|Type of business
|Beer Bar & Retail Establishment
|211 G Street
|(Cross St: 2nd Street) next to Fuji Chef
|Th-Sa: 11am-12:30am (after midnight)
|March 19, 2011
|On the Web
|Facebook - lists daily tastings and tap list
The Davis Beer Shoppe is a beer shop that offers by far the largest selection of premium quality beers in Davis. They have 23 taps — 1 nitro, 22 CO2 —and the beers on tap rotate very rapidly. They added 6 new taps to the original 9 on August 9, 2012. They then added 8 more taps on July 15, 2015. They also have more than 600 different bottled beers, many available already cold, that you can buy and pour right there in the tasting room. There's a $1 corkage fee for beers 12oz and under and $2 corkage for beers over 12oz. They'll provide whatever glassware you might need. The vast majority of beers sold are not available in most grocery or liquor stores.
Pour size depends on the beer, and it is clearly listed on the menu. They do both 16oz and 10oz pours.
Beers on tap typically range from $2 to $6 per pour, with prices actually tied to the wholesale cost of the beer. This means that beers which don't cost the Shoppe much won't cost you too much, either. Sierra Nevada Torpedo, for example, was $1.99 per pint (20 oz) in April 2012, which is less than many places charge for a bottle of "domestic" swill.
They also do a daily themed tasting flight. Themes vary widely. For example, in the first half of September 2011, tasting flight themes included Stouts (9/14), Victory (the brewery) (9/13), Dubbels (9/12), Ryes (9/10), IPAs (9/9), Deutchland (9/6), Lagunitas (9/5), England (9/4), Last Days of Summer Beers (9/3), and EuroWheat (9/2).
Most flights consist of five 4-ounce pours, although sometimes there are only 3-ounce pours to keep the price reasonable. Prices for the tasting flights are typically $5-10, although they occasionally go higher. On Father's Day 2011, there was a $15 tasting flight consisting of 3-oz. pours of some absolutely extraordinary beers, including the $23/bottle 2009 Old Stock Reserve out of North Coast Brewery.
You can check both the tap list and the tasting flight (posted daily) on Shoppe's Facebook page.
The Shoppe offers an early afternoon happy hour special from Sunday to Thursday, 11AM to 4PM. Pours are a dollar off during this time, meaning you can often get a quality craft beer for just a little over a buck or two.
Some of the past beers on tap include:
- Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA (100/100)
- Allagash Four (99/100)
- Carolus Cuvee Van De Kaiser (100/100)
- Bockor Cuvee des Jacobins (99/100)
- Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter (99/100)
- Green Flash Hop Head Red (98/100)
- Unibroue Chambly Noire (83/100)
- Lost Abbey Gift of the Magi (97/100)
- Telegraph Golden Wheat (64/100)
- Weihenstephaner Original Lager
- Mammoth Double Nut Brown (90/100)
- Stone Cali-Belgique IPA (Cali-België) (98/100)
The Shoppe has a spectacular retail section. They typically have more than 600 different brews on hand of virtually every variety. A handful of gluten-free beers are available, as well as typically 30-40 varieties of cider. They recently (summer 2011) added a small selection of sodas and energy drinks in the refrigerated section. For a $1 corkage fee, you can drink any can or bottle off their shelf in their tasting room. Six-packs of the more common beers tend to be a bit pricier than at local grocery stores, but their larger bottles (bombers, 750mls, etc.) are usually comparable or cheaper than grocery store options. They are one of very few places that allow you to split six packs, buying one or two beers out of a pack if you want.
In addition to cans and bottles, they sell some pre-packed snack foods (pretzels, nuts, candies, mixes, and so on), a variety of glassware, a small selection of brewing and beer books, a couple of very basic brewing kits, and miscellaneous swag. They do not currently sell beer-making ingredients, although that may change in the future. The owner has indicated they plan on expanding food options and to offer pairings with certain beers. In the meantime, the Shoppe seems to have a very liberal policy of letting patrons bring outside food in and eat at the tables.
They also began supplying kegs in Summer 2011. The selection is absolutely spectacular—if it's available in a keg in California, they can probably get it for you. Note that they do abide strictly by breweries' rules on sale of kegs for private use. Oftentimes breweries prohibit the sale of hard-to-come-by brews to commercial locations only so that more people get a taste. Understandably, the Shoppe doesn't want to lose access to beer from those breweries, so they abide by those rules. Turnaround time on a keg varies depending on the distributor. Most distributors take orders from the Shoppe one day each week and deliver kegs either one or two days later, meaning total turnaround time ranges from 1 to 7 days. A deposit is required for the keg (and presumably the tap, if you need one) if you don't have an empty keg shell to trade in. The deposit is $30 for a sixth barrel keg (5.23 gallons).
The Shoppe is a fairly small place with limited capacity. Most Thursday and Friday evenings you can find a line outside the door waiting to get in because they're at capacity. Seating is limited, leaving only standing room in the tasting area even when the place isn't quite at capacity. Some individual patrons are also in the habit of taking a whole table to themselves instead of sitting on a stool at the counter (or a barrel), even when the tasting room is super crowded. Don't be that person when it's busy - at least offer to share. Employees have indicated they aren't likely to be able to make any major changes to the layout in the near future, and the sidewalk there is unfortunately too narrow for outdoor seating.
The Shoppe is split into two distinct sections. In the front is the "tasting room" with all of the seating. You must be 21 years old to enter the tasting area, and open containers aren't allowed outside of it, and the workers are strict about keeping drinkers in the drinkers' area. In the back is the retail area, where all ages are free to go. Restrooms are available in the very back. Because of the layout, it's common to have a very crowded front portion of the store while only a handful of people are back browsing the retail.
Even when the shop is at capacity, they reserve a one spot for retail-only customers, so you are always able to grab beers to go.
2011-03-21 12:28:54 Is it possible to order hard to find beers here? I've been looking for Theakston Old Peculier for a long time, but have not been able to buy locally for a long time. —jsbmeb
2011-03-21 19:51:14 Interesting and well-chosen tap list. Outstanding bottle selection. If their goal was to try and bring something like San Francisco's City Beer Store to Davis, then I'd say they're off to a damn good start. —tnolte
2011-03-22 20:07:11 Visited on a Monday night and was impressed with the selection of beers, many of which I'd never heard of. Taylor and Kelly are very friendly and answered my questions about different beers. I sat at a table with a friend and had a nonalcoholic beer that I really liked. People at another table brought in pizzas from Woodstocks to munch on while they sampled beers. The only drawback is that seating is limited, but that could change. —nowhereman
2011-03-24 19:15:36 The selection of bottles for purchase is huge, and they have 8 rotating taps as well ton of bottles to consume in the store. They also seem to do special flights from 5 pm to close- last night I enjoyed a flight of 5 doppelbocks. —AlyssaOlenberg
2011-03-25 22:35:14 Count me a fan after one visit. Enjoyed a lovely draft pint after spending too long staring at the litany of bottled riches; nice atmosphere, very cool and knowledgeable guys behind the taps. Had high hopes for one place to drink in Davis without televisions, but sadly looks as if nobody has the European courage to just say no to flatscreens... —Swilltopower
2011-03-28 21:23:44 I agree, this place is great. Good atmosphere, friendly people and awesome beer selection. —drdustin
2011-03-30 12:03:18 Updated 8.18.11 Definitely good on selection and I love the integrated sitting area for drinking/socializing however the prices have gone up a bit I think. A four pack of this craft brew I love, which runs 7.50 at the Co-Op, was going to be 10 dollars here. I wouldn't really notice a 50 cent difference, and would maybe grumble but pay a odllar more to support a new local business but paying 30% more I just couldn't do. I don't think it's everything but I'm definitely going to be comparing prices a lot more when I'm here. —OliviaY
2011-03-30 14:41:40 This is certainly my new favorite place in Davis. Their beer selection positively cannot be beat in Davis, and is certainly superior to even places like BevMo. If you don't like what's on tap, you can drink anything they sell at the shop, and they have around 70 (maybe more) beers in their fridge, ready to be opened. What's even more surprising is that their prices are about the same as (or cheaper than!) anywhere else for a decent beer in Davis.
Bluntly, if you're a Budweiser/MGD/PBR type of person, this is not the place for you. If you're into Pyramid ales... you're getting closer, come try it out. If you like what most beer snobs would consider "real beer", congratulations, you've found a slice of heaven in Davis.
The atmosphere is quite different than other "lounge" type places that serve alcohol. By my experience, good quality and more expensive beer does not appeal to most younger folks (it certainly didn't to me in my early 20s), and the crowd certainly reflects that. Furthermore, you must be 21 to enter the lounge area. Therefore, the crowd is generally filled with people in their late 20s and early 30s, which is quite abnormal for Davis.
Staff (and the owners, Kelly and Taylor) are extremely friendly and happy to offer suggestions.
Seating is quite limited (around 15-20 seats), but counter space is sometimes used for tastings. I am told the place is pretty quiet and empty during the day, but after 5pm it's generally "full" for the rest of the night.
They seem to be off to a great start. Honestly, I'm just waiting to see what they're going to do when (it doesn't seem like an if!) expand.
- Amazing beer - Cheap beer - Very friendly staff - Good atmosphere - Late 20s/early 30s crowd - Limited seating —JustinKudo
2011-04-01 19:52:17 We finally checked this place out tonight. I LOVE it! Olivia, your Mammoth Double Nut Brown is already there and on tap (and delicious! Thanks, I hadn't had it before). They keep a really good variety on tap. Tonight there was Lagunitas Pils, Stone Cali-Belgique IPA (not the normal Stone IPA; apparently it's a very hoppy trippel), Mammoth Double Nut Brown, a Duchesse sour (my first sour... and absolutely fantastic), and a couple others. Very friendly staff, ready with recommendations. They could use a hand stamp there, since we got carded a couple of times, but it's still new. A friend we met there said most of the beers had changed since his last visit, 3 days ago. Damned impressive, not even counting the massive selection on the walls and in the fridges. Prices for pints and half-pints (depending on the tap; the Duchesse, for example, was 8 oz) range from $2.99 (Lagunitas Pils, awesome price) to $4.99 (Duchesse 8-oz. pour). They'll gladly give you tastes of a couple of beers to help you decide.
Seating is an issue. We, like many others, were stuck standing for a while, although we got a table after a while. There's a lot of empty space, so they could easily put in a few more tables. They could also redo the back of the place, to either put in a LOT more retail shelving, or add 4-5 tables. It'd be nice if they'd rework it a bit.
Regardless, if you like good beer, go to The Davis Beer Shoppe, post haste! You won't regret it. —TomGarberson
2011-04-01 20:20:53 This place is incredible! Huge selection of beers including some very hard-to-find ones. IT IS NOT A DIVE-BAR! Do not expect adequate seating, you probably will not find it (until they inevitably expand). It is a very classy place to enjoy a beer or the wonderful sampler selections they have and still be able to hear the person sitting across from you at a table. If you're looking for a non-rowdy, non-dive place to enjoy a drink from a vast selection with knowledgable and friendly servers, then this is the place. I will be coming again in the future. —Chronoz
2011-04-01 22:52:39 Great idea for a davis business, competitive prices and a pretty solid selection. I hope they will expand so I can take friends here at night and not have to worry about finding a table. —MMAC
2011-04-05 16:18:19 The best beer selection in davis on tap and on the menu. The prices are not bad either for the quality beer also! I just hope they keep their prices, i literally want to try all their beer on their menu. and they have sample beer for like 5 dollars! —beerlover
2011-04-07 10:04:42 I was floored by how hopping this place was on a Tuesday night. I just wrote a blog review last night if you want to check it out. ( http://nblo.gs/gn6wm ) Lucky for me, the tasting flight included 5 Imperial IPAs , YAY! Great choices, that certainly demonstrated how the same style can be interpreted so differently by producers. I only wish that they had put a teensy bit more thought into the tasting order and maybe specified "go left to right". We all started with Stone's Ruination and it basically ruined our palates. (*LOVED* it though) This is officially my favorite new hang out in Davis. —MadisonSmith
2011-04-14 11:07:17 Went here last night with my S/O for the first time and we really enjoyed ourselves. Outstanding selection in the store area and the tasting room was a real treat. 2 Lost Abbey selections on tap is hard to beat. I'm looking forward to all future visits.
2011-04-14 14:38:52 This place is simply quite awesome. Nice atmosphere, great selection, and helpful staff. I think beer tastes better when it is poured by a barrel chested man with a large red beard in a paisley tie. Unfortunately it is often too busy in here for my comfort. —DagonJones
2011-04-15 13:45:23 If you don't know your beers all that well, be prepared to ask how strong they are before buying one. I tried an IPA last week which was somewhat stronger than I was expecting. Later on I discovered it was >9% alcohol. It would be great if they added the alcohol content to the blackboard behind the bar. —KeithBradnam
2011-04-23 20:51:01 any decent beer has about 8-10% alc :)
I became a fan of US beer with The Great Divide - Great mind drink alike. Before that it was mostly only Blue Chimay that fit my view on what a great beer is (being more of a wine drinker). Do they have The Great Divide beers there? Hibernation ale and Hercules IPA? Im very surprised they are more readily available in denmark than here.
2011-04-26 21:02:06 I visited for the first time yesterday to try a flight of the premium sours. I'm not typically a beer fan but after tasting a few sours at CLips of Faith last summer I was hooked. It cost $9.95 for a flight (plus tax and tip) which seemed high (at least to me), but was I guess it was pretty fair given how long sours take to brew. Note: If you're tasting with friends, be aware that no more than three flights will fit on top of one of those barrel tables.
As for the premium sour lineup, the La Roja was by far the least favorite of everybody at the table, and it seemed out of place in the tasting order. The New Belgium La Folie was my favorite, but it would have been nice if they had La Terroir in the flight for comparison. I'm not sure if they left it out because they wanted to include five different brewers, or because La Terroir is not as expensive (maybe doesn't count as 'premium'?), but if you like sours I'd recommend it.
My main suggestion for this place is they get some pub food, stat. Even if they just have ONE menu item, like french fries or potato skins, that would be great. I was pretty buzzed for at least 90 minutes after I left, and I didn't even drink the whole flight. Granted I am pretty small, but the two guys I was with felt the same way. An appetizer to slow the absorption of alcohol would have been perfect, in my opinion. Or if they don't want to cook, maybe they could have some sort of deal with Woodstock's next door.
2011-05-19 16:10:23 I visited Davis Picnic Day and came here for my first beer of the day. The wait to get in was worth it and once I got in I thought I died and went to beer heaven. The place had about 8 beers on tap from breweries I never heard of and 3 wall shelves of beer and other alcohol. Fortunately the staff allowed me to sample some of the beer on tap before I got a pint. I had the Mango IPA and Allagash Black beer. Both were excellent and I hope to come back here next time to see what new beers they have. —SimonFung
2011-07-24 22:49:01 Davis really needed a bar that serves high quality and rare beer. I'm quite happy you all opened up and have really enjoyed the brew and the bartenders' service. I'd like to offer some suggestions for improvement, primarily about atmosphere:
- The shop is quite bright after dark due to the beer store part. I'd suggest dimming the lights or somehow visually blocking the light from the store part from reaching the seating area.
- Ditch the TVs. Can't we have at least one good bar with out a TV running in the background? People come to a shop like this for the beer and the company, not to watch TV.
- Add more seating and capacity. It is very annoying that the Beer Shoppe is the only bar downtown that turns people away. I assume that the combo shop and bar create some kind of limit on the amount of people that can come in. I'd recommend utilizing the wasted floor space in the shop area for seating. The shop area could be smaller and the bar larger with lots more cozy seating. A long bar along the North wall would really be great.
- Setup some outdoor seating if at all possible. Ask the city to git rid of the car parking spots in front so you can have a nice outdoor seating area.
Keep up the good work, I hope that your shop becomes a mainstay hear in Davis. —JasonMoore
2011-07-30 08:22:03 Excellent selection for a town such as Davis. The staff, while pleasant and attentive, are not as engaging as they should be. See the above criticisms as to the layout of the store, they are all valid. One hopes they will expand to a new location in the next 6-9 months. Serving food beyond fixed pairings would be a mistake, especially fried bar food and the like; try the Grad down the street. The store does tend to get populated with the hipster and intelligentsia crowd in the evenings, which can be a bit insufferable. Comparing the location to a theme park is a bit of an eye-roller, but it does provide an excellent tasting resource for the aficionado or homebrewer. I'm looking forward to watching the location evolve. —AlexShenko
2011-08-18 00:30:15 I 'liked' the Davis Beer Shoppe page on Facebook, which was both a terrible and great decision. They post the current beers on tap, as well as the daily tastings, everyday - which is fantastic, because I want to go everyday now. It's only terrible because I don't have any money to do that. —ChristyMarsden
2011-08-18 00:47:10 Good beers at tolerable prices. Agree with complaints about the layout. Seems like they're leaving a lot of money on the table by dedicating so much space to off premise sales. I suppose they are creating an exclusive atmosphere by keeping the seating artificially limited. —MikeyCrews
2011-08-18 04:35:31 The next time I revisit my old haunts in the dirty thirty this will be one of my first stops, so as to cure my thirst of curiosity in the changes within the Little Tomato (as well as other thirsts). Any chance you guys could import some Brewdog from the UK? —RobRoy
2011-09-08 11:29:51 Big fan after one visit too. Amazing selection on tap an in bottles, great, lo-fi snacks, casual atmosphere and great service from the bearded dudes running the place. My only complaint is the light brightness could be lowered a bit and the tv's were distracting for conversation. Will definitely go back! —vrussell
2011-09-16 11:46:13 The Beer Shoppe is an amazing establishment. Yes, it is hard to find a seat, but I would rather be turned away from a full establishment that is well run with great beer selection, than find an open seat at a poorly run establishment with crap beer. Every time I get turned away I am disappointed, but it makes me want to go back and check later that night, or get there earlier on another day - which I truly have no problem with. This is all because basically they have (no argument) the best beer selection in Davis. Most of the full time guys (I say this because they are there a lot) are incredibly friendly, knowledgeable about the beer, and are always willing to have a conversation. Some individuals working there are more timid to have a conversation, but then again I'm not there to talk to them usually. I would be upset if they made this place easier to sit in, or made any changes at all. —BenedictIV
2011-10-04 15:32:18 This place is the shit. If they don't have what you're looking for you should ask the dudes behind the counter. I was looking for some De Dolle beers a while back, told the guy, he said he'd look into it, a few weeks later they were on the shelf. Totally killer. —TheRadish
2011-10-31 13:21:29 Cool place, awesome idea. For those of you going for the first time apparently they will chill your beer for you, you have to ask them though. I was told they would ask you when you pay and then was disapointed to receive a warm beer. Just FYI. —jadeeyes1113
2011-11-08 21:32:11 Fantastic selection of Russian River. No Pliny, but enough Consecration to burn a hole in your wallet. Great atmosphere if you're looking for a more mature drunk crowd in the evening. —miguelsantiago
- For some reason, this is one of my favorite comments on the wiki. :) —jsbmeb
2012-02-03 15:55:45 Marvelous place, this. Interesting chatter, good service, and a nice warm and cozy atmosphere. Reminds me of NI. I make it a habit of stopping by here at least once a week, and hopefully it stays for good! A great addition to the community. —NorthernIreland
2012-12-11 18:28:40 I love the beer shoppe except for one small thing: STAY OPEN LATER! —AlisaKim
2013-01-04 17:41:20 Just one more great review for the Beer Shoppe—I'm new to drinking beer and when I mentioned this, I was offered several tastings for free. I love their helpfulness and classiness, and the choices are spectacular without being too hard on the wallet! —HannahToru
2016-05-05 18:29:21 I feel like beer shoppe used to be a good deal. Now, it's a bit hard to find much under $5-6+ which is pretty standard. Good selection though. —JuliaErsan