got plenty of beer. Revolution Anti-Hero, Ballast Point Sculpin, Sixpoint Resin, among other things.

While in the middle of looking around, Chris mentioned that he was having a free blind beer tasting -- guess any of the four specific beers and you'd get a free bottle. I could tell that all of the beers I had were probably IPAs, so I was right about that, but without having a sheet of paper with the list of beers in a random order, I had no chance. The whole idea of the blind tasting is a cool idea, and something that I wish places around here would do more of... it turns out I like Stone IPA more than I thought I did. Maybe that was because the bottle I had bought previously wasn't very fresh, I don't know. Alright, I'm rambling.

My only gripe with The Beer Temple is the severely limited Mix-a-Six section. I would have loved to have gone in and gotten about 5 or 6 mixed six packs so I could have 30-36 different beers, but I instead walked out with about six different brews. On the plus side, I think *every beer* has a little label on it that lets you know when the beer was bottled... this is a crucial thing for IPAs in particular.

This place has a wonderful selection, and I'm going back the next time I am in Chicago.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.29/5  rDev -10.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.25

I usually stop in here once a month, as part of the run for chicken feed, Pork Shoppe smoked meat and then The Beer Temple. The first time I walked in I was expecting a "Beer Boutique" with a limited offering of mostly rare and expensive beers.

It is a small space, compared to many big box stores, but it has a great selection of local and unique beers for a reasonable price. I always find something new to try and the owner is really helpful in giving information about the beers. I get the impression he had been in the beer retail game for many years.

I park in back and go thru the back doors and as you walk in there are coolers on each side of of the short hallway that open up to the main room of beer. He also offers some good craft spirits and other interesting things, and definitely uses the space to its fullest potential.

There is a picnic table outside the back door so it would be a nice spot to drink some beer and eat a pork belly pastrami sandwich from the Pork Shoppe, but I never seem to have time.

Well worth a stop if you are looking for a good selection of Chicago craft beer, but they also have a good selection from all craft beer genera.

Photo of kustard
5/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Been here about a dozen times. Most recently came on 6:30pm on a Saturday and the place was packed. I even had to wait in line for 10 minutes but would gladly do so again in order to patronize a place this amazing with such stand-up owners.

Best bottle shop I've ever been to. Well-curated, reasonably-priced, attentive, and informative. Not enough superlatives to describe my love for this shop. Not everything I get there is a limited release or the new hotness, but I put my trust in Chris Quinn and his crew to challenge my palate because I know that anything I purchase is going to be stellar and eye-opening.

Photo of JackOC85
4.97/5  rDev +4.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Best source for craft beer in Chicago. As a suburbanite, I routinely look for excuses to be downtown so I can pop in and see what they have. The owners and staff are extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Chris Quinn's video blog is particularly good, too.

Photo of MrShake
5/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

AMAZING Place! We stopped to complete some trades, and did some shopping, and had time to do some serious looking. Not a huge shop, but clean, organized, and with an AMAZING Selection.

They also tag each bottle with the date it was recieved, so you know your IPAs are fresh! Great staff, friendly, attentive, and more than willing to talk beer!

Photo of SeanBond
5/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I don't over here as much as I'd like, but I'm always happy when I get there. Chris has a great selection of craft beer (and a lot of it), is extremely knowledgeable, and very personable. He stocks pretty much every world class beer he can, and is very fair about the big releases of the year (think BCBS, Darkness, etc.).

In terms of pricing, I don't always check MSRP for the beers I buy, but everything I have has been pretty much exactly what you'd expect. There's never any price gouging; this really is a place where you can tell the proprietor cares about making sure as many people as possible get to enjoy the beers he sells. A must-visit in Chicago, and a world-class beer place overall.

Photo of chief53
5/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

First, I must say that this review is probably not the most unbiased you'll come across. Chris and Margaret opened up about 367 days ago. I work a block away, so I've been here at least 200 times. If you've ever been to Vegas on a payday and have seen the line of people just waiting to exchange their checks for chips, that's me but for beer.

Anyway, the Beer Temple has eliminated the need for me to go anywhere else to buy beer. If Chris doesn't have it, it can mean only one of two things: It isn't worth the price or it isn't worth the hassle. There are a few exceptions, of course, but for the most part it holds true.

HOWEVER. The beer isn't what makes this place great. It's Chris and Margaret. When they first opened, I came in during my lunch hour and just talked beer with Chris for a half hour or so. It is a great place for someone like me - I know just enough about beer to fake it - that wants to learn. Chris can answer pretty much any question you've got. Margaret is extremely nice as well, and she does a pretty good job keeping Chris on task.

To sum up: Great people, great selection, free daily tasting. If you live in Chicago and haven't been here, GO. It'll be your spot. If you're in from out of town, go here first.

The only "downside" I can think of is that now, if I can't figure out how fresh a beer is, my palms start to get a little sweaty.

Photo of Dad_of_Rad
5/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I've been to the store several times, coming from the SW suburbs. They say opinions are like a$$ho!e$...everyone's got one, however I think I have a good sample size to offer the opinion here.

A: The store is well laid out. Lots of cold storage to keep things fresh. The counter is unique (made from barrel staves), there's a bit of tasteful brewery art on the walls for display and best of all a low key sales approach. More of an opportunity for beer education than sales.

S: I appreciate the approach. I usually know what I'm looking for but like the fact that everyone is approachable. Love the tastings! I've been thre during a BB stout tasting and when Societe beers were delivered. Everyone at the counter was offered a taste and given info about the beers. I also appreciated the way the Goose Island Black Friday release was handled - a three-day release.

S: If you can't find something you like, I'm amazed. The store is not big, but there's a large selection. Lots of locals and Belgians. Freshness is also important with dates on deliveries and quality control of stock. Also has wine, bourbon and can offer recommendations on these as well.

V: Absolutely no price gouging as seen in some other smaller stores. Everything is fairly marked in my opinion. The added service that you get here has a definite value.

I would HIGHLY recommend The Beer Temple. The location is pretty easy to get to, there are also two very good options for food if you want to make it an "experience". Both The Pork Shoppe and Hot Doug's are very close and have excellent food. But the real reason to go is for the beer and Chris's knowledge of beer and helpful nature.

Photo of CopperMtnPlowboy
4.97/5  rDev +4.2%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Found this place per recommendation of the good folks here at BA. Visited Chicago on our family's annual winter random-team minor league hockey weekend, and looking to add to my "drank it myself" craft beer can collection. Fortunately TBT was open the Monday before Christmas because 1) Chris was open on a Monday when he normally is not 2) he recommended Spiteful Fat Badger - an outstanding beer - and 3) got me a new can I didn't know existed - Half Acre Heyoka IPA - which showed up for the first time right off the delivery truck.

After talking a while with Chris, its clear he knows his local brews. I was looking for Spiteful In The Weeds in a can which another local store knew nothing of, yet Chris knew it was recently obsolete. For having just one visit, its hard to imagine a better place with a more knowledgeable owner (I assume Chris owns?). I just wish it wasn't 6 hours for home.

Photo of ferillo
4.85/5  rDev +1.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75

I was lucky enough to be able to pop in here twice while in town for work. The store was well laid out, spacious, and best of all it has Chris. I was also lucky that he was pouring some nice tastings including some tired hands. Chris spent time with me talking about the beers of Chicago and the scene in general and had a good knowledge of things that were on tap to try around town. It was the night before an in store event so he suggested to stop in the next day to pick up some of the new releases from the night before. I did that and once again the next day had a chance to try a few more samples of semi rare offerings. He then proceeded to convince me to drive up to Wisc to grab a stash of New Glarus suggesting where to go and who to ask for when I got there.

That is what a true beer lover does and I thank Chris and the Temple for the experience and hospitality.

Photo of PopnLoads
5/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I've been to several bottle shops around the country, but I must boast that the best bottle shop I've ever been to is located here in my home city. Entering the store, I am completely overwhelmed with beers I've been looking for, new releases, and beers that I was unaware of.

Chris has always made a point to converse each time I am in there. I can't articulate Chris' enthusiasm and knowledge for beer. The guy loves talking beer, and it would be an honor to have such a valued beer geek in your inner circle. (I also have to mention, the other gentleman who I embarrassingly can't remember his name at the moment, has been helpful and sincere as well.)

Every day at Beer Temple, there is a tasting of usually between 2-3 beers. There has been several times where the beer tasting is a whale, something out of our distribution area, or something hard to find. (Most of this comes from Chris' stash, so add generous to the final bill of asskissing he greatly deserves.)

While you will find several bombers that are worth bending your budget, there is also a great collection of 6-ers that will make you finish that week so you can come back and get some more.

It's worth noting that the Beer Temple website is a great tool for learning about craft beer (From beginner to expert.) Chris' tastings are worth watching, as it can give you an idea of what to purchase in the future.

My only complaint is that this opened a couple months after I moved from this neighborhood. I was a block away! C'MON!

Photo of MasterSki
4.87/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75

A - It's a new and modern shop, with plenty of space, well-organized shelves, intelligent layout, and simple, unobtrusive decor. Perhaps lacking a bit in character, but that will change over time as it gains a more lived-in feel to it.

Q - One thing I love about The Beer Temple is that attention to making sure the beer is stored in ideal conditions. Chris dates hoppy beers without bottle dates as they enter the store, so you at least have *some* idea of freshness; if it's old beer it's the distributor's fault and not his. Same thing goes for the window treatments and lighting; if something is skunked it didn't happen in this store.

Sr - You're always greeted with a cheerful hello upon entering the store. Chris knows his stuff and has great suggestions about what's new and interesting. There's almost always something being sampled, often rare out-of-market brews. The Beer Temple also hosts a lot of interesting and unique events

Sl - While not the *biggest* selection in the city, it's well-curated and has virtually all the beers I would want to purchase. Chris also does a good job of avoiding beers from overseas that aren't likely to travel well (Mikkeller IPAs and such).

Prices on regular stuff are in line with other Chicago shops; perhaps slightly more than Binny's due to their volume advantage, but marginally so. I appreciate that rare beers are priced in line with everything else; no gouging here.

The Beer Temple has quickly become one of my favorite places to shop in Chicago. Chris has done a masterful job in listening to customer feedback and integrating the best attributes of other stores. I'm very lucky to have another world-class store a quick bike ride away from home.

Photo of Rainblows
4.75/5  rDev -0.4%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75

One of the best shops in the city, as far as pricing, selection, etc. Clean bright and organized. Everything is out on the shelves as far as I can tell it's first come first served which is rare in Chicago. Frequent free samplings and tastings. Another plus, there is a parking lot!

Photo of gregdafdxguy
5/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

The Beer Temple is the perfect Chicago beer store. Really. Kinda weird, but I’m thankful it happened in my lifetime. Why? 1) Chris and Margaret aren’t crazy or nasty or both, and as a plus are both cicerones. 2) You’re picking the best from around the USA and the world from the carefully chosen selections, from the smallest producers to the regional giants. If it’s good, he’ll carry it. 3) Chris freshness marks all the beers so you don’t get any six-month-old IPAs, plus takes pains to order whatever is freshest from his distributors. 4) NO PRICE GOUGING ON RARE BEERS! 5) The entire store is actually designed to decrease the amount of light radiation getting to the bottles. Ask Chris about it. It’s geeky, and I love it. 6) There’s a “box of beer of the month” club (I don’t know what’s it’s really called) that Chris picks out, for a good price. 7) All the prices here are reasonable, and usually lower for the good stuff than anyone else. 8) Chris consistently uses twitter/facebook to update the new releases, so it’s easy to see what’s coming in. 9) He’s very accessible. I’ve probably abused his accessibility with private facebook messages, but the net effect is I feel like I’m shopping at my friend’s store, not a stranger’s. 10) Not least of all, EVERY DAY there are a few beers open to sample, and Chris has no qualms about opening up his collection of the best beers in the world. I’ll stop at 10 reasons. But I could keep going. The only problem here? The rest of Chicago is finding The Beer Temple, too, and once Chris posts on social media, you have maybe an hour to get a bottle of something he got only a case of. If you miss out, which recently happened to me (I got there in 90 minutes from when he posted about a limited release, and missed it), console yourself like I did: get six bottles of other beers that you’ve been wanting to try. Or just ask Chris or Margaret to pick them. You’ll win. The Beer Temple is destined to be a Chicago institution, like Hot Doug’s down the street.

Photo of GeorgiaBeerGuy
4.86/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Awesome local shop. I have been twice now on visits to my Brother-in-Law in Chicago. We have never left without a significant haul...

Chris is very helpful in identiftying items that would fit our particular mood, palate, or style. The selection is fantastic, yet the quantity of "in-stock" is small enough to keep the shelf items fresh. Every item is marked with a "received date" so that you know exactly how long he has had it sitting in stock.

Definitely a "must stop" every time I come back to visit!

Photo of joe1510
5/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

The Beer Temple, my favorite shop in the city. Each and every time I walk in the door I am instantly greeted by the owner who's more than willing to help steer me in any direction I may be leaning and fill me in on the latest beer happenings. There is always a good beer or two for sampling while browsing the very well thought out selection.

The store is immaculately clean and each beer labeled with the delivery date to help us consumers make the most informed decisions.Shades keep the sun off the bottles and the utmost care is taken to ensure the most well kept product possible.

The selection is very well thought out with the newest releases, top notch imports, and classic favorites stocking the shelves and coolers. I need a shopping cart when perusing The Beer Temple.

I hate to label anything as perfect but while sitting here trying to figure out any little thing that would make this place better, I simply can't. Great selection, well cared for product, and customer service that is top notch.

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The Beer Temple in Chicago, IL
100 out of 100 based on 129 ratings.