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Friar Tuck Beverage

Not Rated.
Friar Tuck BeverageFriar Tuck Beverage
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

24 Ratings
Ratings: 24
Reviews: 20
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 10.37%
[ Store, Homebrew Store ]

1333 Savoy Plaza Ln
Savoy, Illinois, 61874-8900
United States
phone: (217) 355-7933

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
Monday - Saturday: 10:00am - 10:00pm
Sunday: 11:00am - 8:00pm

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 24 | Reviews: 20 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by champ103:
Photo of champ103
3/5  rDev -25.9%

I grew up in Champaign, so when I come back from Houston to visit the folks I always make a stop here. Lots of goodies to chose from. Pretty much anything you can find in the area will be here. All the beer is arranged hap-hazardous along the left wall. Quality has been an issue here on some things. Gushers and old bottles seem to be prevelant.

I have several complaints though. The service is really nonexistent. It is almost impossible to find somebody to help you find anything. Which if you are looking for something specific you will need. The staff that is there does not seem to have any real knowledge either. Some of the specialty items are a bit to pricey. $16 for Ola Dubh? I have found that for almost half that price at other stores. The regular micro six packs are fairly priced though. Something else I don't like; it seems they just pick out as much stuff from the distributors as they can with no real knowledge of the product. Overall, probably the best selection I have seen in the Champaign/Urbana area though.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Vjillagorilla
5/5  rDev +23.5%

Photo of midlifec
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of jsh420
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of emwild12
4/5  rDev -1.2%

Photo of TMoney2591
3.66/5  rDev -9.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

Stopped in here to check it out just before my buddy and college roommate got married down the street. I'd heard some very good things about the chain, but I'd never really been down to the more central part of the state before, so I couldn't verify anything.

The place is a large-ish space, similar to a Binny's, Total Wine, or any other high-volume liquor purveyor, though it had that dimly-lit, almost-sorta/kinda-leaning-toward-Whole-Foods-style kind of atmosphere to it (if that makes any sense). The beer is on the left when entering, with liquor, homebrew supplies (always nice to see), and other assorted merchandise (okay, I really didn't look at the rest of the place very closely...) filling th rest of the space. The selection was nice and extensise, as I would expect it to be, given the size of the store. They seemed to have just about everything their distribution channels will allow, or, failing that, a very strong representation thereof. It's still a shock to me to see Ballast Point out here in IL, what with the greater Chicagoland area being bereft... There was a decent mix-a-six selection near the rear, which I partook of heartily to the tune of a makeshift 12-pack. I'm fairly certain I passed the beer guy a couple times, but there was no real interaction between us. Frankly, I don't mind this very much, as I tend to prefer to just browse unless I have a specific question, but a "Hello" or something would've been nice. The prices seemed more than fair, very similar to the prices up here in Lake County (I didn't expect much, if any, of a difference, though, anyway).

Overall, I'd say this place lives up to its reputation as pretty much THE source for a grea beer selection in the area. If I lived or spent any appreciable time down in the area, I'd most likely be shopping here quite often...

Photo of falloutsnow
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Shop is in a strip mall in a retail street in Savoy. Actual retail space is in a "big box" type store, essentially a Best Buy or Toys R Us for beer, wine, and liquor. The inside of the store is fairly warehouse-like, with fluorescent lighting and metal shelves devoted to holding product. Don't expect decoration. That being said, the place is clean and well-organized. In the beer aisle (a very long aisle) the center is generally where the specials and/or seasonal beers are.

I agree with some other reviewers that freshness for some beers may be an issue. This is particularly true for lesser-purchased European imports. Look for the bottling date on bottles or, if lacking, the amount of dust that's accumulated on the bottle. If you know a US release is seasonal and you find it out of season, I wouldn't purchase unless it's one that can age well. That being said, I've only had a few questionable beers in about four years of regularly visiting the store, so I don' think the issues are that serious.

Selection is nearly excellent, the only things lacking being a smallish selection of English beers and no availability of wilds/lambics/gueuzes.

Service is a little lacking as far as knowledge about styles and availability, I don't think the person who is responsible for beer selection is in particularly often. Employee numbers for the entire store are fairly low, so getting service in the aisles is a bit rare. At least the staff is unobtrusive and can be found, for help, if needed.

Between here and the Picadilly off Neil Street in Champaign, bottled craft beer needs should be met in the CU area.

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4/5  rDev -1.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 5

This is the second Friar Tuck I visit in Central Illinois (after Springfield). Layout and size of the store is just about the same as in Springfield: mostly wine and liquor but a huge amount of beer as well.

It roughly goes like this: one big cooler with some bombers and six-packs, lots of pallets with mostly Midwest brews sitting on the floor, a singles and mix-a-six section, a "rare bomber" section and a room-temp aisle with all sorts of six-packs from all over the US and beyond. Selection is (and it goes without saying) exceptional.

I'm living in Decatur, some 50 miles from Champaign, and there is almost nothing good in terms of craft beer around here. So imagine what it is like to drive said some 50 miles east, through endless rows of corn and soybeans and suddenly stop at a shopping mall with a beer store that has everything from Lost Abbey to Mikkeller to vintage beers and obscure Midwest breweries. Heaven? Fuck Yeah.

I saw Port Brewing (Mongo, Older Viscosity, Anniversary Ale and Santa's Little Helper), Hoppin' Frog, Bell's (Third Coast 4-packs), Mikkeller (Single Hop, Beer Geek and else), Nogne and other Scandinavian brews; Pannepot Reserva '08, Abbaye du Bon Chien (aged bottles); Lost Abbey, Boulevard (the Smokestack series, including the Imperial Stout); Baird Beer from Japan... and this is just the rarer stuff!

Price is an issue, as is the lack of service. Most bombers are $7.99, and most six-packs are $9.99. Specialty 4-packs are around $15.99. Folks, this is what I pay in New York City!!! Sure, there are a lot of beers here I cannot get in the East Coast, but still...

What I cannot complain about is the quality. Some reviewers have mentioned the dustiness of many bottles or how little the stock moves at this store- I have no issues with that. Yes, there is some aged stuff, but not in a bad way (as in, no expired IPA's, but some three-year-old Christmas beers).

Prices aside, the selection here is off the charts for Central Illinois, and I will be coming back as long as I am stuck in Decatur.

Photo of Treebs
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

This was my go-to place for everything during my tenure at U of I and I was very sad when I had to graduate because I know I would be leaving this place.

It's in a giant warehouse-type building (think CostCo but decorated.) The beers are all along the wall to the left side after the homebrewing equipment and supplies. There are specials and deals on beer in the middle of the aisles and last time I was there they had a shelf dedicated to "highly rated stouts" which was pretty cool to see. They use rate beer and beer advocate shelf tags.

Selection was outstanding, especially for the area. A huge amount of sixers make up about 30% of the beer wall with the other 65% dedicated to bombers, 750ml's, etc. The tail end 5% of the wall is dedicated to an extremely large mix-a-six selection and it's broken down into specific style which is nice. I came here a lot during my experimental days when I was getting into craft beer. Great way to try as many as can. It was only $7.99 when I started doing it, but has since gone up to $9.99.

There really aren't enough employees working though which is a knack on the place. I've been there 50+ times and I've only seen/talked to the beer guy a handful of times. Most of the time I just had questions about releases so it wasn't really a pressing matter.

Overall I really love this place and if I ever head back in this direction I will be certain to stop and drop a pretty penny here.

Photo of Gonzoillini
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%

Was my go to beer store for my undergraduate years at University of Illinois.

The quality of this place is great, think Binnys for Central / Southern IL. They routinely get the limited / one off's that make us beer geeks content. It also hosts weekend craft tastings that range from average to very nice, but are a great way to expose non-craft drinkers to better beer options.

My biggest beef with the quality of the good at Friar Tucks is the way they treat their homebrewing supplies. While it is obvious that they are not specializing in homebrewing, the lack of refrigeration for the hops and dry yeasts is disconcerting to say the least. Additionally, the grain mill that they use will give you a very poor crush that is nearly unsuitable for all grain brewing. I have to knock off points on the quality scale for this issue.

The service at Friar Tucks has been very good in my experience. The beer manager / purchaser Blaine has been a very helpful guy who has always been able to answer distribution and inventory questions. Additionally, they are willing to hold things (KBS / Utopias / Sculpin) in the back for me if I happen to be out of town or unable to pick it up as soon as it comes in.

The selection of craft beers is extensive. A huge wall of warm craft options from the United States with an emphasis on Midwestern breweries (Founders, Bells, Goose, Schlafly, Boulevard) . Additionally they have a large section of good imports from Germany and Belgium, but are a little weak on the stuff from the UK. They also get some really nice stuff in that I don't find in the Chicago suburbs (Abbaye de Saint Bon Chien, Saint Somewhere, Ballast Point, De Molen, etc...)

They also have a large cold storage area, but is mostly dedicated to BMC products. However, they always have the classic German imports cold for quick consumption (Schneider, Weihnstephan). They also have a very extensive mix a six selection, but be sure to check date codes if your buying IPA's, Pales, Lagers and other beers that should be consumed fresh.

A very nice store that is not without its flaws. However, it served me well during my 4+ years at UofI and I highly recommend anyone passing through the area to check it out.

Photo of emerge077
4/5  rDev -1.2%

3rd Friar Tucks location i've been to. This one seemed cleaner and newer, complete with that new store smell. There was some construction on Curtis Rd, amidst the cornfields, so watch for detour signs.

There was one employee on the floor doing inventory, who was very knowledgeable regarding my beer question. I was on a quest for Lambics, and sadly only found the full Lindemans line here, with Kriek de Ranke as a runner-up. Apparently the local distributor had dropped Cantillon due to supply issues.

The beer aisle was on the far left, a small station of winemaking/homebrew supplies, then a long sea of six-packs. Bombers and imports were further down, with cases of seasonal beers stacked in islands on the floor. Plenty of craft & imports in the coolers too, with minikegs in the walk in. On the shelf, I noticed some of the high end Scandinavian imports i've only seen in Chicago, such as Nøgne Ø, Amager, Haandbryggeriet, Nørrebro Bryghus, etc. Also De Ranke, De Molen, and Abbaye de St. Bon Chien. Boulevard 2 Jokers Imp. Wit was here, only place i've seen it so far in IL. Plenty of Fantome, I think the seasonal ones were even on sale. Christmas beer was on an endcap already, which seemed suspicious for early September, most likely last year's stock. Boulevard, Schlafly, Heavy Seas, and Mad River were a few things exclusive to central IL that we don't see in Chicago.

There was only one cashier working, but he was cheerful and friendly. Overall the experience was pleasant, and i'd return if passing through C-U again.

Photo of bluemoonswoon
3.65/5  rDev -9.9%

Stopped by here last weekend. Been to the Peoria location and this one looks just a bit bigger, but maybe that's just the high ceilings. This place I think could be classified as a downstate Binny's as they are sort of laid out the same way with so much beer all over the place. Much like the Peoria location there is no shortage of beers to choose from, focus is mostly domestic micros with a smattering of imports and Belgians, not much representation from the lambic or gueze departments though. Also freshness tends to be an issue with at least some of the beers here. They have Goose Island Imperial IPA still on the shelves here even though that beer hasn't been in production for about two years now. Best by date on that beer was April of 08, so yeah, there's that. But if you are up to date on beers then you probably already know what is fresh and what's not and they do a pretty good job here, it seems, of keeping their stockpiles fresh. Also this being downstate Illinois the prices our cheaper than dirt which is always nice.

Photo of brad97z
3.25/5  rDev -19.8%

Excellent beer selection, probably the best in the area, prices aren't bad either considering the selection. Freshness is definetly an issue, however. About a month ago, i picked up a Paulaner Salvator Dobblebock, after tasting it i checked the expiration and found it to be over a year past the best buy date. Being from Chicago, on quite a few occasions i've bought beers back home that were excellent and tried the same beers from Friar Tuck only to find a noticable difference which i believe to be due to freshness issues. I no longer by beers there unless they have just come in. They should lower the amount of overhead they keep so beers aren't on the shelf as long.

Photo of cagocubs
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Friar Tuck is one of the best liquor stores I have been in. Their selection is unmatchable. A long wall of the big inside is dedicated to all beer of all sorts. They have a great selection of craft beers and foreign beers. The best part about Friar Tucks is their Mix-a-Six section in which you can choose from great single beers to create a sixpack for $9.99. This is great because you can try beers without having to buy the 4/6 pack. F.T. also has a large section of beer in the coolers on the West wall.
Other than their great beer selection they have a gigantic wine, hard liquor, single shots, and even rootbeer selection. The staff is friendly and will ask if you need help, but will mostly just leave you be. The value is reasonable as you would expect from a large liquor store like this. To me this is a must stop if you are driving on I-57/I-74 going by the Champaign area.

Photo of bluejacket74
4.7/5  rDev +16%

I made a stop to the Friar Tuck on a recent trip to the Champaign/Urbana area. This is a pretty good place to pick up craft and foreign brews. I was able to get some beers (mostly New Belgium, Boulevard and Schlafly I was looking for) that I can't find in Ohio, and found a lot of other goodies there too. The selection is very good, and there's a lot to choose from (too much to name here). They have a nice selection of singles for sale (the mix-a-six) if you're looking to try different things. Prices seemed reasonable to me, and the service was good too. They also have homebrewing supplies, and a lot of wine and liquor in the store. If you live in the area or just stopping through like I was, I definitely recommend making a trip to the Friar Tuck if you're looking for good beer.

Photo of redjameskidd
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Best thing about Friar Tuck: The selection. They are all about it. The whole South wall is beer of America and the world. If it can be had in Central Illinois, it is here. Likewise with wine and hard liquor. If you cant get it here, you can't get it.

The prices, though, are not "bargain bin". Beer prices in particular can be higher here than in someplace like the local Meijer. It should not be used, therefore, as the place to buy your fallback beer, but as a place to experiment with their crazy selection. Buy the BudMillerCoors elsewhere, or not at all, preferably.

Prices on hard liquor can vary from average to very good.

This is the main source of homebrewing stuff in Champaign. There's nowhere else to go besides Leisure Time, which is much more expensive. The absolute best deals are on Brewer's Best beer kits, which they sell for a lot less than they should. I buy them for every beer in order to scavenge the ingrediants. The malt extract included alone makes up the price of buying it seperately, plus you get hops, caps, priming sugar, crushed grains, etc.

One staff member is fairly knowledgeable with homebrewing, but he isn't always there. Has a grain mill and sells basic adjuncts and brewing equiptment/additives. Also sells liquid yeast.

Freshest brewing stuff you can get in-town.

Photo of SMark
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%

This is my go to store when I get a special monthly wine worth checking out. While there and usually purchasing 6 of the featured wines I will purchase 6 Corona bombers if I need the bottles for homebrew and then whatever beer piques my interest. The beers range from seasonals to higher rated versions of various styles. They have a nice selection and depending on the staff working at the time they can be very helpful. Of course they employ some of the college students who are still learning there are other beers beside Bud and Lite but I have never been in there when someone did not ask if they could help. I need to look into their 6 pack offer of various beers for $8.99. They have a nice selection of beers, wines, liquors, glassware, cigars, coffee, homebrew, chocolates and a few other odds and ends. I have not seen a kitchen sink though. I enjoy shopping here and find it difficult to just run in and out.

Photo of Gehrig
4.05/5  rDev 0%

This large store located just south of Champaign has an excellent selection of domestic and imported beers, an outstanding array of wines and liquors and, for you smokers, a small but nicely stocked cigar case near the front. The beer selection is impressive, devoting the large left-hand wall of the store strictly to beer. It carries as many styles and micros that one could ask for in Illinois, with certain beers such as Bell's and Ommegang unfortunately unavailable locally through no fault of the stores.

While the staff is friendly, they lack the expertise of other local stores, such as the Piccadilly on S. Neil St. They are well-meaning, but usually younger folks in the early 20s who, like so many of us, are there more because they need a job rather than to learn and disseminate expertise of beer and other products. Their assistance is thus limited to friendliness, and answering whether or not they have certain products, not nearly as much in stylistic knowledge and preferences.

Still, it's a good store with a terrific selection at reasonable prices well worth checking out. It is also close by a very good, locally-owned bookstore Pages For All Ages that is worth a stroll.

Photo of Blupoet03
3.85/5  rDev -4.9%

I conveniently live within walking distance of this store, so I visit quite a bit. They have an impressive selection of everything: wine, liquor, cheese, cigars, and most importantly, beer. They even have a home brew section and sell live yeast.

Friar Tuck's devotes an entire wall to beer - almost all of which are micros, craft brew, and imports arranged by country of origin and to a lesser extent, by style. Recently, they've been devoting more and more cooler space to the micros as well (it used to be 50/50 macros/micros, not its more like 30/70).

The staff is reasonable knowledgeable as a rule. My only real complaint is that their prices are high in comparison with other stores in town. They make up for this by being a one-stop-shop. There is little available in the area that they don't have.

Photo of czoch75
4.05/5  rDev 0%

This has been my staple store for awhile now. I have been going to this establishment for a few years and haven't really had any problems. They have a very good selection of micros and also cigars. The only downside(and a big one) is that nobody is knowledgable about the beers that they sell. They do seem to keep the stock rotated though. They also have a very good selection for the hombrewer. Don't ask anyone about that either unless it is the store manager. He seems to know what he is talking about and is helpful if you can catch him there. This place is hands down the best around, but could us a little improvement on the staff and decor.

Photo of Illini5596
4.05/5  rDev 0%

An excellent place for selection, they carry a number of world class beers including all of my personal favorites. They're missing a micro or two that I'd prefer to have, but overall if you're looking for it they probably have it.

The staff is the ownly down point, mostly college students who didn't seem to know much about beer at all beyond the typical macro fare. I did run into a woman there once who was able to help me out with a selection, but other than that once I've found if you don't come prepared with a list of what you're looking for, you won't know what to buy.

Photo of gimmehead
4.05/5  rDev 0%

Huge selection of crafts and imports. Price is comparable if not cheaper than elsewhere. Nice selection of liquors, wine, cheese and cigars. The biggest problem I have with this store is the lack of service. Asking for help finding anything is analogous to asking for a kidney. With a better staff this could be a BA paradise. Great selection of refridgerated brews. The display in the front of the store says that they have beer, wine and cheese tastings every Saturday, though I have not attended. Worth the trip for any BA, just don't expect much from the staff.

Photo of rocketmotor
4/5  rDev -1.2%

This store is part of a great chain we are lucky to have in Central Illinois. They have more, different craft beers than all the other liquor stores in Central Illinois combined.

The store has a huge selection of cold beer, and an even bigger selection of warm beer. There are all the standard imports and microbrews, plus many that I have only read about online or never heard of. They also have a great selection of single bottles they sell in the "Make Your Own 6-Pack" area.

The store is modern and clean. Highly recommended, the largest selection outside Chicago.

They also sell homebrew supplies. They have excellent prices, about $8.00 for a can of LME, other items priced is comparably. They do not have the best selection, but they have the hardware and ingrediants to make most basic styles of beer. They do have some liquid yeast. The biggest problem is that they store the hops and dry yeast just hanging from the wall, unrefrigerated.

Photo of kmpitz2
4.05/5  rDev 0%

Well, this place is just huge. The whole left wall of the store is devoted to craft and import beer. I don't even recall seeing any BMC but in the refrigerated section. They sell both 6-packs and singles, with a fancy set-up to dispense single bottles of those beers that are set aside for single sale. There were tons of beers that wanted to come home with me, but I was on a quest for something I was not able to find, so I left empty handed (being poor sucks). I talked with one of the people working there facing the bottles across from the beer section and he seemed pissed that I would ask him something and get in his way, but it was just after noon on Labor day, so he may just have been unhappy to be at work. Still, the whole time I was there, I was not asked if I found things ok or needed help. The store was very well lit and very clean. The beer was very nicely displayed, with both a walk in cooler and warm beer on the shelves. Overall, this is a store I will stop in again, but I hope the people impress me more next time.

Friar Tuck Beverage in Savoy, IL
91 out of 100 based on 24 ratings.