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Best Website to Purchase Rare Beer

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by dwagner003, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. dwagner003

    dwagner003 Poobah (1,085) California Jan 4, 2013 Beer Trader

    Hello, fellow beer enthusiasts. I am just starting my beer collection and I am wondering if there is any proven website where they sell some of the more rare and coveted beers.. Or even interesting beers that you don't find in most places.

    Recently, I was lucky enough to email a site where a guy directed me to a place down the road that sold Pliny the Elder.

    Any help for the new guy would be thoroughly appreciated.
  2. dwagner003

    dwagner003 Poobah (1,085) California Jan 4, 2013 Beer Trader

    Any thoughts on this?
  3. Eriktheipaman

    Eriktheipaman Champion (805) California Sep 4, 2010 Beer Trader

    Being in San Marcos you should just keep an eye out on shops around San Diego. There are tons and tons of small liquor stores and hell even gas stations that have gems sitting around.
  4. stxSS07

    stxSS07 Initiate (0) Illinois Nov 23, 2010

    My thoughts are: there is probably a reason why nobody replied to your thread.

    Sweet bump doe.
  5. dwagner003

    dwagner003 Poobah (1,085) California Jan 4, 2013 Beer Trader

    Wow, how about because it was being reviewed by moderators for a while in the beginning and didn't get posted until it was on the second page where no one saw it? Sweet response, "doe".
  6. searsclone

    searsclone Savant (370) Arizona Sep 7, 2006

    There are a few people who will disagree with me, but, personally, have had really good luck with letspour.com
  7. loafinaround

    loafinaround Savant (415) New York Jul 16, 2011 Verified

    I've searched many times.... nada. The rare gems almost always are purchased in a shop. best bet: "like" your local craft brew shop on facebook and then you'll get notified when a gem comes in. Never got lucky any other way.
  8. stxSS07

    stxSS07 Initiate (0) Illinois Nov 23, 2010

    I'm just sayin' is all.

    What's your definition of "rare beer"? That'll probably help someone provide you with more helpful information.
    CityofBals likes this.
  9. If everyone knew the websites to purchase "rare beer," that "rare beer" wouldn't be so rare anymore, now would it?
  10. fLax

    fLax Zealot (90) North Dakota Feb 20, 2011

    BA probably isn't the best spot to ask for the best place to buy walez...it's kind of like going on a catholic website forum and asking for the best places to get an abortion
  11. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poobah (1,415) Wyoming Sep 14, 2002 Verified

    I wish I could say there is one site that carries and offers MANY rare beers on their online site but I haven't found one and I wasn't surprised by that. Rare=Rare for a reason.
    Rare beers, so to speak, are all over the board and the country(US) so you'll just have to visit the stores on an individual basis to see what you can get.
    utopiajane likes this.
  12. kevanb

    kevanb Champion (785) Illinois Apr 4, 2011 Beer Trader


    welcome to trading, funeral services for your wallet are to the left and to your right are the meetings for addicts, enjoy your stay.
  13. dwagner003

    dwagner003 Poobah (1,085) California Jan 4, 2013 Beer Trader

    Well, as an example, I've seen a site where a guy sells Westy 12 because he lives close to the Abbey.. Something like that would be a helpful suggestion.
  14. EJLinneman

    EJLinneman Savant (455) New Jersey Mar 2, 2009 Beer Trader

    Just go to stores and buy what's interesting. You should have no problem with that living in Southern California.
    dianimal likes this.
  15. If it's rare it won't be found online. You're a few years too late to the party for that...
  16. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poobah (1,415) Wyoming Sep 14, 2002 Verified

    It all depends on one's definition of rare. I bought Imperial Stout Trooper and Ivan The Terrible online..
  17. beerinmaine

    beerinmaine Aficionado (235) Maine Jun 20, 2009

    Somebody should tell the abbey about him, so they can stop selling to him. Advertising resale of a product that's explicitly not for resale? Really?

    Here's how you get rare beers: you go to bottle shops or breweries and buy them. You get to know bottle shop owners and brewers in hopes of getting tips about when things are coming out. And you buy things that are readily available to you, but unavailable to others far away, and you trade.

    For example, you live in CA, so you could easily get all the rare and limited special things from The Bruery or Firestone Walker. You could trade some of those to people in, for example, Maine, who can get things much more rare than Westy, i.e. Allagash limited releases of only a few hundred bottles. You might want a friend in Vermont who can help with Hill and Lawson's, and a friend in Richmond VA for Hardywood. etc.

    Some of the commercial sites (i.e. letspour.com) can be useful for beers that aren't especially rare, but aren't distributed to your part of the world.
  18. Steimie

    Steimie Initiate (0) Michigan Jan 7, 2012

    Get involved in some LIF's. I've ended up with lots of good regular trading partners that way.
  19. Yeah, I'm not saying you can't find the occasional gem online, but it's quite rare, and stuff isn't just sitting around for months waiting for somebody to come along and buy it based on a forum suggestion. And even then, IST isn't terribly rare, it just doesn't have very wide distro.
  20. Stevedore

    Stevedore Poobah (1,065) Wisconsin Nov 16, 2012 Beer Trader

    Make time for beer trips, even weekenders.
    kirkfrailey likes this.
  21. stayclean

    stayclean Savant (370) Wisconsin Mar 17, 2012

    I hope you keep your beer "collection" in your stomach. ;)
  22. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poobah (1,415) Wyoming Sep 14, 2002 Verified

    No no no. Though I do have a Christmas Ale and a Coronation Ale headed m;) y way.
  23. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Advocate (625) New Jersey Mar 6, 2008 Beer Trader

    A lot of BA's feel that buying a rare or hard to get beer in order to resell it wrong.
    DrDaves49 likes this.
  24. CityofBals

    CityofBals Initiate (0) Illinois Sep 12, 2012

    Is Etre or BIAB hated by any BA's? I think they provide a great service. But scalping online through eBay/CL is a completely different can of worms.
    kojevergas likes this.
  25. WesM63

    WesM63 Advocate (720) Ohio Nov 6, 2011

    As other's have mentioned, shelf whales shouldn't be a problem to find online (Parabola, etc Limited distro releases). Rare whales however are going to require a trip to the brewery on release day (aka Dark Lord, Darkness, Black Tuesday, etc)

    Then again, you can always trade.
    dachshunddude86 likes this.
  26. Wouldn't it be more rare since everyone would end up trying to buy it leaving less out there for those in the know?
  27. DCgolfpro

    DCgolfpro Advocate (575) Maryland Oct 26, 2011 Beer Trader

    I've had good luck with qualityliquorstore.com and bottletrek.
    harperman69 likes this.
  28. CityofBals

    CityofBals Initiate (0) Illinois Sep 12, 2012

    I'd think the only thing affecting the rarity of a beer is how many bottles there are, how one acquires the beer affects the value.
  29. luwak

    luwak Savant (395) Arizona Mar 2, 2010 Beer Trader

    I think you are getting a hard shake from some people here but you may not understand why.

    Most of the really rare stuff never makes it to the internet save the personal social (not commercial sites): craigslist, (formally and maybe still?) ebay, and places like *. But not on the "legit" retail sites.

    I'd suggest two things to you

    (1) You live near the some of the best beer selections in the world.


    You have to go into the shops and buy stuff and get to know the proprietors and check their websites, facebook pages etc., and over time you'll end up in the appropriate loops to know when stuff will show up. Read the Pacific Forum here at BA. If you can get past everybody being snarky and obnoxious and too cool for everything you'll find lots of useful info on where to go. There is a thread on this (good bottle shops in Southern California) like every two weeks

    (2) Search the forums more carefully. There are many threads about the various online retail outlets with plenty of opinions and people tell you what they've been able to get. You'll find some gems/rare beers on these sites if you check them religiously (and depending on your definition of "rare" or "gem" but not many.

    Mostly if you want really rare stuff you have to
    (1) go to release parties at breweries/beer bars
    (2) get to be known at the bottle shops and check in frequently so you can get there before the truck chasers
    (3) trade with nice folks
  30. True, which is more reason why most BA's would not want to share that information.
    dachshunddude86 likes this.
  31. FEUO

    FEUO Initiate (0) Ontario (Canada) Jul 24, 2012

    Another "what do you consider rare?" post.
    If you want Pliny/Supplication it can be found, but not readily available.
    If you want Heady then I can't help you.
    If you want Parabola, it can also be found.

    The thrill of the hunt is always huge fun. Spoon feeding you answers to where to find walez takes away from that.

    Trading helps. But I am not a fan as I want to drink EVERYTHING I acquire. :p
    JxExM likes this.
  32. seeswo

    seeswo Advocate (535) Ohio Jan 10, 2010 Beer Trader

    By definition, the beer wouldn't be rare and coveted if you could buy it online. It certainly wouldn't be any good - because rare is THE measure of quality here.
    Brew33 likes this.
  33. homebrew311

    homebrew311 Advocate (595) Illinois May 19, 2008 Beer Trader

    Hermthegerm and buffs9 like this.
  34. lonewolfcry

    lonewolfcry Champion (875) Minnesota Dec 7, 2007 Beer Trader

    It's like asking a fisherman for GPS coordinates to his "honey hole".
    Ain't gonna happen!
    Besides - you're not going to find the whales online anyway.

    Your time is spent better trying to work a trade, IMO.
    You just better bring some guns to the table.
  35. lonewolfcry

    lonewolfcry Champion (875) Minnesota Dec 7, 2007 Beer Trader

    Read the address on the link.....that's a good one RPH2327!
  36. ThisWangsChung

    ThisWangsChung Champion (805) Maryland Oct 15, 2011 Beer Trader

    To all the people who are saying trade - you can't trade for rare beers without trading other rare beers in the first place.

    Luckily OP, you're in San Marcos, so you shouldn't have much trouble getting and trading Lost Abbey rarities.
  37. Sure you can. People "trade down" all the time, it just helps to establish trading partners and/or a good rep in the community. You get what you give in this hobby...
    seeswo and highdesertdrinker like this.