Willow Park Wines & Spirits
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Ratings: 22 | Reviews: 20 | Display Reviews Only:
4.65/5 rDev +5.9%
quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Calgary's best beer store without doubt, question or argument. Dave, the beer manager, knows his stuff, tries to stock every beer available and tries every beer (and more) that his store stocks. A great resource for beer knowledge and assistance. They will break six packs and help customize gift baskets. If you want to know what is available or what will be available this is the place. The best Canadian beer store that I have been to. Amazingly their reputation for wine and scotch is greater than their beer reputation. This is also the location for tastings and events.
09-16-2007 02:38:20 | More by presario
4.6/5 rDev +4.8%
quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $
I made my second pilgrimage to the Willow this past weekend, and it was truly memorable.
There is a ton of great beer to be found here, and all of it easy to find. HOWEVER, it really bugs me that the best beer (all of the high end Belgian, German and US craft) is sitting on shelving under lights, while the rest of the beer is kept in coolers. You can tell that some of this beer isn't exactly flying off the shelf (check the bottled date, best by date, or even the layer of dust on some bottles), so it should be properly stored. Sherbrooke definitely has the upper hand on the Willow in this department with their dimly lit, walk-in cooler.
I had barley started my shopping when Dave (beer manager) spotted me loading up a cart with premium beers. He chatted non-stop in a friendly and casual manner while I continued on. He would occassionally drift off, but always returned to check on my progress. He even brought out fresh stock of the He'Brew Lenny RIPA and Tree Rebel lager for me. When I finally got to the check out, he again showed up to assist the cashier with boxing up my purchases, ensuring my items were all rang through properly, and giving me every beer-related promo item he could find. OUTSTANDING.
Selection was great, they even had a few items that I couldn't find at the Sherbrooke in February (Orval and Celebrator doppelbock). They only out of stock item that I wanted was Delirium Tremens.
I found the prices to be very reasonable, less than $12 for 6-packs of Canadian craft, and the bombers of Unibroue were all around $5.
Aside from storage of some of the beers, this place is amazing. While it is clear that the store is primarily focussed on wine, they still do an amazing job on the beer.
04-09-2007 22:02:04 | More by markaberrant
4.2/5 rDev -4.3%
quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | $$
Although others have narrowed the gap, this is still the best place in Calgary to get beer.
Willow Park's selection is the best in the city: an impressive mix of quality Canadian craft beer, the widest variety of U.S. micros I've seen in Calgary, and a vast assortment of European offerings.
For BAs who want to experiment, choices abound: plenty of singles and bombers that make trying something new less of a hit to your wallet if you don't like what you bought.
The prices are probably the best for craft beers and imports in Calgary. For some of the more expensive U.S. brands, it's the difference between paying $16 for a six-pack at Willow Park vs. $19 somewhere else.
I agree with the earlier assessments that you can't expect much help if you're not a well-heeled oenophile or single-malt fanatic. Still, somebody at Willow Park obviously knows a lot about beer to amass the selection this place has.
01-02-2007 03:23:58 | More by vanrassel
British Indian Ocean Territory
5/5 rDev +13.9%
quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$
Considered tops in Calgary for beer, large selection with a good representation from Belgium and local brewers. Not so impressed with the reno's - what made this place stand out in my mind previously was the large walk in cooler - the beer was kept at the perfect temp. With the in-store changes many of the Belgian and other European selections are left on the shelf. Maybe it's more of a personal gripe, but I certainly preferred the walk-in with the low light. Now regarding service, unless your a monied wine snob forget about getting help. The only relief in sight is the gentlemen who seems to be in charge of the beer selection - always helpful and passionate about his line up. Overall good price point, decent selection, poor service (except for Dave). Bring your attitude when shopping here. Rating 3.9
Edit: Since visiting this store more than any in Calgary, I've gotten to know the aforementioned beer manager - Dave. He's outstanding when it comes to his passion for beer. The selection has grown impressively since my last rating, and continues to do so. I give the service a 5 - when dealing with Dave. New rating: Easily the best in Alberta (and more than likely the best in Canada) hands down.
05-04-2006 14:40:07 | More by CBA
2.9/5 rDev -33.9%
quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 3 | $$
The best beer store in Calgary is slightly more selection that a good US supermarket. Nothing in the US league. Only 1 cash open and absolutely no service anywhere. You have to know what you want.. Very good on events, wine, scotch and hard liquor selection. Very attractive store, with food panelling and well laid out although not that big. Selection is what can I see, weak outside of Local Calgary favorites. And this is the biggest selection. Supposedly good at promotions getting glasses and the like. Great hours.
09-20-2005 19:44:28 | More by Sammy
4.35/5 rDev -0.9%
quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Went to Willow Park for the first time this past weekend while visiting friends in Calgary. Basically made me extremely jealous that this kind of place is impossible in Saskatchewan. Damn government controled liquor stores...
This really is an amazing store. The flagship of a chain in the Calgary area, this store carries an amazing assortment of spirits and a truly vast selection of wines, but we're not here to talk about that...
All of the beer is located in one large cool room. The macros and larger micros have their products down the middle and on the right hand side basically stacked up (I think they were on pallets). As far as this goes, it's par for the course. The real excitement comes as the imports and smaller micros are on the shelves completely filling the left hand wall. Many imports that they have are not only unavailable in Saskatchewan, but also in alot of other stores in Calgary. I've been told that the prices are competitive as well (I can hardly vouch for price comparison when I've only seen some of these products at this one store). Not only do they have a wide variety of imports and micros, but the majority tend to be well placed (in terms of quality) on BA.
I was looking for one brew in particular that they didn't have on the shelf. The staff jumped to it right away looking to see if they had any someplace else or hidden. Unfortunately they didn't find any, but I sure appreciate the effort.
I will definitely be making stops to Willow Park a regular part of my visits to Calgary.
08-24-2005 03:31:46 | More by Noxious26
4.8/5 rDev +9.3%
quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$
Willow Park has been my store of choice for years now, and it has improved noticeably in the beer department lately. The last couple of times I've been in, I've spotted lots of new products, and received great advice from their beer guy, Dave, who seems to live in the cavernous cooler.
Here are some things which set Willow Park apart from other stores... They've got almost the entire Unibroue line, and not just in the big 1l bottles - they also have 4-packs of 330ml bottles, which I haven't seen anywhere else in town. They carry lots of other great Canadian beers (St Ambroise stout is finally among them), and their Belgian section is the best I've seen this side of Bruges (I was there last month). They even have a bunch of different Belgian gift packs, complete with glassware.
07-03-2005 04:37:42 | More by DeclansDad
4.85/5 rDev +10.5%
quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$
Its a good thing Willow Park is far enough from where I live, otherwise I would be there everyday, spending way too much money. I would say this is the best beer selections in the city. All beer stored in the large walk-in cooler, none getting warm on the shelves. Great selection of beers from all over the world, but what I like most is hte number of local and Candian choices. Some stores have a few, but Willow Park seem to have everything covered. We spent lots of time just checking out the selection, lots I have read about on this site, but never have seen available for sale. 100$ disappeared quickly on this Saturday. Only small complaint was that they only had 2 of the 5 tills working on a very busy Saturday afternoon, so the wait in line to checkout was a bit long. (I didn't mind, but customer behind me with 1 case of coors light seemed a little annoyed with my basket full of singles)
Edit: Willow Park has recently undergone a renovation. No more walk in cooler, but lots of coolers. Several shelves still beer only. Just a re-arrangement of space to make it cleaner and easier to get around. No change in number or quality of beers available.
02-27-2005 16:35:44 | More by BigBry
3.1/5 rDev -29.4%
quality: 4 | service: 1 | selection: 4
Irondjinn brought me there with my coaches while on a football tour of Calgary.
Beerwise I loved the selection of western microbrews avalaible there, because we cannot get them here. Also a totally different type of establishment compared to here. Price wise for alcohol, way quite cheaper than Quebec, I saw a scottish whisky I know cost 160$ in Montreal, the same bottle was 80$ in Calgary.
Also the space of the store was kind of nice, usually in SAQ, or LCBO I feel uneasy walking around as im a very big guy, there, it was fileld with space.
Now I must say, why I put "1" on service, when I paid by "debit card" for a bottle of Wild Rose Pilsner, the cashier told me "sorry sir, the text will be in french, press english" I replied "Hey no worries, im french"
he replied back "then you might correct it, you're the damn french"
on a very sarcatic note, not a funny tone! I really did not appreciated.
I should have bought more stuff there tho
02-05-2005 22:57:03 | More by 3Vandoo
5/5 rDev +13.9%
quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5
A beer heaven in Calgary, and I try and make pilgrimages as often as I can. I first went to Willow Park's main store a couple of years ago, and I was very impressed. Stepping into their large cooler can make a beer advocate drool. An enormous selection of beers from all over the world, and of course all the local micros. The biggest selection is Belgian, followed by UK and German beers. They even stack some Unibroues on their sides, which is how they should be stored if they are corked. The great part of it all is that they have always had something new every visit, and the beer man, Dave, a jovial younger chap who is extremely enthusiastic about beer, is diligent in trying to get any new Belgians. Usually when I go in and he is working, we end up talking for about half an hour about what is new and what we have tried lately. In fact, when Edition 2004 first came out, he took us upstairs to the tasting area, popped the cork, and let us have some. Very friendly and very helpful staff. They even helped bring all my beer out to my car. All the beers have good dates, and are stored very well. They even film, through Corkscrew Media, a half hour show called "Beer Cheers" upstairs, aired on Access station locally, and they hold numerous events throughout the year, including Oktobeerfest. A world class store. (Note: massive selections of rare wines and Scotches too.)
01-10-2005 07:09:49 | More by Cwrw
Willow Park Wines & Spirits in Calgary, AB, Canada
95 out of 100 based on 22 ratings.