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PlumpJack Wine & Spirits

Not Rated.
PlumpJack Wine & SpiritsPlumpJack Wine & Spirits
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

29 Ratings
Ratings: 29
Reviews: 24
rAvg: 4.24
pDev: n/a
[ Store ]

4011 24th St
San Francisco, California, 94114-3715
United States
phone: (415) 282-3841

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @plumpjack

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: SamuraiJack)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 29 | Reviews: 24 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SeanChouffe
4.85/5  rDev +14.4%

During my last trip to the Bay Area I was on yet another quest for great beers of the world. After researching retailers through Beer Advocate, I narrowed my hit list down to two places. Plump Jack was at the top of my list
Plump Jack was a little hard to find, but worth the search. Parking is horrific, and I had to have y girlfriend circle the block, while I frantically pursed the beer selection. This was the best selection of primarily high-end Belgian beers I have seen in the US. I was able to find some of the the Holy Grails of Belgian beer (at least for a neophyte like me) The had Westvleteren Abt 12 Trappistes Rochefort 10, and other hard to find gems. My bottle of Westvleteren blew up in my luggage, and I have still not had the pleasure of the experience.
The prices are a little high and they do not have some of the more middle of the road brews, but Plump Jack is worth the trip.

Photo of ckeegan04
4.75/5  rDev +12%

Great selection and great service on the main drag through Noe Valley. Spoke with who I believe was the owner and he pointed out some great locals and then gave me some great recommendations on bars to go get my Pliny fix since they were out. Will certainly be back whenever I am back in town to visit family.

Photo of kiya
4.7/5  rDev +10.8%

this is the place. this is it. you don't want to pass this store by if you're ever even anywhere close to san francisco.
not because of it's amazing selection of beers from all over the world, but because of the quality of it's selection.

Drew, the beer buyer, is probably the most knowledgeable beer/wine shop employee you'll ever run across.. seeking out the rarest brews from every corner of the world to be sold in plumpjack..

Drew also runs a beer club for local san francisco residents. runs around 21 to 25 dollars a month, and you get a binder to put your beer notes from the club, along with full reviews and background on the brewery that Drew writes up and prints out to be stored in the binder. great value and a great way to learn about new beers.

drop in and see what he's found, you'll be surprised at what kind of rare beers you can find here.

Photo of axisjones
4.7/5  rDev +10.8%

This place is for belgium lovers and belgium lovers alone. They usually have the full range of Trappists, including Westvleteren (although they were out on my last visit). Although this is primarily a wine shop, the worker was really knowledgable, chatting it up and recommending a few beers. I ended up picking up a rochefort 8, achelle bruin, st. bernardus 8 and 12 and a few more. Prices are a little high, but most are so unique that there really isnt a point of reference. If you are into wine also, this place is a must visit in SF. If you arent into belgiums or wine, there really isnt anything for you here.

Photo of GClarkage
4.7/5  rDev +10.8%

Two words....Belgium and Beer! That's pretty much what this place is about. Walk in, look to the left and find about three or four shelfs about 10 feet long that contain mostly belgiun beers. They also have a small cooler towards the back of the store that has a few different micro's in it. I think they had some AB and some Marin WHite Knuckle DIPA last time I was there. Service is very knowledgable and the selection is awesome if you are looking for Belguim beer. The prices are, however, a bit high. But, this is about the only place you are going to find Fantome in the Bay. At least that I am aware of. Plus they had every single Cantillon also! Swing by here and you won't be sorry.

Photo of studentofbeer
4.55/5  rDev +7.3%

plumpjack is a great place to go for rare beer. As others have said, the selection is mostly focused on Belgium, but there are some high quality English and North American brews as well. Service is great as long as you ask for it, otherwise the store can be pretty quiet. They also get in plenty of seasonals, so it's a good place to stop for winter offerings from Belgian breweries. The selection is small, but what is there is all awesome. prices are so-so to relatively high, but you are paying for the fact that you may not be able to find these beers anywhere else. There's plenty of things in here that I have never heard of, and I use to browse the aisles at Sams in Chicago at least once a week. a great place to go, especially if you are looking for some nicer offerings for a treat.

Photo of willjschmidt
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

A specialty wine shop that also stocks an excellent selection of beer. They carry a very large selection of Belgians (including ones that I haven't seen elsewhere) along with a large selection of special releases. I picked up some double bastards on my last visit. They have a small fridge with everything else on the shelves.

The person helping me was very knowledgeable and helpful. An excellent environment in which to buy beer (good prices as well), if I lived in SF I would be in here once a week. One of the top 3 beer stores in which I have ever been.

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Stopped here while in town on business. The selection was outstanding, with singles of more Belgians than I've seen in one place before. The only drawback is that the price is a little high, in comparison with prices I've seen in the midwest (Chicago, Columbus, and Detroit). For example, Achel brown was available for $8.99 per 11.2 oz bottle. This is twice the price I can get it for at Cloverleaf in Southfield MI. Many others were priced at only 10% to 20% higher than I can find elsewhere. But maybe that's because you're in San Francisco...

All in all, I recommend stopping here while in town to look for something rare. But if you want to go with a more or less mainstream Belgian beer, you can hit any number of winestores in the area.

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Stopped in here each of the last two days to make purchases, and then make more purchases. Here we go:

Plumpjack Wine Store's weathered, nondescript storefront would have made you think it was just another boutique wine store. I initially glanced at it and kept walking. Then the name registered - "I've heard that name on BA", I thought. In I went.

Plumpjack Wine Store certainly IS a wine store. A good 75% of the shelves are stocked with rare and unique wines. As for that other 25%: high-quality craft beer and a handful of meads and ciders. The majority of the beer comes from northern Europe: predominantly Belgium, but also Norway, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Denmark. However, the United States craft beer industry was also well-represented - think Russian River, Jolly Pumpkin, Cascade Brewing, Midnight Sun, Allagash, etc. All of the beer seemed to come from top notch breweries, and most of that beer was of the rarer, highly-sought-after variety. (Why did I go to Plumpjack back-to-back days? I didn't have enough room on my bike to carry the four bottles of Sanctification I purchased, so I had to come back with a car the next day.) All in all, the selection is very impressive.

There were a few negatives about Plumpjack, but they aren't biggies. Number one: they don't really "do" six packs. Almost everything they sell is a single. Number two: most of the prices were higher than they should be; not by a lot, but a few dollars here, a few dollars there adds up pretty quick. Number three: the majority of the beers sit unrefrigerated on wooden shelves. This typically doesn't bother me, but some of the beers left out were IPAs and imperial IPAs. I would have purchased their last Sierra Nevada Estate if it had been sitting in the cooler.

Each of the cashiers I chatted with was friendly and knew his craft beer. I'll be back several more times before this summer is over (I'm only living in San Francisco for the summer). EDIT (09-12-2010): I've been into Plumpjack several more times over the last month and have grown pretty fond of one of the employees: a young guy named Josh. Josh is very knowledgeable about craft beer and can make some excellent recommendations. He won't bullshit you either; if you inquire about a beer he doesn't like, he'll let you know.

Photo of Jvrdz24
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of oggg
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

I am beginning to understand what Michael Jackson means by "beer hunter". I made the pilgrimage to this quaint wine and beer store in Noe Valley. They have another branch on Fillmore but it does not have beer.

The store was relatively quiet on a Saturday early afternoon. There's only about 6 feet of wall space for beer, among like 5 shelves. Seems small, but they stock the largest selection of Belgians I've ever seen. Westy, Rochefort, St Bernabus, Cantillon, Unibroue, Petrus, etc. They've got the small 11.2oz bottles as well as nice 750ml bottles. There's a bunch of hardcore lambics next to the Lindemans, 2 or 3 Oud Bruins, and a couple of other specials, including a Rauchbier, Dorothy Goodbody stout, Old Engine Oil, and some other rare stuff. I even saw some 3L Double Bastards =)

The only thing I might complain about is that there is ambient light that comes through the front door. It hits the wines at the front, but I'm sure it gets to the beers too. We'll have to see, I haven't opened any of the bottles yet.

The manager is quite knowledgable and friendly. Sadly, on 3/27/04 he was out of Westy. He recounted the story of Westy and how some guy goes to the back of the monastery in Belgian, waits in line, buys as much as they will let him. Then he puts it on cold storage and waits to piggyback it with some other shipper, and brings maybe 300 cases to the States to distribute, of which he gets like 2 cases, but they're gone now and he can't predict when they will come back.

Prices are quite reasonable for these rare imported beers. Don't be surprised if you come out averaging $5/bottle.

Photo of gs1397
4.36/5  rDev +2.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Stopped by Plumpjack when I was out in San Francisco last August (2010). Had a very good selection of higher end craft brews, some of which I wasn't able to find previously in Whole Foods. Picked up a few bottles of stuff from Firestone Walker and Russian River as they had some of the older vintages of 750mLs from the latter that I couldn't find elsewhere around town.

Overall, if you're an out of towner looking for beer or just looking for standard California craft brews to drink fresh I'd recommend visiting Whole Foods. If you're looking for some more out of the way items, especially things which age well or are vintage, check out Plumpjack.

Photo of benito
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%

Noe Valley is one hip and good looking San Francisco neighborhood, made better by the presence of Plumpjack. Though their beer selection is limited, what they carry is impressive--great Belgians, Germans, and English ales as well as a strong selection of artisanal brews from California breweries like Farmhouse, AleSmith, Stone, and Moylan's.

The service was really knowledgeable about the different Belgians they were carrying and was helpful without being pushy. A class act to be sure.

Not living in San Francisco, I don't know that I'll get to Plumpjack again, but should I ever come back to the city, Plumpjack will certainly be near the top of my 'revisit' list.

Photo of clickpush
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%

PlumpJack is one of my go-to stores in San Francisco - a place I need to visit at least 3 times a month just to make sure nothing impressive and new hasn't surfaced that I haven't seen anywhere else. Drew, the manager, knows his beer as well as his wine and Scotch, so he's normally who I approach w/ conversation & questions (though BA BrewBacca works there on the weekends, we've never met in person). They have a decent Belgian and other import selection, certainly the best of the upscale alcohol-only stores. Prices are very reasonable, average or below I would say, and this is one of the few places in the city with consistent AleSmith and Russian River bottles (the other being Blackwells). Cantillon, Urthel, Stone limited releases, and a good selection of magnums all contribute to the great selection here. I belong to the beer-of-the-month club here and at the end of every month am handed $20 worth of good beers that I often have not seen before, plus a greatly informative write up of both brews and breweries written by Drew. I like this place plenty and it's a straight shot from my house on the 24 line... but definitely worth seeking out even if it's not so easy for you.

Photo of Offa
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%

This is a great place to go for unusual, harder-to-find beers, especially imports. It has a very eclectic variety of beers and the largest number of different, hard-to-find British beers I have seen in Northern California. It does not have a large variety of "regular" beers or nearly as many micro-brews, local or otherwise, as some other places, it's a little in the pricier side, and it is not a good place to go for just buying beer in general. However, it makes up for it with the selection of unusual beers and it is definitely worth a trip down there.

Photo of SFBass
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%

Easily the best selection of Belgian beers I've seen, with an interesting selection of other high-end imported beers. This isn't the place to go for American craft-brews--if you need to pick up a sixer, they'll have something good for you to buy, but the selection apperars to be limited. No problem. There are other places for that.

If you go, you should know that as of when I went there a few days ago they had a number of beers in stock that were not displayed, such as the Cantillon Lou Pepe lambics and multiple vintages of Drie Fonteinen gueuze (the 1999 was on display but they also had 2000 and 2001 in stock). So, if you don't see what you're looking for, ask and they might well have it.

The first time I went, the guy there was of no particular help, but then again I didn't ask him any questions--he might well have been quite knowledgeable for all I know and I certainly didn't feel his service was lacking. The second time, the guy working the store was, I suspect, the beer buyer mentioned in previous reviews, and after seeing me browse the Belgian selection and in particular the lambics for a while he told me what they had downstairs that wasn't on display; he seemed quite knowledgeable on their selection.

How many towns can say that their mayor owns a great beer store?

Photo of Kishanti
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.21/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25

In comparison to other places, the selection here seems a bit smaller, but they do have a lot of nice stuff here. It does tend to be a lot of higher end stuff, it seems. Which ends up being a lot of pretty pricey stuff as well; which I am over. My beer splurging days are done. So, I tend to get the more obscure stuff here that I don't see elsewhere. One good example is a Spanish craft beer, which I hadn't recalled seeing elsewhere.

Keep in mind this is mainly a wine store, so any questions will probably not be answered with as intense a fervor if it were wine you were asking about. Definitely worth the stop.

Photo of CraftBC
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%

This is a small specialty wine store that really packs in the inventory. I counted about 157 different craft beers (of which 89 are from Belgium). But some may be stored in the cellar due to lack of shelf space. The manager expects to stock more beers from the Shelton Bros. importers in the next month. Prices about 8% higher than BevMo but it has a much more interesting selection. Unusual beers available here include Petrus Aged Pale, Flying Dog Wild Dog Double Pale Ale, De Ranke Kriek and XX Bitter, Drie Fonteinen Kriek, Lee’s Manchester Star, RCH Ale Mary, Aventinus Eis Bock and Le Bete des Vosges. Very tough street parking but worth popping in just to see what’s new.

Photo of mentor
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%

Walked here from my brother's place, a few blocks away. Nice neighborhood and a well-maintained store front. Looking in the wondow, the place was packed with wines, which made me worry the beer selection might not meet expectations.

A small store with a few small aisles of wine. The register was to the right and beers along the wall to the left. A cooler with a few selections also on the left wall. Pretty decent selection of beers. no macro products whatsoever. Decent local California selection and some imports worth picking up, too. Most of the inventory could also be found at City Beer a couple miles away, but the prices in Plumpjack were lower. Plumpjack also had a few items that City Beer did not...? because the inventory doesn't turn over as fast? I think the guy working the register was the ownder and he seemed to know enough about the beers to sataisfy me needs. A few picky details he didn't know and I was happy he would admit to not knowing, rather than trying to BS me or gloss things over to put on the big sale.

A decent place and one that I will likely return the next time I stop into SF to visit my brother.

Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

The beer selection at Plumpjack is all high end craft beers including a great selection of Belgians. But they didn't have as many craft beers as I've seen elsewhere, such as Healthy Spirits (S.F.), Monument (Concord), and Perry's (Livermore).

The quality of the beers they had was all very good, but the prices were very high as is typical in San Francisco beer stores.

About half the beers were in two coolers, and the other half next to the coolers on the shelves.

If this is in your neighborhood, it's a very nice selection of craft beer; if you're coming in from out of town, I would recommend Healthy Spirits, Ales Unlimited, and/or City Beer.

Photo of SamuraiJack
4.05/5  rDev -4.5%

The bartender at Toronado turned me on to this place. I asked him where to go for Belgians - he said here. OK... I know it's first and foremost a wine store, and it's in Noe Valley, and it's actually a Yuppy Noe Valley Wine Store to be blunt. But get over it, trust me, it's worth it.

The place specializes in Belgian beers and Vintage Ales. The do have a handful of (high quality and often hard to find) American craft beers, but the majority of their selection is within those areas of focus. As a result, they don't have a massive number of beers. If you want Sierra Nevada, or Rogue, or even Speakeasy you're probably best going to BevMo or Whole Foods or something. But if you've got a hankering for some Belgian... this is the place to go.

On the day I went there, the Belgian selection ranged from the usual suspects (Chimay, Duvel, Orval, Lindemann's) to a really good bunch of other Trappists (Westvleteren, Rochefort, Achel, Westmalle) to a bunch of nice Abbeys (Affligem, Corsendonk, Maredsous, St. Bernardus, La Trappe) to a great Lambic selection (Hanssens, Cantillon, Oud Beersel, Boon) to some really cool and unusual Belgians (Fantome, Binchoise, Chouffe, Vapeur, Dulle Teve) and a couple really large bottles (Jerreboams of Duvel and Chimay). The have Belgian style beers from other than Belgium as well (Allagash, Unibroue, New Belgium).

I didn't pay as much attention to their American beers or their Vintage Ales, but I saw some cool and unusual things in the passing (Lagunitas Solstice Lagunator, Stone 03.03.03 Vertical Epic, Marin White Knuckle Double IPA, Bear Republic Ricardo's Red Rocket -- a bunch of Thomas Hardy and a bunch of Fuller's).

The service can be good... but only if Drew (the beer guy) is there. Otherwise you're pretty much on your own. The other guys are nice. They're not snobs. But they're not super knowledgable.

Put it this way... next time I'm in SF there are two places that my trip is planned around... Toronado and here.

Photo of Riggsy
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Stopped in on a recent visit to the left coast to see a friend who lives in this area. Was pleased to see many hard to find (for me) brews. Was able to pick up some Russian River selections and a Moylan's Hopsickle which I've been wanting to try. Unfortunately, no Alesmith were in stock. Spoke briefly to a guy who seemed to know his stuff but I didn't catch his name. I marked this store as reasonably priced as prices were not out of line with what I expected to pay and single bottles in PA are outrageous.

Photo of cleverbeername
4/5  rDev -5.7%

win. as a disclaimer, i am a bottle shop owner so i may be slightly biased. additional disclaimer, i was browsing wine not beer a few years back, so selection wise i will re-rate and revisit upon the next time in. bottle stores are ALMOST ALWAYS going to have better staff, period. liquor stores hours start early open late, and its a lot to ask for your early morning/graveyard staff to know and care about spirits, wine, and beer. chain stores are safe, most bev mo type places are really safe, only carrying larger production stuff and they monopolize price structure through buying power. they do have few cool things, but most things are not as small production as you may believe. grocery stores are the same, and most whole food/trader joe type places have little staff assistance or knowledge at all, usually youre alone. bottle shops will have great margins, passion, and expertise, and plumpjack is no exception. same philosophy for brewing as purchasing, ask yourself if you like craft/niche or corporate and mainstream? Does the place you buy your product have a symbol on the stock exchange? have you ever met the owner?

Photo of brywhite
3.85/5  rDev -9.2%

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PlumpJack Wine & Spirits in San Francisco, CA
94 out of 100 based on 29 ratings.