Southern Season, A

Southern Season, ASouthern Season, A
18 Ratings
Southern Season, ASouthern Season, A

Type: Store

201 S. Estes Drive
University Mall
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 27514-6118
United States

(919) 929-7133 | map

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Added by RockyTopHeel

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Ratings: 18 |  Reviews: 14
Reviews by wedge:
Photo of wedge
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%

A small room in the back of this store can be recognized by its neon "BEER" sign. Not a huge selection but very high quality stuff. To the right is a wall of coolers, the other two walls feature built-in shelving with a mix of what is available in the cooler as well as some others. Everything is priced as a single and there's a big box of empty 6 pack holders so you can mix as you please. I noticed a sign on the wall stating a 15% discount on mixed 12 packs, the first I've seen since moving from New England. Also, everything is divided and labeled in sections: Belgian, German, Local...that sort of thing, even a bin titled "Rare beers" mmm. A binder to the left as soon as you enter has some info on the beers in stock.

Overall I will return here if only for the discount on the 12 packs. The store itself it actually a lot bigger than I thought it would be and full of a huge variety of cooking needs, coffees, teas, glassware, wine; seemed like a high quality store all around.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of SFNC
3.86/5  rDev -3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.25

Photo of ThirstyHrothgar
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of slym
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of woodchip
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of fmccormi
3.94/5  rDev -1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

What an interesting little spot in Chapel Hill. A Southern Season is generally a fantastic store, with some amazing food and drink products (especially if you like tea, coffee, wine, and of course beer), all kinds of high quality chocolates, cheeses and preserved foods, and also kitchen products. If you're a foodie at all, it's a must-stop location anyway, but if you're into beer, too (as I know anyone reading this is), then definitely check it out.

Their beer section is more of a small cave. It's tucked away near a corner, it's kind of dark, and its feels tight but it's also very nicely laid out with good warm and cold storage. It's actually kind of inviting in that little cave. If you need service, it's not too hard to find someone to help you in A Southern Season.

The selection is interesting. It's not necessarily the biggest, but what it excels in is some of the harder to find, sometimes "gourmet" stuff that don't see in most places. This is really more like a foodie store with a beer section, so it's best to approach it from that angle. They've got a very nice array of local and regional beers, like Carolina, Highland, Duck-Rabbit, Foothills, etc. They also have a surprising selection of foreign beers, including some Belgians and Germans I've never seen anywhere else. They do have some element of mix-a-six, too, though the real gems in A Southern Season are going to be the harder to find, big bottles and regional and local brews.

Prices are reasonable. They're not the cheapest you might find, but they don't come off as pricey, either. Also, they occasionally have sales, especially in June / July or whenever it is that they do their inventory clearance, during which you'll get some good deals.

Overall, definitely check out A Southern Season. Especially if you're looking for something imported or hard to find, or just some local beer you're not going to find outside of NC. It's a nice place.

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Photo of devilben02
3.94/5  rDev -1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

I've poked through the small corner of the store that is dedicated to beer before, but on my latest visit, I noticed that the little alcove under the staircase was more packed with a variety of selections than I had ever seen before. Although small, this little beer cave makes the most of the space, with two walls of shelving and a third wall of cooler holding a wide assortment of singles arranged by brewery location.

The selection of US and particularly local beers is solid, but it is the variety of imports that really shines. There isn't anything particularly exciting but there are certainly a number of beers that I don't often see at other stores, and even some that I didn't recognize at all. Because almost every beer is offered for purchase as a single only (a few six packs and mini-kegs were also there), the prices seem a bit elevated, but they're fair.

Overall, I don't think this store could ever be a go-to place for all my beer needs, but it is a great resource to dive back into the beer alcove on occasion and find an interesting treasure.

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Photo of cbros
3.35/5  rDev -15.8%

Found the beer section after 'losing' my wife and family. For as big this place is the beer section is pathetic. It is literally in the corner of the shop under a set of stairs. It is no bigger than a walk in closet. The only good thing is that a majority of the beer is in four coolers that surround the closet atmosphere. In the middle of the room are a few scattered 6 packs and singles. The selection is what I would expect in this area, the only thing I noticed that I can't find in Greensboro are the Thomas River stuff. Other than that I can get everything at home. Another nice touch is that the beer is grouped by state or country in the coolers. So if you want to try something from a particular area than you will have a better chance of finding it. The prices were a bit high for me, I think you pay more for the other parts of the store than you are for the beer selection. Overall a decent place but I am sure there are places closer to Chapel Hill that are better. You can take the extra 15 min car ride and just go to Sams Blue light in Durham.

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Photo of blackie
3.7/5  rDev -7%

quality: All beers were either old enough to stand some age or within their printed dating limits. Some, of course, lacked dating...but most of these were refrigerated.

service: Was not approached to see if I needed any help or anything, but I wasn't really expecting it either. The place seems to be more wine-centric, but I'm sure can could find some good help if you seek it out.

selection: Decent selection, with plenty of foreign beers. Lacks a comprehensive selection of many local breweries, but at least one or two beers from most.

value: maybe a dollar above average for the area

A decent beer store to support if you live nearby, but if you're coming from out of town go to Sam's.

 694 characters

Photo of CWiggins
3.45/5  rDev -13.3%

I visited A Southern Season for the second time just today. It's one incredible specialty market, with a great selection of imported and domestic cheeses, deli items, coffees, chocolates, Stonewall Kitchen products, and some North Carolina-made items. Oh, and they have one of the more prestigious wine departments in this area.

The beer "department" consists of a small room (approximately 8' x 6') just past the dark-lit wine space. (If they put a curtain or door at the entrance you might suspect it was the adult section of your local video store!) You can follow the neon "BEER" sign that's just inside the room and can be seen on approach. Upon entering, you'll notice six independent shelving units, all recessed into the walls. This certainly gives the place a homey ambience. To the left is the cooler section: four doors worth of cold beer, almost entirely in singles. It's a cozy space, to say the least.

Service? I was in there browsing for 15-20 minutes. During that time, no one entered the room or attempted to assist me. There were a few clerks in the wine department, but I doubt they could see anyone in the beer room unless they were glancing straight in. There is a small notebook by the entrance that seems to be used for customer suggestions regarding the beer selection. I really couldn't speculate as to how that works. Just to the left inside the entrance, there is a box containing various empty six-pack holders for customer use.

As for the selection, it's quite good. I give them extra points for this because they have a few items I've not seen elsewhere. Here's what I found on 7/24/2007:

Belgian: Urthel, Corsendonk, Chouffe, Rodenbach, Deus des Flanders, Dulle Teve, Delerium, Nostradamus, Orval, Chimay, Scaldis, Achel, Westmalle, Rochefort, Foret, Fantome de Noel, Duchesse de Bourgogne, and some Lambics.

German & Eastern European: Ayinger, Monchshof, Schneider, Pinkus, Zamkowe, Okocim, and Klaster.

UK & Ireland: Lee's Harvest, St. Peter's, Traquair (House Ale & Jacobite).

Americas: Weyerbacher, Otter Creek, Wolaver's, Brooklyn, Great Divide, Anderson Valley, Left Hand, Lost Coast, Rogue, Highland, Duck Rabbit, and Unibroue.

Often, they have only one or two beers from each brewery available. You won't find the full line of Weyerbacher, Brooklyn, or Left Hand products. Keep in mind that almost all these are available by single bottle only. There are no stacks of six or four-packs here. The coolers contain just what's on the shelves. As to the value, it's a little on the high profit margin side. This is probably explained by the store's main clientele of well-to-do professionals that live and work in the area.

 2,682 characters

Photo of tastybeer
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%

Wow what a store. It has a wide variety of things you want. Lots of coffees, candy, kitchen and home stuff, teas, foods, cheeses, chocolate, and the list goes on. To get to the beer you have to walk through the whole store to the back and when you reach the nice dark little room there are some good beers worth the walk. All are sold individually save for one door width of cooler space with micro sixes. The cooler makes up one full wall of the square. In the nice, wooden, clean feeling space, are a variety of awesome beers arranged and sorted by styles and types. Service for the store in general seemed good, but I didn't see any special beer guys in particular. A decent sized selection of good stuff, and reasonably priced. Can't go wrong with 15% off mixed 12s too. Quality of the six I mixed was great.

Worth the trip and I will certainly return.

 859 characters

Photo of numenor1
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%

I go to this store all the time. I usually manage to make it at least once a week. I go as much for the culinary diversions as for the beer, but since the cap's been popped in NC, I try to stop by at least once a week to see if they've got anything new. As of now, they're second only to Sam's in beer selection in the area, though they have several things that Sam's doesn't. They also have a tremendous cheese selection, and lots of interesting food samplings usually hidden throughout the store. Great chocolate selection as well as any other specialty food item. If you can't find it in Southern Season or Whole Foods, you won't find it. At least not in NC. Great atmosphere. Staff is always friendly, and someone can usually refer you to one of the beer guys (if he's around). As everyone else here says, beer is in far back right corner. It's a great location, I like to browse in peace. Also, since the cap has been popped they've been quite into having beer samplings; sometimes they're just outside the beer section, or at the wine counter. It's almost all singles, and they've got the best price on singles of anywhere around, cheaper than Sam's singles. Check it out if you haven't. And if you haven't checked it out since pop capping, check it out again.

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Photo of cracgor
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%

I have never been to a Soutern Season before. It is kind of a department store version of the cracker barrel--there is dining and a store. The beer selection is way in the back past the keep walking. Walking through the store it is nice and well kept/clean. The stuff in the store is a bit pricey so I was worried about the beer prices, but as far as beer prices it was fairly reasonable. The store mostly has single bottles with very few packs--which is good, because normally this is what I'm looking for...since I can try way more variety for the price. Selection was fairly average. They did have some shining beers in my book, but the majority of the selection was average. The service was pretty non-existent while I was there. I guess that could be a good thing if you don't want bothered, but sometimes I like to chat with the "beer guy". Its the best beer find I've had so far with my outings...but I've only been here about 5 days. Worth the trip though.

 974 characters

Photo of silver0rlead
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%

The beer selection is tucked away in a seperate room thats fairly hard to find. They have a great selection of singles, its pretty much all of their stock with only a few six packs on the shelf. The prices are descent and if you get 12 individual beers you get a discount. They have a large selection of micro's from across the country as well as many from NC along with a good selection of British Ales and Belgians also with a number or rarer ones . A nice collection but slightly dissapointing given the word of mouth

 520 characters

Photo of beerinator
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

The Southern Season has one of the triangles best beer selections. They've moved locations, and expanded what used to be two coolers of beer to an entire room of beer. Unfortunately the room isn't very big, but they've still expanded more than quadruple since the location change.

The staff has always been friendly, and if you catch the beer guys they're usually fairly beer savvy. They offer both room temperature selections and cold beers.

There is usually a discount on mixing and matching a six-pack. I can't remember the last time I went in here and didn't create a six pack or two.

 594 characters

Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Yee Haw!

Stopped by the store since they were having a sale. Had seen the catalog, but had not been in. The catalog is mostly baskets and gifts with the occasional beer basket that wouldn't thrill most folks so I did not have high expectations.

The place is enormous, and the beer is tucked away like the one-eyed stepchild in the back right corner. As it turns out, that is a great place for it. All the basket, wine and cheesy crowd stays out of the hiddent santuary which allows for nice uncrowded, no kids browsing.

Looking around the prices were from very good to excellent. One beer I paid almost $3 more for in Winston-Salem. I even picked up a few morsels I had not seen anywhere else. The selection contained zero BMC and the quality of all present was high.

The service was helpful and quick. I'll be back, as much for the beer as the browsing...the place is HUGE!

 887 characters

Photo of Ninjaworm
4.3/5  rDev +8%

Overall I make a trip here from time to time. Even though its a little bit of a drive it is worth it for the service and selection.

As in a establishment some beers don't turn over quite as quick as other so always be careful I have seen a few beers that have had dust on them.

There seems to always be a helpful staff member closeby. I have called ahead on beers that were going to be disapearing quickly and they held mine aside for me.

Each time that I visit they seem to have new beers. It is great to come back each time and have new beers added to their selection. I gave them a 4.5 because they regualrly add new beers to their stock. They have a selection of beers at both room temperature and in a cooler.

 756 characters

Photo of RockyTopHeel
4.7/5  rDev +18.1%

Now that it has moved into the new location at University Mall, A Southern Season has done tremendous work to upgrade its beer selection and now rivals just about any other place I've been in the Triangle for selection.

Though the beer section is relegated to a dark corner of the beautiful new store, the selection available and friendly staff (though I'm not sure whether or not they have a "beer expert" the equivalent of what you'd find in their wine section) more than makes up for it.

The best part is that every beer they sell is available as a single, allowing buyers to mix and match to their hearts' delight. Exotic imports not seen many other places around are mixed with local and national microbrews as well as traditional upper-tier offerings in both room temperature and refridgerated environs. Rogue, North Coast, Dogwood, Highland Brewing, Weeping Radish, and others highlight the American breweries, and they have extensive selections of lambics from Cantillon and Lindemans, as well as other great stuff.

I see something new every time I go there.

I can only imagine how fantastic a beer store this would be if the state of North Carolina would raise the 6% ABV cap...

 1,199 characters

Southern Season, A in Chapel Hill, NC
Place rating: 3.98 out of 5 with 18 ratings
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