Ratings: 72 | Reviews: 60 | Display Reviews Only:
4.5/5 rDev +3.9%
"114 days in the sun" and then the union caved. Finally. The Teamsters signed the damn contract and the strike was over; an unconditional return to work. What a mess; the messiest of messes, and I'm going to have to do a lot of clean up, upwards of 4 months worth. But not today. And not tomorrow either, or the day after that or the day after that. I'm takin' a little time off and even then, nothing's easy as evidenced by what I had to go through to make the flight out the next day...
But today's a new day. Pope picked us up at the airport hotel, we did a great breakfast, and now we're going to the amazing beer store he's been raving about. I don't know what to make of this place. It's a spacious open room, with a little kitchen/deli area off to the left where it appears they make sandwiches or something, and some seating there as well. Most of the front of the store is wine, with produce off to the right side on the far wall, and then the aisles to the rear hold your standard non-perishable market items, toiletries, dry goods and the like. But over in the... it would be right to say "corner" because it takes up a whole hell of a lot more space than just the back corner, it's kind of spread out nicely, so I guess I'll say, "Over there", that's where the beer is.
Absolutely maddening. This being my first visit to a west coast beer store, it would seem difficult to gauge if this sort of a selection is standard everywhere out here or if this is just Crazytown. I suspect the latter. The first thing you really hit are the Belgians. Just, everything you'd want, except Westie 12's, and oddly enough, no Rodenbach, but everything else (A dozen varieties of Cantillon hiding on the end cap, Fantome, Oud Beersel, Fonteinen, Des Rocs, Verhage, De Ranke, Dupont, De Proef (3 Flemish Prims and 4 Andelot Cuvees), Caracole, Orval, Rochefort, Westmalle, Achel, Chimay, Scaldis, Hanssens, Piraat, Bornem, De Dolle, Boon, Petrus, Maredous, St B, Urthel, Val Dieu, Pater Lieven, Corsendonk, Leffe, Bink, Chouffe, Goliath, De Koninck, Liefman's, and all the non Belgian Belgian types (Panil, Hemel Neiuw Ligt, 't IJ).
Shelving units everywhere, beers of the world sorted (English, German, Asia, South of the border and beyonds, Eastern Euros, Ciders, Scottish/Irish, N/A's), and then the whole back corner and a good deal of the cooler space dedicated to US micros.
An extensive selection of West coast bombers & 750's on the maze of racks, and singles in the coolers (Alaskan, Midnight Sun, Elysian, Fish, Dick's, Hale's Ales, Skagit River, Deschutes, Full Sail, Siletz, Hair of the Dog, 2 dozen varieties of Rogue, Terminal Gravity, Bridgeport, Bear Republic, Marin, Santa Cruz Mountain, Eel River, Alesmith, Bison, Moylans, Butte Creek, Mad River, Stone, Lagunitas, Lost Coast, Speakeasy, Anderson Valley, Mendocino, North Coast), and then considerably lesser so the more East you go (Big Sky, New Belgium, Great Divide, Avery, Goose Island, Jolly Pumpkin, DogFishHead, Victory, Penn, Wolavers).
We got a discount up front, probably as a result of volume. Said the guy, "You guys have good taste in beer. Not enough people come here and buy this". You think? Outstanding beer store.
Everything and a bag of chips (and jerky, too).
09-03-2006 16:56:11 | More by slander
4.55/5 rDev +5.1%
Truly, this place is amazing.
Stopped off the other night for a German wine tasting. Had not been to John's in a while, though suffice it say, little has changed since last I was here (except the selection was possibly even better).
The thing that is fascinating about John's, is that when you first walk in, the place looks like a fairly typical neighborhood market/grocery store. After a moment or two you notice off to the right a fairly nice looking wine selection, though it appears to be nothing really out of the ordinairy (at least for Portland; most grocery stores in Portland have pretty impressive wine selections). It's actually pretty impressive as well, but you wouldn't know that until you actually wander around.
The same is true of the beer selection. If you look around you notice what appears to be a beer section in the back, but unless you walk on back, you probably wouldn't give it a second look. However, when you do walk back, you are confronted by a beer selection that is jaw dropping amazing.
I confess I have seen a few stores on the East Coast that have a somewhat better selection of imports, but when it comes to craft brew, John's is the king and there's no one close in second. It's almost like being in a warehouse, with aisle after aisle of great beer stacked 4 or 5 rows high. I believe there were also 3 or 4 beer coolers, as well as displays for staff favorites, specials, beer of the month, etc.
Prices looked pretty good, certainly on a par (or a bit cheaper) then what you will find at most places in Portland. The only criticism I would make has to do with service. I was there on a Thursday evening (around 6:30), and there wasn't really anyone there who could answer any questions I might have. The wine guy indicated he could help with some things if I needed assistance, but that otherwise I would need to wait until Dave (?) the beer guy was around. No problem, but a store with this kind of selection, I guess I would expect a bit more knowledgable staff (though I guess not everyplace can be State Line in Elkton).
In any event, this is an outstanding store, one I would recommend to anyone interested in filling his car or suitcase with great craft brew (many of the selections are pretty uncommon to any area other then the NW). Highly recommended.
10-10-2008 14:59:18 | More by John_M
4.2/5 rDev -3%
I don't think I have ever seen as many bottles of craft beer on the floor of a beer store as I saw at John's Marketplace. After loading up on beer at Belmont Station, we stopped in at John's to make sure we had not missed out on anything.
While Belmont had a world class selection, the selection here was even bigger. The craft beer section is in various coolers, wire racks and supermarket shelves in the back left corner of the store, and in stacks of cases on the way to it. Tons of cases of Deschutes Hop Trip, Avery Ale to the Chief, Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye, Alesmith summer Yulesmith (and last year's winter Yulesmith. Not sure how fresh that will taste these days). Racks filled with locals like Ninkasi, Lazy Boy, Rogue, more Deschutes, Hair of the Dog. Two or three long shelves across the aisle were filled with Belgian and other European selections. Simply amazing!
My only minor complaint is that the wire racks of American craft beer are so close together that it is difficult to see what is on the bottom shelf. Also, staff members passed us constantly during our visit and never asked if we needed help, had questions, were looking for something, etc. We didn't, didn't and weren't. But I have almost always had good conversations with a local beer enthusiast wherever we go. And heck, I usually buy something I was not planning to buy as a result.
But I'd still highly recommend this place.
10-27-2008 20:17:15 | More by sholland119
4.7/5 rDev +8.5%
I've seen some pretty good beer stores since using Beer Advocate and I went to John's thinking it couldn't get much better. I was wrong. John's is phenomenal. The sheer number of beers is mind boggling. And the quality is top of the line. There are some mass produced crap (as you would expect) but the percentage is low.
The only flaw is that most of the beers aren't refrigerated. But I can overlook that, especially for the local beers that are fresh anyway.
John's is as good as it gets. If you're in the area, it's well worth a visit. You won't be sorry.
04-13-2008 18:23:02 | More by GJ40
4.46/5 rDev +3%
It looks like your average, gritty beer / liquor warehouse from the outside, but inside...I was like a kid in a candy shop. Okay, so I hear a lot of stuff sits on the shelves in this place, but all in all, I'd have to say this was one of the best selections of take-out beer I've ever seen in one place, and possibly THE best. Aisles and aisles of crafts and micros as far as the eye could see; it's really hard to rate it anything less than a perfect "5" in that regard. And of course, I gravitated directly to 4 bottles of '08 Goose Island BCBS as soon as I walked in. So I suppose they keep certain gems "in the back" and put them on shelves when it suits them, because I can't imagine such items would have gone unnoticed and unbought for more than a day or two. Staff was understandably busy, but helpful when the need for assistance arose. Prices seemed comparable to most other places I visited, perhaps even a bit better. $4 Pliny is enough to make most non-CA/Philly/Denver residents cream themselves, and I grabbed a few bottles just on that principle, even though I myself am not really interested in the brew, as it's pretty common on tap in my hometown, and I've had it enough of it in my day. But anyway, good place. Must visit if in area. The End.
01-04-2012 06:00:06 | More by Rifugium
4.44/5 rDev +2.5%
After my second trip here, I feel confident enough to review it. It's a grocery store on a street that has had construction on it both times I've been there. They open early, added bonus.
Beer is in the back. I'd guess over 500 different bottles. Organization isn't flawless, but at least sensical. Cool + for having employees recommendations, like a local independent owned record store (dating myself). Tons of PacNW locals. Some higher end 750s and bombers. Plenty of HUB stuff, which is awesome. Plenty of 6 packs, something that seems to be an endangered specie lately at bottle shops. Best can beer selection I've ever seen. Singles available of everything.
Staff leaves you alone, which is nice. Hooks you up with extra cardboard if you need it.
I can't imagine a reason why I wouldn't stop in and check this place out any time I'm in or going through Portland.
07-06-2011 00:07:59 | More by Beerandraiderfan
3.88/5 rDev -10.4%
This is a cumulative review of the 15-20 times I've visited John's in the past 2.5 years, since my eyes were opened to the world of better beer (summer 2005).
Little needs to be added to the many fine reviews here. John's is a modest, some might say rundown-looking, little grocery in SW Portland's 'Multnomah Village' area. Their large sign above the drive-under often adverises keg sales or some fairly 'average' case discount and much of the front signage & neon is macro- or local-oriented.That said, it never ceases to amaze me, even on a most recent visit, how awesome/overwhelming the wealth of beer is here....just go to the back of the store.
Incredible loads of craft brew from all over. The West, not just PacNW; the largest selection of Belgians I've seen (outside of Belgium); loads of Germans , UK, Eastern European, and Asian, each group within a section of the display area. Displays are generally arranged by country/region but sometimes the lines are a little blurred, especially when it comes to the open coolers. How many varieties I won't guess, but suffice to say it's well above the 1000+ bottles it's nearest local rival, Belmont Station, carries.
Though I haven't personally had a bad beer yet, I do tend to avoid some of the older-looking, dusty internationals; even some of the domestic stuff can get lost on the shelves and may be past it's prime. That's my only complaint with the quality is the seeming lack of rotation of some beers and also the fairly chaotic nature of the claustrophobia-inducing layout.
Service can at times be very good and friendly, though usually it's the chatty person at the register rather than anyone helping in the beer department. But I have visits where service was bored disinterest, too. This is a grocery store after all, with all the jars and cans, fruits and meats you'd expect... although I never seem to shop that 2/3rds of the store...
Prices are OK for singles, sixers and cases, though occasionally something will seem out of line on the high end. On the flip side, I've found a few absolute bargains here, too - whether they were mis-marked, overstock, clearance or whatever...also, there is a discount of 10% off when buying a certain number of bottles (I believe it's 12 or more)...
A must visit beer store in Portland...don't miss it!
01-08-2008 19:52:54 | More by msubulldog25
4.5/5 rDev +3.9%
I visited John's on my last day in Portland (3/27/2010).
To this midwesterner, John's was/is beer nirvana. The beer was mostly located in the back of the store, but there was a HELL of a lot of it. Two long, double sided aisles of warm beer sorted roughly by region, plus a few more short aisles of warm beer...all surrounded by cooler doors of cold craft beer. It was refreshing to see the craft beer taking up way more cooler doors than the BMC beers.
Selection was incredible (too much to list here), and hit nearly all of the major craft breweries west of the Rockies. I was surprised to see a few of my hometown favorites in there too (Goose Island BCS for example).
Prices were very fair (one might even say bordering on low) and combined with the no sales tax thing this is a must for anyone visiting the area. Locals must love this place...I would if I lived there!
03-29-2010 06:31:07 | More by spointon
4.35/5 rDev +0.5%
Don't let John's Fool ya! It looks shabby but it is a must stop! Go to the back and a plethora of great beers awaits. You name it, John's has it!!! I regret no being able to bring home all of the beers that were starring on these shelves. Boo-hoo! Alesmith, Rogue, Hair of the Dog, Avery (even 9th and 10th) Wow!
The people who work here are glued to a cash registar but they speak highly of their manager. Cheers!
This place will make you weak in the knees for beer!
I was here in August. Almost forgot to review it.
11-15-2005 04:30:50 | More by blitheringidiot
5/5 rDev +15.5%
And on the 7th day, when the Beer Gods decided to build a beer store, they settled in the quaint section of Beervana known as Multnomah Village. And they were pleased, as pilgrims from far and near made their way to this Mecca of Bottle Shops...
Holy Sh#t!!! Sorry about waxing poetic above, but this may be the center of the beer universe. I saw things I'd never seen before (a phenomenal Belgian selection including the full array of Devil beers, a whole aisle of Germans, full range of NW micros including newly released items like FS Imperial Porter, Deschutes HH Experimental) that I was transfixed-and that ain't easy to do.
The help was phenomenal, starting with the staff who helped overcome the crappy mapquest directions. This place is not the easiest to find, but don't give up, it's more than worth the trouble.
My understanding is they do a robust keg business too, the chap in front of me was picking up Ninkasi Total Domination. All in all, an absolutely essential stop to the traveling beer geek seeking some special brews for consumption or cellar. A good value with the 5% discount on purchases of 6 or more bottles, including intact six-packs. Whoopee!
A truly world class bottle shop.
02-08-2009 16:36:00 | More by jdense
John's Market in Portland, OR
96 out of 100 based on 72 ratings.