Wells Discount Liquors
Ratings: 35 | Reviews: 31 | Display Reviews Only:
3.9/5 rDev -1%
quality: 4.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
I must be in the minority when it comes to rating the service at Well's. However, the selection here more then makes up for the indifferent service.
I have literally been able to provide myself with a pretty good Belgium Beer education, just from perusing the selection at Well's. They have a tremendous selection of Belgium beers here, a very good selection of German and English beers, and some interesting pilsners from Eastern Europe (Poland, Czechoslovakia, etc.) The craft beer selection is pretty good, though it seems to me that they are sometimes slow to restock certain items. Frankly, I wish they had a better Mid Atlantic presence (they have a few beers from Pennsylvania, and the rest of the usual suspects - DFH, Clipper City, Old Dominion, Victory, Weyerbacher, Yards and Harpoon), but maybe that's more a function of what the Maryland distributors are able to bring in.
Unlike a few other stores I could name in town, Well's seems to be pretty good about making sure all stock on hand is fresh. I've never bought anything that was past it's prime, nor have I ever picked up anything here with a half inch of dust on it (again, unlike a few other stores I could name). Kudos to Well's in that department.
Prices here are the Baltmore norm, and in fact are probably on the low side for Maryland. Rarely do I see anything here priced higher then what I can find someplace else in town.
Then we come to the service. It's not that the service here is bad, it's just kind of indifferent. Most of the time when I go to Wells, there's a guy (employee) just standing there at the end of the craft beer row. If you have a question he'll generally answer it, but I've never heard him volunteer any information, and he always looks as if he'd rather be any place else then at work. I don't really require a lot of assistance, but it would be nice to occasionally have this guy ask me if I need any help, or even volunteer some information about new products (I usually fill a shopping cart, so I think it's kind of obvoius that I'm into craft beer and Belgiums). The time Well's got in 4 packs of the stock ale from North Coast in N. California was kind of typical. I was excited to see it in the store, and was sort of gushing about it ("Hey, wow, you guys got in the Stock Ale. This is such a great beer, and they make so little of it at N. Coast, that's really cool that you have it in."). I might as well have been talking to a wall. (I think his sole comment was "yeah, we just got it in.") I don't know, I just think it would be nice to have someone there who is a bit more enthusiastic about the product.
Then there was the time I was trying to search down a bottle of Panil for a friend out West. I knew the beer was available in Maryland (and so the Baltimore area), as I'd seen the current edition (vintage 2006) at Max's. Well's seemed like the most likely place to find it. Instead, I was told they didn't have it and couldn't get it. I thought perhaps there was some confusion as to where to look for it in the Beverage guide (the style is Flander's Sour, but it's brewed in Italy), so I shot them another email, mentioning that it was available at Max's, and so should be available to them as well. No response at all. I ended up buying it at State Line.
Anyways, the service issue not withstanding, I otherwise think Well's is a great place and will continue to shop there. It's a bit out of my way, so I don't visit as often as I like, but the selection and quality here will always have me coming back. This is a solid place.
05-10-2007 13:30:16 | More by John_M
4.41/5 rDev +11.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$
I stopped by Wells today (my fourth visit overall) to do some pre-Christmas shopping.
Quality: Good, I have never had a problem with old or bad beers coming from Wells.
Service: The employees are friendly, I have spoken with the same gentleman twice (he recognized my son from an earlier visit). Hell, they even let me use the restroom in the basement when nature struck with fury. How many non-employees can say that they've gone to town in Wells' bathroom? Not many I would venture.
Selection: Wells blows all other liquor stores away. The selection of Belgian ales is incredible, from Avec les Bons Voeux to St. Bernardus 750 mL bottles. They also have entire shelves devoted to English ales, German lager/weizens and domestic craft brews. The biggest problem involved in going to Wells is figuring out how to finance the visit.
12-23-2005 04:28:38 | More by akorsak
4.5/5 rDev +14.2%
quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
I visited Well's Discount Liquors for the second time over the weekend and was greeted by a wine tasting which is probably a common occurrence since their primary focus is wine. The have the majority of the front of the store devoted to wine and liquor while the back coolers and shelves are where the beers are displayed.
I found the quality of Beer to be excellent and most of the items appear to be rotated frequently. There were new winter seasonals in the case display, like Pursuit of Happiness, Snow Goose, Celebration ale and Winter Welcome which indicates fresh beer.
I appreciated the staff that was available to help with questions or give recommendations. I overheard some customers requesting a micro in the style of Chimay white to which the representative replied Golden Monkey is one of the best. I also like being able to check out some of the selection online prior to shopping since I live more than 45 min. from the store.
The selection is one of the best I have seen, the beers are well organized which is a plus, too. I like being able to shop according country, brand and price. They had hard to find items like a Gonzo Imperial porter gift pack and an Italian Barleywine called Xyauyù and Scaldis Prestige - aged in oak.
I found most craft six packs were below $8.99 and bombers were appropriately priced. I wouldn't say you are going to make out, but with the selection as it is, it is hard to go wrong. I will return to Well's whenever I am trying to find something special, it is a great place with a very good beer selection. I didn't even have to carry my order to the car - great service.
11-11-2007 18:11:04 | More by Slatetank
3.85/5 rDev -2.3%
quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | $$
Stopped her on way back from day trip to Fells Point based on good recomendations from other BA's. Selection was very good and I was able to get some good buys (and they were in date) and there were some other specials that were not in date that I passed on. Stock appeared fresh except for some Belgians that were very disty and old looking. There was also a nice glassware selection. The only thing I did not like was that one of the employees stood about 10 feet from me and watched everything I did, which made me feel like a shoplifter. He asked me one time if I needed any help without looking at me.(I had to ask him if he was talking to me)> Not a bad place but I've been to better.
06-09-2005 02:27:02 | More by tgbljb
4.2/5 rDev +6.6%
quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
After frequenting both Shawan Liquors and the Wine Source over the last couple of years, we decided to finally check out this other highly rated liquor store in the Baltimore area. The atmosphere was little bit of a mixed bag. While I really liked how the beers are organized with imports being clearly separated from the American crafts and then the imports being organized by country, the overall feel of the place was a tad dingy. Not necessarily dirty but the place just didn't have that warm, inviting vibe that I get off other places in the area. It just gave off the vibe, oh well, a local liquor store. The selection here is tough to beat though. They have just about every US Micro that is distributed in MD, including a good selection of local stuff, including Old Dominion, which I just don't see much of in the area anymore. The import selection is tops here though, with the Belgian selection being especially exemplary. I saw a bunch of stuff that the other stores just don't have, including products that I didn't even know were distributed in individual 12 oz bottles. It was all top notch and pretty much guarantees return visits here. Prices were decent and fairly comparable to other local places. Maybe just a dollar or two more on some stuff. We were never approached by any staff to see if we needed help but there were several employees around, so at least finding help didn't seem like it would have been a problem. All in all, while I wasn't super impressed by the overall atmosphere here, just the selection alone makes this worth frequent return visits too.
04-23-2008 14:29:29 | More by Kegatron
4.05/5 rDev +2.8%
quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | $$
I don't know how I didn't review this place before. I have been buying here since for almost 10 years, and it has always been a favorite of mine.
While their American Craft beer offerings are solid, it's their European and Asian beer offerings that really stand-out. English, German, Czech and Belgian beer selections about here. Often, rare vintages of JW Lees Harvest Ale and Samichlaus can be found on these shelves.
Now, I will admit that I don't always find every specific beer I'm looking for; but I always walk out with some good brews.
I would definitely recommend this place to anyone in the Towson/Baltimore area.
02-14-2010 02:49:49 | More by jgasparine
4.3/5 rDev +9.1%
quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$
WOW !!! The man asked me if I needed any help and I told him I was still catching my breath!!! What a store.
Quality-all seemed to be good. Theres some really top notch stuff in here.
Service-was good. There were almost too many employees around but then again I bet the next time I needed one I wouldnt be able to find any. The guy tending the beer aisles seemed informed enough but wasnt too sure on 1 or 2 beers. Several people asked if I needed help and the young kid that packaged me up took it all out to my car on a dolly to my wife's amusement.
Selection is just incredible. Its strange that as good as the stores I have seen in VA are, sometimes MD just doesnt seem to be able to compete. If its available in MD these guys have it. The British and Belgian selections are really amazing. This is the first place I have seen Sam Utopias-and even though I live in a Natural Lite wasteland I do get around a bit and still have yet to find it. Really quite an amazing array for the area.
Value overall seemed good. Comparing the beers I can get locally price wise were similar. Some higher some lower. It all works out in the end I suppose.
Huge wine selection and other gourmet foods around the store. Theres not much organization to some of the other products and the different countries beerwise. Damn good selection of glassware.
I will be back-in a bad way!
11-20-2005 01:19:00 | More by lackenhauser
3.8/5 rDev -3.6%
quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
The shelf devoted to Belgian and French beer was something of a mess, with beers of varying styles put in seemingly random places. Half the bottles had a solid, well-aged coating of dust on them, including a disappointing beer of biere de garde that tasted like it had been brewed before prohibition.
Still, the variety of labels was nice, and it included a few hard-to-find treats, including some OTOP from Heavyweight.
While the woman at the checkout counter was pleasant, the staff hanging out in the beer area looked at me like I was insane when I spent a few minutes perusing the shelf, and they actively growled at me and my wife when we were trying to maneuver around them setting up a new display.
A good stop, but make sure you know what you're buying is fresh.
11-28-2005 21:16:33 | More by marburg
3.8/5 rDev -3.6%
quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Back in the day, I came here several times a week during college. We experimented with local microbrews, to Belgians and seasonal beers. They are located in that area between the city and the Beltway that has seen resurgence. The surrounding buildings have been spiffed up and get loads of workers from across the street.
Wells has stayed stuck in the same place for two decades (from both a layout and selection perspective). The staff is friendly and will help you carry your armloads of brews to the car. Though they have impeccable staff, they will really only be able to help you with wine. Even on many basic, everyday needs. There is one older gentleman with dark thinning hair that is very good, assuming he is working. Most other workers in that area are local high school kids.
They do have multiple different great beers at good prices, but beware the lower priced stuff. A decade ago, I would jump at the opportunity of $3 six packs of pumpkin beer in January, and that is something they still practice. Where they have an incredible selection on paper, some of these puppies are well past their prime.
Overall: If one goes by awards, this would be considered the best place in the Baltimore area to buy both beer and wine. However, Id argue that those awards only tell you what the best in the city was once. If you are looking for fresh rarities and great customer service, then you need to shop at the Wine Source. If you are looking for bulk, take a hike out to Beltway Fine Wine. For what it is, Wells is very good, it's just that other local places are starting to do it better.
09-14-2006 14:41:33 | More by Umbra
Wells Discount Liquors in Baltimore, MD
89 out of 100 based on 35 ratings.