B & B Liquor Store

very good

19 Reviews

Type: Store, Homebrew Store

2440 28th St
Grand Rapids, Michigan, 49512-1609
United States

(616) 956-9413 | map

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Reviews: 19 | Ratings: 26
Photo of kylelenk
3.16/5  rDev -15.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4

B & B Liquor located on 28th in GR. A bit out of the way and pretty hard to get to as 28th is one of the worst/busiest streets in GR.

A-Pretty small liquor store that has some home-brew equipment as well. One single aisle of shelf and a single aisle of cold case beers. Additionally has a walk-in that holds some overflow. Very small shop, hard to navigate if there is more than a few people.

S-Non-existent service. Clerk greeted me but no offer for help or questions.

S-The best aspect is their knack for having some older beers that may be passed over (vertical epics, Stone RIS , etc.) and some others that fly off the shelf at more popular shops (WWS). There are definitely some very, very old bottles there (Vintage Mad Hatter).

F-Limited snack selection

V-Very overpriced and they often hoard and re-release rare releases at later dates (KBS for $20 a bottle on NYE).

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Photo of KaiMundwiler
2.37/5  rDev -36.8%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2.75 | service: 1.5 | selection: 2.5

Grand Rapids has some nice bottle shops that offer a selection that fluctuates between good and great, B&B might just not be one of them. The owner and rest of the staff aren't that knowledgeable and generally aren't the nicest people.

I could deal with all that if they had a good selection and if the product wasn't priced way outside of general reason-ability, but that combined with low end and old home brewing supplies and equipment really culminates in a place that I don't like going to.

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Photo of otto251068
3.24/5  rDev -13.6%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5

Atmosphere: A small store with limited space. The aisles are narrow and there isn't a whole lot of room to move around. Not really a whole lot to speak off, no signs displaying newer or sale items.

Quality: Half the beers are displayed on a shelf, and the other half is in singles in a cooler. There is also a walk in cooler with assorted six packs of craft and then some BMC. It doesn't seem like they move a ton of beer, as some bottles are pretty dusty.

Service: Service is almost non-existent, which I am okay with. The store is small so there isn't much to miss or need help with. Stopped in yesterday and talked for 20 minutes or so with a gentleman who works there and is mentioned a couple other times in these reviews (works on Wednesday nights), and also like some others, I am not a fan.

Selection: Lots of Michigan locals, and also a variety of some Belgians and some stuff from out of state as well. Not anything here super rare or something I can't find anywhere else. Selection is pretty similar every time I stop in.

Value: Definitely the most expensive micro store that I regularly visit. A couple things that really made me question this store are some six packs that an employee (mentioned in this post) said could not be broken down into singles because they are "too expensive" ?? and also some aged stuff that, IMO, was just ridiculously overpriced.

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Photo of mgbickel
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%

Another accidental find while in MI!! I got turned around on 28th street thanks to my GPS and ended up in the shopping center where this place is located...destiny? Maybe not...

As mentioned below...you get smacked in the face with incense...wow...like walking into a Yankee Candle place...ugh...

The beer selection seems to be a bit random, but above average. Some room temp. stuff, some stuff in coolers, more in a walk-in cooler. Nothing jumped out at me...

Seems like a pretty good place to check out every now and again...I did leave empty handed.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.6/5  rDev -4%

Had Sweem not known where he was going, we probably would have passed right by this place. It was tucked back in strip mall-type place with weak signage for how busy the main drag there is. An interesting slogan for a liquor (heavily beer filled) store was "Specialty Party Shop". Huh?

It must be known I was already going in with low expectations after hearing Sweem's story of being reamed by the owner for entering a wide-open back room filled with beer. I mean, you're a beer store, if you've got a room completely full of awesome beer with a door wide open leading to it, which beergeek would NOT go in there? That pissed me off a little bit. Especially to hear that the owner said they didn't have a particular beer when it was stocked in the back. I witnessed this door propped open myself on our visit. Either close the door and post a sign saying "Employees Only" or don't be a dick when people walk in there thinking it's an addition to your selection.

Anyway, we walked in and were blasted with a massive aroma of incense like a slap to the face. It didn't smell bad at all, but it was way overly potent. It's not something I want to a) leave smelling like, which I feel like I did, or b) leave with product that's been sitting in that aroma forever. Loose the incense lady.

The place was rather small but packed with goodies. Just inside the right corner was a supply of home brewing stuff from books to hoses, sanitizers to fully functional kits, and a glass front fridge with hops and yeast which was part of the whole cooler. Small in scale but it appeared as if everything was in order and you could find just about everything you'd need. This bumped the selection up the extra .5.

The beer selection on the other hand was also nice, but questionable. Giant wire shelving which held all the home brewing goods also held a decent amount of beer. Most of it was Belgian stuff...but the front door. Why do people insist on this? There were two of the absolutely massive bottles of Double Bastard as well as Samichlaus. Somewhere around $90 a bottle for Double Bastard. Lots of Unibroue there with a large selection of big bottles from Ommegang, Southern Tier, Lagunitas, Goose Island Night Stalker, Breckenridge, Rogue, Avery, Flying Dog, and the list goes on. A whole row of six packs contained just about everything you could want on the lower part of the wooden shelves with larger bottles on the upper parts. The walk-in cooler had a lot of BMC stuff with chilled six packs and the sort. One thing I noticed in there was a bottle of Jacobsen Saaz Blonde for $7.59. I don't know if this is normal but when I got it from Binny's a while back (not on sale) it was under $4. On the same hand, six packs of Hopslam were $17.99 each which is lower than most places.
The fridges surrounding the walk-in cooler had Imports, singles, and other things mixed in there. The imports seemed pretty typical ranging from Franziskaner, Krucovice, Samuel Smith's, Tucher, Kwak, Fullers, and a number of others.

My main issue comes into play when quality is taken into consideration. When looking through the good bottle selection I noticed most everything in large bottles on the top were both bathed in fluorescent light and caked in dust. Not a good sign. The second indication to be extra careful when selecting beers from B&B Liquors was the fact that I immediately saw a six pack of one of my favorite beers; Grassroots Ale from Great Lakes. "Is it out already?" I asked myself.

Nope. This six pack is still on shelves from last year. Wayyyy beyond it's best-by date. And of course, lastly, I took issue with the crazy amount of aged stuff that Sweem saw in the back. Are they storing beer for personal consumption here? Or just aging it to sell it at a seriously jacked up price? Or just sell it regularly but in possible poor condition?

All these questions I considered leading me to really worry about the condition most of their beers are in. I grabbed two or three singles of local stuff I had not seen else-where, checked for a date, and headed to the counter. The owner seemed nice enough to me, but the attitude she got with Sweem for an unfair reason was already enough to make me wonder.

I wouldn't tell anyone to avoid this location but customers should be extra careful when picking beers out here. Always check for bottle dates and pull from the back if possible. Otherwise the selection is good!

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Photo of sweemzander
2.7/5  rDev -28%

Finally went in and visited this place after driving by it so many times.
A decent selection of local and imported stuff that most places have. It has a walk-in cooler that keeps most of the stuff nice and cold for you.
They have a sign saying that if you cant find what you are looking for, ask, and they might have it (see the following paragraph about this). Their prices are a little more expensive than most, but I did manage to find some nice aged stuff there.

My biggest gripe with the place is this:
When I went in, the back door into their storage room was propped open with a heavy box. . . they had mountains of awesome aged beers that I would have paid top dollar for. Being my first time in there I walked in assuming it was just another room of the store since the door was open, when the proprietor scolded me and told me to get out I of course obeyed & immediately apologized. I felt bad about it but I continued my shopping. When I asked about a particular beer I didnt find on their shelves, they said they didnt have it in stock. . . well, I happened to have seen that they had cases of the latest release of it in that back room. . .
Are they aging stuff on purpose & then putting it on the shelves later? You turned away a customer that would have paid alot of $ for those beers in the back, but then go and say you dont have it in stock was very discouraging for me. I immediately went over to Siciliano's and bought it instead since they actually had it out on their shelves.

Overall, a nice place, but I look elsewhere.

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Photo of Roeters
3.35/5  rDev -10.7%

Good selection of bottle with a small selection of homebrew supplies. This is the only place that I have been able to find Sam Adams Imp Pilsner in the GR area. and have found some interesting thing that I have not seen at other places around.

I have never had any real contact with anyone working there other then getting checked out. But, they seem friendly and it is kinda nice not being bothered when your trying to pick out beer.

They have pre-made custom six packs that follow a style, they often look interesting but slightly over priced (have never gotten one).

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Photo of Bung
4/5  rDev +6.7%

Good selection of local micros and some imports. Reasonable enough prices. Good selection of items I can not get in North Carolina, midwestern and some northeastern microbrews. Every once in a while you find an old vintage. This past winter I picked up some blackout stout from 2007. Yes only 2 years old, but things don't usually last that long in stores. Nice relaxed cozy place. Basically if you're on 28th street, you need to stop here.

I will agree with the last reviewer however, the old man is pretty much an ass. His daughter(I'm assuming) is a delight however. The prices have went up, but they match everywhere else around town pretty much.

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Photo of marc2572
2.2/5  rDev -41.3%

Until tonight I would have recommended B & B's without reservation. I have always had good to excellent service and a positive shopping experience overall. The problem started simply enough when I stopped in about a week ago to pickup some beer to drink with a friend who was visiting from out of state. Being in a hurry I did not notice that the price on a bottle of Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout was $12.29. I was buying a small box of assorted beers and just assumed it was in the neighborhood of 5 to 7 dollars. My total that night was $75.00 dollars and I did not notice the $12.29 until I got home 40 miles away. I brought it back next time I was in the area 8 days later and told them I believed they may have mispriced the beer in question. I mentioned that Siciliano's had it for $4.19 and International beverage $4.99. First they checked out on the floor and saw that all the bottles were indeed priced $12.29 although immediately next the the Cappuccino Stout was another 22 ounce bomber from the same company also part of a Limited Release, it may have been the Maximus IPA and it was priced at $4.29. This however failed to impress the old "gentleman" working and he continued to jerked me around a bit more telling me how Meijer's makes many more pricing mistakes than they do. I'm not sure what relevance this had to the current situation but he seemed impressed by it. Finally they called someone on the phone who confirmed the price was $12.29. They told me it was a limited release and Siciliano's must have priced it wrong I again pointed out the price at International Beverage but he ignored that fact and seemed content to believe that both of those places priced it incorrectly. I at this point realized this was a losing proposition and told them I would not return and that I generally drop between $75 and $90 per visit and he (the old "gentlemen") said something that put him completely over the top. "I don't care about your $75 to $90 dollars I have millions" From what I gather he is apparently the big cheese but his daughter runs the place. What he really does not care about is whether a beer was priced incorrectly and fixing it with a customer. All he had to do was take my number and have someone check on the cost of the beer in the next few days and see if the beer was priced correctly based on their normal percentage markup but that was not important to a man with his overinflated sense of self importance. If you goto B & B's watch the price of what your buying don't just assume as I did based on past experience that they have priced everything correctly. Also avoid Wednesday night or any night the old white haired "gentlemen" with his millions is working. As for myself I will go to one of the other fine establishments I mentioned and give my money to someone who needs it (ie not someone who tells me they already have millions).

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Photo of GRPunk
3.66/5  rDev -2.4%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4

I've driven past this store a million times and finally decided I needed to check out their beer selection. I was glad I did.

They had a great selection of imports and micros. Many were available as singles. They also had a bigger selection of "high end" products than I normally come across. While some of the bottles are cost prohibitive, I'll have to keep it in mind for the next milestone celebration.

Service was pretty decent. I was asked if I needed any help finding anything and was shown the basic layout of the store. It was pretty well organized with the imports in areas separate from the domestics.

Prices were fair. Some were higher than other stores, but some were lower.

One thing I liked is they had some pre-made mixed six packs of seasonal beers. Not that I can't find all the Oktoberfests, pumpkin beers, or summer wheats in the singles case, but they were also priced lower than if you grabbed the singles and made a mixed six on your own.

A good store that I'll remember the next time I'm on that side of town.

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Photo of Avagadro
4/5  rDev +6.7%

I have been going to this store since I was a child. I've only realized how great of a store it is recently. There is an excellent selection of MI breweries, Stone, and some nice imports. They also have some meads, wines, cigars, and fine liquors. The homebrew section is limited, but has the bare essentials. I generally stop in there if I need something at the last minute. The staff is friendly and helpful. The only part of this store that bugs me is that its prices are a tad higher than normal. If you're in the area, I would say this is a good store to stop by.

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Photo of Realale
4.5/5  rDev +20%

Review updated as of June 24, 2007: Selection is still excellent for Michigan craft, Stone, and Belgians. Nice, but a spottier elsewhere. Since I hit the store for Michigan craft beer, I'm well hooked-up. Please, don't be shy about stepping into the cooler and checking the dark, cool shelves there, where I found many additional selections not repeated in the cooler door displays or the warm shelves. Very friendly staff continues to be a great asset. No out of code product noted. A great choice if you're on the opposite side of town from Siciliano's.

Original review:

Great selection crammed into this tiny shop. Emphasis on Belgians and Michigan Micros, which was exactly what I was looking for. Excellent selection of single bottles from the Michigan producers, with a broad range of Bell's, Dark Horse, New Holland, Founder's and others. Lots of large bottles of Belgians as well.

Some dust, but the shop itself was quite cool, and all of the backstock appeared to be in the cooler. Will alter the quality after I have a chance to sample the beers if necessary.

Friendly, helpful staff who are genuinely interested in beers. Worth a special trip.

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Photo of jmichaeldesign
4.65/5  rDev +24%

Stopped in pretty close to closing time. It looked close as a pulled up as it was dimly lit, but the open sign was on so I walked in. Once I thought about it, a beer store should be dimly lit. It was just light enough to see everything easily.

Instantly I was wowed by the selection. A few rarities I haven't seen anywhere else in town. Namely DFH Red and White and Urthel Hop-It. By far the best selection of imports I've seen, and a great selection of Michigan beers.

The only staff I talked made it clear he would answer any questions, but he wasn't in my face. For me thats a huge plus, I hate the used car salesman trying to sell me beer.

Prices were a bit random. Most were average to a bit lower than average for the area. Some were far lower, but a few were quite high.

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Photo of rsyberg01
4.65/5  rDev +24%

Stopped in Grand Rapids after DLD. This was one of the stops I hadnt really planned but hopped on the net and looked it up. Pretty much a spontaneous stop, and what a stop it was. Picked up two four packs of Great Lakes Black out, 10 bottles of KBS, SA Chocolate bock, and some stone goods. They have a great selection including plenty of Michigan locals like Founders, Jolly Pumpkin, Dark Horse. Micros like Stone, DFH, Rogue, Brooklyn, O'Fallon, etc.... Had about 12 cases of devil dancer left. Not to mention the fantastic service, the nice lady who was working that day waived our deposit fee because we were from out of town. Definitely a must stop. I loved it.

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Photo of nortmand
4.65/5  rDev +24%

Small place that I wasn't even seeking out, but passed and recognized from the greatest tool on the internet.

Everything I bought was high quality, very fresh, or well stored.

The lady behind the counter, I presume the owner, was very friendly, recommending beers basd on what we bought and telling us of her travels to buy the stuff. It was a nice experience.

Not a huge selection of himebrew supplies, but I almost picked up some yeast, and would have if I'd had a cooler. Beer selection is focused on Belgian beers, and their selection is more than ample. Also, quite the selection (both size and variety) of Hitachino and plenty of out of state micros that are not available in Lansing.

A good stop if you're in that part of town and your wife is at Nordstrom's Rack. A bit pricey, but it seems that the owner goes to great lengths to provide the selection that she does.

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Photo of SupaCelt
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%

B&B had a decent crop of Michigan brews as well as your DogFish Head stuff and other common findings of a shop of this nature. Overall the selection is bested by Sicilianos, but they are certainly holding their own. They seemed to have a decent stock of foreigners, although I have not really been seeking out these and am relatively naive about them. I am always fearful of getting a shitty tasting bottle when it comes to imports as transit time and shelf lingering seem to have offed the flavor of certain things I have tried. Unless they just taste cruddy to begin with. Anyhow, they have a homebrewing section that looks like just your basic requirements. I am not a beer maker myself but the other store that I already namedropped looks to have a wider variety of options available. They did have a gigantic jug La Fin Du Monde ( bigger than the regular big bottles Unibroue offers, I did not look at the volume contained though ) that would be nice to save for a celebration. I also came across Bell's Batch 6000. They had Arcadia #999 too which I wish was sold as a single, but they would not let me get just one which kinda sucked. This place would be better if you could break sixers or four packs that are not designated as single sales at this time. The service was not what I would call stellar. They asked if we needed help but they weren't overly social. Just a cashier and a stocker who were doing their jobs. All in all, well worth the gander. I will return.

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Photo of Silphium
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%

This is my second-favorite beer stop in Grand Rapids. Plenty of beers are crammed into one small aisle and a case of coolers. Nice domestic selection of Founders, Bells, Arcadia, New Holland, Dark Horse, etc. Also carries Dogfish Head, Rogue, Avery, and the other better domestic micros available in West Michigan. Most of these are available as singles, but if they aren't in the coolers, don't expect to be able to break a six-pack. Every now and then a rarity like Bells Batch 5000 or New Holland Y2K Barleywine appears in the coolers.

This store bests its local competitors in its nice (for the area) Belgian selection, harboring a handful of lambics as well as saisons like DuPont Avec les bons Vouex. Rochefort was here before it appeared anywhere else, although a sign falsely proclaimed the bottles were "aged 5 years," a claim that was quickly disproven by a glance at the "best by" date.

One nice thing about this store is that they don't put every last case they order out on the floor right away, so some beers that disappear elsewhere tend to stick around here for awhile.

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Photo of granger10
4.05/5  rDev +8%

This place is newly remodeled on 28th street just east of Breton. It's kind of hidden so you would have to look for it to see it. The store is a little on the small side but seems quite clean which is nice. The beer selection is one of the best in GR. Great microbrew selection of (some New Holland I don't see anywhere else). The Belgian selection is also the best I have seen in GR. I was there looking for quite awhile and got no service but the lady working seemed nice enough, just not too helpful when it came to beer. Prices are reasonable. Homebrew section is much weaker than Siciliano's.

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Photo of CortexBomb
4.15/5  rDev +10.7%

I guess I've been spoiled on other stores, but B&B strikes me as a middle of the road place to pick up brews. They have a decent selection of locals, including most of the more obscure Bell's offerings that I'd otherwise have to visit the brewery to get (ie: Harry's Spiced Stout, Trumpeter, so on) as well as stuff from the Great Lakes company, Founders, and some imports, but they only have a couple coolers of singles that have interest to me with the others being filled with wine coolers and macroswill.

Selection on the shelves is quite a bit better though; 4/6 packs of some harder to find items, and much more impressively, a great array of Belgians both in small and large bottle form. I, alas, rarely have enough spare money to buy a decent selection of Belgians at one time, but if you are looking for some variety on that front this is a good place to go, the best variety I've found in western MI actually.

Main knock on this place is it's location, dead in the middle of 28th Street with no easy way to get in and out. When I'm in the area I swing by to check out their selection, but I rarely make a special trip unless I'm dying for an obscure Bell's offering.

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B & B Liquor Store in Grand Rapids, MI
3.75 out of 5 based on 26 ratings.
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