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Abe's Cold Beer

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BA SCORE
98
world-class

80 Reviews
Abe's Cold BeerAbe's Cold Beer
PLACE INFO

Type: Eatery, Store

1301 W Broad St
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 18018-4920
United States

(610) 997-0831 | map
abescoldbeer.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-15-2007

PLACE STATS
Score:
98
Reviews:
80
Ratings:
104
Avg:
4.47
pDev:
9.17%
 
 
Taps:
0
Bottles/Cans:
2,000
Cask:
N
Beer-to-Go:
N
View: Place Reviews | Events
User Reviews
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Reviews: 80 | Ratings: 104
Reviews by Durge:
Photo of Durge
4.65/5  rDev +4%

What a place! This may be the greatest number of different brews I have ever encountered despite the relatively tiny confines of this psuedo deli shop crowded with six packs and singles. The import selection was not super extensive but the domestic micros were well represented. It was a bit hit-or-miss but the big advantage was being able to take single bottles of anything, $2 each, $11.75 a six assorted. Some select 12 oz. singles are marked as much as $4 which seemed a bit steep in some cases but generally prices were reasonable considering that they were breaking up six packs. They also offered lots of bombers. Locals were well represented as were many from other regions including Bells, Holland, Mad River, and on & on. Breaking up the packs leaves an obvious chance for aging bottles on the shelves and I did note a number of bottles that showed obvious sediment collected at the bottom but most appeared to be pretty current and fresh. I loaded up pretty well and will test the freshness later. I have to say that the store manager, who was working unassisted at the time of my visit, was extremely attentive and helpful, Emma "The Beer Woman". She spent an inordinate amount of time helping me search according to taste while also assiting numerous other customers. She was quick to offer ordering things that weren't available, she knew her beers pretty well and overall this is the place to stop before loading up on cases that you have to buy most other places that might offer any selection close to this. It was somewhat loosely organized and a bit haphazard, lots in coolers, lots not, but I found some goodies that I will happily bring home to Connecticut. They also had a fair number of macros and oh yeah, sandwiches, too! Wish this place was close to home.

 1,782 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of jmg480
4.88/5  rDev +9.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Photo of Theredphone
4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 5

You could spend hours creating your own six pack In this tiny place. Great for variety and conveniently located

111 characters

Photo of BadAsHeck
4.52/5  rDev +1.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Photo of Robearsboozin
3.84/5  rDev -14.1%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.25 | service: 2.75 | selection: 4.5

Photo of GratefulJack
3.79/5  rDev -15.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75

Photo of kbusch18
3/5  rDev -32.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 2 | selection: 4

It is truly sad the potential that is wasted here. Yes they have a great selection of beer, however their lack of respect for the beer is evident. Not sure if it is a bad store manager or just overall a group of owners only looking for income.

 245 characters

Photo of Brushkanna
3.81/5  rDev -14.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3 | selection: 4.25

MKy complaint is the bad 70's almost disco music one guy in there plays and his constant whistling to the terrible music, makes me want to leave. The beer selection is good. Prices are high, but i belive that is due to the weird PA beer laws.

 242 characters

Photo of Statu
4.23/5  rDev -5.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 1

Photo of JNForsyth
3.75/5  rDev -16.1%

Vast inventory of beer, not organized but a good way to browse an hour away. Pricing seems to trend on the high side for the area.

131 characters

Photo of notjaredsmith
5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of anteater
4/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of BigRizz62
4.96/5  rDev +11%

Photo of pep
5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of Afroman
5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of gl1800rider
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of TrackcoachLVPA
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of macesq
2.58/5  rDev -42.3%
vibe: 2 | quality: 2.5 | service: 2 | selection: 3.5

There are two arguments, I believe, that I hear most frequently regarding the value of supporting locally owned small businesses. The first, perhaps more quintessentially "liberal," centers on distribution of resources; a society with more independent owners distributes resources among a wider group of persons. The second, perhaps more quintessentially "conservative," centers on the value of localism as such; the local community is preferable to a larger society of unknowns and local business owners deserve money in a way out-of-town big businesses do not.

I'm nonplussed as to these two arguments, for reasons I need not concern you with. Frankly, I prefer smaller-scale establishments in the most selfish way -- what they have to offer me. In the abstract, the human touch of (for our purposes here) a small six-pack store provides benefits out of reach in the faceless retail outlet of big-box bureaucracy: attention to details with which only beer consumers concern themselves; friendly and personal service; a sense of passion in seller as well as buyer for the goods being transacted. These things, moreso than abstract structural concerns, make me inclined to pay a higher price for beer from a small business than from a large seller peddling six-packs within its echoing facade.

Abe's, the six-pack store of the locality of my youth, unfortunately offers few of the benefits for which I'm happily willing to pay a premium. To be sure, they offer a wide variety of beers; and although that advantage is dwindling in the Lehigh Valley market, they remain the only place to buy singles of great beers (the make-your own six-pack section at Wegman's remains sparsely populated with good brews) and do have a spread of six-packs only approached by the recently-renovated Allentown Wegman's. However, service is often surly and they attend to remarkably few details. Beers can be many months out of date; organization, layout, and general upkeep evince a general lack of respect for consumers; and they can't be bothered to shave off the price stickers on every bottle with a razor, a staple of dingy corner liquor stores and high-end wine boutiques, but lost on Abe's.

All of which would be no sweat off my back, frankly, even for a slight premium. The ability to make your own six-pack of top-tier brews really is worth that much to me, even if you need to check the born on date of every bottle you pick up. But Abe's isn't just a few dollars more than Wegman's, a fact which I could accept unblinkingly. Abe's is as expensive as beer stores in New York and Washington, D.C. Hell, I recently had a bottled beer at a craft beer *bar* in New York shortly before returning to the Valley to visit family; when I stopped in Abe's I saw they were selling it to-go for just a dollar less. That would border on unacceptable even if Abe's offered the benefits of a small business that cares about its goods and its consumers. That Abe's is run like a convenience store with a six-pack license that stumbled into the world of craft beer in a beer-starved Lehigh Valley market only makes this more ridiculous.

 3,113 characters

Photo of GeorgiaBeerGuy
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of Latarnik
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of bshiban
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

excellent selection but $$$$

29 characters

Photo of NJBeer265
4.64/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Went here on the way to a bachelor party in the Pocono's and glad I did. The place doesn't look like much from the outside but huge selection inside, I could have spent hours in this place. Big Make-Your-Own 6-Pack section, big bomber section and a ton of International beers. Emma is amazing and if you e-mail ahead of time they will set aside large quantities if you are looking. Sign-up for the e-mail blasts.

 412 characters

Photo of yourefragile
4/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of Josh1981
5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of JohnnyPoops
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

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Abe's Cold Beer in Bethlehem, PA
4.47 out of 5 based on 104 ratings.
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