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Whole Foods Market

Your Rating: None
8 Ratings

Type: Store

4800 El Camino Real
Los Altos, California, 94022-1407
United States

(650) 559-0300 | map

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Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-29-2008

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 8 |  Reviews: 5
Reviews by nickd717:
Photo of nickd717
3.85/5  rDev -7.7%

This place is pretty solid for a Whole Foods, even if it still hasn't come near the NYC location that had Melange #3 ON TAP.

Ramon, the beer buyer, is a good guy who is into the local BA scene. Very knowledgeable and helpful as far as beer goes, and he has definitely improved the beer selection here. I haven't always been happy with his recommendations, but hey, a tick's a tick.

One warning: watch out for the freshness of beers here. That can be an issue sometimes. Whatever others might tell you, Pliny is better fresh, NOT after 3-4 months. This Whole Foods tends to be a batch behind other stores for some reason. Come to think of it, I haven't even seen Pliny or Blind Pig there recently.

They now sell many bottles in singles and have been getting more and more fairly rare stuff in. Prices are good and they sometimes have great sales. Firestone 13 for $20, Black Xantus for $8, fairly fresh Pliny for under $4. Awesome. Singles are available out of ANY 6-pack for $1.99. I mean you know you want to see how awful that new Indian Wells beer is, but you don't want to have to choke down 6 bottles of it, right?

Other than the beer aisle, this is your typical yuppie haven like every other Whole Foods, but if you're from around the area, this should definitely be on your short list of beer stops.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of chrisjws
3.76/5  rDev -9.8%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75

Photo of brywhite
3.75/5  rDev -10.1%

Photo of cjw333
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of Gambac
4.14/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Generous size for a Whole Foods, with an accompanying generous selection of beers

Didn't run into the beer buyer, but whoever it is knows their stuff. Wide selection, including Stone, Bear Republic, and quite a few other California quality brews. Good mix of Belgians and lambics, but that's not really my scene. Still looked impressive though

Happy with the ability to buy singles, even if a DFH Palo Santo Marron is 4.59. Even so, been itching to try that beer, happy to have picked it up

Standard Whole Foods otherwise, but if you dig the craft beer scene, this would be a good place to check out.

 603 characters

Photo of Arbitrator
3.9/5  rDev -6.5%

Re-review on 9/26/10. Previous review left intact below.

I finally went here again after a long, long time away. I wanted some Lagunitas, and Whole Foods is one of the few stores that carries it right next to my usual shopping haunts. So I stopped in.

My past complaints about out of date beer have to be rescinded. They are now serving up fresh (within 3 months' bottling date) sixers of Lagunitas, Stone, Bear Republic, Firestone. I don't know if it was my past complaint that prompted it or if the buyer just got a fresh shipment of everything in early July, right after my 7/12 review, but wow: he stepped it up. I even saw a ton of fresh Pliny the Elder (9/21) on the shelf, only five days old. Fresh beer = high quality (4.5).

I had some issues with Ramon, the ex (?) beer buyer, as he would frequently try to sell me old/expired beer. That resulted in a low "service" score. Supposedly he left in mid August. If true, the new buyer is doing an awesome job. If it's still Ramon, then he has really improved and should be commended. Either way, I will wait to interact with the buyer in person before bumping up the "service" score.

There's a new assortment of Oktoberfest beers, a couple of which are on sale. I will be buying some of those on my next trip, which will be next weekend. Yes, I think this store is worth visiting again on a regular basis. One of the best selections on the Peninsula.

Prices are fair as usual. ($$ = reasonable)


First review: 2.5 / 1.5 / 4.0 / $$

I've been going here pretty regularly for over a year now. I've gotten to know Ramon, the beer buyer, pretty well. He takes pride in having a wide variety of beers, including some top rated ones as noted by another user.

But ultimately, he's still a salesman.

Ramon has been behind such classic pranks as telling me that Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River thinks Pliny the Elder "hits its peak at 3 to 4 months." While Ramon was telling me this, he was gesticulating wildly at the case display behind him, which clearly states, "DO NOT AGE" all over the box. No, Ramon, Vinnie does not think Pliny is best aged.

On another occasion, Ramon convinced me to buy a beer that I told him I probably wouldn't like (I don't like the brewer). But he kept insisting, so I finally gave in -- and I hated it. I don't think he has my best interests at heart.

Recently, I picked up a six-pack of an unnamed Cali IPA. Ramon assured me that it had just come in, so I went with it. I went home and realized it had a bottling date in February, almost 2.5 months old. Oh come on!!!

This store has a wide selection, but most of it is frequently out of date (so the quality is poor), and Ramon actively tries to sell it to you anyway (so the service is poor).

I spent 30 minutes today looking at freshness dates for various breweries: Deschutes, Dogfish Head, Bear Republic, Stone, Firestone Walker, etc. An abysmal number of beers were 3+ months old and out of date, but they remain on the shelf. Ramon simply doesn't care. The wide selection works against you, as the turnover is quite poor.

The lesson: check your dates if you buy from here. A smart buyer can get something out of this store, but if you are new to craft, go somewhere else where they take care of their product.

 3,273 characters

Photo of chickencoop
4.65/5  rDev +11.5%

Stopped by here a few weeks ago after a roady to SoCal. First thiing is that this is a huge set, buch bigger than any of the other Whole Foods in the area, which means a better selection than most. Ran into the beer buyer Ramon, very knowledgeable about beer and the beer world, even mentioned some of the beers he brewed and I thought that was cool since I have ran into many a beer buyer who know how to buy beer, but probaly can't brew brew..good stuff. I was able to pick up a few special brews, Parabola, for one, and some other locals. Great store, big set, a new goto store for me when i'm in the area.

 609 characters

Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
4.53/5  rDev +8.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

I went to Whole Foods in Los Altos after visiting all the "big" Bay Area beer stores on the Beer Advocate website, and I was surprised at what I found. They carried a very large selection of top of the line high quality beers.

Some of Beer Advocate's highly rated beers I remembered seeing here (there may be others) include:

#5 - The Abyss (only $11.99)
#6 - Pliny the Elder
#16 - Trappistes Rochefort 10
#19 - Sculpin IPA
#28 - St Bernardus Abt 12
#31 - Stone Imperial Russian Stout
#37 - Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier
#53 - Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock
#68 - Beer Geek Brunch Weasel
#69 - Duvel
#79 - Unibroue La Fin Du Monde
#80 - Aventinus
#82 - Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye
#86 - The Angels Share - Bourbon Barrel Aged
#89 - Trappistes Rochefort 8
#97 - Victory at Sea
#100 - Old Rasputin XII

They had other classics as well, such as Black Butte XXI, Rogue Chocolate Stout, and La Folie Wood Aged Beer.

While some of these are also available at Bevmo (not all), these were all refrigerated, and they had LOTS of other beers too. Very surprising selection. Prices were better than any of the specialty "craft" beer stores I visited and even better than Bevmo on the ones I found a price difference in.

Ramon is their beer buyer, and is very knowledgeable and friendly. He is extremely enthusiastic about beer and loves to discuss it, and made some great beer recommendations, such as Dogfish Head Burton Baton.

This is one of the best beer selections I've seen at a Whole Foods, with only the Oakland Whole Foods being better so far. A VERY good local beer store on the Peninsula!

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Whole Foods Market in Los Altos, CA
Place rating: 4.17 out of 5 with 8 ratings
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