Visited in October 2005
Actually this was a clean place compared to the dusty shelfs that you would see in Arizona and had enough staff on hand that there wasn’t cases of beer in the isles as you are looking for beers. Service number is a little high based on the fact that my mom was hanging arround the glassware. Also there were four of us so maybe that pleasant owner said keep an eye on those people. They wern’t busy so some staff came by with a well at least it looked like they wanted to help you if you had a question. Selection was good just a different area of the US. Some stores in Azrizona have the same amount of beers available. Didn’t like it when they said I couldn’t break up some six pack that weren’t sold as singles in cooler. Did find a Retired Avery bomber I belive it was the 11 so that was a big plus. If you are on vacation and need to take some beers home and don’t mind if the lady is rude or not this would be a place to pick up some beers..
jde123 (85) Washington, Washington DC | December 3, 2005
This place has a great selection of singles, something that is sorely needed in more establishments. The only place I have ever been able to find beer by Viking brewery, which is a definate plus! Oh, and the service was horrible!
A big part of me really hates going to Riley’s because they have the rudest service ever, and it pains me to give business to people who behave like their customers are an annoyance. The college help is occasionally tolerable and sometimes even helpful when not busy, but that Asian broad (who I presume is the owner) is so insufferable that I frequently just want to smack her. I don’t often contemplate violence against women but she manages to piss me off almost every goddamn time I walk into this place.
What keeps me coming back is the selection. It’s not huge and their import selection is a bit thin. But the fact that they can even move this stuff in a campus area 90% inhabited by students is impressive. (You gotta hand it to those UW kids -- it seems a lot of them have good taste in beer if they can keep the Great Dane humming and Riley’s stock moving.) Riley’s big strength is in providing a one-stop shop for Wisconsin-brewed beers, particularly in singles. Seems like every little mom-and-pop brewery in the state gets shelf space here --Capital, New Glarus, Tyrenena, Slab City, Central Waters, Viking, South Shore, Harbor City, Lake Louie, Sprecher, Lakefront, you name it. If you’re a big fan of Wisconsin beers like I am, this is the one and only stop you need to make, IF you can put up with the a-holes who work there.
I’ve stopped here a few times on the way to my in-laws. Compared to the other Madison shops I’ve stopped by (Woodman’s, Whole Foods, Brennan’s, Star, Steve’s), I believe they have the best selection of Wisconsin microbrews. I picked up every New Glarus Unplugged (including the Eisbock) the last time I visited in June 05. Lake Louie, Viking, Central Waters, and other quality WI breweries are well-represented. Their selection of foreign bottles was decent. However, despite having spent over 150 bucks on my last visit, I was again reminded of how poor the service is at this place. Rather than being pleased, the staff expressed verbal annoyance. (I’ll happily share more details if anyone would like to know.) All in all, its a great place for WI beers, but don’t expect them to roll out the red carpet for you.
Great selection of singles, bombers, growlers, six packs, and 1/4 & 1/2 barrels. A lot of Wisconsin and foreign brews, but lacking some other American essentials. Excellent stock for New Glarus, Tyranena, Lakefront, Lake Louie (growlers), Central Waters, Capital, South Shore, Sprecher, Bells, Great Lakes, Dogfish Head, and Three Floyds.
Staff is ok in the helpfulness/knowledgable department, but when they lack there they make up for it by being pretty nice guys. When you get past the owner’s menacing glare, she’s actually pretty friendly.
Occasionally they’ll have great deals on older cases and kegs, but if you don’t mind the age, the prices can be amazing (ex: case of Lakefront for $10, 1/2 bbl of Capital for $50).
Lots of Wisconsin micros, but the singles varies and moves faily quick. There are usually some Viking, Central Waters, New Glarus, Lake Louie growlers, etc... fairly wide selection of Bells and Dogfish. Pretty good place to go, but a pain to get to for me as I don’t go downtown often.
Recommended stop by hezron - thanks! Found a bunch of Viking beers (Whole Stein, Copperhead, Weathertop, Hot Chocolate and both meads, they were out of Big Swede.) Also had some growlers of Lake Louie and singles of Central Waters, Slab City, Bells (including TCOA), Lakefront and Capital. Some Avery bombers, including an Avery Eleven that I grabbed. A nice supplimental stop. The guys working there seemed like assholes though.
I was here on 12/22/04. While walking through Downtown Madison on a fridged december day. This place has lots of good stuff-Bells singles inclidng some of the more rare ones (sparkling, doppelbock). They have all the central waters stuff in singles (minus the bourbon stout) and also all the Viking stuff in bombers (2.99 each!!) killer store. Also picked up a bottle of great lakes nosferatu!