The Beer Depot

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The Beer DepotThe Beer Depot
The Beer DepotThe Beer Depot

Type: Homebrew, Beer-to-go

114 E William St
Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48104-2313
United States

(734) 623-4430 | map

None provided.

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Reviews: 32 | Ratings: 38
Photo of alexgash
1.6/5  rDev -54.7%

Edit (2/23/07): Stopped by earlier today to see if they had some Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree IPA. There were a several cases of it, open on the sales floor, so I took out one 4-pack and walked up to the cash register. There was an old guy up there and he tried to ring it up but it didn't have a price and it wouldn't scan, so he called over to the other employee (the younger, rednecky guy with long blond hair who always wears the Bell's sweatshirt and acts like he's a beer God but really doesn't know that much) and he walks over and looks and says, "Oh no way, we're not selling that!" And he grabbed the 4 pack and said that he had emails and phone numbers to respond to first about this beer. I couldn't believe it and I told him. Asshole just said, "I don't care!" You know, I'm all for setting special beer aside for loyal customers, but if you're going to do that, don't leave it on the sales floor, wide open as if it's actually for sale! Well, they just lost a customer. And you know what? They may have great beer selection, but they don't take good care of it, the service sucks, and the prices are unbelievably expensive. Ann Arbor would be better without this store and its asshole employees.

Conveniently located in downtown A2, kind of a dumpy corner store with a sign in the window that brags about 600+ beers. Cramped, cluttered intereior holds lots of beer, some wine, and liquor as well. Most of the beer is stored at room temp. on unattractive metal shelving, that is near light-yielding windows (a no-no if you ask me). Lots of mixed Euro offereings there along with maybe 100 different U.S. micro singles. Coolers in the back hold 6-packs and bombers. Overall, a very good selection with lots of good and rare MI micros, and plenty of interesting treats. Service is mixed; depends on who is working. I've stopped by and browsed at The Beer Depot several times, but have resisted buying beer there since it is so expensive. I broke down the other night, though, since they had Hopslam, Oaked AB, and Raspberry Eisbock. Still, this place is consistently 20-35% more expensive than other good beer stores in the area. Worth checking out for that rare gem, but not good value at all.

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Photo of benito
2.6/5  rDev -26.3%

One of my good buddies used to live two blocks away from this place, yet for all the times I drove by I never had bothered to stop in until I saw how highly rated it was on BA. I'm not sure that that rating is deserved.

Admittedly, they have a good selection of micros including a few racks of Belgians, the full line of Avery and Great Divide bombers, a good showing of Dogifsh, and, of course, an above average selection of Michigan beers (especially Bell's, New Holland, Arcadia, Jolly Pumpkin, and Dark Horse; their Founders and Kuhnhenn selections were pretty depleted). Were I to live in Ann Arbor, I think that this would be a reliable spot to grab a Michigan microbrew, but it's selection is not so incredible that it's worth driving for.

There are other reasons that would make me hesitant to return. The service was cold, the store feels cramped, and though most everything is available in singles, there are no carriers to mix them in! I also found that the individual bottles were rather overpriced even when compared to some other upscale beer/wine/liquor shops in metro Detroit.

Again, for Ann Arborites this place is probably worth using as a good source for micros, but don't expect anything to knock your socks off. For other folks, well, I suppose the same is true, but be sure to save your gas.

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Photo of liquidcraft
2.8/5  rDev -20.7%

The selection is among the best around and it's nice that they are open until 2 am if you're looking for late night variety. I find that I can always count on them to have a beer I know nothing about. The staff is there to run the register. Their prices are pretty much average, marked up a few bucks more than somewhere like Whole Foods.

Check the dates on the beers, its all stored warm as hell. I've found a few older bombers here and they've been skunked every time, I wouldn't bother with anything more than a few months old.

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Photo of zdk9
3/5  rDev -15%

After perusuing all the places in AA to get good beer I wouldn't suggest this one, your money is better spent a couple blocks north at the Main Street Party Store. That said, the selection at Beer Depot, is quite good for such a small store- a fair amount of Europeans, and of course Michigan beers. The service is what you would expect from a student supported venue- nothing special or knowledgable about beer. Just more pricey than other local stores by my measure. My parents mentioned that they used to have a drivethrough for beer (actually the sign is still there too) so that's kind of an interesting piece of history.

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Photo of gordavidson
3.15/5  rDev -10.8%

From the outside, the store sure doesn't look like much- just like an average corner liquor store. Once I stepped This place had a bunch of random Michigan micros that I have not seen at any other store in Mich including: Founder's Devil Dancer and Kuhnhenn Raspberry Eisbock ($10 for 6.3 oz...). A lot of Bell's, Stone, Founder's and a bunch of English stuff including Meantime and Samuel Smith. I was pretty overwhelmed by the amount of singles they had. But, this selection came at a price. I have not seen Mich beers for the price that they were selling them at anywhere else. Also, most of their singles are on shelves while the packs are in the fridges. But like someone said earlier, it's good to go and get something you can't find anywhere else. Worth checking out. Just don't expect anyone to offer assistance.

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Photo of emerge077
3.25/5  rDev -7.9%

Stopped in here after visiting the JP café around the corner on Main. Nice retro arrow sign out front, impossible to miss. "Drive thru" had faded out, and there clearly wasn't one in use at this seemingly tiny, concrete bunker of a store.

Inside there was a bottle/can deposit machine thing, a novelty to this Illinois foreigner. There was a display of seasonal Octoberfest beers on sale, next to some energy drink cans. Past all this... ahh ok, here's the towering aisle of beer. Dusty imports galore, even some Lou Pepe Kriek, although it was $28. KRE bottles for $25... had to laugh at that. Managed to find a single of Kuhnhenn Mayhem here, but it was almost $1 more than at Main St. Party Store. The import selection was deep, and there were lots of micros, and local stuff. Who knows what was fresh though, there was alot of dust, so check dates. Nice assortment of import glassware here.

The staff didn't venture out from behind the counter, but it was a weekend, and they were busy. The lady mentioned Main St. for Shorts, since they were completely out of them. Liquor prices were ridiculously marked-up on some of the higher end things behind the counter, but fun to look at I guess.

Selection was better at Main St., cheaper/cleaner at Plum Market, and i've heard Super Liquor IV ain't shabby either. Go here only if in a pinch...

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Photo of nomad
3.35/5  rDev -5.1%

Sept. 2005 Update: Wow, this place has gone to crap since Bryan the beer manager left. The prices have upped even more and the service more often than not doesn't know a thing. It pains me to shun this place, but the owners surely don't give a damn about craft beer right now beyond painting by numbers.

Beer: The signs out front don' lie, they truly carry over 650 different beers, covering every Midwest brand they can legally import and a dizzying array of foreign bottles. Brian is a Belgo-phile, visiting that yeasty motherland every year, so their Belgian section is quite strong, though their English selection is far from shabby. As per the culture of Michigan, this beer store like all others sells a lot of perishable items besides beer and wine, so a number of freezers are stolen away from beer.

Homebrew: Don't kid yourself, Beer Depot has a very good homebrew section! Both a wide range of Whitelabs and Wyeast yeasts are available in all their varying forms, and the hop selection is killer. They carry many rare or hard-to-find varieties like Northdown, Target, or Yakima Magnum, and have most of the popular chioces of Cascade, EKG, N. Brewer, Centennial, etc. in whole hop form. Both the yeast and hops are hidden in a walk-in section of southern-most freezer - ask or you'll never find them. As for malts, the selection has just about every specialty you could ask for and a heavy stock of base malts and malt extracts. Though confusing to peruse, their is also a full and detailed array of adjuncts and brewing gadgets (airlocks, salts, cappers, etc.). A scale and grain mill are available as well to weigh, crush, and re-seal grain bags.

As mentioned in another review, there is a computer that catalogs everything in the store with pictures and descriptions. There is also a library of more than two dozen books and magazines about beer and homebrewing. I don't buy 'em, but I've been known to lose track of time thumbing their pages in the back corner of the store.

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Photo of Shumista
3.35/5  rDev -5.1%

Now that the great Bello Vino has left us, The Beer Depot has about the widest selection of beers in Ann Arbor. Excellent selection of Michigan micros as well as some others that you might not find everywhere at many other stores in Michigan. For example while Rogue is common in Michigan, I don't think I've seen Double Dead Guy Ale anywhere but here. Nice selections of Belgian and other imports as well. They do a pretty good job of keeping stuff cold too, a lot of their bombers can be found in the cooler in the back as well as at room temperature on the racks.

As has been mentioned before the staff is friendly enough but not particularly helpful. They are good at standing behind the counter and politely checking you out, but besides that don't expect much else.

My biggest complaint with The Beer Depot are the prices. 6 packs are consistently 2-4$ more expensive here than anywhere else. Bombers follow this trend.

Because of their wide selection, there are certainly some beers you can only get at The Beer Depot if you want to stay in Ann Arbor. But, a lot of their more mainstream stuff can be found elsewhere for cheaper. Generally I come here only for the stuff I can't get anywhere else, and do the majority of my beer shopping elsewhere.

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Photo of mrmanning
3.4/5  rDev -3.7%

Good place to shop, and one of the best I’ve seen for bottles. Avery, Kuhenen, DFH, Great DIvide, Rochefort, the list goes on and on and on. Some retired beers were also found.(Avery 10 when I was there) Cramped area made shopping difficult at times, especially when browsing the bottom two shelves. Within 5 min walk from Arbour Brewing, which was great. Some stuff was pticey, but I did manage to score a bomber of Avery the Beast for 10 dollars. SCORE! I’ll be returning when I am in Ann Arbour for sure.

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Photo of ahking
3.4/5  rDev -3.7%

Another homebrew shop that only sells pre-packaged grains. I prefer the shop have tubs of grain where I can choose exactly how much and what I want). However, there grain selection is okay. They had everything I needed. Hop and yeast selection were only okay. I think they were between yeast shipments when I was there because there wasn't much to choose from. One last gripe - they only have a manual grain crusher. This sucks when you need to crush 12 lbs of grain. The guy at the counter did help me out for some of it, but that is a lot of work. On top of that, the crusher was not calibrated right and my grain was crushed way too fine. Got a stuck sparge even with rice hulls added (made a pale ale, not a wheat). The upside of the store is that they have an excellent selection of beer from micros to belgians. I was a little too dissapointed with my improperly crushed grains to purchase any of them, though. Parking is a bitch there....if you go, you'll see why.

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Photo of ClevoPiwo
3.4/5  rDev -3.7%

i came across the beer depot during a trip to ann arbor for research. although the outward appearance is less than appealing, the selection of beer (and wine and liquor for that matter) is quite impressive.

there is one shelf of single 12 oz bottles, the entire back wall is a cooler containing bombers, assorted 6s and 12s, and there is an additional isle of unchilled bombers and larger bottles - the rest of the store is devoted to wines and liquors. they've got most bases covered, offering an array of styles from around the world and even a few rarities (i was surprised to see some polish beer and even great lakes imperial dortmunder). in addition to an impressive selection, they have some cheap glassware available for purchase; i was able to pick up a nice hefeweizen glass for about 4 dollars.

in short, the beer depot's looks are deceiving. its definitely worth a visit if you're in ann arbor, as the local grocers definitely don't offer nearly as wide of a selection. however, i did not get the impression that the staff were very helpful- so do your homework before you visit!

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Photo of ypsifly
3.45/5  rDev -2.3%

One of the better selections in AA. MI beers are well represented as are many of the better regional and North American brews. The imports are mostly belgian, UK, and german. Other regions/countries are not as well represented. The UK selection is pretty extensive.

Getting good service depends on who's working. It can range from clueless, to pretty good.

The two bones I have to pick about this store is how they store the beer, and price. Most of the imports are kept on warm shelves, right under flourescent lights. Its a stone building, and it can get really warm in the store during the warm months. Last spring I walked in on a sunny day that was in the mid 60s and the store felt like a hot house better suited for blooming poinsettias than storing beers.

Over the last couple months, prices here have shot through the roof. On my last visit I found 4 packs of Nosferatu for $16.99+, Avery The Beast bombers were also %16.99+. This is the most expensive beer store in town. If you think Big Ten is pricey, try this place.

Parking sucks. Should you go, be careful not to park in the lot next door. They will tow. You should also take care not to block the alley that runs along the west side of the store. Again, your ride will get yanked. There's a parking structure across the street that is free on Sundays.

If you live in the area, its worth a visit, for the price, inconvenience, and improper storage...there are better stores in AA.

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Photo of BeerFink
3.45/5  rDev -2.3%

Stopped by here while doing some shopping in Ann Arbor. The first thing you notice is that the parking is slightly lacking. I wasn't sure if everyone parks in the adjacent lots or just tries to park in front. Inside I found exactly what mentor previously described - a no-frills good selection of beer. There were quite a few craft singles on racks in the front. They had some hard to find singles, although it seemed a bit pricey to me. They didn't have a whole lot of 4 or 6 packs, but what they did have presented a good selection. In the back was a pretty good variety of homebrew supplies, which impressed me. The clerk never offered any help, but was friendly when we checked out. The only thing that I didn't like was that everything had some dust on it, and the store looked like it could use a good cleaning. It wasn't filthy or anything, but I wondered about the freshness of some of the beers.

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Photo of granger10
3.5/5  rDev -0.8%

Stopped by here after Ashley's because I had some time to kill before going to Arbor for dinner. Plus I needed to walk off the buzz. Small cramped store, looked like a crackhouse from the outside. Selection on the inside was quite amazing though. Crazy beer selection with Belgians I never see in West Michigan as well as some foreign beers I would never really care to see. Domestic and Michigan selection was decent but nothing special. I was hoping for more Dragonmead or Kuhnhenn. Nice little glassware selection at the far side of the store with all glasses being priced $4. Prices on the beers seemed high for the most part. Service was weak, seemed like the guy knew little about beer and was being put out for working. He did make a little gift thing for me with a glassware, beer selection but he wasn't too happy about it. Good place for some Cantillon or some other very hard to find beers but watch the prices and don't expect much help.

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Photo of Frozensoul327
3.5/5  rDev -0.8%

Went out to this place this evening for shits and giggles. The store is right off Main St., and easily located. The parking sucks. If it wasn't for me taking a chance parking in an adjacent alley and risking a parking ticket, i'd probably never found a free place to park(I refuse to pay to park in Ann Arbor). Anyway, the store was well stocked with Belgians, German rarities, and some nice offerings from the rest of the world. I didn't feel that locals and regional micros got very much attention, but they may have just been short on stock when I visited. The prices on some items were just friggin' robbery (14.99 for a bottle of Fantome?!), but there were a few oddities here and there that were nice to see (some hard to find German beers that were unique in my travels). Overall, the selection was good. Service was average, as the guy behind the counter looked more interested in making a statement with his wisecrack tee-shirt that knowing his stock and beers. The prices were blew-out; really. I only bought 2 bottles of beer and made my way elsewhere where my dollar went further. I may stop back if i'm in the area, but I wouldn't lose sleep over skipping it.

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Photo of akorsak
3.58/5  rDev +1.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5

Another Ann Arbor dive. She really gets around.

Quality: Nothin' to look at from the outside with minimal parking. Inside, the beer is to the right immediately. I didn't explore much beyond that, so I'll add nothing more.

Service: Nonexistent, no greeting on entrance or exit. That's a 3.0.

Selection: This is where things got good. A wide selection of domestics and imports, almost too much to choose from. Belgians and Germans are well-represented, as are domestic offerings. Off-the-beaten path Michigan beers were my target and I was a little disappointed on that front, nothing too rare. I did see some Leelanau bottles but at $20 per, I passed. Plenty of offerings for the casual to upscale drinker.

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Photo of CortexBomb
3.7/5  rDev +4.8%

The Beer Depot is the counterpart to the Main Street store in Ann Arbor and, as advertised, has a pretty rough location as far as parking goes. Inside the store there is a fairly impressive colletion of brews available though with many foreign beers as well as local standards. There seemed to be a lot more sixers than singles available, which i personally am always annoyed by, but this isn't a bad store by any stretch and they seemed to have some offerings that the Main Street store didn't such as the Unibroue 2005.

Basically, a decent beer store and likely to have what you're looking for, provided it's not too obscure.

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Photo of mgbickel
3.7/5  rDev +4.8%

This was an accidental find...and a pleasant surprise! I was searching for a parking spot for my predetermined destination (Jolly Pumpkin) and passed this place a few times. It looked kind of rough from the outside, but I thought I might as well stop in since I have to pass it by anyway.

They have a great selection of local, domestic craft and brewing supplies. They also seem to have more imports than the average "good beer" store. The tightly packed shelves (and tightly packed isles) line the center of the store and there are coolers containing some beers along the rear wall.

Like many other reviewers posted, the staff hung behind the counter, but that is fine with me...

Seems like this is a hit or miss type place...worth checking out every now and then just to see what they have...

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Photo of AVDeuph
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%

Beer Depot looks like a shady corner store on the outside (and late at night it pretty much turns into the shady corner store), but they have an impeccable selection for the amount of space they have. A big row of singles organized by style, lots of Belgians, and a good selection of some of the best beer in Michigan.

This place also has homebrew supplies, which I think a lot of people don't even realize. Even though it's all crammed into a small area, they have basically everything you need, including equipment, with the exception of some of the less common specialty grains.

Yes, the service is poor. They have a homebrew manager guy who knows where stuff is and is generally helpful, but aside from that...good luck. I think the, shall I say, diverse clientele contributes to the variety of service experiences you might have when visiting the store.

Overall, for Ann Arbor locale (post Bello Vino era), this is definitely the best selection of beer you can find.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%

The first shop we hit up in the downtown area. Its pretty shady looking on the outside. Plenty of drunkards loitering.

Inside is surprisingly nicer than the outside. The beer is in two tall, pretty long shelves. Its very very cramped inside. I felt like I was about to break something. It was hard to see things on the bottom shelves because you have to stand too close to the shelf. Its impossible if someone is passing you in that little isle.

Despite this it is all nicely organized by country. I was pleased with the selection. Mostly everything was in singles but 6 packs were available as well.

Around the corner is all the homebrew stuff. I was surprised to see this here.

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Photo of soupyman10
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%

Back to Ann Arbor to talk to a couple of old professors and realized that this little gem was actually only about two blocks from my old apartment (sad I didn't drink good beer in college). Overall, a good little place, if not spectacular. Solid selection of Belgians and Michigan beer, and a make-your-own-six-pack section with some pretty good beers (solid Goose Island, Arcadia, Dark Horse, Founders, Bells, etc.), with pretty average prices. Met a cute little Magic Hat distributor (who apparently was getting killed by Bell's in the area, no surprise there) as well, who was beyond impressed that I brewed my own.

Finally, some have bagged on the service, but I had no attitude problems at all, although there was a little confusion as to locations and beer types. The manager didn't know where their $14 Kuhnhenn Raspberry Eisbock was (I stumbled across it myself, in the Belgian section no less), but was extremely helpful when I had a random nosebleed, so I give him more than the benefit (I probably would have kicked my ass out).

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.81/5  rDev +7.9%
vibe: 2.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

Conveniently located just south of Downtown, across the street from a parking structure. I stopped here after leaving Jolly Pumpkin, about 1 block away.

REALLY iffy looking from the outside, run down appearance with the look of a serious liquor store in a part of town that does serious drinking. But that's judging a book by its cover, inside you'll find a wide selection of beers. I actually found some Kuhnhenn Bourbon Barrel Barleywines, a little pricy at $8.99 each but this is the only place I've seen them outside of the brewery.

Cramped on the inside, the aisle is so narrow that 2 people can't occupy the aisle without touching.

Prices were reasonable overall (except the BBBW, which was a special case).

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Photo of oberon
3.9/5  rDev +10.5%

Kinda found this on accident walking down East Williams street down to Main I saw the 600 beers on the window and had to go check it out.I could see when walking up thru the doors a lot of bombers so my interest was peeked further,when walking in the good beer is slightly off to the left with a cooler up against the left wall.Alot of Belgians and a few English and German beers greet you at the beginning of the long single aisle that fades into American regional beers like Rogue,Great Lakes,Avery etc...down on the end is the big Michigan selection with my wife jumpimg all over theKuhnhenn Crem Brulee stout,most of the very good MI brewers are here Jolly Pumpkin,the before mention Kuhnhenn,Arcadia,New Holland,Bell's and the list goes on.There was a smattering of DFH in there as well.I purchased some good stuff the guy behind the counter didnt say a word even when checking us out and I can see the parking difficulties but still this place has alot of good stuff.

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Photo of Derek
3.9/5  rDev +10.5%

This is just a couple of blocks from the Arbor Brewing Company. People have complained about parking, but I got free parking only a block and a half away! (Meters are free on Sunday).

They have a large selection of brews available by the bottle (you can even split up the cases). About half their stock is refridgerated as well. Most of their selection is local craft, but they did have quite a few Rogue brews, and a few others as well.

They have a bunch of odd's & ends at the counter as well... so it looks like they get a reasonable variety of different things.

The down side is that it's a little pricie, and the staff was clueless.

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Photo of mentor
3.95/5  rDev +11.9%

Stopped in here one afternoon in December, 2004. The outside is a dirty and non-assuming brick building. Oddly shaped and with only a little available parking in the front. Upon entering, the cash register and liquor are to the left and selections are further in and to the right. A nice selection of international and craft singles are available on the first row of four or five the metal racks that form the aisles. The second aisle contains wines, the third contains miscellaneous convenience store goodies, and the fourth contains a moderate supply of homebrew equipment/ingredients. The right and back walls are lined with coolers that contain 6-packs, 12-packs, and cases. Not many craft singles are available cold. The clerk was busy until I initiated conversation, then was helpful with my selections. Overall, I describe the structure and shelving as no-frills, the selection as good, and the service as acceptable. I think this is the only place in Ann Arbor to obtain homebrewing supplies. They do have a nice assortment of yeast and hops in one of the coolers.

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The Beer Depot in Ann Arbor, MI
Place rating: 3.53 out of 5 with 38 ratings