Vulcan Beverage


24 Reviews

Type: Store

417 University Blvd
Birmingham, Alabama, 35205-4413
United States

(205) 328-6275 | map

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Added by ddarden on 08-24-2005

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Reviews: 24 | Ratings: 32
Photo of MOVERTON1284
3/5  rDev -27.9%

I don't frequent this place often anymore because it is in a sketchy area of town and the staff. This was the go to place for craft beer, before it was cool. They have lots of beer and growler taps. Prices are hit or miss, depends on what you are buying. IMO there are far better beer stores in town with better prices

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Photo of RichardPaul
4.97/5  rDev +19.5%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

What an amazing selection! Perhaps the only thing more impressive is that the guy behind the counter seemed to know something about each one...and there were hundreds! I love the old beer signs and promotional displays. Never seen a keg or growler selection as big, and have made my own six-pack many many times since my first visit. It's always nice to try something new and have it become a favorite!

Highest recommendation. If you live in the area, you're making a mistake to shop anywhere else!

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Photo of dowen17
4.19/5  rDev +0.7%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Nice selection and good service.

The atmosphere is kind of weird. Very dark. Carpeted. Just... Weird.

The guy that was there when I showed up said he didn't even drink beer. I thought that was odd but he still knew his stuff so I guess it's okay.

The selection is much smaller than Highlands and Hop City but they did have some nice stuff.

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Photo of Radiodixon
5/5  rDev +20.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

The selection at this place is INSANE! There's not a keg they can't get (and the kegs are CHEAP!), and they have every beer I've ever wanted. Growlers, too! Service is awesome.
I like the atmosphere, because I think the owner has held on to every promotional item any beer company ever sent him. Stuff on the walls and hanging from the ceiling reminds me of the great beer commercials of my childhood.
They also sell pickled garlic...weird but tasty, and it's brought down my cholestorol immensley!

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Photo of Kalev
4.74/5  rDev +13.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Vulcan Beverage is by far, the best beer selection in Birmingham. Vulcan has hard to find brands that no other store has. These guys have hundreds of hard to find brands. The selection cannot be matched in Birmingham. Their prices are reasonable and I really like the draft beer selection. They have kegs of Abita, Guiness and other unusual draft beer brands. I also really like the fact that you can create your own 6 pack. Any beer can be bought inidividually. The manager there is always helpful and very knowledgeable. This is definitely my new beer store!

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Photo of joshodonn
3.05/5  rDev -26.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 1 | selection: 4

I'm usually not one to leave a negative review, however after my recent experience at Vulcan Beverage I feel obligated to share their questionable business practices with my fellow BAs.

I stopped in to this store during a recent business trip to Birmingham. I have been in to this store many times in the past to pick up stuff that I can't get in FL (Founders, Good People, Boulevard, etc). On this most recent visit I asked the guy who was working about several beers that I was looking for(who is the only guy I've ever seen there, I assumed he was the owner). After he realized that I knew my beer he informed me that they had about 1/2 a case of KBS in the back. At first he made it sound like it wasn't for sale, he said they received one case from the latest release and were initially selling it for $6 a bottle, however after they realized the popularity of this beer they pulled it from the shelf and 'the boss man' told him to sell it for $20 a bottle if anyone would pay that for it.

I realize that business are free to charge whatever prices they want, but I also think what they are doing is very shady. I chose not to pay this ridiculous amount for a single bottle of KBS. I will probably return today and ask to speak with owner and see if he will sell me a bottle or two for a more reasonable price. If not I will never return to this store due to their unethical business practice.

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Photo of TrappistJohnMD
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Vulcan Beverage has a very nice selection of imports. Also, a good selection of taps for growlers. The create-a-six-pack thing is always great too.

Easy to get to from I-65. The location looks a little sketchy but I don't know much about Birmingham, so it may be just fine. I certainly didn't have any problems while I was there.

The service was very friendly and helpful.

Prices were good compared to other places I have visited in the area.

I wish we had a place half as nice as this in Mississippi. Maybe one day we can get our archaic beer laws changed.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4/5  rDev -3.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

In Birmingham for the first time and Check Beer Advocate for places to check out and Vulcan Beverage was listed as a place to I went. The place is typical of an inner city Beverage store except this place sells Growlers!!! Which blew me away. The atmosphere is good once inside..there is many coolers and shelves of beer along with a white board of growlers. The quality is fine...its a beer store and they had a good selection. ONce I walked in I was greeted and asked if I needed help finding anything...said I was looking and he revealed that the have singles for sale at various prices. I was hoping for more Alabama beers...but most was from out of state....alot from seemed. I ended up buying a six which I will try throughout the course of my visit.

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Photo of JayS2629
4.88/5  rDev +17.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I was leery with the barred windows but walked into a beer haven. They had beers I didn't think Alabama could get like Cigar City and hard to find stuff. Awesome selection, and a growler fill with over 20 beers on tap. Picked up some local Good People in a half gallon milk jug. Every bottle in the store was mix your own six. Awesome service, friendly and knowledgeable. Awesome store. The owner went out of his way to make us comfortable and said we could break six packs to mix our own six. Amazing selection of craft beer. Will make it a regular stop on my trips from South to North Alabama.

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Photo of BierGartenok
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%

Love this place!! Always go in when visiting my sister. Always the owner behind the counter and he is very knowledgeable. Awesome idea to make the whole store a Mix-a-six! I always stock up on the local brews (good people brewing..etc) and regional favorites (terrapin, cigar city...etc) Just a great shop and right in the middle of town. Prices are right on point! The owner loves to talk beer and is always very friendly. You must visit this shop when your in Birmingham! They always have the newest things!

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Photo of jpmclaug
4/5  rDev -3.8%

I visited this place to pick up some brews while I was visiting my dad in Alabama.

This place has a large selection and almost everything is available to be purchased as a single. At the back of the store they had a lot of beer in the fridge and a growler fill station. I think the best part of the place is the ability to purchase singles.

Unfortunately they can only fill growler's into plastic containers( I was told it was a state law) so I didn't get a growler but they did have a good selection including beer from Good People brewing. The price's seemed reasonable also.

The service was good overall. The guy in the store was helpful and talked to me and my father for awhile. Only annoyance was when I checked out he asked for my ID(understandable, I've been told I look young). He then scrutinized it for a lot longer than normal and mumbled something about the hologram before ringing me up. I thought that was a little strange considering we had just talked about beer for the past 20 minutes while I selected a bunch of different craft brews. Oh well he was friendly the rest of the time.

I didn't stop at any other stores in Alabama but I couldn't imagine anywhere else having their extensive selection. I would definitely stop by the next time I'm in town to look for something new.

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Photo of PsychoJedi
4.7/5  rDev +13%

The place has a nice selection of beers. Sells mostly micro brews and imports. I, unlike what seems like most, people on this board have no bias for or against macro domestics. You can get much them here, but not in mass quantities like 24 and 30 packs. I know I am in the minority, but I like beer regardless of what is popular or not. The shop in not "on the bad side of town" since it is just past the underpass of I-65 from UAB. The owner is a nice guy that knows his beer very well. I, like many, think the selection on micro brews has been a little hyped up. But, go there to shop within the city limits for your imports and micros.

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Photo of BamaBeerBuff
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Stopped in and picked up 6 singles. Definitely like the fact that you can buy everything in a single. Selection's definitely the best I've seen in Alabama yet. The place I shop at in Tuscaloosa has a few things he didn't, but he had quite a bit more that they didn't have. Obviously, it's impossible to have everything, but the selection COULD be better, that's why I'm not giving it a 5. It's really close to the interstate, and the guy working there was nice, as well. However, I paid almost 16 bucks for 6 12 oz. beers. I realize he's stocking a huge variety of stuff, but that's pretty expensive for 6 beers. I'll stick to my T-Town store from now on, unless Vulcan has something I really want badly.

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Photo of Horsley54
3/5  rDev -27.9%

The staff was really nice and socialable, but i felt like people were playing up the selection a little much. I felt i could get most of the same thing, for a cheaper price at Whole Food. I didn't think there was anything real special about the place. I got two beers that my girlfriend had been looking for, but that was really the only "special" beer i got. The one nice thing was if you were looking for beer and liquor great place to do that. The outside does look a little sketch, but inside it was fine.

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Photo of
4/5  rDev -3.8%

Place looks a little scary, but there is really nothing to worry about.

Quality was fine, I bought 8 beers, and, after drinking 6 of them, have had no issues. Where there was dating information, no problems.

Service was fine. An offer to help when I entered, and some pleasant conversation as I checked out. The guy running the register seemed to know about the beer.

Selection was good, again considering what you can get in Alabama.

Value was a bit pricey, my 8 beers, none of which were anything special, wound up costing about $17. Hard to complain about the price of water when you are stuck in a desert, though....

Overall, pretty easy to get to, right off of I-65. If you are heading through Birmingham, and need some beer, not a bad place to stop.

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Photo of rokoch27
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%

Stopped by after reading so many good reviews when visiting Birmingham and was really impressed by the service. Guy running the place was super nice and even directed me to a good seafood joint nearby. Carries anything that is available in Alabama. Another good part (as advertized on their billboards) is being able to mix a 6-pack. The bad part is that my 6-pack cost like $12. If you are visiting from out of town and want to grab a few individual brews, then stop by here, because it is easy to visit off 65, but if you just want a 6er some something specific, it would be much cheaper to go to like a World Market or something. The real issue when reviewing places in Alabama is the fact that laws restrict so much, so rewiews have to be taken in full context of the environment.

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Photo of harpus
2.9/5  rDev -30.3%

Vulcan Beverage is quick and easy to get to off of Interstate 65. This place is not is the best part of town and has bars on the windows. So far this place has the best selection that I have seen in Birmingham. All the beers are available as single. I dont know how much a six pack of a single type of beer is, becasue I have only bought mixed six packs. The price of a mixed six pack will start at atlease $12 and can go to about $18. The beer that was included was nothing special just Domestic beers.

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Photo of Poser
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Instead of just repeating what everyone else has said, I'll just agree. If you live in or around B'ham, go to Vulcan Beverage, talk to Mark, get some beer. I give him a 5 on selection because I couldn't stump him with anything I've found elsewhere in the state.. In fact, when I mentioned he didn't have John Courage, he let me know that it was no longer distributed to the U.S.

I only tried the craft brew, so I don't know about the prices on the other stuff. As for the beer, it was reasonable if not great.

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Photo of DeaconBluez
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%

basically what every other person said about this place is true. anything available in the state will be in this store. very large area for the beer, and from what i am told, the area where the beer is sold will double in size once our ass-backward laws are changed. the guy that works the register is real cool and always talks to me about free the hops. they have several fth flyers up around the store and up at the register. you have the ability to mix sixers here, which is cool if you don't want to buy a bunch of one thing. but it can get to be a little pricey.once our laws change, this store has the potential (size wise) to be unmatched in the southeast.

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Photo of dnrobert24
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%

I like going to Vulcan Beverage because there is always something here that I have not tried before. Vulcan is usually the first to get a new brew in the state and is a huge supporter of Free the Hops. Lack of prices on bottles is somewhat annoying, and the selection does rotate regularly--but at least you know you are getting a fresh product. In-state, the selection is probably the best around, and I love buying singles here. They average about $2 each after tax, which is a bit pricey compared to World Market, but on-par with Diplomat Deli, which are the only other places in Birmingham where you can buy singles.

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Photo of Holyterror
4.65/5  rDev +11.8%

This is, without a doubt, the best store for craft beer in the state. Basically, if it's sold in Alabama, you should find it here. The proprietor is a friendly guy who is more than happy to chat with you about whatever. I have only two complaints: the way some beers float in and out of stock, and the number of beers that do not have price listed. I came to find out that both of these are actually due to the distributor. Availability is a real problem with some beers, and prices fluctuate too often to keep them marked on the shelf. However, if you want to know how much something costs, just take it up to the front counter, and they'll scan it for you. If you decide to put it back, no problem. The only way to improve this store would be to move it next door to my house.

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Photo of BurnsTau
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%

I am reviewing this store based on other stores in Alabama. That being said, it by far has the best and most complete selection I have yet to see in this state. Many different beers, all the macros (of course) but the widest selection of micros and imports I've yet to see in Alabama. Also carries wine and hard alchohol. The prices are fair, a bit more than big chains, as has been said, but I'd like to pay the extra to support this place. I talked to the owner about this beerfly review and he seemed very greatful to it and to me for my purchases. He seems knowledgable and very very friendly. Great place to stop by if in Birmingham.

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Photo of Bonhoeffer
5/5  rDev +20.2%

Just affirming what is widely known in Central Alabama: Vulcan is THE place to buy beer for many miles around.

Mark Green is the owner and proprietor. He works the cash register 90% of the time, and they are open long hours. He gets there at 1:00 pm most days and doesn't close up till after 10:00pm, later on weekends. He carries some wine and liquor to help pay the bills, but craft beer is what he enjoys selling the most.

As already mentioned by EyeChartBrew (who i've met; he's a great guy), Mark is a big supporter of FTH. We hooked him up with signup forms and t-shirts, and he's signed up several members for us. He's already making plans for what he'll do once we get the inane beer laws reformed here. He's going to stop selling wine altogether and use that square footage for craft beer. It doesn't matter how many different beers the distributors bring into this state, he will carry them all. He's going to make a huge walk in "cooler" that he will keep at cellar temp for the beers which can properly age without detriment to quality.

What you see when you walk in is only about 3000 sq ft. The entire building is 7500 sq ft. He will open up more of his square footage for beer as necessary.

I'm telling you, it's true now and it will be true as the beer selection explodes after the laws are reformed: Mark carries every beer distributed in Alabama, bar none. This is your one stop shop.

Some of the prices run a tad higher than the grocery stores around town, but the selection more than makes up for it. And as ddarden noted, the location leaves a little to be desired for those of us in the burbs. But he's very close to downtown, which is no doubt a plus for travelers.

Vulcan is Beer Central for Alabama. After our laws are changed, Vulcan will surpass Green's as the premier beer store in the Southeast.

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Photo of ddarden
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%

Vulcan Beverage is the best beer store in Birmingham for selection, knowledge, and quality. The store location is the only drawback, because it is in an area that I don't spend much time in. The store keeps most of its beer in coolers and you can split six packs. They generally carry every available micro and import that is distributed to Alabama under the current 6% abv cap laws. So if you are from out of state, don't get your hopes up too high on a "real" selection. The products are reasonable priced and can be purchased in volume and by the keg.

The owner of the store has also been very active in Free the Hops to get the beer laws changed, so that is a real plus for patronizing his store. If you are in Birmingham and want the largest selection, this is your store.

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Vulcan Beverage in Birmingham, AL
4.16 out of 5 based on 32 ratings.
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