There are lots of beer stores around, ranging from the corner store to the liquor warehouse. Here’s where I’ve gone to buy beer:
Buy Rite – Cranbury
Location: 2678 Route 130, Cranbury, New Jersey
Probably the best beer selection I’ve found in the area. This is where I mainly do my beer shopping. It also gets an “A+” grade on beer advocate. They have a good pick a 6 pack section as well. Matt, the manager, knows his beer and gets a lot of rare stuff (which is kept in the back and limited to one bottle a customer, so everyone gets a fair shot) and also can direct you to new things. They have a growler station and update their offerings often via facebook.
Buy Rite – Jackson
Location: 10 S Hope Chapel Rd #1, Jackson, New Jersey
I stopped by this beer store on the way to Surf Taco in Jackson…it’s literally across the street. I wasn’t sure what to expect given the small size of the exterior of the store. When I made my way into the store, I knew I should have kept my expectations low. It was a very small store with very little room given to beer. What beer that had was mostly kept in the chiller, with very little in the craft beer selection other than Magic Hat and Samuel Adams. I did find a bomber of Stone 15 in the chiller as well. But, they have plenty of 24 packs of Natural Light, if that’s what you’re into. This place is one that you should definitely drive by.
Craft Beer Outlet
Location: 9910 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
I love this place, but it’s a bit of a hike for me. This place has a great selection of Bell’s, Russian River, and Cigar City, just to name a few. Just keep in mind they work under Pennsyltucky beer laws, which means you can’t take out more than 3 six packs at a time…doesn’t mean you can’t just walk back in after a purchase, though…although this also means you can just crack open a beer and enjoy inside. You can easily drive by this place. It’s nestled in a strip mall.
Half Time Beverage
Location: 139 Hoyt Ave, Mamaroneck, New York
I found this place completely by accident. The other half and I were driving to brunch after a wedding in New York and drove by. When I walked in, I wasn’t that enthusiastic as I was greeted by cases of macro beers. Once I got into the store, I found the most extensive and impressive beer store that I have ever been in. The entire store is dedicated to beer. Not only does it have a lot of beer, but a great selection of glassware and homebrew equipment and supplies as well. The beer itself is separated mostly by geographic location and has at least 20 aisles and cold cases. If you don’t have time to go through the whole store, they have a section that they call “best of the best.” The growler station is large as well, the staff is friendly and the prices are competitive for the area. You can also peruse their offerings online. One of the things that I was the happiest about was every beer they have they sell by the bottle, six-pack or case, so for a reviewer, it was like paradise. If you like beer in any capacity, you need to go here. My favorite beer store, hands down.
Joe Canal’s – Hamilton
Location: 108 Marketplace Blvd, Hamilton, New Jersey
Another branch of the Joe Canal’s chain that is located in the Hamilton Marketplace shopping center, almost all the way at the end. When you walk into the store, it is obvious that this one has less of a focus on beer than the others. The wine selection is impressive and extensive, but the beer selection? Pretty good…but nothing outstanding. They have a mediocre amount of craft beers in the coolers and a significantly larger warm beer selection with bombers. They did have a few breweries that I hadn’t seen before as well as a lot of the local standards like Yards, Flying Fish, Victory and Troegs. There were also some Belgians available, mostly in bombers. This is probably the best beer store that I’ve seen in the area, but its Lawrenceville counterpart is slightly better.
Joe Canal’s – Lawrenceville
Location: US 1, Lawrenceville, New Jersey
Yet another Joe Canal’s location, also located in a strip mall on Route 1. Ample parking outlies this large store. Once you walk in, they have about 2 full aisles filled with craft beer. They had one of the larger mix a six pack sections that I’ve seen with lots of different and unique offerings. Their six packs themselves are split between the cooler stations and the warm section, with different ones in each. They had all of the local brews, plus Ithaca, Southern Tier and Founders, to name a few. The staff was extremely knowledgeable and friendly. If you’re in the area, it’s definitely worth a stop.
Joe Canal’s – West Deptford
Location: 1075 Mantua Pike, West Deptford, New Jersey
I’ve read a lot about this beer store on facebook and had high hopes for it since I would look at the updates of what they’ve gotten in. Located in a strip mall next to a Shop Rite, it definitely did not look impressive. From the outside, it looks a bit on the small side. But, once you get into the store, prepare to be impressed. They have an extensive selection, including a generous Belgian and import section. They had beers from Lagunitas and Ithaca that I had never seen before, plus a bunch from Great Lakes. They also have a large cooler section and an alright mix a six section. They also have a growler station hidden in the corner of the store. If you’re looking for a hard to find beer, take a ride down here, you may just find it.
Joe Canals – Woodbridge
Location: US 1, Iselin, New Jersey
The beer selection isn’t bad, but it’s not as extensive as Buy Rite. I took a trip down there awhile back and their beer selection greatly improved. They had six packs of Ithaca and Avery and Bear Republic, increased bottles of DFH and bottles of Hoppin Frog. They do have a bottle club, which can get you exclusive coupons and discounts and they have a pick a 6 pack section (although not as extensive as Buy Rite). They also have a growler station that updates their offerings online as well. It’s right by the Woodbridge Mall, so it can get crowded. If you don’t feel like driving down to Buy Rite, this is worth a stop, but it’s definitely more of a wine store.
Max’s Beer, Wine, Liquor – Freehold
Location: 28 Village Center Dr, Freehold Twp, New Jersey
Max’s is located in the Raintree shopping center in Freehold. Although it isn’t the largest store and there isn’t much space dedicated to beer, the offerings are pretty impressive. There is always a good selection of brews from Flying Fish, Founders, Oskar Blues, Kona, Sixpoint, Stone and Rogue. They have most of their beer in the cooler selection with about 1/3 dedicated to craft beer. They also have one cooler that is dedicated solely to bombers and has a rather good selection. They also have a warm section with some singles available, but no growler station or make your own six pack section. One of the aspects of the store that I love, other than its convenient location to my house, is that it is a bit of a hidden gem. So, when almost every other store ran out of Nugget Nectar, they still had a few six packs. The staff is also incredibly knowledgeable and ready to give you a recommendation and it’s always a solid one. If you’re in the area, definitely worth a walk through.
Max’s Beer, Wine, Liquor – Freehold (Business Route 33)
Location: 611 Park Avenue, Freehold, New Jersey
This is the Max’s that is located next to the Foodtown on Route 33 Business. I walked into this store thinking that it would be like the one located in the Raintree complex, which isn’t a bad store, just limited by space. I was completely wrong. I walked into the store and it was dark, dusty and blasting country/rock music. It was like I was in Kentucky. I started looking around at the beer section and was shocked. They had approximately 10 different craft beer six packs and three or four were Christmas beers (it was July). Their selection was incredibly lacking. I noticed a three tap growler station and asked what was on tap. I was told the cashier who knows what beers were on was off today. Um…couldn’t you read it off a list or something? So, in summary…crappy service, horrible selection. Avoid.
Location: 19724 Coastal Highway, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
This store is located right on the main highway going into Rehoboth Beach. They have a large sign outside that advertises that they sell the most Dogfish Head beer in the nation. Walking into the store, you see that it is a large warehouse with wine and hard liquor in the front. Walking to the back, they have a growler station with a few taps with mostly local stuff. Right next to the growler station are bombers of some rarer beers, such as Allagash Victor and Victoria and Brooklyn Wild Streak. All the way in the back are the six-pack and case selections. As promised, they had a huge selection of Dogfish Head. They also had a decent selection of Troegs, Victory, New Belgium, 6 Mile, Evolution and other local beers. They have singles next to the six-packs so you can mix your own six pack as well. They have a small cider section as well with selections from Ace and McKenzie’s. The best thing about this place is that Delaware has no tax, so it was much cheaper than shopping in Jersey!
Renaissance Buy Rite – North Brunswick
Location: 456 Renaissance Blvd, North Brunswick, New Jersey
I used to frequent this store when I lived in North Brunswick. Nestled in the Shop Rite strip mall, the North Brunswick Buy Rite doesn’t have nearly the selection of its Cranbury counterpart. Most of the beer resides in chiller cases with one shelf on the right side of the store dedicated to bombers and other assorted beers. The selections of the store tended to vary seasonally, but they regularly had a good selection of Abita, Victory, Troegs and Harpoon. The amount of bombers was small, but Rogue dominated the selections. The staff is not all that knowledgeable, but it’s obvious that beer is not the focus of this store. If you’re looking to pick up something standard, you can stop here and they’re probably have it, but definitely not worth a trip out of the way.
Roger Wilco Discount Liquor Store – Voorhees
Located in a shopping plaza, Roger Wilco doesn’t look like much from the outside. But, once you get into the beer aisle, you’re definitely impressed. This is one of the few stores that I’ve been to that actually organizes the brews by beer style. I didn’t initially think I would be a fan of it, but it really worked. They had some impressive selections in both 12 ounce bottles and bombers. Some included Sixpoint Resin, Troegs Nugget Nectar, Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold, and a good selection of Belgians. They also had additional selections in the cooler. One of the ones I’ve never seen before was from Magic Hat’s Humdinger Series. The mix a six pack section was one of the better ones I’ve seen. Available for filling the sixpack was Sierra Nevada Hoptimum, a bunch of Cisco beers and a decent amount of Belgians, plus the normal domestic craft offerings. This place is definitely worth a visit. I’ve even heard rumors that they plan on expanding the beer section.
Spirits Unlimited – Shrewsbury
Location: 980 Shrewsbury Ave, Tinton Falls, New Jersey
When walking into Spirits Unlimited, I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew they were a chain, but I had never been to any locations and I’ve never heard of them as a beer destination. So, when I stopped in there, I was like a kid in a candy store. They had a HUGE selection. When I first got to the beer section, there was an entire display dedicated to summer seasonals. As I walked down the long, refrigerated section, there was plenty of Goose Island, Port Brewing, Lost Abbey and all of the normal selections of DFH, Stone, Troegs and Victory. Their import selection was pretty impressive and I ended up grabbing a four pack of a British beer that I had never seen before. They also had two aisles of warm beer and bombers with a wide selection. The prices were very reasonable, probably some of the best I’ve seen around. If you’re in the area, this place is definitely worth a visit.
The Foodery – Northern Liberties
Location: 2nd and Poplar, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The other half and I went into Philly for brunch and stopped at Philly’s “original bottleshop.” The store is small, but has a really good selection. When you walk in, there is a small seating area to your left side, in case you want to enjoy a bottle there. Then, there are some bombers next to glassware for sale. I picked up some Cascade bottles in this section. If you walk back, there are about 6 cold cases of individual bottles and cans for sale. I picked up some things from RJ Rockers, The Duck-Rabbit and Dark Horse. Their selection was pretty good and the staff was very friendly and knowledgable. Since I spent over a hundred dollars, I even got a free glass. The one thing that I wasn’t a fan of, was the prices. Since it’s in the city, they definitely have prices to go along with the city. Despite this, they had beers that I had never seen anywhere else and can’t get in Jersey. It’s definitely worth a stop.
Location: 950 Springfield Rd, Union, New Jersey
This is located right off of Route 22 in Union. I’ve heard of the Total Wine chain because I follow some Florida beer blogs where this seems to be the prominent chain. I stopped here one weekend when I was in the area. I kept walking down the six pack aisle and it was limited, although they did have Pike, which I haven’t seen anywhere else. But, then I found an aisle with just pick-a-six and bottles. The collection was impressive. They had more Avery, Pike, and Heavy Seas than I’ve seen other places. Check it out if you’re in the area.