Hi-Time Wine Cellars

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Hi-Time Wine CellarsHi-Time Wine Cellars
122 Ratings
Hi-Time Wine CellarsHi-Time Wine Cellars

Type: Store

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

(800) 331-3005 | map

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Ratings: 122 |  Reviews: 97
Photo of Zorro
4.85/5  rDev +7.3%

Pretty much the Mecca of beer stores for the west coast of North America.

A bit out of the way be sure to print a map before starting on the road to find this place.

Primarily a Wine and Luxuries shop, but beer has its own section and it's own door. The small bar down below is primarily wine and brandy.

Very first thing you should do is go to the walk in cooler, and the moment you do it is like stepping through the looking glass like Alice in Wonderland. Probably 1000 different beers at anyone time and a great many are "I have never even heard of that before" type of beers. Beers from the whole planet and more than a few from California like... Pliny The Elder and Lost Abbey stuff I never see anywhere else. In addition to obscure stuff there is always some beers made from pure unobtainium here; this time they had some bottled Japanese micro-brews that I never expected to ever see much less buy.

Service can be too helpful at times but if you know exactly what you are looking for just ask they will know where to look.

Selection? If they don't have it you can't get it in LA.

Can be a little pricey but then again a lot of this stuff is simply near unobtainable, but some how they get it and put it on the shelf. Then again they have a club card and quite a few specials on the less exotic stuff.

I always feel a little guilty after I visit this store because I always feel a bit ashamed of how much beer I walk out the door with. But I can't help it, this place is about as close to beer heaven as exists on earth. If you are wise you will use a hand basket and limit yourself to what you can carry. I was able to limit myself to just $200 of beer this time.

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Photo of alexgash
4.85/5  rDev +7.3%

Was very excited and had very high expectations for this hallowed place. I wasn't disappointed. Stopped by on the busiest shopping day of the year in the early evening. The place was pretty busy, but not insane. Walked in and past a cool little tobacco corner (I don't smoke, but it smelled good). I noticed glassware in the back corner and checked that out. Some cool stuff (especially high-end wine ware). But I didn't come here for glassware. I quickly paced past a dozen or so aisles of hard liquor (very good selection of that by the way) until I reached the beer section. There were 6 or so coolers full of six-packs, several little mountains of cases of bombers and sixers stacked on the floor at room temp., and a small glass door that led to the walk-in. The six-pack coolers had lots of good W. Coast micros, and very few BMC. It was nice being able to buy single 12 oz. bottles. The walk-in was the highlight though. Inside were tons of US micro bombers and 750s (Stone, Marin, Moylan's, Rogue, Alesmith, AK Smoked porter and many more). Surrounding these floor case stacks were the imports. Very impressive Belgian section with stuff I've never seen before. England was decently represented, and Germany was very well represented. Staff was very helpful, if a little scarce (they were busy though). The only bad thing about this place is the amount of money one will spend! Yikes! I dropped 125 bucks before I could even get my list out. The wine cellar is an amazing place too--make sure to check it out, if you can pull yourself away from the beer!

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Photo of jcalabre
4.85/5  rDev +7.3%

Moslems go to Mecca; beer geeks go to Hi Time. The beer selection is huge! The walk-in beer fridge has virtually every beer available in Southern California. The funny thing is, this is far more a Wine (the underground wine cellar w/ tens of thousands of bottles is a must see) and Cigar store than a beer store. For example, I just received their monthly flyer. It's 36 pages long. The only mention of beer was a 2" (5cm) by 5" (7.5 cm) column listing their monthly beer tastings.

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Photo of rallison
4.85/5  rDev +7.3%

One of the best selections ever. Plus they have virtually all their beer chilled in a walk-in fridge, so you know the stuff hasn't been sitting out baking as in many other places. Their selection of wine & liquor is just as impressive. Staff is quite knowledgeable, although you usually have to go find them if you have questions. But all in all I don't mind that, as I love to just wander around and check out all their beers. Prices are slightly higher than places like Liquor Warehouse, but still reasonable and definitely worth the cost when considering the extra expense of proper storage. Best beer/liquor/wine store I have ever been to. And only a 10 minute drive for me. How lucky am I?

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Photo of grilledsquid
4.85/5  rDev +7.3%

* This review is for their beer section only.

Hi-Time Wine Cellars is located in Costa Mesa, near Newport Beach. They have an extensive selection of wine, spirits, and, of course, beer. Most of the beer is kept in a cooled walk-in room, with 6-packs placed and available in walled coolers near the registers. Some bulk cases are also stacked alongside a wall near the coolers.

The selection here is great. You'll be sure to find anything local (ie, Ballast Point, Alesmith, Stone, Lost Abbey/Port) as well some out-of-state regionals such as Elysian, Avery, Goose Island. You'll also find an extensive selection of imports like Dieu Du Ciel!, Mikkeller, Rocheforte, and Weihenstephaner.

The prices are reasonable and the staff is very helpful and knowledgeable. I wish I lived closer as I would come here on a regular basis.

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Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.85/5  rDev +7.3%

I come here alot with my Father when ever we go have lunch with my Grandfather. The first time I came I was overwhelmed at how cool it was that almost all the beer was kept in a walk in cooler. Its like your entire favorite bottle shop is inside a cooler that you get to walk into to select your beer. They have tons of variety and all the latest seasonals from tons of breweries. Pretty much if it is distributed in So Cal somewhere, it will probably be there.

The staff there are pretty knowledgeable of beer and can point you in the right direction. They have lots of cool glassware and tap handles and tons of Kegs to buy if you have a kegerator. Also if you love spirits, wine, or cigars, this is the place to shop too. If it exists, they probably have it. Their cigar selection was awesome. Lots of cigars I have been wanting to try but not found. The case of fancy and ecpensive spirits is impressive. Didnt spend too much time looking at the wine selection but I can tell they have a ton and if it is anything like the rest of the stores selection, you wont be let down.

I will keep coming here as a go to place for hard to find brews as long as I am living anywhere remotely close.

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Photo of DESTRO
4.85/5  rDev +7.3%

ok so i venture to california every now and then and i finally decided to make a stop here. oh my god. what a wonderful place. i was able to find almost all the brews i cant find back home i have been looking for. alesmith speedway, hop rod rye, hop town ipa, big bear black, yulesmith...they had it all. i ended up walking away with 12 bombers and a mixed 6er of never before tried beers. the selection was great and they even had a nice selection of beer glasses. the staff was helpful and the head honcho said he could even ship beers to me for a small fee. all in all i was extremely impressed with this place.

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Photo of DogFood11
4.85/5  rDev +7.3%

Thanks to all on Beeradvocate as I would have never found this place without beerfly reviews. It is truly a gem and a cant miss if you live anywhere in So Cal. I traveled 50 miles for this and was not dissapointed. $200 dollars later I was on my way home with tons of Glorious beer. I will make this journey again in a couple of months when my relatives will be in town as it has the largest selection by far of any place I've been to in or near LA. It makes bev-mo's look like a 7-11. lets put it this way I've been searching LA for 2 years to find a kristall weizen and I found 1 variety at bev-mo in west hollywood. At Hi-Times I found 4 varieties and I didn't search that hard as the saison's caught my attention and had to move on. Perfection.

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Photo of jraras
4.86/5  rDev +7.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

I was in CA for business last week (between LA and OC) and found this place via a BA search. The "world class" rating it currently has is certainly deserved. I will only focus on beer, but the range of spirits and wine look to be much more impressive than even the beer section.

After gawking a bit in the spirits section I made my way over to the beer section (annex). Upon entering I clearly saw the walk in cooler, but opted to chat up the guy at the register who was doing some tasks. I told him I was in from MA and would love to have him tour me around the cooler while recommending what I should get / can't get elsewhere. He was awesome and recommended some great stuff. After picking a few things from the main cooler he escorted me to the smaller/reserve cooler. Here I had my choice of 4 50/50 Eclipses, Pure Hoppiness and various other gems. For RR they only had Damnation and Redemption, but I can't fault them too much for that.

In the reserve cooler we bumped into another gentleman who worked there and he joined the conversation--talking about his favs from the Eclipses, Rayon Vert and the Bear Republic Berliner Weiss. He continued with me to check out, get ice and acquire a cooler as well as some shippers to help me prepare my beers for travel back to MA via Delta (checked baggage).

I wish I could remember the names of these guys as they were super helpful. No worry, I'll ask next time I'm there--which will be the next time I'm in SoCal. I hope soon!

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Photo of Eyedrinkale
5/5  rDev +10.6%

I've first got to say thanks to everyone before me that rated this place. I knew there was a good place in OC to buy beer, but NEVER expected anything like this.

The walk in is big, but there are plans to make it 3X BIGGER. I too spent an hour in the walk-in.

Wines, ports, tequilla's grappa's, ect, this place has it ALL. Chocolates, glassware, the whole nine yards. The only thing I would like to have seen was perhaps a cheese selection. They do wine tastings downstairs. I heard they will begin a monthly beer tasting. Please call for details, as the beer guy Mike is EXCEPTIONAL.


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Photo of Hershdawg
5/5  rDev +10.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Other than being a great store for non beer related drinks and possibly the best wine store in Southern California it has an impressive beer selection. The prices while a little more then Total Wine the selection of special release and import beers are impressive. The shear amount of breweries featured is great. Also the cooler is walk in. The only reason a beer case is stuck outside of the cooler is lack of space. I've found everything from Hitachino special release to Stone to Russian River. The store allows you to buy 12oz Singles out of the six packs allowing for the ability to try many different beers rather then being stuck to 6 packs and bombers. They have a top shelf for rare beers which I have seen Infinitum, vintage Stone releases, and other barrel aged beers.

If you are in the OC this store is a must stop.

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Photo of Bonsall_Phil
5/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of datpingao
5/5  rDev +10.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of AlexM
5/5  rDev +10.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Hi-Time has been around FOREVER and is arguably one of the best retailers in the entire state of California ... and not just for craft beer, but for wine, cigars and spirits. It's like being in an adult candy store ... just EPIC!!

The beer selection is amazing and selections are properly stored ... cold ... so make sure when you browse the beer choices, bring a jacket or something as it gets cold.

Prices are reasonable ... probably lower in other establishments, but nothing over retail suggested value.

If you are in the area, Hi-Time is a must stop ... the store is simply amazing!

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Photo of TaylorIPA19
5/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of Fred28
5/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of BrewMaster
5/5  rDev +10.6%

This is simply the best all around beer store (not to mention wine and liquor) that I've ever been to. They treat their beer like a member of the family, not a commodity to be sold. Their selection is second to none. Rare beers from around the world are easily found here. When I visited yesterday I found a wealth of Liefman's and other great brews. It would be impossible to list even a fraction of hte excellent brews they have. And the best part is that they have a walk-in cooler where most of the beer is stored.

The staff is very helpful and unpretentious. They go out of their way to help you find what you need. They know their beers as well so it is pleasure shopping at Hi-Time.

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Photo of Rumrunner
5/5  rDev +10.6%

Excellent! This place has it all for the liquor inclined person.

Hi-Times is a large and very clean establishment. They carry a ton of wine and spirits. From cheap to expensive. They have a wine tasting cellar.

Here is a list of the other stuff this place carries besides liquor. Glasses, cigars, smoking accessories, fresh made candy, aprons, knick knacks, liquor related gifts, wine and beer bottle fancy gift bags, utensils and a bunch of other items.

We are here for the beer. I will just state what many others have said. This is the best selection I have seen in California. The beer cooler is a wonderful place to visit. A large selection of craft beers. The west coast states are well represented as well is Alaska. Dogfish Head is here and Victory and just too many to name. They are also carrying the Rogue Dead Guy Ale in the growler. A great selection of English beers and Ales. This is the only store I have seen Trafalgar IPA sold. A very good selection of Belgians and Germans and many other countries are represented. They even had some made to ready sampler packs. Old Scottish Ale styles is one example.

The beer prices are very fair and compete with what many other stores sell their beers for. I thought some of the imports were a bit pricey but they are probably competitive with other liquor stores.

The staff was very friendly and helpful. They made sure I was happy and I left the store with all I could carry. Cha ching! The only thing that would make this store better is if they could get more beers from the rest of America.

Check this place out if you have not already. It is worth a trip. A person could spend a long time in this place deciding what to spend their beer budget on.

Note: As of my last visit 11-04, the beer cooler is now in a different place in the building. More to the back to be exact. It is much larger and accomodates a cart much more easily. I don't know if this is a good or bad idea. Many more beers can be thought to purchase now. There is also an outside cooler. So many beers to contemplate. Oh the credit cards do shine and the bills do add up. The cooler is a brilliant sight to see. Cheers!

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Photo of NolenCostaMesa
5/5  rDev +10.6%

Photo of mickeymac
5/5  rDev +10.6%

This place is a drinker's paradise. It has a phenomenal selection of beer, wine, and spirits. Make sure you hit the walk-in beer refrigerator behind the beer display. HT has a great selection of Belgians, British, and German beers to go along with beers from the rest of the world. More local selections include a wide range from Alesmith, Bear Republic, Stone, Moylan's, Marin, and others. HT also had a walk-in humidor in case the urge for a Churchill strikes as you're walking out with a bomber or two of barleywine. The people are very friendly, hepful, and knowledgeable. Finally, it's only about 2 miles from Goat Hill Tavern, so you can stop in to pick up a case of the stuff you tried on draught at the tavern.

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Photo of Southernbrew
5/5  rDev +10.6%

I just received my first order from Hi-time and I could not be more impressed. I ordered 6 12 oz. singles and when it arrived and I opened it up I knew they would be in good shape. They pack this stuff so it could survive being run over by a truck. The selection on the website was great, at least 90% of the stuff is unavailable in Georgia, if not most of the Southeast. The service is wonderful too. The day after I placed my order, an employee (Tre maybe) called to let me know they were out of one of my choices and helped me pick out something else and was happy to answer all my questions, some of the best service I've ever had. My one gripe is I ordered a full-sail amber ale and was sent a saint louis obispo amber, oh well. I'm not sure where I would dock points since the whole experience was so nice. I will order from them again for sure.

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Photo of chefscott79
5/5  rDev +10.6%

I love this place...

I can't get enough of it....great selection not only in their big walk in cooler full of lots of treats from everywhere...best beer selection that I have ever seen!

only if I could get a job there

also their liquor section is awesome!

I could not find their beer book selection and it was kinda frustrating

and I hear their wine selection is pretty unbelievable....but sadly I have never ventured anywhere but the beer and liquor section...what can I say I love the beer cooler so much!

and also their staff is super knowledgeable! and friendly!

great deals sometimes on the whisky!

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Photo of DrinkinSurfer
5/5  rDev +10.6%

Hi - Time Wine Cellars has to be without a doubt one of the best establishments to purchase liquor, beer, and wines. I have found the staff to always be very approachable. I found a very nice bottle of 15 year old Pusser's rum, Nelsons Blood, that was very reasonably priced for the rarity and quality of the bottle. They have an outstanding selection of vintage and modern ports. As far as beer is concerned I'll just say, make sure to bring your credit card because there is plenty to choose from.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
5/5  rDev +10.6%

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

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Photo of beergeek279
5/5  rDev +10.6%

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!

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Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, CA
Place rating: 4.52 out of 5 with 122 ratings