Cyclone Liquors


23 Reviews
Cyclone LiquorsCyclone Liquors

Type: Store

626 Lincoln Way
Ames, Iowa, 50010-6911
United States

(515) 233-2327 | map

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Reviews: 23 | Ratings: 35
Photo of Rydyell
4.61/5  rDev +7.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Though its a bit cramped for space, they make up for it with their wonderful service and selection. Most weeks I simply ask for suggestions and they always deliver with great beers, definitely a great find in Ames!

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Photo of Docrock
4.41/5  rDev +2.6%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

As far as vibe it's a liquor store, nothing fancy going on there. But the selection is very good considering the overall quantity. Staff was extremely helpful and friendly.

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Photo of Scott17Taylor
4.86/5  rDev +13%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

Best selection in Ames, it was my go to spot at Iowa State. they don't tend to get a lot of limited stuff, so when they do it's usually with low limits.

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Photo of RPS
4.53/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5

Since moving close to Ames this is quickly becoming my go to store. They have a fantastic selection of both micros and imports (wine & spirits too). They have arguably the 2nd best selection of imports in the state just behind John's in Iowa City. However, I think their micro selection is better than Johns and more reasonably priced as well. The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable, although sometimes a little hard to find. Their prices are as good or better than any store in the state I've been to, many times a couple dollars cheaper.
The only two things that are knocks to me are that they don't have a mix six or individual bottles for sale and that the store is a little lacking in space/ disorganized. They really have a great selection of 6 packs but I'd like the opportunity to buy singles of some beers to try before going all in on a 6 pack of something I may or may not like. Also I think the organization of the beer section is a little clustered and cramped, particularly the back beer room. It'd be nice if they had more room or maybe reorganized the micros and import sections.
All in all a fantastic store and one I'll continue to frequent.

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Photo of mdwalsh
4.58/5  rDev +6.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

A great place, one I hit every time I can. Always good service, and knowledgeable staff. I always know I can find harder to find, obscure things. I wish more beer was in coolers, but I can live. I also wish that they would include more single beers, something that would really blow any Hyvee away and set them, in my opinion, among the best liquor stores in the midwest, if they aren't there already. All in all, a store I would absolutely recommend to anyone within half and hour of Ames. Now if only bars in town would follow suite...

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Photo of cradke
4.64/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5

This has been my go to shop for years. The atmosphere is good, with great vintage bars signs. They also have some great bottle and beer posters scattered about that certainly give the bar some credibility.

The staff is fantastic. It's a small local owned shop and so the staff have varied interests. They all have a decent interests in beer but one specializes in wine, another whiskey, but the older man with glasses is exceptionally knowledgeable about beer. He has taught me an incredible amount on beer and has only once led me astray.

The selection is very solid with a large discrepancy towards European brews. My only complaint is their lack of Microbrew bombers or singles. They have a decent amount of 6ers and some bombers, but not as many as some other specialty shops.

In short, this is a fantastic shop that is incredibly dependable. Not as many microbrews as others but a fantastic selection of German, English, and Belgian beers. A terrific shop.

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Photo of samoblue
4.55/5  rDev +5.8%

Although it's been nearly nine years since I've lived in Ames, I still make a point to drop by Cyclone Liquors every time I'm back in town to visit my parents. Within the relatively plain exterior in an increasingly-deteriorating "shopping plaza", it holds the single best selection of beer in Central Iowa, and one of the more diverse and varied selections of beer of any beer store I've been in anywhere (and I've been to a lot of them).

Owner Denny does a fine job with the craft brews you'll find at the other liquor stores around down--Boulevard, Breckenridge, New Belgium--but those stores can't match Cyclone's estimated 120 feet of shelf space dedicated specifically to German and Belgian beers (mostly in six-packs). Next to that, another 100 or so feet of U.S. craft brews, including offerings from Dogfish Head, Saranac, Anderson Valley, Ballast Point, Flying Dog, Rogue, and Left Hand--breweries I singled out because I've never seen them anywhere else in Iowa before. Most of the back wall is occupied by coolers filled with anything a BMC drinker could ever hope for, but the leftmost section features bombers from Rogue, New Belgium, and others. The small back room is not to be missed, and features single bottles and bombers with a heavy emphasis on German and Belgian beers.

Service is very friendly, but unobtrusive. If you need help, you'll get it, but expect to be left alone unless you ask. I scored the selection a tad low because IPA/IIPAs are seriously under represented in light of the sheer volume of beer that's available for purchase, particularly in singles/bombers. Prices are very much in line with what you'll find elsewhere around town, and for a guy coming home from New York City, it feels like they're having a fire sale, every day.

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Photo of BretSikkink
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%

Having little occasion to find myself in Ames, I had never had the pleasure, but I'd always heard good things about Cyclone.

Located in a strip mall with a large HyVee, there's plenty of parking in front of the inauspicious facade. Entry finds you a large, clean rectangular room, divided into long, well-stocked and tidy shelves. One side of a long shelf is the domestic micros; half six packs and half 'single bottles' according to the sign. There is a fridge in the back with about two doors of domestic brews. Everything is nicely organized, some decent craft imports mixed in with the domestics. However, at this point I was nowhere near impressed, and actually feeling a little nervous: was this the famed Cyclone liquor?

Then I noticed the back room, not hidden per se, but just a simple open door, through which the beery goodness then flows. This is the true import section, as well as the premium domestics. This room is very nice indeed, with a large quantity of high quality brews, hailing from the biggies like England, Germany, and Belgium. Great selection, organized, and clean. No dust on these bottles.

There is a smaller shelf in the back room with American micros that appealed more to the BA audience: Rogue XS, Ommegang's range, Boulevard Smokestack, etc. Not super-extensive but solid.

Prices are generally good not great. Certain brews I noticed were extremely well-priced, while others I was interested in carried a $1-2 premium over places I go in Arizona. Still better than Central Iowa groceries though. Hard to compare with John's Grocery in Iowa City since I haven't been recently, but the selection seemed a hair less extensive here, but that's hardly damning criticism. I found Cyclone to be more welcoming in terms of organization and cleanliness.

The staff was very nice, I didn't ask for help but was directed politely to where I wanted to go. The staff was significantly older than most of the employees you see at most beer stores, and they very much run a tight ship. I am very impressed with the overall ambience and professionalism of Cyclone liquors, and if I still lived in Des Moines I would not hesitate to make the half hour drive here rather than two hours to Omaha or Iowa City. Very nice indeed.

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Photo of mynie
4.15/5  rDev -3.5%

Now THIS is a nice place. Classic liquor store feel--wood paneled, lots of mirrored advertisements, shelves stocked to damn near the point of collapse. Clean, everything well dusted and mopped (which is rare in independent stores), with cool music playing in the background.

Staff was exceptionally friendly and knowledgeable. Prices were average for Iowa, and the selection was about as wide as you can reasonably get in the state. Very nice Belgian selection--aside from John's Grocery and a handful of Binny's locations it's probably the best Belgian selection I've ever seen.

My only complaint was with an apparent lack of domestic one-offs and big beers. It may be that the manager holds onto them for regular customers, or it may be that the demand for such beers is fairly high and they run out quickly. But really this isn't that big of a problem.

From what I can tell, if you're in Ames there is no other choice for good beer. This place is a lifesaver.

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Photo of HappyBivouac
4.4/5  rDev +2.3%

I'm a student in Ames so I come here once or twice a week on average. Their selection is pretty dang good for Iowa--a little better than Benz in Cedar Rapids. (both are good places to go depending on where you are at the time) The store is very well-kept and organized.

An interesting note there regarding the selection: Ames is a college town through and through, so there are plenty of beer drinkers around. Thing is, it seems everyone drinks keystone light. I saw the 2008 Bourbon County Stout in here when it first came out but didn't get any for whatever reason. I came back at least a month later thinking they would certainly be out of the stuff, but it appeared as though nobody had ever even bought any! I view this as a good thing. :)

There is an older gentleman who works there who has been really helpful in pointing out beers of interest that my eyes might miss. Some of the other employees' aren't quite as helpful but it's not like I can really blame the store for that.

Also the BCS I bought here was $16.99 for the 4 pack. I've never heard of any place that has beaten that price! Prices here are generally reasonable if not wonderful. Good stuff regularly goes on sale too.

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Photo of schanker21
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%

Ahhh, Cyclone, if only you weren't on the other side of town...

I make a weekly trip here to stock up since I live on the other side of town.

Everything always seems to be fresh. Little to no dust and the freshness dates on the bottles are always recent.

The beer is located on the left side of the store as you walk in. Selection is by far the best in Ames. The aisle of imports alone is about as long as the cooler at HyVee Wine & Spirits.

I'll have to admit that I have never looked too closely at the import selection, as I am more of a domestic guy, but the German selection is pretty decent. There's also a pretty big selection of single bottles in the back room made up mostly of imports.

The domestic selection includes Left Hand, Flying Dog, Dogfish Head, Goose Island, Rogue, Bell's, Big Sky, and a whole bunch of other stuff I can't even remember right now.

Service is always friendly, but depending on who's working they might not know everything about beer. Pricing gets an "inexpensive" mark from me because it's always much more reasonable than HyVee and they frequently have specials at amazing prices.

I just wish there was one on the west side of Ames...

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Photo of neonbrown82
4.15/5  rDev -3.5%

I was pleased to learn that this liquor store was right across the street from BA Erdinger2003's apartment on my recent trip to Ames. Not knowing the area (and because I had my dog in the car), I hadn't planned on exploring for any beerfly stops after completing a trade, but it just so happened to be very conveniently located.

Anyways... The selection of beer is on the left side of the store. You'll pass a pretty damn good whisky selection before you arrive at the beer, I might add. There are a few coolers on the back wall that have some select six packs, but most of the coolers house corporate lagers, as one would expect from a place with limited cooler space. There are also some single bottles (mostly imports and bombers) in a back room to the left of the cooler doors. Pretty decent collection of glassware as well, and for very reasonable prices.

The selection is above average for Iowa as well. It may not have as wide a selection as John's, but I'll be damned if you don't find what you're looking for here. The staff seemed quite friendly and eager to help as well (at least the older guy I assumed to be the owner).

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Photo of johanvond
4/5  rDev -7%

When traveling i always try to sample the local beers and look for what i can get back home. In this case it was New Hollands Fat Tire, it was there in a 22oz, but i was supperised to discover there execliente slection of imports. Most of the beer is kept in warm but it appers that they dont keep to much so it wont spoil. There is a large slection from all over europe and the uk. Most of wich is in singles but the also have a good amount in six packs. I got New Hollands Fat Tire and there organic white ale, Harveystones Old Engine Oil Special Reserve 120z, Fishers Biere de Alsace 22oz, and a local six pack John's Gorcery Generations White Ale made by Millstream in Amana, Iowa. The store was clean well lit all the bottles were in faceed and orderly and we were asked twice if we needed any service. It was a plesant shopping experience. When im back in the area il return.
P.S. As a small side note if your not from Iowa or any other state that has a bottle return beer seems more expensive, its not realy, you just need to return the bottles before you leave the state and you get your nickle per bottle back. You can do this anywhere you bought them or if you got to a grocery store like a Hi-Vee(a lregional chain) you can use a bottle return machine. Its a novel experience, i just left the bottles with my girlfriends parents, it seems like if you stay with an Iowan they wount mind to keep the return in exchange for your leving your bottles behind.

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Photo of happygnome
4.15/5  rDev -3.5%

I was down in the area for a funeral, I've always had family down in Ames but never had time to stop by here, so I decided to on the way back home. My first impression was: "wheres the beer". all of the liqour was well marked and kept organized. But I quickly found the beer, a lot of nice offerings, especially in the back room. Many singles and belgians, but also a very nice selection of sample packs, something that I wouldnt have expected. the service was good, the folks there helped me pick out something that would pair well with the food was cooking back home.

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Photo of mithrascruor
5/5  rDev +16.3%

Of all the specialty liquor stores that I've been to in various parts of the country, this is certainly one of the best. I used to live about 4 minutes away by foot and would (obviously) go here quite often. A lot of space is devoted to beer, and in early 2006 they expanded the area. Of three large, main sections, one section is devoted entirely to 6-packs of American craft and micro brews. These are both from the midwest and around the country. Another section is filled with 4- and 6-packs of foreign beers, and the last is filled with single bottles, mostly foreign. They are very particular about what beers they carry and you can rest assured about their quality. The selection is spectacular... I can always find something new and interesting here; trying something new every other day you'll never run out! They get new things in during different seasons, and they have great year-round selections as well (especially their Belgian beers!). The only thing that I really noticed missing were Unibroue beers. The service is great -- everyone working there is very friendly and most are quite helpful as well. (The man with the grey moustache especially -- he gives probably the best beer recommendations in the world!) Whenever I visit Ames I always make a trip here!

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Photo of Erdinger2003
3.95/5  rDev -8.1%

I was surprised to see this was part of a strip mall I have been by, but not noticed it at all. When I first walked in saw all they had to offer for hard liquor and I was confused as to where all the beer was. I was promtly directed to the back and to the left where the Belgians and the singles were kept.

I was impressed to see some beers I had never laid eyes on. My only problem was with the big doesn't have direct sunlight, but some UV rays must seep through unless he has a UV protected window.

I was given much attention and even spoke to the owner. I thought the prices were very fair.

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Photo of Graham21
3.65/5  rDev -15.1%

It's my belief that there are only two liquor stores in Iowa to get descent beer from, and they are Johns Grocery in Iowa city, and of course Cyclone Liquors. Now Cyclone Liquors doesnt quite stack up against John's but they have quite a selection for central Iowa. When you walk in, your first row of beers are your crafts and some micros, they range from dogfish head 60 minute IPA to some Great divide, amana colonies brews, celebration ale, sierra nevada, etc. Nothing to exciting. If you walk straight back you will find a room filled with their import belgian ales, porters and stouts. they have anything from samuel smiths imperial stout, (which is rarely there) too Rochefort,orval,gulden drakk, and pirrat. Like I said before, there are a few good brews in this store that you cant get anywhere else in iowa, which makes it nice, but nothing over the top.
As far as the service goes, they are fairly helpful but dont seem to know that much about the beers when I ask them questions.

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Photo of isubsmith
3.7/5  rDev -14%

This was the source for good beer in Ames during college. The best selection in Central Iowa certainly. I haven't been to John's in Iowa City so I don't know how Cyclone compares.

There are a few chilled good beers (mostly Rogue), plus lots of chilled junk beer; everything else is on shelves; about half in single bottles, the rest in six-packs. A reasonable selection of imports, a reasonable selection of macro brews. Unfortunately, I've been spoiled by the beer stores in Minnesota so I find Cyclone to be pretty lacking now-a-days. Still, they have the typical Belgians (Orval, Chimay, Achel, Gulden Draak, Piraat, etc) at the usual prices. The scotch and wine selection is always quite good, as is the general liquor selection. Unfortunately the (stupid) liquor laws in Iowa make the selection at Cyclone about as good as it gets.

Service is good if you talk to the older, balding guy. He knows his scotch and is pretty knowledgable about the beer selections. Most of the cash register staff is clueless in my experience.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4/5  rDev -7%

Stopped in on a roadtrip through Iowa. Located in a very easy to find strip mall, even though I was not familiar with the town. Huge selection of singles, mostly belgian and other imports. I did not have a lot of time to puruse the whole selection, but I did get a very good idea of what this store was about. Service was non-confrontive, but was there to answer questions, if they arose. I wish i had this store near me, because I believe that they do have Iowa's largest selection of beer. I walked out with several rogue bombers that were not available near me, and the rogue rep was there and complemented me on my suggestions.

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Photo of beragg
4.15/5  rDev -3.5%

I live only a couple of miles from this place. So I can find myself coming in here very, very often. The sign on the outside does boast of it being the best selection, and like the guy before, I can't attest this until I go to John's grocery in Iowa City.
As you walk in the beer is in the aisle straight ahead on the right side. There is also beer in the back coolers, but this seems to be reserved to American macros and popular micros and foreign imports (ie. Rogue, Guinness, Boddinton's etc.). It didn't escape my notice that the very first beers you see are Belgian. I haven't done a complete inventory obviously, so I can't tell you specifically what they have, but I did notice some trappist ales (I think St. Bernardus but don't quote me on that. The top shelves are reserved for single bottles while the lower shelves have sixers and four packs and so forth. From right to left as you proceed down the aisle the beers are sorted by country starting with Belgium, Germany, England/Ireland and then I think Mexico is very last. There is a split in the shelves and the next island has all domestic micros. There is a lot of Boulevard, there's rogue, and others I can't remember. The top shelf isn't arranged in this way, I think I saw Belgian beers on both ends.
I've never had a problem with service. There is a man who works there, I believe he is the owner but not sure, who will always ask you at least once if you need help, and will be glad to recommend something. You can also if you want even call ahead and ask them to chill a six-pack for you (I haven't done this but a fellow BA told me they did it for him).
They have an extremely small selection of glassware, which was kind of a let down, all they had were sets of giant pilsners. I'd say there selection of beer is very good, but not perfect which might have to do with the location in Iowa and lack of distribution. It seems that maybe they have more of a selection of wine and liquor. So this isn't a "beer store" only. But it is definitely best place in the area, probably better than any store in Des Moines.

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Photo of bditty187
3.85/5  rDev -10.5%

I follow a simple rule when it comes to liquor stores, if the store name is related to a sports team (especially college teams) the store will have nothing but crappy beer for the tailgating masses and frat boys. Cyclone Liquors in Ames, Iowa, home to ISU (who’s mascot is the Cyclones) proves this idea of mine wrong.

I have been aware of this store for a while now and I have recommended it people without ever stepping foot inside. It is a bit out of the way for me but on my way home from Minnesota (via I-35 South) I made my first stop.

It is located in a shopping plaza near Hy-Vee and Hastings music. I had a little trouble finding it but I also didn’t have directions or an address… just a vague memory from looking on the map a few days earlier. There is plenty of parking in front of the store.

Most of this store is devoted to liquor and wine. Still there is a sign that proclaims, “Iowa's best selection of beer…” After checking out the selection I’d say, second best in the state behind John’s Grocery in Iowa City. As expected the selection is really heavy on imports, there is a good number from Belgium, England, and Germany. Almost everything here is also found at John’s (but John’s has a few extra goodies). I only spend around $35 on beer, mainly because this was my third kick-ass beer store of the weekend. There was still plenty of stuff I had not sampled.

Sadly, the domestic craft beer selection is hurting, they only carried three Millstream beers, a few Rogues, Boulevard, and a couple common CO micros (and a few other regional and West Coast micros). Iowa is not the place to go for domestic beer.

Most of the beer is sold warm (all the great stuff anyway). Some of the prices were excellent and a couple beers here were almost half of what I seen at other places.

As for the service, it was lacking, this is where John’s has a huge advantage over Cyclones. Regardless, I will visit this place at least a couple times a year. I promise.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.2/5  rDev -2.3%

This store is about 45 minutes from my house and it was well worth the drive. Located in a strip mall, it has a neon sign in the front window that says "Iowa's best selection of beer, wine and spirits". I didn't pay any attention to the wine or spirits, but I'd say they have a claim to the best beer selection in the state. I'll reserve judgment though untiI I see John's Grocery in Iowa City (I'm headed there in a few weeks). Cyclone has a pretty unimpressive selection in the cooler, though I did see about 6-7 Rogue bombers which was pretty nice. The most impressive part though is that they have one side of one long row completely devoted to beer. Nothing in the way of Stone/Victory/Bear Republic/Alesmith/etc, though that isn't the store's fault as those breweries have a somewhat limited distribution (at least it doesn't include this state).

What they do have is dozens and dozens of imports from Belgium, England and Germany, among others. Almost all are in singles for easy sampling. I've never seen most of these beers and never heard of a bunch more. Here's what I picked up: Entire Butt English Porter, Bluebird Bitter, Sinebrychoff Porter, McChouffe Brown Ale, Stille Nacht and Vapeur Cochonnette. I would have loved to have brought home more, but my dbf's are full-to-bursting now. I will definitely be going back to this store.

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Photo of Tballz420
4.3/5  rDev 0%

This store has an amazing selection of beers. There are over 100 6ers and a huge selection of single bottle beers. If you are in ames iowa and are looking for a nice treat, this is definately the best place in town. Looking through the selection here is what got me interested in trying something other than bud. Great store.

Also the people that work there are really into their work. I talked to the owner for about 20 mins last time i went in.

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Cyclone Liquors in Ames, IA
4.3 out of 5 based on 35 ratings.
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