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Hi-Time Wine Cellars

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
99
world-class

98 Reviews
Hi-Time Wine CellarsHi-Time Wine Cellars
PLACE INFO

Type: Store

250 Ogle St
Costa Mesa, California, 92627-3808
United States

(800) 331-3005 | map
www.hitimewine.com

Notes:
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Added by BeerAdvocate

PLACE STATS
Place Score:
99
Reviews:
98
Ratings:
121
Avg:
4.53
pDev:
7.95%
View: Place Ratings | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 98 | Ratings: 121
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Well I have the “new beer bug” pretty bad at the moment, you know where you want to try something new, but you have pretty much wiped out all your local beer stores and even tried the crappy beers. So being as I had some time on my hands this morning I figured it was time to spread my wings and take the 25 mile drive south to Costa Mesa and the legendary Hi-Times that I have heard so much about from my fellow BA’s who all live much further away from here than I do oddly enough.

Well, first off, I was not disappointed, this place just oozes quality, as soon as you walk in you know this Alcohol Heaven. As the name suggest it has a strong focus on Wines, but it also has fantastic range of just about any other fermented or distilled beverage you can think of. In addition, it has all those mechanical accoutrements required to keep even the best bar stocked, Bottle Openers, Corkscrews, more Glasses than you can shake a stick at, etc. etc. I even noticed a large range of Chocolates and some Olde World Candies piled high in Glass Jars.

But I was here for Beer. To the right as you enter there are some coolers that are full of multiple bottled beer packs, and these alone are a good range. But the real deal is a little further back. A Walk-In Cooler. You will have to leave your Trolley outside and pick up a smaller hand basket, put this does at least help to prevent excessive “involuntary beer grabbing”. For once inside there is a fantastic range of beers. To the left is a wall full of German beers, to the right British and Belgium, in the middle there are many US Craft beers. On shelves and in open boxes, it’s like Xmas time and Santa’s Grotto for Beer geeks. Too many beers to list – just check the Website, but a very good range of traditional lambics is sold here, and they still have supplies of Our Beersel Gueuze. Several check-outs make the hard part a quick and painless operation. Very friendly staff that was incredibly helpful to this Virgin Hi-Time shopper. I’ll be back.

The only minor complaint I had was that it was quite busy when I was here, but sadly with what I call “eye shoppers” rather than the real deal, you know the ones that wonder around and buy nothing – they stumble about and shout “ooh look dear” at every pretty bottle and then they just stop dead in the aisles. Negotiating the aisles with a Trolley even only half-full of Beer isn’t easy here, but there is talk of expansion I see.

*Highly Recommended*.
Bring the Reserve Credit Card, you’ll need it!

Last Visit: 27 Dec. 03

 2,559 characters

Photo of beergeek279
5/5  rDev +10.4%

This is done as a mail-order review rather than an in-store review.

Quality/Selection: Hi-Time has one of the largest selections of beer of any website I've seen. Just about any California brewery that I could think of (Stone, Alesmith, Bear Republic, Lagunitas, North Coast, Lost Coast, just to name a few) was represented here, along with most of the great West Coast beers, and unique beers like Kona.

Service: If the beer selection is great, then the service is even better. They made a phone call to me in order to note that my original order would have been exceedingly expensive to ship (but fortunately I trimmed it down to a box). When I called to confirm, I spoke to Trayce for almost half an hour about beers, the best of the beer on the West Coast, and the great beers from out East, and he showed that he had a genuine love for beer. In addition, he went out of his way to keep the shipping down for me ($34 dollars for a whole case from Califonia to PA!). When the box arrived, it was excellently packed with packing peanuts and cardboard sleeves...there was no way it was going to break. Thank you very much, Trayce.

I think that Hi-Times stands up with Vintage Cellar and Liquid Solutions as one of the top mail order beer purchasing stores in the country. A simply fantastic selection of beers combined with top-notch service. A place that I'd urge other East Coast BAs to give a try, and certainly someplace that I will order from again!

 1,465 characters

Photo of drewmprs
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Without a doubt, the #1 beer store in the OC. Beer manager Trayce is a stand up guy and serious beer geek. They have a massive walk in cooler so bring a coat.
They get more Russian River allocated to them than any store I know of. The store is a bit disorganized but the employees can help you find anything you want.
Also, they have a shipping department and an up-to-date website.
I've spent plenty here over the years without any regets.
They also do tastings of their vintage beers a couple times a year.

 511 characters

Photo of msmezher
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Hi-Time Wine Cellars is one of the best places to purchase beer, wine, spirits, and tobacco as well as drink related products and high quality cheeses. Hi-Time's beer selection is great, a wall of solid six packs, and a chilled cellar room of singles from breweries and styles around the world. Prices are very reasonable for what is available, and the employees seem knowledgeable and helpful.
Hi-Time is also the best place I've ever been to to purchase tobacco, they have an incredible selection of pipe tobacco and cigars (as well as pipes and accessories for both) at the best prices around. Lan and the other workers in the tobacco section will also let you take samples of some tobacco and make recommendations. I can't make a trip to Hi-Time without a few friends scrambling to come along.

 797 characters

Photo of PuckLSHS
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Hi-Time Wine Cellar is beer heaven for people who live in Southern California. Besides Beverage Warehouse in Culver City, this place is amazing. Their single bottle selection is enormous and their keg selection is great. They have a homebrewing area in the store also, so it is one stop shopping for most beer people.

They do beer tastings every now and again and their wine selection is quite amazing. I go down there to pick up a few beers, taste a few wines and enjoy the company of people who really appreciate what they are selling.

They stock the shelves with great Craft beers, a HUGE selection of Belgian, English, German and other assorted beers. The selection really is amazing.

This is a MUST STOP for anyone who is visiting and trying to pick up a few new beers.

 783 characters

Photo of mzwolinski
5/5  rDev +10.4%

Visited 9-18-04

This place is simply amazing. This was my first visit, but from what my fellow beer-lovers say, it is even more amazing now than it used to be in the past. The walk-in beer refrigerator is now expanded and much more spacious, allowing for easier browsing and a wider selection.

Outside the walk-in are display cases featuring six-packs of various, mostly west-coast domestic beers. This is a pretty decent selection in and of itself, and you can, of course, break up the six-packs any way you like, purchasing a single here, a single there...

But inside the fridge is where the real action is. Beers along the wall are organized by country of origin. I spent some time browsing through Germany, than England, then various Eastern European countries (I've learned to be rather wary of these but my friend EyeChartBrew has some sort of sick fascination with them). Then Belgium. Glorious Belgium. Cantillon is, of course, well-represented, as well as the Trappists, and just tons and tons of exciting stuff I'd never seen anywhere else. Really a treat. Finally, in the center of the fridge are more US six-packs and bombers. A very good selection here, though mostly West-Coast stuff. It's the imports where this place really excels.

Reasonably priced. I didn't talk to any of the staff, but I hear there's always somebody around who knows his shit.

Anyway, this is all very abstract, so here's what I came away with from my latest trip. Total bill was $78:

Spaten Optimator
JW Lee's Harvest Ale 1997
JW Lee's Harvest Ale 1998
JW Lee's Harvest Ale 2000
Dulle Teve Mad Bitch
Harvey's Elizabethan 1998
Dolle Oerbier
Sinebrychoff Porter
Harvey's Christmas Ale
Hanssen's Oude Gueze
Aect Urbock
Aect Marzen
Cantillon Lou Pepe
Paulaner Salvator
Unita Anniversary Barleywine

...and I was *restraining* myself. :-)

 1,856 characters

Photo of SwillinBrew
5/5  rDev +10.4%

I did some xmas shopping here so i thought i'd finally review it since i'm here almost every week.

You cannot get better than this place. It used to be an old Pacific Bell Central Office and now it's been turned into a wine cellar per se. But there's not just wine. You can get cigars, glassware, literature, cheese, caviar, candies, and of course liquor, beer and wine.

The beer cooler is in the back and you walk in. It has one of those automatic sliding doors. Wear a jackeet because you will be spending time in here looking at all the brews. Domestics, belgians, flemish reds, baltics, italian, german, bavarian, local breweries... they pretty much have it all. From the 6oz to the jeroboams. The staff is very helpful and will help you any way you ask. Talk to Mike the beer guy and he can suggest for you or let you know whats's new. Actually, anyone will help you with that. You can also mail order. Pretty much if you cannot find it here, it probably cannot be found.

Make it a point to stop by here!!!

 1,020 characters

Photo of GRG1313
5/5  rDev +10.4%

I have been purchasing wine here for years and one of the wine buyers is actually a member of my Italian wine tasting group that meets several times a year.

I finally started looking here for beer the past several months and when I'm in Orange County. This place is worth a special trip! Just seeing all that booze and wine is probably worth the trip; but, the beer selection is noteworthy. The selection is great, diverse and ever changing and the prices are fair.

The service cannot be beat. I apologize that I forgot the name of the beer manager. However, he saw me with a full cart and engaged me in a discussion. At the time I was a relatively new devotee and he spent a great deal of time with me! He would have spoken with me as long as I wanted.

Then, after asking more and more foolish questions to which he gave serious and thoughtful answers, he said "wait a minute, I want you to try something." He went into the cooler and brought out a bottle which was one of two he'd been saving for himself. He told me to try it to get a very good example of something that we'd been discussing...then, he didn't charge me for it.

This is a must visit if you're anywhere near the area and like beer. A must.

 1,212 characters

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Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, CA
99 out of 100 based on 98 ratings.
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