West Lakeview Liquors located at 2156 W. Addison Street, Chicago, IL is a small, but impressive store.  This family run store, around since 1988, has beer, wine, spirits, and a small specialty grocery.  The grocery side has a number of cheeses, a few beer books and a small glassware selection.  The store really focuses on good beer, wine and spirits.  There is no parking lot, but street parking in the area is ample enough.

Update: I am told there is a small parking lot off the alley.  A sign would be helpful, and if there is one I apologize for being blind.

Upfront I think it should be noted that West Lakeview Liquors has been consistently one of the highest rated beer stores.  It is the only Chicagoland area store on the 2011 Best Retailers list published by ratebeer.com.  I find it somewhat surprising no other Chicagoland store has achieved this status, but West Lakeview Liquors definitely earned the title.

Beer Selection:
While the entire store could fit into the corner of a grocery store the selection is well curated.  Beer is organized by county.  A huge number of single bottle options are available here.  There is a cooler with six packs and only a three foot section of the cooler is dedicated to mainstream beer.  I felt the selection at West Lakeview is import heavy, but the import selection included several beers from Mikkeller and Nøgne ø.  This is the largest selection of both brewers I come across in Chicago.  It had a decent selection of American craft beer, but not as large as some of the stores in Chicago.  I felt the pricing was appropriate.  Some of the beer may be a dollar cheaper at bigger discount stores, but once you factor in traveling to get the discount and West Lakeview’s awesome selection, it is not worth going somewhere else.

The website was a bit clunky, but searchable.  It is nice to see if a beer is carried there and whether it is in stock.  Beer is sorted by region on the site much like it is in the store.  There is no way to easily browse the entire selection or see what is hot, but does have a new arrival selection.

According to their website, tastings from one brewery or another seem to take place every Friday.  The website seems to indicate spirit and wine tastings are possible, but all I saw was beer.  I went to a tasting by Lefthand, and samples seemed to be in the 2-3 ounce range which I find appropriate.  I wish the tasting would have included a seasonal or a limited edition brew, but that may of been Lefthand’s choice not the owners option.

Overall the staff was very nice and helpful, and did seem somewhat knowledgeable.  I was looking for a particular beer that day.  I asked the staff about it and they were unfamiliar with what I was looking for.  They took my name and number and said it would go to a staff member on Tuesday who would call me regarding the beer.  Tuesday was two days ago so I will update you if they do happen to call, but they did give me their email information and encouraged me to contact them if I did not hear anything.  I would also say the same Tuesday a blizzard hit in the afternoon and Wednesday was a big ‘ole snow day.  Being this was the third worst storm in Chicago history my request being lost in the shuffle or at least put on a back burner is reasonable.

Overall I was happy with my experience and need to make a trip there this week to pick something up for a dinner I am preparing.  I really need to stop finding places like this as my budget is taking a wallop.





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