Berman's Wines & Spirits

Your Rating: None
22 Ratings

Type: Store

55 Massachusetts Ave
Lexington, Massachusetts, 02420-4001
United States

(781) 862-0515 | map

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Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-22-2005

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Ratings: 22 |  Reviews: 16
Reviews by albern:
Photo of albern
4.3/5  rDev -8.3%

I wrote a review of this place about two years ago, and have continually upgraded every few months. This place has improved so much, and bears so little resemblence to the place I reviewed initially, that it completely warrants a new review. The beer guy in the store, Jesse, has always been very helpful and tries to get whatever is available. There is a good cooler full of beer (Brooklyn, Otter Creek, Sam, Harpoon, Spaten, Long Trail, etc. etc.) with plenty of new and old standbys to keep you satisfied. There is also a few shelves full of more exotic beers on the side wall. It is here that you'll find the Fullers, Youngs, Allagash oak barrel aged ales, Pear beers, meads, Avery Brewing, etc. There is also a side shelf next to the cooler door full of winter Belgians and the like. If you go inside the cooler you'll get the full range of Berkshire ales on an inside shelf. This store would have more beers if they had the space, but there is a sizable wine selection that limits the overall space. The prices are reasonable and the one thing I truly appreciate is that you can break up the six packs and mix and match. Worth stopping by if you're in the area.

Update 12-2009: Berman's I would now consider a good beer store, not just a neighborhood store that has a selection of beer. Berman's has a very good selection with some very fine 750 ml against the back wall. There is definitely quality going into the purchasing and selection of the beers. This place has really transformed itself through the years.

Update 1-2011: Berman's has expanded its selection again with a nice rack of bombers in the back in addition to the many bombers along the walls. There is a smallish cooler in the back which adds to the selection. The only down side I see is that there is very little variation in what's available in the main cooler. The selection seems never to vary and I just move on to the back walls.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Beernut1987
4.92/5  rDev +4.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of CaptainPiret
4.87/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75

Excellent store with knowledgable staff (one of the staff members is the mother of one of Clown Shoes brewers -- interesting). I come here every time I visit family in nearby Concord. Great selection with some "cellared" options as well, from de struise and some lambics to domestic options. This store is worth going out of your way for.

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Photo of Mikeynas
4.75/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of Rekrule
4.75/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of protex_blue
5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of Resuin
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Janeinma
4.25/5  rDev -9.4%

Photo of Bonzopookie
4.78/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I live less than 2 miles from Berman's Wine & Spirits. This has become my "go-to" beer store. Every time I stop in here (which is almost weekly), I am even more impressed than my previous visit.

It is located along Mass Avenue, on the Lexington/Arlington line. It has ample parking. From the outside, this place looks a bit small and pedestrian. They even have a neon-styled sign on the roof, advertising a drive-thru pickup window. The reason I mention all of this, is that I imagine a serious beer advocate could potentially overlook this gem of a beer store, based on so many similar-looking (yet disappointing) places scattered throughout the greater Boston area. It would be tragic for any beer-lover to dismiss such a great beer store, on outside appearance alone.

When I first started coming to Berman's (3+ years ago now), the store offered a solid selection of craft beers, imports, wines, behind-the-counter spirits, and an assortment of specialty artisan foods along the back wall or in a freezer (pasta, bread, chocolate, pickled foods, ice cream, etc).

Since my earliest visits to Berman's, the beer selection has grown exponentially. I attribute a lot of this growth to a person named Matt, who is a certified Cicerone that knows his stuff. Matt is a great guy, who can help you find any beer you seek. Aside from Matt though, there are many other courteous, knowledgeable, and dedicated employees who will definitely make sure you find what you are looking for.

My beer tastes are honestly quite expensive. I am a huge fan of all types of beer. I will gladly purchase anything: American Craft Ales, Belgian Trappist ales, German Lagers, British-Scottish ales, or mead. I am always willing to try a new brand, if I like the beer style. So obviously, buying quality beer can become quite pricey. At Berman's however, they always offer a 10% discount off the total price, after any 4 bottles of beer are purchased. You read this correctly: If you purchase 4 or more bottles (not in cases), you will get 10% off the total bill. And towards the back of the building (near the freezer case), there is an entire shelf devoted to single 12 oz bottles, ranging from all sorts of Sam Adams varieties to beers brewed with Molasses, from the Netherlands. In addition, you can sometimes find a "discount" shelf, that offers further reduced pricing on certain beers. A few years ago, I was able to pick up multiple bottles of Sam Adams Tripel Bock, for roughly $3 per bottle. I happen to love Sam Adams Tripel Bock, so it was Christmas-come-early for me.

Every Thursday evening (for the most part), Berman's offers a free beer-tasting too. It is a great way to try new beers before making a purchase, and sometimes even chat with the distributors or brewers themselves. I have been fortunate to try many new releases of the local breweries, including: Pretty Things, Haverhill, CBC, Allagash, Clown Shoes, Ipswich, and White Birch. In addition to the above mentioned beers, you will always find a nice selection of the other standard players in the American craft market: Dogfishhead, Rogue, Stone, Ommegang, Ithaca, Lost Abbey, etc...many others too.

What impresses me most about Berman's though, is the decent selection of Belgian and German beers. I can always find my standby Rochefort Trappist ales, Malheur, Piraat, Aventinus, Weihenstephaner. Or even new products, such as Omer Blond Ale (which I picked up last week). If you cannot find what you are looking specifically for, the staff is very helpful. Case in point: Berman's was able to order me a bottle of Jadwiga Polish Mead for New Year's eve (even though they do not regularly stock it on the shelves).

I apologize for this being long-winded, however I cannot say enough good things about Berman's. Unless you can travel out to a super-market sized mega store (such as Julios), this place will offer you a great variety of beers, for a great value too!

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Photo of 6DaysBottomOcean
4.94/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I first stopped in at Bermans a few years ago when i heard they stil had a couple limited releases on the shelf. At the time i thought the selection was OK, but nothing to write home about and I probably wouldn't have gone back unless someone told me again that there was something there worth the drive.

I ended up stopping by a year or so later (2010) and Matt the new beer guy showed me around and WOW! had the selection improved. There were more saisons and lambics/geuze in one place than I had ever seen. On top of that there were dozens of noteworthy beers, the kind that get beer geeks salivating. I walked out with a big mixed case of beer that Matt recommended and all I had thought I was going in for was a 6-pack of Mayflower.

I would recommend bermans to anyone, but to be honest i'm afraid of going there because every time I do, I walk out with way more than I intended... and you know.. thats not such a bad thing when the beer is awesome.

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Photo of Phoptos
4.94/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

It's been just under a year since I've been into the craft scene and have been lucky enough to have brilliant recommendations as to where I should be getting my loot from. Berman's is, if not top on the list, one of the best spots in the state hands down.

There's no need to get into the breakdown of each category as it becomes delightfully redundant. I will say that since making Berman's one of my must stops for bottle shopping, my cellar, and more importantly my belly, have become full of some exceptional and sometimes hard to find brews.

Matt, the "beer guy", is always full of knowledge and smiling. Great personality who really gets the craft beer scene without coming off sounding condescending. He knows beer from the macro to the micro but once you're hooked on the good stuff you'll find yourself spending more time there chatting it up with him than making your selection.

Without giving anything away, once you're "in the fold" with Matt (it's not a secret club or anything, just love good beer and enjoy talking about it), it becomes easier to find the hard to get brews that make their way through MA. Berman's (and especially Matt) is one of the main reasons I've gotten to try great stuff like KBS, Black Ops and a ton of great local stuff (including their own Clown Shoes line of beer). They're always good about setting stuff aside if you can't make it in right away too.

If you want good beer, knowledgeable people, and a decent price, this is a MUST stop for not just MA people but anyone in New England. Come for the beer, stay for the service.

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Photo of DevonCampbell
4.88/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I recently moved from Southern Arizona to New England after falling in love with the area years ago. On one of those trips years before moving, I visited a friend in Lexington, MA for dinner and knowing that I'm a home-brewer and "particular" about the quality and craftsmanship of my beer, he recommended I try Berman's before dinner. I was surprised to find an amazing, eclectic, well-informed selection of craft beers and ended up filling my suitcases for the flight home with east coast and european beers I simply can't find in AZ or SoCal.

Years later, I end up moving to Lexington and bought a house right down the street from Berman's. Sincerely missing my favorite beers from the west coast, I looked at Berman's selection from a different perspective... Much to my surprise, they also have all the great and amazing I was used to from the west! I asked to speak the the craft beer manager so I could complement him on the superior selection and knowledge of truly spectacular beers from coast to coast!

Give them a try - you won't be disappointed. Stellar craft beer selection. Better than anything I've found in New England, Arizona, or SoCal.

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Photo of soze47
4.78/5  rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Berman's may not be as big as some of their regional competitors, but they beat all when it comes to high quality finds and, especially, service. My GF comes from Bedford and I live in JP. I find myself volunteering to go back to her homestead all the time just so I can make a trip to see Matt and the crew at this store.

Atmosphere: Not a giant store, but I love the homey feel it has. The staff is a big part of making this place such a warm environment. I always find myself talking about my dinner/cooking plans, sports, and any other number of topics with these folks. The beer is easy to find (big row of coolers along the main back wall, great shelves of well-organized international and domestic bombers, and a second mini-cooler for all those beers that should be kept cold).

Quality: As I already said, this place has almost all the things I want to find. If they don't have it, they do their best to check into it. I've been able to get some hard to grab one-offs here too as Matt does a great job of keeping folks up-to-date when the customer goes the extra mile to inquire. If a beer has languished on the shelf a little too long for the style, Matt will be the first to tell you that if you ask.

Service: Wonderful. I think I've already made that pretty clear. Easily the best I've experienced. Very transparent about the hard to find selections and honest about older brews. If you aren't familiar with that intriguing international brew that is tempting you, they usually do a great job of describing it for you if a description isn't already on the shelf from this site or rate beer.

Selection: Outstanding international selection. I was a member of the Rare Beer of the Month Club this past year and Berman's carries all of the selections that they had (with the exception of those not distributed in MA). They also place a great emphasis on having their pulse on the regional brewers that are up and coming. I get all the details on how the new crop of MA brewers are doing things in a different way at this store.

Food: I haven't purchased any of it, but I have seen a nice assortment of hand crafted products like jellies, chocolates, and other artisan products in the store. I've been really tempted to grab some caramels before, but I'm usually just to happy to pick up another bottle instead.

Value: They do a nice discount on 4 or more bottles. I really appreciate the four number and the fact that it isn't six. Prices are very fair for the region and usually cheaper than other places that I've frequented in the past, especially closer to Boston/Cambridge/Somerville.

Overall: My favorite store in MA. No store is perfect and can get you every thing that you are looking for right when you want it. However, Matt and crew at Berman's will try to help you out or be very honest with you about distro issues, brewery release information discrepancies, and/or if you are just too late.

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Photo of Beauch
4.6/5  rDev -1.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

I grew up in Lexington right up the Street from Bermans Liquors. I now live in Watertown, MA but find myself traveling back to Bermans for their great beer selection and excellent service.

It's a rather small store, but in my opinion this is a good thing. Many liquor stores today are the size of a warehouse, but if they are filled with product that isn't quality, does that make them great?

Bermans stock is always top notch. They are well known in the area for the quality of the wine they carry. However, their craft beer selection is also very impressive. Their "Beer Master" Matt is incredibly knowledgable when it comes to all things beer. In fact, I believe he is the only Master Cicerone (beer somelier) in the boston area.

I've recently "found" their Founders Brewery supply to be great and fill my need for the dark stufff with Porter and Breakfast Stout. I always find new goodies everytime I go in. I picked up my 1st 4 pack of Old Rasputin just the other day. These are beers I have a hard time finding elsewhere in the area.

Check out Bermans Liquors on Mass Ave in Lexington (on the Arlington border). I'm sure you won't leave disapointed or empty handed.

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Photo of AReno00
4.8/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Berman's is one of my favorite liquor stores in the Boston area and one of the few that I visit regularly. It has a great (reasonably priced) craft beer selection, huge wine area, and a knowledgeable staff. The service is also off the charts. Matt (the beer manager) is Cicerone certified (so he knows his stuff), friendly, helpful and can get you whatever you need. He's also active on the BA forums and on Facebook, so finding out what's been released is very easy. Highly recommended if you live around Boston.

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Photo of Brewhaha
4.88/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I don't write many reviews, but beer manager Matt sold me a bottle of the Mystic Saison this week and I have to give props to this little gem of Mass. Ave. fermentation retailing.

I've been shopping Berman's for 15 years, it's always been a great wine shop with knowledgable staff and good value (for wine), but it's honestly been much fun (and tasty) watching the beer side of the operation snowball over the past 6 or 7 years.

If you looked at a spirit map of the store from the pld days when when the beer cooler was a den of mediocrity, you would not comprehend the current lush state of Beerdom.

I knew that things were turning when I met the first *beer* manager about 5 years ago, and he was as interested in talking to the customers and getting their beta as much as the other way.

Tough choices had to be made: Reduce the macro brews down to one door in the main cooler, move the ports and sherries to free up space for US-made bombers and 750s, and reorganize floor space to make room for new racks of Belgians and unusual (to my taste buds) Germans.

The current beer manager Matt is an incredible resource - very friendly, impressive in knowledge, and totally into the cutting edge brews, whether they are coming from "over there" or from around here. Unavoidably the house Clown Shoes brand offerings will come up in "what's new" conversations, but makers' pride in the C.S. brand is both deserved and well-intentioned.

Others have mentioned that the store is pretty cramped, and this is very true, but if this is a deterrent to less-committed customers and the "quality-knowledge/s.f." ratio remains as high as it is right now, I can deal with it.

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Photo of Flounder57
4.3/5  rDev -8.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Atmosphere: The beer is located in the back right corner and back wall in the coolers. Very clean, well lit, and organized. You should be able to find something of your nature or they can try and get what you need. They hold weekly tastings there too.

Quality: The quality of the beer is phenomenal. Some really hard to find Belgian beers and plenty of choices for some hard to find small batches of big breweries.

Service: Teh service is good. Anybody is wiling to be able to help you out at all times and help you find what you are looking for.

Selection: The selection of beer is good. Very wide range of beers from around the world. Rare bottles and hard to get six packs. No complaints on my end.

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Photo of wdarcy77
4.58/5  rDev -2.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

This is hands down the best craft beer store in Greater Boston. While Berman's isn't the largest store, they're more of a quality over quantity place. As others have mentioned, their beer manager Matt has done an excellent job at stocking the limited shelf space with only quality bottles. He's always willing to make recommendations or simply chat about beer (he is a BA after all).

The store definitely has clout within the craft distribution community as well. They're one of the few places that always seems to get limited release/rare beer (Founders, FW, Cantillon, NEBCO, etc.).

Service is always warm and extremely helpful. Great wine selection too (but it's all about the beer anyway). Prices are typically $2-$5 cheaper than most craft stores in the nearby Cambridge-Somerville-Belmont area. 10% off when you by 4 bombers!

Definitely worth the drive.

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Photo of rowingbrewer
4.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Stopped in here looking for a stout trooper a few weeks back, and they didn't have it in yet. They do have a good selection of foreign and domestic craft brews, and the store seems quite nice, an employee was more than happy to help us and offer suggestions. bottles might be a little higher than other stores, but you can get a discount of 10% when you buy 4 bottles, 10% is not the highest discount I have seen but some places don't kick in until 6 or 12 bottles. Also when do any of us go into a place w/o buying 4 bottles? a nice little shop with some of the harder to find brews.

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Photo of linusbwell
4.65/5  rDev -0.9%

Stopped in the other day after work to check out their selection-very nice store with a lot of wine. Cooler case filled with the usual stuff and and excellent section at the back of the store with a lot of great craft beer-a bit cramped back there but okay.

The four bottle 10% discount is great-picked up a few beers I had never seen before.

Staff was attentive and asked me if I needed any help when browsing. Great place, I will gladly stopped by again as it is conveniently located just down the street from work.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
4.45/5  rDev -5.1%

One of the many stops on the way home from work that I used to frequent, but stopped because of a limited selection. Wow! What a shock today. They've expanded their beer selection.

No dust on bottles, and a bunch of odd/unique single bottle selections (although, most were belgian bombers). They even had Sam Adams Triple Bock at original price when initially released. No shit.

Grabbed a Sahti and immediately got into a conversation with the beer guy. Helpful and eager to talk shop. They even were offering a beer they brewed (!) up at Ipswich -- bottled and labeled (Clown Shoes).

The biggest thing I noticed was that some of their premium beers were a couple of dollars cheaper than other places. Nice.

Unique selection was good, but general selection from bigger brewers was ok (Spaten, etc.). Still, I'm going to visit again. Gave me a tasting list -- in a couple of weeks they are doing Oskar Blues. Right on.

Stop and give these guys some business --- they always had good wine and scotch selections, and thy have finally turned the corner with beer.

Update: New beer manager in the past year. Great knowledge, ever increasing and wildly diverse stock. Matt knows his stuff, and is always pouring samples for tastings. This place has gotten 100 times better since my last review. A regular stop for me.

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Photo of Duhast500
4.8/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Re-review 12-18-2011

I have been here a few times in the last year and have noticed some really amazing changes. The beer selection that was good has gone to amazing. If you were looking for craft beer in the area you will nit have to any further. This place has become a mecca for great craft beer. If your looking for craft beer from the states or from places over seas this is the place. Even if you were to venture from beer and go another route Berman's can set you up with a good wine as well. I have been able to depend on Berman's to have a great selection and to have some beers I didn't know I wanted. The staff is ready to help and seemed to be well informed and the prices made the stop in a good value as well.

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Berman's Wines & Spirits in Lexington, MA
Place rating: 4.69 out of 5 with 22 ratings