Ledger's Liquors

Your Rating: None

Type: Store

1399 University Ave
Berkeley, California, 94702-1710
United States

(510) 540-9243 | map

None provided.

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Reviews: 54 | Ratings: 61
Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
4.7/5  rDev +8.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Ledger's is one of the biggest surprises I've found in the San Francisco Bay Area. From the outside, it doesn't look like much; in fact, it doesn't look like much from the inside either. It looks like a typical "hole-in-the-wall" liquor store.

But the beer selection IS very impressive. In fact, I'd rate it the #3 beer store in the entire San Francisco Bay Area; it's probably on par with Healthy Spirits in San Francisco in terms of overall selection, but Ledger's has better prices. Only Perry's in Livermore (#1) and Monument in Concord (#2) have more beer in my estimation.

The owner pretty much leaves you to browse unless you have questions for him, which I like, and then he's very helpful. You'll find some very nice surprises here. However, it'd be really nice if they updated their website to list their beer selection, as many other big beer stores do.

All in all, an excellent beer store.

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Photo of redbird
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%

What else can be said about this place? It's amazing. One of the best beer stores I've been in. They carry just about everything you could possibly want. One great thing that they do is the price sticker on every bottle has a month on it, so for all those bottles that don't have a born on date, you at least know when they got it.

The only knock I would have them is that the bottles are really scattered around, meaning not all the bottles from one brewery, or even the same beer, are in one place. This just means you need to really look hard and you could possibly find a hidden gem.

I didn't catch his name, but I had a great conversation with the guy working the counter, and he gave me a recipe for some beer pancakes that I can't wait to try out.

If I ever find myself in San Fran again, I'll definitely be going back.

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Photo of excal
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

I went to Ledger's about a week ago in very much a RR mood. There just wasn't anywhere nearby (outside of the city, which I hate to drive into) that had ANY RR. The closest to me was Petaluma market, which was A) not that close and B) kinda pricey (5 bucks for a Pliny) so I went to Berkeley specifically looking on stocking my fridge up with Pliny. Well I did find some VERY fresh Pliny (this was a Saturday, "bottled on" date was the Monday of THAT WEEK), but I also left there with some oak-aged Damnation 23, Consecration and Beatification, and a BB XXI that had just come in that week to boot. I could have also had some regular Damnation, Temptation, Blind Pig and at least one other 'ation I can't remember. I don't have too much to add to what other reviewers have mentioned, (and if I did, it wouldn't be too coherent, as I've got most of the 750mL Damnation in me right now,) but this is very definitely a great place for beer.

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Photo of DaveHS
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%

Ledger's is a little out of the way (unless you live in Berkeley) but it's always worth the trip. Whenever I go here, I find things I thought were completely gone. For instance, last time I went in I saw a dozen or so bottles of Angel's Share. They were in the refrigerator. That's the thing about Ledger's...you can find all sorts of rare and interesting beers, but they are completely disorganized. I get the impression that most of the people who work there don't know a whole lot about beer. Ledger's has been around for a long time, and they have serious connections. Last year they were selling Lost Abbey Red Poppy and Older Viscosity from behind the counter.
So overall, a great beer spot, but you will need some time to poke around.

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Photo of mjl21
4.85/5  rDev +12.3%

Every time I go in to Ledger's Liquors I always think about how many times I drove by this place not knowing what was inside.

When you walk in to Ledgers you are greeted by a very loud bell, the kind that you hear in a corner liquor store where you sole purpose is condoms, King Cobra, and Swisher Sweets. But don't let that ring fool you. Immediately to the right of the entrance and in front of you are cases stocked with all kinds of cool glassware. There are rows stocked with tons of good booze and towards the back is where the beer is located. They have a coolers along the wall which are stocked with everything. All of the popular guys are here including RR, HOTD, Port/Lost Abbey, Stone, Deschutes, The Bruery, et. al. You can slo find limited stuff from smaller guys such as Iron Springs and Schooner's.

Besides the beer in coolers there is beer in boxes on the floor and along several shelves. It is always fun to go through the shelves because there is always something new and interesting. They also have shelves dedicated to the Euro offerings. In the back is where they keep the Belgians.

Another nice feature is you can make your own six packs from any of their beers so you are not left feeling burned if you try a beer that you do not like.

The service is outstanding. Ed owns the place and Sonny is his right hand man. Both guys are extremely amiable. I have been told Ledger's is also frequented by bartenders for their rare liquor selection.

If you are visiting this is a must stop as Ledger's has great prices and selection.

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Photo of Arbitrator
4.14/5  rDev -4.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Hard to beat Ledger's Liquors in the Bay Area. I've been frustrated with grocery stores (poor selection) and BevMo (exposure to sunlight), so it's nice to find a store that seems to take its beers seriously.

The quality is top-notch: beer is stored carefully in the back, away from the sun. Several coolers are dedicated just to beer.

The service is excellent. If the staff isn't busy, they'll talk beer with you for a long time.

The selection is great for such a small store. Hair of the Dog, Russian River, imported Belgians. All found here.

I'm very impressed, and more than willing to make the long drive out here to buy stuff. A price comparison against BevMo finds BevMo cheaper for the stuff they do carry, but I'd trust this store to assure quality, and I'm willing to pay the $1 or so premium to get that.

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Photo of lhaqq
4.15/5  rDev -3.9%

The best selection I've found so far in Berkeley. A decent selection of good beer and a huge selection of whiskey. The staff was pretty helpful and knowledgeable. Went to the store right when I moved to the area and one of the men working helped me figure out some good local brews to try. They also have a deal for a lot of their beers that you can make your own six pack for a certain price (I think around $8). Haven't been there too many times because it is a bit far from my place, so I end up scrapping up good beers from a few other places that have good beers here and there.

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Photo of BrewerB
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%

My go-to East Bay beer store.

The selection is top notch and they seem to have an "in" with the hard-to-find distributors. Prices are very reasonable compared with other shops.

I've found quite a few hard to track down beers including RR sours, old JW Lee's Harvest Ales, and limited edition Port Brewing.

The staff is friendly and more than willing to talk beer with you if you've got the time. They often give you a head's up on what beers might be in stock down the road if you ask the right questions.

Parking is free, too if you park in their lot (enter off University Ave.)

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Photo of gubbt
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%

I've been going here for about a year now as a regular stop. Ed does a very good job of getting all the rare west coast micros and Belgian beers that he can.

Ledger's and Monument in Concord are the two places on the East Bay to go for rare releases like Abyss, Firestone Anniv., SA Utopias, and RR sours. Ledger's also has a great selection of other stuff consisting of Port/Lost Abbey, Stone, some odd micros here and there, and rare Belgian beer. Ed also goes out of his way to get beers that he can't get through normal means.

Also, Ed has a good selection of single malts if you're into that sort of thing. Prices are $0.50-$1.50 more than other places, but that should not be a deterrent from coming here and getting some great beer.

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Photo of aforbes10
3.85/5  rDev -10.9%

I stopped here yesterday on my way to visit a friend in San Francisco. I was excited because it was to be my first trip to a really good store since i arrived in CA (slim pickings further north so far). I found the place, which is sort of run down, though not disagreeably so. Walked in and started looking around and decided to grab a cart for the goodies. They had a lot of Port Brewing and Russian River and Lost Abbey, which was nice since i dont see those up here (RR coming soon to Davis though!) Import selection was fairly wide-ranging, as was the west coast beer selection. I have to say that i didnt see anything mind blowing, but a pretty good selection nonetheless. Paid a decent amount for what i got and talked to the clerk a bit, who said that they rotate the selection every couple of weeks or so. Id stop in again if in the area, its a good store.

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Photo of OStrungT
4/5  rDev -7.4%

I stopped by this place on a trip to Jupiter, and on the advice of my beer loving mom. It looks like any liquor store from the outside until you notice the Dogfish Head sign in the window. That tips off what is to come. Inside you are greated with a good selection of beer glasses. I can not comment on their price because I want shopping for them, but it is always good to know where to find a good glass.

The beer is all the way to the back of the store. One full wall with a cooler, and a nother smaller cooler on an adjacent wall. Then one row both sided with many beers, and another one sided row. They had a lot of stuff. No Dogfish Head, which was a let down from seeing the sign.

I got a lot of Russian River stuff, saw lots of Lost Abbey, and lots of great Belgain beers. After 7 months on deployment in the Gulf of Oman, this store was like being a kid in a candy store. Definately something for everyone.

I dropped about $100 and was happy with the beers I got. Some of the reviews say this place is a little pricey, but I really cant comment because after being out of the country for 7 months with the current state of the economy, and the hop shortage, I am just not as up to date on current prices as I should be.

Overall: This place is great. It a little out of my way, but as I plan to stop by Jupiter again in the future, I will definately stop bace here.

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Photo of flexabull
4.05/5  rDev -6.3%

A nice easy stop just a few blocks off the highway.

Looks can be deceiving. From the outside this looks like your average run down wino shop. But inside there is a pretty nice selection of beers. Focus seems to be on Belgium and California. Saw tons of Belgians, and great Cali stuff like Russian River, Lost Abbey, and Marin.

Wish more of the beer was stored in the cooler, but it didn't look like they had a whole lot of space.

Service was fine. Nobody really to help you shop, but I usually like it that way.

Prices were a bit high, but not outrageous. Maybe a $1 or so higher than normal.

Definitely worth checking out.

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Photo of urwatuh8
4.7/5  rDev +8.8%

Somehow, I have never reviewed this place. I live maybe a mile away, and this is my go to store. I see some complaining about the price, but on most stuff it's not much more than bevmo. And bevmo doesn't move five to ten cases of every Russian River release. Or have a huge collection of obscure belgian stuff. In my opinion, this place has the best selection in the bay area. (By a nose, there are several close competitors.) I can probably think of one or two places on the east coast that are more impressive. Very handy to have nearby in case I have a sudden urge for, say, a good gueuze and I don't happen to have any on hand.

The stuff is friendly too, and Ed definitely knows his beer. I'm not usually looking for recommendations so much as info on what's coming in and when and such.

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Photo of reade
2.6/5  rDev -39.8%

Went here while on business, as I frequently seek out good stuff I can't get in the backward state of Texas, and the reviews said this place was one of the best. Initially, this place seemed pretty cool - good selection of some of my favorite but harder to find Belgians, all the CA micros, etc. - but then I noticed some of the prices were way out of line. One that sticks in my mind was Ommegang Three Philosophers for $14.99 a bottle. I told the guy behind the counter (who appeared to be more than just a clerk) that most places sell it for about $8-9, even in Texas, where it's pretty common. He didn't bat an eye.

My brother lives in Berkeley and has stopped going there altogether, since the prices are ridiculous and many of the bottles (which are mostly outside of the cooler) are beginning to collect dust. This place may have been a welcome novelty at one time, but price does matter and I suspect they will either get real or fade away. I hope it's the former, but it may take more than this infrequent traveller to send them a message.

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Photo of bbothen
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%

Ledger's is my go to spot to stock up.

Ed is an awesome guy. Always friendly and goes out of his way to get beers you won't find at the run of the mill stores around the bay.

The beer aisles are kinda sorted by region, but are in a slight state of disarray. This makes hunting fun. About 10 fridges stocked with cold selections.

A regular stock of Stone, Bear Republic, Deschutes, Port, Lost Abbey, etc. An excellent belgian selection as well. I've got some gems here I wouldn't find elsewhere like Older Viscosity, The Abyss, Firestone 11, Schooner Old Woody, Port Signature, etc.

If you're looking for one of the 2 best selections in the bay area, this is it. You might pay a dollar or two more, but it's worth it. Support the good guys like Ed, they deserve it.

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Photo of bcm119
4.6/5  rDev +6.5%

Ledger's seems to just keep improving. It has a great selection of California beer and Belgians, all displayed in a random fashion to make your beer hunt a little more fun. The owner is knowledgeable, friendly and not the least bit pretentious. He really caters to the beer enthusiast by seeking out stuff that can't be found elsewhere in the bay area, and when he has something really special like Abyss he'll keep it in the back so you have to ask for it-- thereby saving his stock for the enthusiasts. There are new things arriving all the time so frequent trips here are recommended. As a nice bonus he carries a good selection of glasses. All this in a seedy liquor store atmosphere... it doesn't get much better.

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Photo of Lothore
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Let me start off by saying I love small beer stores but absolutely have not been impressed with any stores in the Bay Area. While City Beer has its advantages, driving into the city sucks any way you look at it and the vibe there is just too cramped in my opinion. In comes Ledger's Liquors. While this is in a fairly decent part of town, this store looks to be like just another run down liquor store from the outside...WRONG! When one approaches closer there is a wide variety of glassware in the window. As I started to peruse the isles of beer I absolutely loved how things weren't very organized but there was enough room for them to be spread out. This lead to a treasure hunt for beer and I ended up finding some gems. What was also amazing was that every 6 pack I saw could be broken up into singles (and there were quite a few). I hate it when expensive six packs can be broken up but the common or cheap ones usually can't at normal stores, there is no such problem here. I found 4 Russian River Brews here as well as a good selection of Lost Abbey/Port Brewing, etc etc. While the selection wasn't mindblowing, it was great for the Bay Area. The prices weren't all that bad. From other reviews I was expecting this place to be super expensive but it seems to only be a matter of a buck or two here and there off from bevmo and I would much rather give ledgers my business. After I paid and was about to leave I remembered that I wanted a bottle of water so I went up to the counter and took my wallet out only to have the owner tell me not to worry about it and to enjoy the beer. Great service, awesome vibe, this place is hard to beat.

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Photo of illidurit
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Ledger's is a must-go place for me whenever I visit friends in Berkeley. Their selection is really quite amazing, with 3 aisles of unrefrigerated beer shelves along with almost a full wall of beer in cooler windows.
I always find a big selection of Hair of the Dog, Drake's, and Moylan's, along with lots of other Norcal micros. They usually have some Russian River too. San Diego area beers often have a hard time getting up here to Norcal but the owners have been known to travel down there and bring beer back for resale. Port Brewing and Stone are usually on the shelves, but I haven't seen any AleSmith here.
Belgians are also well-accounted for. Plenty of Cantillon, Fantome, Drie Fonteinen, and St Bernardus, as well as some more obscure stuff. The unrefrigerated shelves are disorganized and a delight to search through for hidden gems.

Service is good. If the owners are there you can strike up a good beer conversation because they know their stuff. Friendly and helpful.

Prices are a bit higher than average, which is pretty normal for Bay Area specialty shops.

A beer tour of the Bay Area must make a stop here.

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Photo of Murchmac
4.85/5  rDev +12.3%

Ding Dong. The loud noise bellows as you walk into this ratty looking homeless shopping liquor store. When you wander past the ice cream, scratch tickets, and cheap vodka, you find yourself smacked in the face with some of the best beer selection i've ever seen. They have everything there. Lots of belgians, lots of holiday beers, aged beers, pizza port, lost abbey, drakes special releases. Great store, I wish i lived closer to it. The staff was friendly and knowledgable. It's a bit pricey, but worth the price if you enjoy good beers.

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Photo of fartingdog
4.65/5  rDev +7.6%

Since I shop here regularly, I figure it's time to throw out a review.

The selection here is the best in the bay. I've been to every quality liquor store listed on beerfly, and this still is my #1 choice. When I worked in Berkeley, I would stop here at the end of every week after the deliveries, since there is almost always something new on the shelves. The selection has been growing over the years as well. Plenty of British, German, Belgian and domestic craft brews abound, as well as many from other parts (such as Lithuania and Sweden). They've gone out of the way to bring unique beers into the store, including road trip to places like San Diego to bring up beers that weren't distributed here.

The shelves can be a little haphazard, as certain stock dwindles down and new stuff comes in. You can't just walk down the aisle and see everything neatly organized, but that's OK tho. It becomes like a treasure hunt when you find that one bottle stuck behind some other stock, so plan on spending some time to peruse the shelves here. Prices can be a little higher for some beers, but seem to be on par with all the other privately owned (read: not BevMo) establishments around here.

Everybody that works there is very helpful, and the owner, Ed, is a great guy, very knowledgable of what he carries, and has lately been pushing alot of beer and food pairing. Seems nowadays my visits are social calls as much as perusing the shelves.

If you are visiting and can only make one stop, this is the place.

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Photo of rayjay
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%

Ed really stepped it up in the last year or so. I used to think this store was alright, but the selection has doubled since I first came here about 4 years ago. Not much of a looker from the outside, but the first few beers you find on the shelves will make you realize that this store is something special.

Prices are a bit on the high side, but I can totally justify that because Ed TOTALLY goes out of his way to get rare beers on the shelf...like going to San Diego and putting Port brews up for sale. Cheers to that! He may not have every beer, but there are always some gems, and usually stuff that nobody else has in the area, so the selection gets a hearty 4.5.

Service here is a rare treat, perhaps matched only by City Beer across the bridge. I love owners who know alot about beer and love to talk the talk. He'll also suggest some local places to grab a pint if you're from out of town.

Cons: not open on Sundays or Mondays, when it would be oh so convenient to grab some bottles on the way out of town after spending a weekend. Cheers!

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Photo of Talisker
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%

Rivaled only by SF's City Beer Store and possibly Healthy Spirits for best beer store in the Bay Area.

At first glance Ledger's is just a typical run-down liquor store in a not-so-great neighborhood. But start poking around the unkempt shelves and you'll find a mind-boggling selection. Belgians are the focus, and if that's your thing, there's no place better. Obscurity in general seems to be the other focus - certainly a place for the beer geek. Ed's nice when he's there, otherwise you're likely to be ignored by the staff (not necessarily a bad thing).

I personally would prefer a little more exploration of California beers. Certainly this a great place to stop for your Bear Republic, Stone, Marin, Moylan's, even occasionally Russian River - but much of that can be had at BevMo for significantly lower prices. Where's the Pizza Port, AleSmith, or anything interesting from Oregon or Colorado?

Nothing's organized, so you just look at every single bottle on every single shelf. Actually pretty fun. Exceptional glassware selection.

Prices are high relative to BevMo, City Beer Store, or other decent retailers. But it doesn't particularly matter - if you're doing a beer tour of the Bay Area, Ledger's should be on your list as the first stop outside of San Francisco.

Note that they're closed on Sundays and Mondays, so be careful planning a trip.

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Photo of CraftBC
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%

The best beer store in the East Bay – only Monument in Concord comes close. It has a broad selection of craft beers (I counted over 257 in early February 2007) and it specializes in Belgian beers (with about 75). New finds included Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek, Thomas Hardy’s Ale, Baladin Nora, Oud Beersel Kriek, two Jolly Pumpkin beers, UK beers from HopBack and Cameron, and the Corsedonk and Kerkom Bink series from Belgium. About half the beers are stacked on the floor un-refrigerated – check the coolers first. Prices are about 7% higher than on the same beers at BevMo (148 beers in common – which means over 100 of their beers aren’t available at BevMo!). The owner is an enthusiastic beer lover and will be happy to make some suggestions. The only real downside is the routinely terrible traffic on University Ave.

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Photo of clickpush
4.55/5  rDev +5.3%

Finally, after months of reading about Ledger's, I trekked out there from SF to see what all the fuss was about. Immediately I understood. Belgians out the wazoo... that's all I have to say. Tons of 750ml bottles had hopped across the pond and landed in Ledger's and Ledger's only. Three full aisles of room temp beer and another 1.5 aisles of beer coolers. I loved the disorganization, the half empty cases, and all the mysterious labels - this is beer shopping at its best. When there's this good of a variety, I don't want to skim the shelves that are billboarded by brewing company - I want to be forced to look at every label and say "ooooh, I've read about this one" - one after another after another. Only reason that selection is not a 5 is because I felt that there were some obvious holes in the California selections (though some small distribution So. Cal beers had somehow made their way there), but I did not see a single Russian River or AleSmith selection, some of which are quite easy to locate in other stores in the Bay Area. But nonetheless, here's what I came away with (after negotiating a budget w/ myself (which I then promptly exceeded))...
-Fuller's Vintage Ale 2004, $7.95 / 500ml
-Unibroue Edition 2004, $9.25 / 750ml
-Urthel Quadrium, $9.50 / 750ml
-Belhaven Twisted Thistle, $3.25 / 500ml
-Firestone Walker Porter Reserve, $4.59 / 22oz
-Fantome's La Gourmande, $11.95 / 750ml
-Brouwerij St. Bernardus Grotten Brown, $9.25 / 750ml
-Brouwerij St. Bernardus Grotten Flemish Ale, $9.25 / 750ml

Okay, so the walk back to the BART station was a slow one, but well worth it. Service here did not appear until I was checking out, but they were friendly and extremely beer savvy, which surprised me as my experience has been that at a beer/liquor/wine store the clerks focus most heavily on wine, then liquor, then beer.

Anyway, this will not be the last time I am swiping the plastic through Ledger's machines.

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Photo of stephendr
4.15/5  rDev -3.9%

This liquor store has a good beer selection for the size it is . A lot of high end beers mostly Belgians , but a lot of California micro brew as well . Small walk in cooler , so not a lot of cold inventory most of the beer is on a dry shelf ( for me this is good and bad ). The best aspect of the store is that they had glassware and not just the standard stuff . Worth a peek if you are in the area but not worth a special trip . However , the beer guy was friendly and honest in regards to beers I had not tried previously .

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Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA
Place rating: 4.32 out of 5 with 61 ratings