Ratings: 22 | Reviews: 20 | Display Reviews Only:
4.53/5 rDev +5.3%
Since moving close to Ames this is quickly becoming my go to store. They have a fantastic selection of both micros and imports (wine & spirits too). They have arguably the 2nd best selection of imports in the state just behind John's in Iowa City. However, I think their micro selection is better than Johns and more reasonably priced as well. The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable, although sometimes a little hard to find. Their prices are as good or better than any store in the state I've been to, many times a couple dollars cheaper.
The only two things that are knocks to me are that they don't have a mix six or individual bottles for sale and that the store is a little lacking in space/ disorganized. They really have a great selection of 6 packs but I'd like the opportunity to buy singles of some beers to try before going all in on a 6 pack of something I may or may not like. Also I think the organization of the beer section is a little clustered and cramped, particularly the back beer room. It'd be nice if they had more room or maybe reorganized the micros and import sections.
All in all a fantastic store and one I'll continue to frequent.
11-27-2012 22:26:05 | More by RPS
4.58/5 rDev +6.5%
A great place, one I hit every time I can. Always good service, and knowledgeable staff. I always know I can find harder to find, obscure things. I wish more beer was in coolers, but I can live. I also wish that they would include more single beers, something that would really blow any Hyvee away and set them, in my opinion, among the best liquor stores in the midwest, if they aren't there already. All in all, a store I would absolutely recommend to anyone within half and hour of Ames. Now if only bars in town would follow suite...
04-11-2012 03:31:41 | More by mdwalsh
4.64/5 rDev +7.9%
This has been my go to shop for years. The atmosphere is good, with great vintage bars signs. They also have some great bottle and beer posters scattered about that certainly give the bar some credibility.
The staff is fantastic. It's a small local owned shop and so the staff have varied interests. They all have a decent interests in beer but one specializes in wine, another whiskey, but the older man with glasses is exceptionally knowledgeable about beer. He has taught me an incredible amount on beer and has only once led me astray.
The selection is very solid with a large discrepancy towards European brews. My only complaint is their lack of Microbrew bombers or singles. They have a decent amount of 6ers and some bombers, but not as many as some other specialty shops.
In short, this is a fantastic shop that is incredibly dependable. Not as many microbrews as others but a fantastic selection of German, English, and Belgian beers. A terrific shop.
12-21-2011 08:01:27 | More by cradke
4.55/5 rDev +5.8%
Although it's been nearly nine years since I've lived in Ames, I still make a point to drop by Cyclone Liquors every time I'm back in town to visit my parents. Within the relatively plain exterior in an increasingly-deteriorating "shopping plaza", it holds the single best selection of beer in Central Iowa, and one of the more diverse and varied selections of beer of any beer store I've been in anywhere (and I've been to a lot of them).
Owner Denny does a fine job with the craft brews you'll find at the other liquor stores around down--Boulevard, Breckenridge, New Belgium--but those stores can't match Cyclone's estimated 120 feet of shelf space dedicated specifically to German and Belgian beers (mostly in six-packs). Next to that, another 100 or so feet of U.S. craft brews, including offerings from Dogfish Head, Saranac, Anderson Valley, Ballast Point, Flying Dog, Rogue, and Left Hand--breweries I singled out because I've never seen them anywhere else in Iowa before. Most of the back wall is occupied by coolers filled with anything a BMC drinker could ever hope for, but the leftmost section features bombers from Rogue, New Belgium, and others. The small back room is not to be missed, and features single bottles and bombers with a heavy emphasis on German and Belgian beers.
Service is very friendly, but unobtrusive. If you need help, you'll get it, but expect to be left alone unless you ask. I scored the selection a tad low because IPA/IIPAs are seriously under represented in light of the sheer volume of beer that's available for purchase, particularly in singles/bombers. Prices are very much in line with what you'll find elsewhere around town, and for a guy coming home from New York City, it feels like they're having a fire sale, every day.
06-29-2009 14:23:31 | More by samoblue
4.5/5 rDev +4.7%
Having little occasion to find myself in Ames, I had never had the pleasure, but I'd always heard good things about Cyclone.
Located in a strip mall with a large HyVee, there's plenty of parking in front of the inauspicious facade. Entry finds you a large, clean rectangular room, divided into long, well-stocked and tidy shelves. One side of a long shelf is the domestic micros; half six packs and half 'single bottles' according to the sign. There is a fridge in the back with about two doors of domestic brews. Everything is nicely organized, some decent craft imports mixed in with the domestics. However, at this point I was nowhere near impressed, and actually feeling a little nervous: was this the famed Cyclone liquor?
Then I noticed the back room, not hidden per se, but just a simple open door, through which the beery goodness then flows. This is the true import section, as well as the premium domestics. This room is very nice indeed, with a large quantity of high quality brews, hailing from the biggies like England, Germany, and Belgium. Great selection, organized, and clean. No dust on these bottles.
There is a smaller shelf in the back room with American micros that appealed more to the BA audience: Rogue XS, Ommegang's range, Boulevard Smokestack, etc. Not super-extensive but solid.
Prices are generally good not great. Certain brews I noticed were extremely well-priced, while others I was interested in carried a $1-2 premium over places I go in Arizona. Still better than Central Iowa groceries though. Hard to compare with John's Grocery in Iowa City since I haven't been recently, but the selection seemed a hair less extensive here, but that's hardly damning criticism. I found Cyclone to be more welcoming in terms of organization and cleanliness.
The staff was very nice, I didn't ask for help but was directed politely to where I wanted to go. The staff was significantly older than most of the employees you see at most beer stores, and they very much run a tight ship. I am very impressed with the overall ambience and professionalism of Cyclone liquors, and if I still lived in Des Moines I would not hesitate to make the half hour drive here rather than two hours to Omaha or Iowa City. Very nice indeed.
03-28-2009 16:10:18 | More by BretSikkink
4.15/5 rDev -3.5%
Now THIS is a nice place. Classic liquor store feel--wood paneled, lots of mirrored advertisements, shelves stocked to damn near the point of collapse. Clean, everything well dusted and mopped (which is rare in independent stores), with cool music playing in the background.
Staff was exceptionally friendly and knowledgeable. Prices were average for Iowa, and the selection was about as wide as you can reasonably get in the state. Very nice Belgian selection--aside from John's Grocery and a handful of Binny's locations it's probably the best Belgian selection I've ever seen.
My only complaint was with an apparent lack of domestic one-offs and big beers. It may be that the manager holds onto them for regular customers, or it may be that the demand for such beers is fairly high and they run out quickly. But really this isn't that big of a problem.
From what I can tell, if you're in Ames there is no other choice for good beer. This place is a lifesaver.
03-07-2009 16:48:28 | More by mynie
4.4/5 rDev +2.3%
I'm a student in Ames so I come here once or twice a week on average. Their selection is pretty dang good for Iowa--a little better than Benz in Cedar Rapids. (both are good places to go depending on where you are at the time) The store is very well-kept and organized.
An interesting note there regarding the selection: Ames is a college town through and through, so there are plenty of beer drinkers around. Thing is, it seems everyone drinks keystone light. I saw the 2008 Bourbon County Stout in here when it first came out but didn't get any for whatever reason. I came back at least a month later thinking they would certainly be out of the stuff, but it appeared as though nobody had ever even bought any! I view this as a good thing. :)
There is an older gentleman who works there who has been really helpful in pointing out beers of interest that my eyes might miss. Some of the other employees' aren't quite as helpful but it's not like I can really blame the store for that.
Also the BCS I bought here was $16.99 for the 4 pack. I've never heard of any place that has beaten that price! Prices here are generally reasonable if not wonderful. Good stuff regularly goes on sale too.
12-06-2008 06:37:31 | More by HappyBivouac
4.35/5 rDev +1.2%
Ahhh, Cyclone, if only you weren't on the other side of town...
I make a weekly trip here to stock up since I live on the other side of town.
Everything always seems to be fresh. Little to no dust and the freshness dates on the bottles are always recent.
The beer is located on the left side of the store as you walk in. Selection is by far the best in Ames. The aisle of imports alone is about as long as the cooler at HyVee Wine & Spirits.
I'll have to admit that I have never looked too closely at the import selection, as I am more of a domestic guy, but the German selection is pretty decent. There's also a pretty big selection of single bottles in the back room made up mostly of imports.
The domestic selection includes Left Hand, Flying Dog, Dogfish Head, Goose Island, Rogue, Bell's, Big Sky, and a whole bunch of other stuff I can't even remember right now.
Service is always friendly, but depending on who's working they might not know everything about beer. Pricing gets an "inexpensive" mark from me because it's always much more reasonable than HyVee and they frequently have specials at amazing prices.
I just wish there was one on the west side of Ames...
08-26-2008 20:50:36 | More by schanker21
Cyclone Liquors in Ames, IA
94 out of 100 based on 22 ratings.