Friday, November 14, 2008

Quarters- Westside Review

So I have been stretching the Westside reviews for over a week, but I have only traveled a half mile to get to these locations. Sunflower, Cost Plus, and Quarters are all located in a small stretch just west of Corrales Rd.

Quarters is the first of these to be an actual liquor store. This location, like the two they operate on the other side of town, is connected to their barbecue restaurant, so the smell on the way in is inviting- unless you are a vegetarian.

The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the amount of floor space. This is one of the largest stores in town, though the beer gets a minority share of the available space. Most of the floor is occupied by riveteers of liquor in the front, and wine taking up the rear, with a special room for the expensive stuff. It reminds me of the room you see in stereo stores, where you know you are getting into the high-end equipment. The beer is mostly confined to coolers, with a three-tiered shelf on the floor that held different beers, seemingly for overflow control as there was no country or style connecting the beers.

Price: That's a good one. Too bad the majority of beers in the coolers are not priced at all. I saw Sam Adams varities for $7.49,nothing special there, and Anderson Valley beers for $8.99, which is a good price. Besides that, finding a price for a beer would require asking for help.


Service: There were two people having a conversation behind the counter when I arrived, and neither said hello. I don't mind that, but it could rub some people the wrong way. I personally never liked the situation where I would walk into a store and a clerk would greet me, but when I looked up, three clerks would be staring at me so I never knew who to acknowledge.
I was never asked if I needed help finding or choosing a beer, and when I left the two were still talking. You'd think they could have at least been pricing some beer in the meantime.


Selection: Here's where Quarters redeems itself. Most of the great beers are located in the walk-in cooler, where shelves hold haphazardly stocked bombers and six-packs of most of the beers available in the state. I saw bottles of Dark Force from Haandbryggeriet Brewery in Norway alongside Cantillion Gueze. I also saw a bottle from Achel, one of the Trappist beers of Belgium. I honestly had no idea this was even available in Albuquerque- this was the first time I had ever seen it here. They also had a good selection of local and regional like Monk's Ale and Marble IPA. There are also domestic kegs available for purchase, and Quarters will special order kegs without hassle. A little more organization to the cooler would make for easier shopping. It gets cold in there!


It's all about the beer for me, and Quarters has a selection that stands out from the other stores reviewed so far, and also makes me forgive the service and pricing flaws.


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