Ledger's Liquors

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60 Ratings

Type: Store

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

(510) 540-9243 | map

No notes at this time.

Added by GClarkage on 07-01-2005

View: Place Reviews
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Ratings: 60 |  Reviews: 53
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 DaveJanssen
3.56/5  rDev -17.6%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

They had a great selection, though it was clear that much of it was very old and may not have been taken care of. Some coolers had significant amounts of mold growing on labels. There was not much organization, so they may have what you're looking for, but it might be hidden behind a jumble of other random beers you'll find in three other places throughout the store. They still had the jubel 2010, old guardian 2010 and mirror mirror in the coolers, which was surprising. All in all a great selection, but Im concerned how well they care for their beer.

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Photo of TheStove
3.74/5  rDev -13.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Worth your time if you're around Berkeley and need some beer.

Impressive selection of Belgians for sure. Tons of stuff from Witkap to Petrus to Chouffe to a few I didn't even know. Prices are decent and stuff can be scattered which is kind of bad if you are in a rush but great if you're looking to do a little beer hunting and see what's around.

Good selection of craft stuff; definitely didn't recognize some bottles on the shelf and was unfortunately on foot so couldn't buy too much. Great selection of beer glasses too if you're looking to build a beer den. Prices are about on par, if not a dollar better, than most other places.

Service was good; received a greeting upon entering and I think I was helped by the one guy who knows where every beer in the store is. Recommended if you're in the area or considering "quality of earest liquor store" while apartment hunting.

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Photo of eyeenjoybeer
3.74/5  rDev -13.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

I visit this place every time I visit friends in Berkeley.

The store is a nondescript front on University, and the inside pretty much bottles, bottles, bottles. The selection includes all of the Bay Area favorites: RR, 21st Amendment, Lagunitas, Moylan's, et al. as well as many other California brews. Beyond this, they have fun stuff like Jolly Pumpkin and a slew of other domestics. Their foreign collection is pretty good as well. However, I am curious about how long some of the bottles have been there on the floor.

The staff has been friendly, unlike some notes of the previous posters who have claimed a paranoid response from whoever is working. Their prices for PtE, for example, are the best I have ever found. The rest of their pricing is very reasonable.

I will always stop by here when in the area.

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Photo of biggbossmanng
3.85/5  rDev -10.9%

I visited Ledger's after having it recommended by a few friends and coworkers as a quality liquor store. What I found was a mish-mash array of quality brews from everywhere, commingled and (sometimes)dusty and otherwise waiting to be scoured. While the approach of the store requires a bit of work, it would be hard to complain about combing through a collection of beer. I walked out of Ledger's sporting a new tote bag awarded at the time of my purchase, which was filled with a few imported bottles of Bierre de Garde, a 750mL bottle of Duchesse de Borgogne, and some lemon bitters(the impetus of my visit). A fun place to find some new treasures, I'll be back...

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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 Seanibus
3.85/5  rDev -10.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

A fairly run-of-the-mill liquor store that just happens to have an amazing, if extremely disorganized, beer selection. There is an aisle of imports and a couple of islands of domestics, with a good selection of regionals and locals, but a scattering of good East Coast offerings (Including some oddballs that are hard to find out West, such as Victory's Otto). Did I mention that it was disorganized? Because it is - take some time and pick through the selection carefully because there are treasures back in there somewhere. I didn't speak with the staff, but I overheard some conversations with customers that suggested they are friendly and knowledgeable and love beer themselves.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.98/5  rDev -7.9%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25

There is certainly a lot of beer going on here. My only complaint would be that there seems to be a haphazard style of organizing it for display. Stuff here, stuff there, stuff everywhere. Don't be too let down when you walk in and the place seems old and run down. There certainly is a lot here that will keep you happy. But if you live in San Francisco, or this is out of your way, I can't really suggest the trek. It is 1.5 miles from Jupiter though, if you feel like doing the two-fer thing.

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Photo of brywhite
4/5  rDev -7.4%

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 PeprSprYoFace
4.05/5  rDev -6.3%

Ok my 3.0 on quality is not because they don't take care of the beer but because... It's every where. They literally have boxes on the floor stacked up and made to look like a display but you have to search through the boxes and open some and check lables just to make sure your not missing out on anything good. I almost missed the Abyss because it wasn't opened and buried under a couple other boxes. Also I'm pretty sure they are suppose to be cold storing the Pliney and Blind pig but it was out with the other beers. There was also a bottle of Cuvee de Tomme I had to move some bottles around to find.

You do have to check this place out though if you wanna find some rare beers and a nice selection of beers you won't find else where. But it's just bad business to not take care ogf your stock. They would sell so much more if it was there and you could see it without having to search.

Staff was helpful in helping us locate a Utopias. They seemed to be knowledgable enough too.

Prices were very fair too. They weren't trying to stick you with extra cost for the more rare offerings.

Allin all. Go check it out. Yull find some awesome beers. I just wish they would get it together so you don't have to search.

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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 coldriver
4.1/5  rDev -5.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

visited on December 23. Pretty non-descript look from the outside, but what a joy on the inside. Two aisles of beer seemingly randomly dispersed. It would easy to spend at least an hour digging through the inventory, but the 20 minutes I had was very enjoyable. Very high quality selections from Russian River, Alesmith, Belgians, etc. Some selections were a bit dusty, which in a way is a good thing (you know it might be a little old rather than trying to guess among dusted bottles). Prices were reasonable. A very solid east Bay bottle shop.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.1/5  rDev -5.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Quality, lots of it. No problems there, lots of high end and limited quantity stuff.

Service, I've never had anyone ask to help me, but no big deal, I like looking around and I'll ask if I need help.

Selection: Problems. Where are the six packs? They carry like less than a dozen six packs. Its all bombers and the like. Sure, that has its place, but the 6er should not be an endangered species.

The organization is highly lacking. There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to the arrangement of bottles. Its a small place, but that should mean they should have the place organized better, to maximize the limited floorspace. Gotta love that selection that close to campus though.

EDIT: The owner was running almost 1/2 hour late before the IPA festival, I almost gave up hope. Dude gave me 10% off on my order to make it up to me, without asking. Gotta bump up the service points for that.

But I will repeat: Dude, 6 packs.

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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 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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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 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 veinless
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%

Don't let the shady environs, initially paranoid Indian guy, and disorganization get to you - this is a great beer store. Good selection of Russian river, along with limited releases from locals like firestone walker. I picked up hoptimum there, and they also have a great selection of Deschutes and Colorado beers. Tougher to find east coast stuff, but you cant have everything I guess. Lots of glassware too. Prices are reasonable, similar to those at Berkeley bowl west. This is your local spot if you go to Berkeley.

UPDATE: My roommate tried buying beer there, as he turned 21 in December. He was told his license had expired and therefore his id must be a fake. Ten minutes of arguing + paperwork for his temporary license until he gets a new license yielded no results. These guys are flat out paranoid, so build a good rapport early if you can.

UPDATE AGAIN: They really warm up once you go a couple times, that initial paranoia is irritating though. As a young beer lover it puts me off a bit that store owners wouldn't be excited for people to bypass the dumb binge drinking phase and truly appreciate beer, but they may have had some bad experiences in the past so they deserve the benefit of the doubt.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.21/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Oh goodness, this place is a mess. As in, pure chaos. You’re going to see dust. A lot of dust. But you’ll also find the freshest IPAs in the neighborhood. (They’ll even let you know—I saw signs in the refrigerated section saying “This was bottled 2 days ago.”) The up-sell feels a little too pushy, but the beer selection made the visit worth it.

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Photo of Tiburon
4.21/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

I must say that this establishment met all my expectations regarding being highly disorganized and also a gold mine of beer. I was lucky enough to be witness to a Pliny the Elder beer event. I entered the store at about 4:30pm on a Wednesday. I first noticed a case of Blind Pig sitting in an aisle, opened but no price tags on the bottles. I immediately knew this was a significant find, after having searching various San Fran liquor stores for Pliny/ RR and only scoring a bottle of Damnation at Whole Foods on Haight Street.

So I keep searching through the train wreck of beer selection at Ledger, and eventually find a case of Pliny which still had about 15 bottles left, w a price tag of $4.18. So I grab one bottle, mindful of the fact that my checked luggage only has so much room before I reach the 50 pound limit. Also factoring in that I enjoy my home state New Glarus beers much more that Pliny. So I know I am sitting on a gold mine, and I keep searching.

Then I start talking to an older guy in the store w his 20 something college? kid. He tells me that earlier this year he stood in line for 5 hours at a Pliny the Younger event, etc etc. I grab a second bottle as I see a frenzy developing. Meanwhile an older foreign dude that works at the place said he just put the case of Pliny out an hour ago, and that he has one more that his is shelving that day. So dude’s kid gets a hand basket and puts maybe four bottles in, after asking jefe if there is a limit on bottles. Then some other bozo comes in and swoops up the remainder of the case, which at that point was about 8. So I talk w my guy for a while longer, then head for the check out. I cashed out, then look at the glassware at the store entrance for a short time. I go to my car, and see another patron giving the stink eye to the guy who walked out w the 8 pack of Pliny. He pulls out in his Subaru, and I follow shortly afterwards. I come around the corner in the parking lot, and I am blocked in. I say WTF, then see the Pliny pig walk to the back of his vehicle holding the front headlight ensemble for his vehicle. I believe he made a wide and hasty turn, bumped into the guard rail and knocked out his head light…..

Anyway, Ledger has a ginormous selection of beer and other spirits. Be patient while you search through the shelves, and you will find something good. I did visit at 10am the next day, and the aisles were clear. I believe they stock the shelves during the day, and get interrupted by the waves of customers coming through. So it depends on what time of day that you come through. They have a dedicated parking lot also, which is a definite plus in Berkeley. There is a Trader Joe’s a couple blocks down the street, which has a decent selection of beer and their own parking lot.

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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 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 CommanderOfAwesome
4.31/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 5

Recently moved to the area and have been looking around without success for a great craft beer store. I heard about this store from a friend whose also into craft beer.

Rode my bike to check it out, and their selection is massive. Bring some spare time when you're there because you're going to have to dig. There's very little organization to the store other than most belgians are on one side of one of the aisles. Also be careful about what you buy, particularly with IPAs. They don't really rotate their stock or remove old beers (least not that I could tell). But the price tags all say when they got the beer which is nice. Prices are some of the best I've seen, and pretty reasonable with a great selection.

I wouldn't say the staff is all that knowledgeable, I asked about when/if they would be getting certain beers like Double Bastard, Darkness, or Firestone Walker Anniversary beers and they didn't know even when they were usually released let alone when they'd be getting it.

Overall best selection I've come across in the Bay Area and that includes SF. friendly staff and prices are right in line. In the area I'd highly suggest checking it out.

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Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA
Place rating: 4.32 out of 5 with 60 ratings