K & L Wine Merchants


27 Reviews
K & L Wine MerchantsK & L Wine Merchants

Type: Store

3005 El Camino Real
Redwood City, California, 94061-4004
United States

(650) 364-8544 | map

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Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-29-2008

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Reviews: 27 | Ratings: 33
Photo of cherche
4.73/5  rDev +6.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4

one of the best bottle shops i have been to. they send out emails 1-2 times per week with new arrivals and sales. tastings weekly (which are always a great deal). only knock is they only have individual bottles and while the quality is great the selection is not as big as some other bottle shops but i think this helps keep things fresh and helps cycle through more beers so maybe somewhat of a good thing.

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Photo of LurkingMan
4.71/5  rDev +6.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75

I went to K&L today and bought two armagnacs, a bourbon, and a calvados; based solely on the staff's recommendations after they had heard what I liked about what I had already tried. Each of the four gets five WOWs. It isn't just that their recommendations were better than my previous choices. Their recommendations also had what I liked about my previous choices. They were similar, but better.

The more I think about this setup the better it seems. Shopping at K&L is like hiring expert buyers to search the world for me. Even better, a large set of results is already gathered and waiting for my acceptance, along with the scouting report.

What's not to like?

I rated price as reasonable because,
1. Although they sell high end products, the prices are reasonable for goods offered.
2. You get the scouting report, so your chances of getting the wrong high-end stuff go down.

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Photo of orangesol
4.3/5  rDev -3.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Our first stop on the way down to SD. Actually heard about this place for the wine but not the beer, glad we made the stop to check it out. Tons of wine all over the place, it is a wine merchant after all. People milling around looking at different bottles, quite laid back. Quality was really high, as you would expect from a high end wine store. Service was good. I was asked once if I needed help, I didn’t tho, and the guy at the counter was nice to talk to as he rang us up. Selection was a little small compared to some of the other shops I have stopped at over the last two weeks but it made up for it with quality. I was able to pick up a limited Belgian I had been searching for as well as a new sour from Drake’s that sounds awesome, can’t wait to try it. Prices were a bit up and down but mostly they were all really well priced. Overall a great wine shop that has some awesome beers hiding in the back corner. Definitely worth the side trip to check out.

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Photo of GJ40
4.36/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

I stopped by based on BA reviews while in the area on business. Very wine focused with a small but impressive beer selection. I picked up some 3 Fonteinen, Crooked Stave and others. They were pricy but I was very happy to find them. And the staff managed to point me to one more selection to round out my purchase. I wish they focused more on beer but I highly recommend a visit.

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Photo of SteveTheDog
4.33/5  rDev -2.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

I'd never seen a fine beer importer. Their selection is on the higher end side and they do have a fair number of local brews too. I was very impressed at the selection. This is still clearly a wine store and all things are geared to it but its great for stocking up on my own private cellar of nice stouts.

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Photo of Gambac
4.8/5  rDev +8.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

I had been to K & L before, and while I found what I was looking for, for whatever reason, it just didn't stick with me as a go-to place.

Went back today. Treasure trove, now on the monthly rotation for beer pursuits.

Inventory was fun to check online, all backed in store. Found things I wouldn't have expected, such as a Peche Mortel and Bigfoot Barleywine Ale from Sierra Nevada. Most importantly to me, all the stuff that should be chilled was chilled. And then some. To top it all off, I was able to buy a variety of singles - really looking forward to trying these new delights.

Didn't talk to the beer guy, but the cashier was extremely helpful and offered a good time to catch him next time. Might just take him up on it.

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

Visiting nearby Palo Alto I was disappointed by the selection of beers to take back to Santa Cruz. I didn't realize that Redwood City was so near PA. Walking in this is no doubt a wine store-period. However, find your way to the beer coolers in the corner. The selection was fantastic, but not overly large. High end hard to find beers-Ironfist Brewing from Vista (really? great), Great Divide, Highwater from Redding, Midnight Sun from Alaska, plus large number of other U.S craft beers. They also had a very good selection of European micros as well as a few British. I thought prices were good. I bought bomber bottles of Yeti, Oak Aged Yeti, Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti, Uinta's 750 ML Barleywine, and the bomber of Rogue dark ale estate beer for $50.

Service was good and I will be back to look throughthe 100 plus solid beers.

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Photo of mikul93
4.43/5  rDev -0.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 3.5

This is my go to place for beer around my neighborhood. No, they don't have the largest selection around, but the quality of their selection makes up for it. The staff is very helpful and the store is very neat and clean! You can also search for beers on their website. If they are out of stock, you can request to be emailed once the beer is in stock. Awesome! If I had to say one bad thing about the place, it's that they had a larger selection of beer rather than isles and isles of wine. But that's just the hop head in me.

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Photo of Dobby
5/5  rDev +12.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

K&L is an amazing store. Yes while its primarily a wine store, K&L packs a great selection of beer in thier dainty little cooler in the corner. Great place to pick up Pliny once a week and also stocks Alpine beers from time to time. Love the functionality of thier website as it lets me know what beers are coming soon and even lets me purchase them online and pick them up in the store later that day. All in all a great place to pick up beer, nothing bad can be said about this place at all. Highly reccomended

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Photo of easong
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

This is where I go for Russian River's Pliny and Alpine Beer's Duet IPA. If you don't have any idea why that would be good, your local Whole Foods or BevMo will do. If you don't know why WF or BVM is a good bet, ignore this review and enjoy your Bud Light. K & L Wines has a location in Hollywood which, apparently, is able to obtain the best beers of southern California and then truck them up to NoCal on the inter-store delivery truck, to the delight of the fans of hard-to-get beers. The beer buyer at this store is on top of his retail game and you'd have to go to Berkeley or further to find a better selection.

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Photo of nataku00
4.35/5  rDev -2%

K & L is predominantly a wine store, with almost 70% of the store devoted to wine. However, on one side of the fairly large floor space, there is a wall of shelves and a few coolers. Half of the shelves contain liquor and spirits, a quarter for sake, and the last quarter of shelves contain beer. Most of the four coolers contain beer as well, with a little bit of space for champagne and some wines. The store is very neat and clean, fairly well organized, and well lit.

There's abundant staff, and many of them do know a little bit about their beer. They are very knowledgeable about the wine, of course. Everyone has been friendly every time I've visited.

Pretty good selection of beer, especially with the option to get a lot of beers from southern California by asking them to order and ship between their Hollywood store and the ones here in the Bay Area. There are a few other stores in the Bay Area that have a deeper selection, but K&L is pretty good.

Pricing is reasonable and on par with some of the lower prices for some beers offered in other stores.

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Photo of Arbitrator
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

A relatively small selection against BevMo, given that K & L specializes in wine. However, they do have a full single-wall refrigerated display of beer.

The quality of those beers is phenomenal. It is impossible to find Russian River stuff at BevMo, but K & L had several of their selections in stock. I also observed Lost Abbey, Goose Island, Dogfish Head, and a number of Belgian imports. Prices were reasonable on all.

The beer buyer was in the store at the time of my purchase, and he turned out to be very friendly and knowledgeable.

I will definitely be returning to the store once or twice a month in my hunt for craft brew.

03/20/2009 -- The beer buyer, Bryan, has been taking his job very seriously. I go to this place almost weekly now, and it gets my dollars over BevMo. This is a great place to find quality beer on the Peninsula. Hope to see the beer selection expand even more. Have upgraded their rating.

08/18/2010 -- This is my go-to store at this point. Great beer, fast turnover, refrigerated selection, fair prices (creeping up just a little bit here and there as the store gets more popular, but that's life). Bryan is constantly getting more and more amazing stuff.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.35/5  rDev -2%

I stopped in here yesterday on the recommendation from a friend (JustinA1). He's ordered beer online from K & L multiple times.

K & L is a wine store first, beer store (very distant) second. Hundreds upon hundreds of wine bottles fill the spacious warehouse, while the entire beer selection is relegated to four wall coolers and two shelves in the back corner. What the beer selection lacks in quantity, however, it more than makes up for in quality.

The selection included a number of rare European beers; a lot of highly touted ales from Belgium, but many from less common countries like Spain, Italy, Sweden, and Norway. There were also a ton of highly touted American craft beers, many of them hard-to-find and/or limited production. All of the beer is sold individually (i.e. no four packs, six packs, etc.), but the prices are reasonable.

The guy at the register was laid back and nice. He told me that K & L will be expanding their beer selection in the near future, which I'm excited about.

The only beef I had with K & L was that they had all of their Midnight Sun (which included Sockeye Red IPA and Melt Down Double IPA) on the unrefrigerated shelf. Not a huge deal, but it did stop me from purchasing any of those beers.

All in all, this is a great place to find rare craft beer. Expect to pay a lot, but it'll all be worth it (as I said above, the prices are fair). Thanks for the suggestion Justin!

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Photo of womencantsail
4.35/5  rDev -2%

I stopped in here after hearing such great things about the store and being in the area for the weekend.

The store is definitely focused on wine, as it takes up the vast majority store. The beer section is just a few cooler doors. While the beer section is small, there are certainly some great offerings.

I had a hard time limiting myself to the rather impressive purchases I made (easily could have spent much more money). Offerings from Drie Fonteinen, HaandBryggeriet, Cantillon, Valley, and plenty of other great breweries.

The prices are pretty much standard, and while some items are pricey (like Drie Fonteinen Schaarbeekse Kriek at $40 for a 750), they are reasonable for the most part.

I would easily recommend this place to anyone and I would definitely stop in again.

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Photo of mlaroche
4.65/5  rDev +4.7%

First and foremost: Bryan, the beer buyer, is a great guy. He replies to emails and gets beer in sometimes just for me asking. He does a ton of research, and the beer selection is solid.

Second: I can reserve beers online if I can't make it to the store that day. This is great for special releases.

Third: I can reserve beers online from their Hollywood location, with free transfers between stores. It's a great way to get some Southern California beers that don't make it up normally.

Selection is great, but it's top end, harder to find only. For example: I could find Older Viscosity there, but not Old Viscosity. What they have is almost all top shelf. It's not going to be your only beer store.

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Photo of htomsirveaux
4.25/5  rDev -4.3%

Stopped in here tonight (1 Dec 2009).

This is a wine store, and if one were to judge just by the relative volume of wine to beer for sale it would be obvious that the beer is a red headed stepchild here. However, they clearly have a quality over quantity mindset with the beer.

Selection is not huge, granted, but they do carry quite a bit of hard to find imports, mainly Belgian but also Italian, German, Canadian and Spanish. Of course domestic micros are well represented, including Russian River, Bruery, AleSmith, Avery, Lost Abbey and Jolly Pumpkin. The PtE I picked up has a bottling code of 111809, quite fresh.

Prices seem a little expensive on some of the really obscure stuff but I suspect this is a result of a weak dollar, not a desire to gouge the customer (prices compare favorably with Ledgers).

I was not asked if I needed any help, but then again I didn't need any.

One thing I did notice that seemed a bit off was that there seemed to be some mold or mildew spotting up one of the doors and several of the bottles. Not a biggie, but would think it wouldn't be hard to at least clean the glass.

I would definitely stop in again if I was in the area.

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Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
4.72/5  rDev +6.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

K&L is my "local" beer store (it's actually more of a wine store than a beer store). It's the best place I've found for beer on the San Francisco peninsula (excluding San Francisco itself). They stock up on hard to find beers, and even have a lot of beers I haven't seen anywhere else. The selection is quite good, although it doesn't match the bigger San Francisco or East Bay Area beer stores.

One of the best things about K&L is their website. Not only does it provide information on which beers they sell, but it also lets you know how many of each beer is in stock, and how much each one costs. In additiion, it even provides a very nice description of the beers (and other liquors in the store as well).

Prices are excellent, and are always lower than the other big beer stores (they only appear high because they carry the good stuff). Service is great, and they have tastings about every month or so, at which I usally discover some very interesting new beers (the last $10 tasting as of this review included The Abyss, Two Turtle Doves, Yulesmith and 8 other great beers!!!).

A very good beer store with a well above average selection.

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Photo of bret27
3.75/5  rDev -15.5%

I have only been to this branch of the K&L stores but here's what I know.

Fairly small selection, only 2 coolers of beer, almost all of which is very high quality, which is cool. A lot of imports and some RR, Alesmith, Port, Victory, Avery, stone, Jolly Pumpkin, Mikkeller, German and Belgian imports. Some things I haven't seen anywhere else in the Bay area.

The store obviously is a wine store with a small portion dedicated to beer and 'spirits'. The staff was not helpful or friendly either time I was in. Not unfriendly, just the snooty wine vibe. Not sure of their beer knowledge, because they didn't really care to talk about beer.

There are a few expensive beers, but they are the kind of big imports that would be the expensive price anywhere.

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Photo of oggg
5/5  rDev +12.6%

Okay, they've started up their beer program, and it has been pretty aggressive and massive! We get San Diego stuff finally! Alesmith IPA! Stone stuff, Port/Lost Abbey... They are specializing in rare stuff mostly, with lots of funky weird belgians, stuff from nogne and brewdog, germans, and of course PacNW. The best part is that they have an awesome website, and they just updated it to include beer for SF, RWC, and Hollywood. Oh yeah, Russian River stuff including Pliny the Elder!

I don't think everyone is a beer geek there, but Bryan been working really hard on setting up a beer email list and returning beer email questions. Oh yeah, he holds some awesome tastings too.

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Photo of willjschmidt
4.2/5  rDev -5.4%

A wine shop located in Redwood City with a small but outstanding beer selection. It is a very unusual beer selection. They focus on hard to find stuff and breweries that do not normally distribute to Northern California. They have lots of stuff from breweries such as Alesmith, Lost Abbey (including their rare stuff), Port Brewing, Dieu Du Ciel, Mikkeller, Fantome, Jolly Pumpkin, and the Bruery. Just to name a few. Many of these are only found at a small handful of shops in the Bay Area. However, you can't get a six-pack of Sierra Nevada here. Due to the fact that they obviously had to go outside the normal distribution channels to get this stuff, it is therefore very expensive.

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Photo of alfrantzell
4.35/5  rDev -2%

K&L, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Kay-and-ell: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Kay. And. Ell.

One look and we were madly, clumsily, shamelessly, agonizingly in love with each other; hopelessly, I should add, because I was flesh and blood and she was an inanimate beer cooler at K&L Wine Merchants.

She caught my eye from across the room; I was wearing black, she a series of self closing glass doors. She radiated electricity. I wafted over to her gingerly and grasped at her rack, running my fingertips over the corks and cages and clumsily handling the magnums. She hummed demurely. Alesmith, Bon Chien, Cantillon..

Two minutes later I pulled out and headed to the counter. Threw a handful of cash at the clerk and hurried home to have the bottles. There wasn't time to remove my shoes. I barely made it to the bedroom. De Proef, Victory, Drie Fonteinen..

I've returned several times since to that tall, statuesque cooler. And several times I've taken her bottles home to have against the wall, on the living room floor, multiple times in one night. Sometimes in the middle of the day. Sometimes with friends.

Should you find yourself in K&L, you'll probably find something you like. Or dare I say.. love.

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Photo of nickd717
4.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Just discovered this place a couple months ago and it's AWESOME! Bryan, the beer guy there, really cares about craft beer and is doing a phenomenal job of stocking the best stuff. From what I've seen, this place has the best AleSmith, Lost Abbey, and Ballast Point selections in the Bay Area, lots of Russian River including fresh Pliny and their sours, and is the ONLY place in NorCal that currently carries Victory (for times when I miss my real home state of Pennsylvania). Also lots of craft imports including some fairly hard-to-find Mikkeller stuff. Prices are also some of the most reasonable in the area.

This place is a godsend for those of us who live on the Peninsula and don't want to have to drive 45 minutes or more to get to a great beer store (no offense to BevMo and Whole Foods which are far from bad).

The one suggestion I have is that they think about expanding their beer section! Two cooler compartments is not nearly enough given that they allocate 50 times that amount of space to wine. If they would give beer maybe one more cooler section and 10 feet of horizontal top-to-bottom shelf space, this would be beer heaven!

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Photo of John_M
4.15/5  rDev -6.5%

K&L is an outstanding wine store that has now branched out into craft beer and imports. I had only been to the SF version prior to today, and that was several years ago when they didn't sell beer.

Beer is clearly an after thought at K&L, with easily 99% of the store given over to their outstanding wine selection (if this was wine advocate, rather then beer advocate, this place would be deserving of an A+ easily). In any event, the store also has three cold boxes set aside just for beer (all beer here is refrigerated I believe). While the selection here isn't huge, in keeping with the K&L wine philosophy, what they have is outstanding. On this partcular day I saw Pliny, Blind Pig, Angel's share (brandy version at $30 a pop), mirror mirror, hair of the dog, and (what I came for) Bon Chien Grand Cru Trousseau. There is no BMC anywhere to be found here, and for that matter I didn't see any red hook, fat tire or pyramid. From what I can tell, the focus here is on high end, hard to get stuff. Not a bad idea.

Service was OK. I was asked right away if I needed any help. I didn't. I grabbed my bon chien and headed for the door.

An interesting store; one that clearly is catering more to the beer advocate/connesseiur then the weekend grill tender looking for some good beer to go with brats.

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Photo of Bubba83
4.74/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

* I am updating my review as it is now 2.5 years later and things have changed *

Upgrading a few aspects since my last review. Bryan Brick is still there and kicking ass as the beer buyer. I've never been as impressed with a beer buyer as I am with Bryan. The quality of the beers is always top notch because of his selection, and they keep the right ones in the cooler and have improved their space for beer. They now have cubby holes for their dry beers, about 2 full tall racks worth. Additionally, there's about 4 coolers full now.

The service is incredible at this store no matter what you're trying to purchase. Even though Bryan is not there most of the time that I go on the weekend, the other staff is surprisingly knowledgeable about beer. I think this stems from the fact that Bryan regularly educates them and they share beers together after work.

The best store on the peninsula hands down.

--- Old Review ---

I was really glad to have heard about this place from the Pacific Forums from the new beer buyer who cares, bryanbrick. It's the closest place nearby to find some hard to come by great beers.

The selection is actually very small, with only 3 coolers worth of beer. This was disappointing to me at first since I didn't realize this would be the case coming in. When I started to look at what they had though, I must say they make the most of what little space they have reserved for beer. Every beer in there is there for a reason, and there is lots of stuff you just can't find anywhere south of S.F. Some notables companies in the coolers were Victory, Alesmith, Port, Lost Abbey, Dieu Du Ciel, De Dolle, Mikkeller, HaandBryggeriet...

The store is large, clean, and has many wine-o's walking around. I felt a little bit out of place shopping for beer there, but the customer service was good and despite Bryan not being there, I was able to find a rather knowledgable staff.

I do hope their shelf space grows as more and more people buy beer there. One other thing I think they could do to maximize beers in the limited shelf space is to break six packs and sell singles of stuff. Not many places seem to break six packs around here and I think it would be a welcome way to shop and sell assuming things rotated frequently enough.

Prices are about what I would expect, I'm glad they aren't raking us over the coals despite being one of the only options out this way. It looks like I will be shopping there more often.

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Photo of Genghis22
4.05/5  rDev -8.8%

The selection at K&L is small, but meaningful. The store is devoted to wine first, and liquor second. Beer is bringing up the rear, but what is there is worth going in for.

Bryan is doing a great job of getting great beers in there at a reasonable price. To date, there are only 2.5 fridges full of beer, compared to the dozens of wine racks, but it should increase over time. If more people go there for beer, I would suspect that the selection would get bigger as time goes on.

You won't find everything you're looking for, but what you find will be worth your time. The prices are reasonable and I picked up the freshest Pliny ever here.

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K & L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA
4.44 out of 5 based on 33 ratings.
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