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Beverages 4 Less


184 Reviews
Beverages 4 LessBeverages 4 Less

Type: Store

9181 Mission Gorge Rd
Santee, California, 92071-3723
United States

(619) 448-3773 | map

No notes at this time.

Added by Phocion on 10-22-2006

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Reviews: 184 | Ratings: 197
Photo of GJ40
4.7/5  rDev +12.7%

Not much from the outside but this place has a great selection of west coast beers such as Russian River, Alpine, AleSmith and Ballast Point. It meanders throughout the store so give it a good walk through or you might miss something.

The guy behind the counter (he wasn't the owner because he made mention of him) was very helpful and outgoing. He even said they shipped beer and gave me their card. That could really come in handy.

Beverages 4 Less is a great, dedicated beer store. It's well worth a visit if you're anywhere in the area.

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Photo of Yetiman420
4.85/5  rDev +16.3%

On a Sunday - Monday period in Mid October, I did a tour of San Diego breweries, brewpubs and beer stores. All the bottle shops I visited received A+ ratings with a significant number of reviews. My goal was primarily Russian River brews (Pliny, Blind Pig, Supplication) and then WC IPA's that I can't get in Ohio (Alpine, Kern River).
The places I visited in order of ranking...

1. 3 Way tie - KnB Wine Cellars, Beverages 4 Less, Best Damn Beer Shop
2. Holiday Wine Cellar
3. Olive Tree Marketplace
4. Pizza Port Bottle Shop

It's a struggle to come up with a negative for Beverages 4 Less. I suppose the 15 minute drive to get there could be one, but it's well worth it. I was able to land all the beers I was looking for. Lots of other great stuff, but I had to limit myself.

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Photo of yemenmocha
5/5  rDev +19.9%

Beverages 4 Less is one of the better beer stores I've been to in recent years and this place has it all - simply amazing selection, great friendly service (thanks Freddie), and a convenient location right off the freeway. I'll be stopping here on my way out of San Diego back to Arizona every time, without a doubt.

Rare bottlings from the West coast are in stock here when they're not in stock at other locations, and he has a wide variety of imported offerings - both east coast domestic craft and from europe. I was pleased to find Victory beers in stock in addition to the usual suspects from California.

Freddie showed me around the store and drew my attention to special bottlings that I may like, and he was gracious to offer a pour of his Mirror Mirror barleywine while browsing. This is exactly the sort of feel you want when shopping for premium craft beer, and Beverages 4 Less delivers.

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Photo of BillRoth
4.64/5  rDev +11.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

Funny...I didn't think a review page would end uo being a chat page. But I received a comment or two in my Beer Mail from someone re: illegal shippping to Maryland, and replied to sender. But since that message appeared in this review column as well...let me set the record straight on something. While I live in Maryland...Freddie has always refused to ship beer directly to me. So I have him send it to my sister in VA. This is also true of some other top rated stores in other parts of the country who ship to me via legal states. Win-win...see my family a few times a year, and always have great beer at reunions. How fun is that. So here's to great guys like Freddie, who make it possible for many of us to enjoy a few good beers we otherwise would miss out on.

Original Review:
Have been getting beers from Freddie on line for a few years, and finally had a chance to visit SD and stop by. Beers had always been shipped well, and exceeded expectations...so hoped I could meet up with the guy who had helped me out so often. I hit Alpine as soon as I got to town, and then cruised over to Bev 4 Less on my way back into the city. What a blast! It was like old friends...even though we had never met. Freddie had all my reserved orders waiting for me, and pulled me off a few more specials as well. Cuvee du Tomme, Red Poppy, Grand Teton, Alpine, RR, etc etc...just waiting for me as promised. We talked up beer for awhile, and lined up the next order to come. Looking forward to many more awesome beers in the future.
p.s. Sorry I missed the BBQ on Saturday, Freddie.

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Photo of Bung
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%

Ordered on line. Spoke with Freddy, very nice guy and super service. I was able to get ahold of him at all sorts of times when I would not expect to be able to. Wish I would have read here first, he said he was out of Hair of the Dog Fred from the Wood. If he was holding out I would have pleaded some more, maybe next time. Many things available I have no chance of getting out here out east. 3 bottles of Abyss, Old Numbskull, Wee Heavy and an Alaskan Barleywine(In place of FFTW). "Boxing" fee is about my only complaint, but it sounds like a one or two man operation, so I guess he has to get something for his time. Well packaged. Will be checking back often, hopefully will get me out of having to try and trade for some rare west coast stuff.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.73/5  rDev -10.6%
vibe: 2.25 | quality: 3 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Beverages4less definitely brings in a wide variety of opinions on the matter. They usually can be broken down between locals (bad) and non locals (good). Myself, being a native born San Diegan, but who has moved long ago and is now non local, thought it would be a good idea to stop by this place and check it out for myself. Its pretty much in between my Alpine lunch and trip to Alesmith, so why not I thought?

Its a craphole exterior. Looks corner markety where you would expect bulletproof glass and lots of Phillies Blunts varities and malt liquor.

Quality: They/he carries plenty of great beers, high quality beers. What is not high quality here are the storage conditions and pricing. Lots of warm shelves, dust. Some things get brought out of the back. There doesn't seem to be prices on anything. Thats troubling for me, as its a way for business to often charge different prices (which is akin to the used car salesmen comparison).

The service was great. Freddie engaged in a lively conversation. He brought out some beers from the back. He seemed pretty cool. He pushed some of his out of distribution stuff at crazy high prices. That don't bother me. I always appreciate the option, even if I'd have to be dumb as shit to buy them at said requested price.

The selection was great, there's tons of beers in here.

So overall, its a mixed bag.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.85/5  rDev +16.3%

WOW! Forget what you've heard about Santee, you don't need a KKK hood and sheet to shop in this store. That's just one of those stereotypes that rooted in reality.

This store looks like crap from the outside but I assured my wife, "Don't judge a beer store by its parking lot"...this place is awesome. Its also a homebrew store BTW. It looks like a convenient store on the inside but its all alcohol. About half the store is devoted to beer, a wall of coolers and lots of shelves. Lets see, Lost Abbey / Port, Russian River, Deschutes, tons of foreigns (Germany and Belgium), Mikkeller, lots and lots of beers. THere are also out of market beers, a wink is as good as a nod, that aren't for sale. Things like Dark Lord, Kate the Great...all just sitting there on the shelf. Fucking AWESOME.

The beer is reasonably priced, I just have expensive tastes, we were the only people in there and as a result the guy behind the counter kept trying to help us, we didn't need it but that was nice. I'll be going back here the next time I'm near Klantee...errr...I mean Santee.

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Photo of DCLAguy11
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

If it wasn't for BA this place would be a total hidden local gem because it's in a non-descript strip mall off the highway. Freddy is a great owner and knows his stuff. It's worth a stop to check out what he has available especially if you are on your way back from Alpine. Since he has so much traffic he's always getting new stuff in the store. Everytime I go I spend a long time chatting with Freddy. I wish I had a store like this nearby. Oh, and he has a whole section dedicated to home brew materials.

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Photo of HopHead84
1.27/5  rDev -69.5%
vibe: 1 | quality: 1 | service: 1 | selection: 2

Where to start with Beverages 4 Less. Behind the facade of an ugly liquor store you'll find beverages 4 less. It's essentially a liquor store with lots of beer. They have a few coolers and an okay selection, but you'll quickly notice the large quantity of beer sitting out on the shelves unrefrigerated. After a walk around the store, you'll stop to wipe the sweat from your forehead and wonder how the beer is faring. You'll touch a dusty bottle with your hand and find that it's warm to the touch. That can't be good for the beer. No, it's not good for the beer at all. It's one hundred degrees on any given day in Santee, and this place does not have Air Conditioning. Would you buy beer that is cooking on a store shelf in 100 degree weather? No, you wouldn't do that, so do not shop here if you care about quality. I haven't eaten any of the liquor store food here, so I can't comment on that. The selection is okay, but most of the beer is dangerously warm so that really limits your options. The service is awful. The owner makes you feel like you're in a used car lot the way he barks at you and constantly refers to himself in the third person. It's creepy. The man will creep you out. Then he'll sell you a bottle for $4 more than he sold it to the last customer. Walk. Walk away now. I bought a bottle of Parabola here and he told me that "Freddie is the only one who got it" and that "you should be happy that Freddie sell you this bottle cus it's very rare and Freddie only sell it to the good customer." Yea, he feeds you that sort of BS, like he's afforded you a glimpse into the inner circle, some secret society ruled by this liquor store owner who can purportedly get you anything you want. Turn around and head back to one of San Diego's other fine bottle shops. Most of the high reviews are from people who have never visited the store and witnessed the horror. Those who have been know better.

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Photo of BGsWo22
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I placed my order on 09/28/2012 for 2 Pliny the Elder, 2 Blind Pig, 1 Temptation and 1 Deschutes Chain Breaker White IPA.
The Pliny the Elder and Blind Pig were bottled on 09/24/2012 and the whole package arrived at my door on 10/03/2012. This is the freshest that I have had either and look forward to being able to get them this fresh again soon. I will still make the trip to Philly in the future for Pliny on tap though.
Nothing was damaged in the shipping process and the overal experience was great. Fred was very helpful and I look forward to ordering in the future.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.2/5  rDev -23.3%

Visited this place while in San Diego for a science conference... that turned out to be more about beer than science.

Am I missing something about Beverages 4 Less? The outside appearance and setup of this store is less than appealing and the neighborhood its in makes me a little wary of going in, in the first place... IPA's and "perishable" beers are kept in the fridge and there are racks and racks of beer out on the floor. At least they know how to store their beer.

I asked the clerk at the counter about the bottles that they have on display on the wall ( a bunch of rare offerings + some limited distribution stuff). He responded by saying that all of them were, at one point or another, being sold at the store... so... they were selling Kate the Great in the store? Ok... not impressed... and now even a little MORE wary.

Selection is very reasonable but maybe I just went on a bad day? The variety of beers here is monstrous but they were out of stock on a lot of semi-rare beers (ie. ASGC, Deliverance, Pliny, etc.) Judging by what's on the wall though, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

Very reasonable prices here for the most part except they were trying to charge $36 for a bottle of parabola... Still though, I feel like the prices I was paying on a majority of the items was very good.

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Photo of youbrewidrink
5/5  rDev +19.9%

Knowing Freddy is like having family on the west coast. You can trust him and depend on him to keep the most current and sought after beers available.

He ships promptly and adds a nice personal touch. He ships when he says he will and provides tracking info way before you even ask.

I have dealt with many mail order beer locations and Beverages 4 Less has been by far one the best places I have purchased from.

I highly recomend Freddy to anyone purchasing beer mail order for the first time or anytime for that matter.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.35/5  rDev +4.3%

Went here after the O'Brien's TION night. Easy trip down the CA-52. Quite easy to find in the dark which was nice since I don't know the area too well. First ever trip to East County San Diego. Looks of a typical liquor store with a great beer selection. Aside from the Alpine, Lightning, and a few oddities, nothing I couldn't find in Orange County, but it's nice to have all that beer at one stop. Picked up 5 Alpine bombers and a Full Sail Old Boardhead '07, none of which I've seen locally. Met Freddie, who was nice and quite jovial, enthusiastic about beer. Prices were reasonable. I will certainly revisit next time I'm in San Diego. I liked this store a lot, I wish it was my local liquor/convenience store.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.79/5  rDev +14.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75

The selection at this store is pretty great. They may not have the biggest selection in San Diego, but they manage to get some amazing beer in here and everything on the shelves is quality. What really sets the place apart, as others have said, is the owner, Freddy. Within 2 minutes of me setting foot in the store, he had let me try one of his homebrews and taken me to the backroom to let me see a few beers that didn't find their way to the shelves. It's a bit of a drive to get out there, but it's worth it for the selection. If you're in the area, you have to check this place out. You will not regret it.

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Photo of ffejherb
5/5  rDev +19.9%

Not much more I can add to the glowing reviews of this truly amazing beer store. I was lucky enough to visit Beverage 4 Less during a trip to California in July 2009. My compadre from San D. was unfamiliar with this store (I'd read about it on BA, of course)! We were kind of in the neighborhood, so I suggested a "quick" stop. Well, unfortunately, if anybody knows me, it's never a quick stop. Just ask brewslut about me and record stores.

Freddie is an amazing host and extremely proud of his shop. He spent a good hour talking with us, and he even sold me good wine shipping boxes at a very reasonable rate. Not only that, but he let me pick out "any bottle" in the store to crack open and share. He even said, "Don't be cheap!" While I was eyeing up the Rasputin Anniversary and Lost Abbey stuff, I maintained some sort of restraint and went with a bomber of Ballast Point Tongue Buckler. Plus he gave us fresh oranges! What a guy!

Needless to say, the selection here is ridiculous. If you come in here and leave empty handed, something is seriously wrong. They also have a pretty solid porn collection (if that's your kind of thing). Next time I am visiting the San Diego area, you can bet your ass I will be stopping in here to pick up some choice bottles.

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Photo of magictrokini
4.8/5  rDev +15.1%

My new go-to beer store. Selection is unbelievable and only rivaled by Holiday Wine Cellar. Freddy is the man. Knows his beer, and always has the hook-up for hard to find stuff. Teases you with the Angels' Share up front and other that are not for sale, but what is for sale more than makes up for it. Scored The Dissident, tons of Boris, and Firestone 12. Biggest selection of Alpine in town. A weekly destination. Downside is you do pay a premium for the good stuff. Everything comes at a cost, though.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.88/5  rDev +17%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Finally getting around to reviewing this place. Went there in the summer of 2008 and was blown away and just placed my first online order. My wife and I drove around the country, stopping at 50+ liquor stores and together with Capone's in Philly, this is probably my favorite place in America. Freddie is amazing. They stock an incredible amount of beer and have a fantastic selection.

When we were there he went out of his way to grab stuff from the back and was really excited to help us get stuff that we couldn't get out East. Placed my first order online and he had responded, packed up my box, and got my tracking number all in less than an hour.

Pricing in the store is quite reasonable, and online is just as good. I realized that for a lot of things, it's probably easier to just order online than find a trader and end up paying for packing and shipping anyhow. My most enthusiastic recommendation.

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Photo of radshoesbro
1.28/5  rDev -69.3%
vibe: 1 | quality: 1 | service: 1 | selection: 2

The guy that owns this place is a crook. He mules in beers from brewery release events and upsells them for exorbanant prices. Then he treats you like he's doing you a favor for ripping you off. I haven't been here in years because I flat out refuse to shop at this store. I know for a fact that he'll charge you more for beer if he realizes you've given his establishment a bad rating. Stop rating his shop highly. The beers are sitting out on a floor in 100 degree heat, they're warm to the touch. He used to blow fans on them to give you the perceived idea that they're being kept cool. Seriously, think about that one for a second. If he cared about his customers or his product he would install air conditioning in his store. Do not buy beer from this man.

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Photo of vermilcj
4.93/5  rDev +18.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75

I have not been to the store, but having ordered from Freddy online I can tell you this is a top notch store. He is always very attentive in responding to orders and questions and goes the extra mile for his customers. I hope to get out to see him in San Diego some day soon.

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Photo of d0ggnate
5/5  rDev +19.9%

I finally decided to stop over at Beverages 4 Less, as I have heard a lot of good things about Freddie and all his beer. I was really glad I made the short trip. An amazing and well laid-out selection. Lots of interesting bottles. Some were old favorites. Some I was surprised to see. It was also nice to talk beer with Freddie for a while. He was right there with recommendations or just to chat about beer happenings. This trip I picked up a few small things, Abyss 2009, DFH Chicory Stout and a random gueuze. I can't wait to go back and shop there again.

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Photo of Phocion
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%

I found this place on the Alpine website as one of their few distributors. I printed out the directions on mapquest and the next time I was in San Diego I stopped by. It's an unassuming place that you'd definitely not expect to carry any craft beers, but once inside that changed.

Their selection is above average at best, but I gave them a 4.5 simply because of a few rare brews they carried. As mentioned above, they carry all the Alpine stuff, which is impressive in itself. I also found some Stone 8th Anniversary (this was in September of '06) at a relatively bargain price, which needless to say I grabbed as much as I could carry along with a few bombers of Pure Hoppiness. Aside from this they carry all the basic San Diego County breweries (Alesmith, Green Flash, Ballast Point, etc) and a decent selection of imports, though I was there for the Alpine and didn't spend much time browsing anything else I could get much closer to home.

The store is run by an Indian or Middle Eastern family who although they don't look it, they (or at least the gentleman who helped me) seemed to have a good knowledge of craft beer. Very friendly as well.

Next time I feel an urge for Alpine or find myself in East County, I'll definitely make sure this place is a stop. Recommended for anyone in the area.

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Photo of ThirstyBird
5/5  rDev +19.9%

Well I'm glad that My friend BA stevemcqueenjr introduced me to Fred at beverages4less! The first time I called Fred and I talked beer for 50 minutes. The man cares and it shows - he'll do whatever he can to get great beer in to his store for you.

I just got a great package of west coast goodies (some tough to get treats). I'm looking forward to placing my next order. I REALLY looking forward to my visit to SD this winter so I can visit the store first hand.

He is my go to source for buying online - great service and great selection - I can't ask for more!

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Photo of OlieIPA
5/5  rDev +19.9%

My day started off at 4 am, getting ready to head down to the Alesmith Barrel Aged Speedway release. After getting to SD around 7 am and getting my ticket for my treasure, a fellow beer geek in line suggested my buddies and me visit this gem. So to kill some time, we decided to head down and take a look. When I thought my day couldn't get any better...Fred (the owner) decided to make it even better. We walked in and he immediately started helping us out and asking us questions....and not in a pushy way either. Anyways, the selection was pretty darn good too...I was impressed. Basically, Fred is a super nice guy who loves what he does...which really makes the experience that much better. It would be a shame to not visit this place.

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Photo of nomomentwasted
5/5  rDev +19.9%

Ho. Lee. Cow.

Whatever you think you need at a beer store, this is it. If you're looking high-end and cutting out the middle-man, then this is your place. No doubt about it, the nicest selection I've seen in San Diego. The depth of amazing beers is huge, and there are assortments from Allagash, Russian River, Lost Abbey, Ballast Point, Stone, Alpine, Belgians galore, and so much more. Whew, no doubt, it's worth the trip out there.

Just of the highest end, they have the Rogue Imperials, Cuvee de Tomme, Angel's Share, and Lost and Found (among many others) from Lost Abbey, cases of Sculpin, Pure Hoppiness, Mirror Mirror, Decadence / Yulesmith / Old Numbskull / Grand Cru, Consecration from RR, and so much more. I could've easily spend $200-300 without even thinking about it, but alas, my income is way, way less than that.

If you're willing to make the drive from SD, it's more than worth it, but be ready to pay a tad more on some things, but the selection really is unrivaled. This is really not a 6-pack store either, it's about the bombers and singles, and you really just can't go wrong. Great beer, great service, and great selection. Do yourself a favor and go here (or don't and leave more for me).

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Photo of errantnight
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%

Well a lot has changed since my initial visit over a year ago... what was once a place with a fine selection of Coronado and Alpine and not much else of note is now an extremely well stocked store, with tons of goodies secreted away. A hidden gem, if still a bit on the pricey side.

I revisited before the holidays on the advice of HopHead84 while looking for Sculpin. Intending to stock up only on that and some Pure Hoppiness, I walked away with a case+ of delicious brews (including some Abyss they still had around). Fred was great about showing me recent arrivals and things I might not have heard of once he gauged my knowledge and interests, happily showing off his cellar as well. A good portion is refrigerated (concentrating on the hoppy stuff), there's full collections from a wide range of SoCal and West Coast breweries (and beyond, they had the full complement of Blvd Big Stack beers, the standard release ones, anyway). My only minor complaint is that things were a bit pricey (Pliny and Blind Pig at $5, as a typical example), .50 to $1 more on average ($2 more in some cases on the higher price point end) and no discount even though I dropped $200+. That said, it was a fun shopping experience, and I was deeply impressed by the improvements in stock since I was there last.

I've since placed a couple mail orders, and he's been great with me. FedEx shipping containers, prompt shipments, standard rates. Despite not having the name and notoriety of South Bay, it seems like everything Joey is getting there, Fred is getting here (and their prices are comparable). But for now, thanks to a smaller base of clientele, it's easier to land some of the special releases, as there's fewer people clamoring to get in. I hate to spread the word and let the secret out... but it's about time this place started getting the recognition it deserves.

Old review (9/25/07, 3.5/3.0/4.0)

Well, it's on the way back from Lakeside to Los Angeles and it sells Alpine if you happen to be out and about on a Sunday only and can't hit up the brewery itself... and if you live in the area, I imagine this is a fine establishment... just not worthy of a special trip.

A better-than-average selection, including a bunch of Coronado brews and all the Alpines. Everything seemed marked up here, so I only grabbed some Pure Hoppiness and went about my way.

They hit most of the major breweries, but only particular selections. For example: they have Brutal Bitter, but no other Rogue.

Still, they hit nice selections by most of the major countries, plenty here to expand your tastes, and they have a great selection of Cali brews. But next time I'm down and searching for Alpine I'll try to check out a different spot.

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Beverages 4 Less in Santee, CA
93 out of 100 based on 184 ratings.
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