A destination beer store. If I need something uncommon I go here to find it. The selection here is almost unbeatable (John's in Iowa City would be comparable by my estimation). Certainly the best in the Twin Cities. Usually not too busy and the staff is very approachable. The experiences with beer advice from the staff have been good, but not exceptional. Beers are easy to find...divided by country. You will find something new to try everytime you go. If you live in the Twin Cities and love beer, you must go. The only knock is that their prices are a bit higher than comparable stores (I suppose that's what happens when you have the selection they do).
We have been patrons of Blue Max for 30 years, right after moving back to MN from a miserable year living in Dallas. Good beer stock, but check the dates on imports and the more obscure brews Help is friendly, but you need to ask for Jim for the best info on beer.
Visited on during a business trip on a Tuesday around noon. Well worth the time I spent before I had to jump on a plane for home. If you are out by the airport you are probably only fifteen minutes away. Easy to get to you of South 35E.
Vibe – Clean and well lit, but a typical liquor store vibe. Signs tout themselves as best beer selection in Minneapolis. Most beers in coolers. Signs indicating countries. 3.75
Quality – Most beer in coolers. Did not find out dated beer. 4
Service – I was asked twice for if I needed help. Everyone was friendly giving me the time I needed to look around. 4
Selection – Excellent selection. Local breweries well represented. A tremendous variety of foreign brews. I was particularly impressed with their selection of English beers. They had all four varieties of the J.W. Lees Harvest Ale (regular and three barrel aged varieties) in at least four different vintages. Purchased some Surly Furious and Pentagram, Fulton War & Peace and Jolly Pumpkin Bam Noire 4.5
Food – N/A
Price – $$$ - average to slightly above on the pricing.
I was seriously pumped to finally hit up Blue Max. I'd read about it for a long time, but it's a solid 30 minute drive for me (with great beer stores very close to my place). I had the day off and made the hike. Perhaps I was just on the hunt for other things, but I was a bit disappointed. Don't get me wrong, their selection is fabulous and I love that it is all in coolers. However, it is not much above some of the other beer stores around the Twin Cities these days. For certain things you would certainly be pleased: some less distributed imports, New Holland, Epic, etc.
I was definitely disappointed by the stock (or lack thereof) of MN beer. Very little for bombers. Regardless, I do not mean this to be negative in tone. Nice folks working, impressive selection, and reasonable prices. Just not worth the hike from Minneapolis, in my opinion.
Blue Max is another "must" destination in the Twin Cities, along with Zipp's and Four Firkins. Located between Burnsville and Apple Valley, it's a bit of a hike from Minneapolis, but it's definitely worth it.
The store is unimpressive looking in an unimpressive location, but things are laid out very carefully. All of their imports are refrigerated and the aisles are spacious, which is good because the store is ALWAYS busy. The selection is pretty good, particularly if you're looking for hard-to-find European imports, but don't expect a slam dunk from the domestic section. They have a lot of Minnesota locals of course, but only a smattering of everything else. High volume of Epic and New Holland Lips of Faith series, but nothing to really write home about.
The service, however, is phenomenal. The time before last that I was there, Abrasive had just come out, but they informed me that they were sold out. Well, as luck would have it, someone called and cancelled their hold on three four packs, so an employee came and hand delivered them to my cart. I asked someone if they had anything special in the back, and he brought out a bottle of Big John for me. The last time I was in there, I bought four different vintages of Celebration and, when I remarked on how cool it was that they had so many different years, they explained to me that their beer distributor auctions vintages like that from time to time. Very informative, very polite.
I like stopping in every time I go to the cities just to chat with the employees and pick up whatever Surly staple may be in season. A good store and a decent value.
Best thing about Blue Max was the very competitive prices on Surly cans across the board. This was the place I was told to stock up, and wasn't disappointed.
The beer selection winds around the first aisle, around the corner and opposite the coolers in the back. First up were a few Belgian coolers, where there were a few traditional lambics but not many. Noticed Hanssens Exp. Raspberry here, but no Gueuze or Kriek for example. Staff was helpful in directing me to a numbered cooler where the Surly was (#10 I think). Current seasonals like Overrated and Bitter Brewer (which Heritage hadn't received yet). A dozen Jolly Pumpkin varieties, which was impressive. Noticed a sale shelf with discounted winter seasonals and obscure imports.
I overheard the staff recommending wild/sour ales, and pointed them to the JP's. Two beer guys were on the floor, helping customers, stocking, and manning the registers. Good service, friendly guys that made themselves available. Lots of senior citizens in here on a saturday afternoon, and I noticed a guy helping a lady to her car with a purchase.
Overall a great store, lots of obscure imports and fresh MN seasonals. A recommended destination.
Having grown up in Burnsville, I never really knew this place existed until I made the leap into craft beer and logged into Beer Advocate. It always sort of blended in the scenery just off of Cty Rd 42. I read the reviews and set off to shop the store myself. Let just say I was amazed at the selection BlueMax has to offer! It is quite obvious they take great pride in their selection and the care taken to shelve, stock and price items.
I appreciate that a huge majority of the stock is kept in coolers making it consumption ready. I was also taken aback by the sign when you enter reading over 300 different single malt scotches available! It is definitely a store you want to go to with a shopping cart because you will find more than you can carry.
On my travels, this place didn't stand out all that much. It's a typically liquor store, in fact a little smaller then I expected. Beer is off to the right when you enter with the majority of the selections located in coolers.
There was some activity in the store but I wasn't bothered too much which is nice so you can actually do some shopping. If people are in love with J.W. Lees then I would suggest only shopping at Blue Max. The collection and vintages on these labels was very impressive.
For me, I was able to scoop some Pannepeut 2007 for a reasonable $8/bottle. That was it. As stated earlier, the rest of the stock was pretty standard stuff so no special stop necessary if it's out of your way.
A close friend of mine is a specialty beer sales rep who sells to Blue Max. She has a portfolio of over 500 beers. It's her favorite account because they are so knowledgeable and treat her well.
I was going to end my post with that paragraph, but I need to add words, so I'll mention that it's been interesting to learn about the specialty beer industry from my friend.
Her company can never get as much product as they would like to because it's generally small scale batches that are fought over by not only the distributors like her company, but also the reps within the distributorships! There is a lot of bartering going on in the background to supply Blue Max with the excellent selection that they have. This is a credit to Blue Max, and to customers like the members of this website who make the market happen.
Blue Max is a great store, and I highly recommend them.
Best beer shop I have ever been to. The selection is great, I was able to pick up a '06-'11 Sierra Nevada Celebration vertical as well as Aventinus 04'-06'. The prices are also about 10% lower than most of the craft friendly stores I have been to. The staff was great, willing to break up a 6er of something I wanted to try a single of. If you are into JW Lees they had more varieties in stock than I knew existed. Its a bit of a drive for me but I will be back for sure. abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
I only found out about this place because once a week I work down in Burnsville and I decided to stop in and check it out one day.
Man was I surprised! I had no idea they had such an excellent craft beer selection. There is I think one guy that is in charge of buying all the beer and he does a good job.
I do wish they used Facebook as a social media tool to let me know when they get stuff in, but apparently they use twitter a little more to update customers. Unfortunately I'm not a twitter user, but they have gotten better with the facebook account.
Staff is friendly just not too knowledgeable on the beer excluding two or three people (I know who to ask questions now if I ever am looking for something special).
Overall great place and I usually always stop in once a week whenever I am working down in Burnsville.
On the front door, it says Minnesota's greatest beer selection... or something like that. I haven't been to every liquor store in MN, but this trumps all that I've been to.
Atmosphere: Blue Max doesn't look like much from the outside, and it really isn't, they've just crammed a ton into a little place. So, not a lot of aisle space, but a lot of beer. They know what matters most.
Service: staff seems to be rather knowledgeable, not overly friendly, I've been there 4-5 times and they don't exactly know me yet. Big deal.
Okay, my take on the south metro is this, If you want an extraordinarily good price, go to Big Top (Eagan) or Sid's Discount (Bloomington).
If you want a extraordinarily vast selection of beers, go to Blue Max.
I recently started following their twiiter account, and knew they had just gotten Great Lakes Black Out Stout and Odell Bourbon Barrel Stout - so I rushed over right after work...and couldn't find either one.
So I asked someone who was stocking shevles, and not only was he super friendly, he went IN BACK and found what I wanted.
They had a limit of 1 each, and I was very pleased that they didn't jack up the price!!!!
While I was there, I also picked up some Alaskan Winter and Rush River Winter.
A- It sure doesn't look like much from the outside. That's ok, I don't buy beer for the storefront. The inside is ok, but it's generally cluttered, and although it's nice that beer is organized by locale, it's kinda all over the store, with some beers on top of coolers and it's almost a requirement to ask for assistance.
Q- Beers that should be coolered are, those that don't need to be aren't. No freshness problems.
Ser- Well, they don't really have too many guys roaming around and when you do find one, you have to ask them for help, they don't typically ask you. Friendly guys though.
Sel- Tremendous selection, particularly of imports. Tremendous number of Belgians and other European beers.
Price was pretty good, bombers a little higher than some other places in area, but six packs and singles seemed reasonably priced.
very unassuming stor front, it's what inside that makes this store. Incredibly huge selection that is divided from the region/country that they are from. Anything that is available, will probably be on the shelfs, if not, just ask.
the servie depends on who you get, most of the male employess know what they are talking about and can direct you properly. The females you might as well not even ask. So pick your help accordingly. If you are in the Twin Cities, defintely make it a destination. It is well worth the trip.
Atmosphere: A relatively unassuming store front. This place would be easy to miss if you weren't looking for it. The interior is dark-paneled, but the lighting makes up for it. Neat rows of liquor, wine and beer, all properly and clearly labeled, make navigating the store a breeze.
Quality: Everything on the shelves is as fresh as can be (where desired). Everything is clearly labeled by country of origin, making everything easier to navigate as well.
Service: I've visited this place twice and both times I've been asked within 2 minutes if I need help with anything. When asked for help, the staff is extremely knowledgeable about both what they have in the store and what might be of interest given vague preferences (I said "sours" and was given a bottle of Struiselensis and Pig Nun as suggestions). The only reason this doesn't get a 5 is the service really depends on who helps you. All of the employees know what they have, but they don't all know how to match an inquiring mind.
Selection: For a rather small shop, Blue max has everything you could want and then some. I've been in some of the best stores in New England, some of which are 3-4x the size of this store, that didn't clean up on the international section like these guys do. The entire Mikkeller Single Hop series is refrigerated and ready to go. For a New Englander, it has anything you could want from a midwest store. Bell's, Surly, Boulevard, New Belgium, etc. are all in the cold cases. It's a treasure trove.
Value: I shopped a couple local stores, and Blue Max comes out even with the rest of them. A sixer of Two-Hearted was a respectable $10. It's not hard to walk in and drop a couple hundred dollars.
Overall: If you're within 30 minutes of this place it is an absolute must. The staff is friendly and always willing to help. The price and selection are amazing. Well-worth the stop whenever I'm in the area.
Prior to getting into craft beer, I had known about Blue Max Liqours due to their great selection of single malt Scotch. Little did I know, Blue Max Liqours has been doing an excellent job of providing us beer geeks with a wide selection of domestic crafts, and one of the largest international offerings I have come by. Throughout the year you can find verticals of Bigfoot, Old Stock, J.W. Lees, etc, and they seem to always have the hidden gems that aren’t so popular / well known with the BA crowd. With easy access, logical layout, friendly staff, and very good pricing, there is a lot to like about Blue Max Liquors.
Stopped in here while traveling earlier this year after a number of recommendations from BAs. It definitely lived up to the hype. Almost all of the beer was in coolers. Lots of Minnesota locals including limited offerings. They also had almost all of the NB Lips of Faith Series and limited Odell releases.
At the time I was there (late February) they had verticals back several years of Anchor Christmas Ale and Sierra Nevada Celebration. They also had other vintages of beers that would be impossible to find now.
The staff was very helpful. When I went up to the counter looking for a Surly limited release that wasn't on display one of the employees went into the back and grabbed a bottle for me.
What can I say. Blue Max is the place that I go to if I haven't been able to find a beer that should be on the shelves in the Twin Cites area. I am not talking your supper hyped beer like BCBCS because so many beer geeks know this place that it fly's off the shelf. I am talking your lesser known gems that go below the radar but are still great. The Tyranena Brewers Reserve Series comes to mind as well as lots of Fantome beers. Huge selection probably the best in the area. Service is good as there is always someone walking around asking if you need any help and most of the time they really know their beer. Overall this is somewhat of a beer heaven for me. A must see if your in town.