Dufferin Wine Beer Store

Dufferin Wine Store As far as my alcohol purchases go, the Dufferin Hotel at Seymour and Smithe is mostly a matter of convenience rather than quality. Sure, it’s kind of interesting to stand in line behind a sailor, two transvestites, and a drag queen to buy an eight pack of Alexander Keith’s (okay, it’s not really quite like that — the drag queens and transvestites are usually out front), but it’s merely a functional off-sales shop, and its primary function was to save me having to walk a few blocks lugging a bunch of beer or wine around.

Last year, the Dufferin diversified a bit by adding a separate wine store. The wine selection is acceptable, with a few winners, and a lot of inexpensive but decent selections, and for those days when I’m feeling less social, the wine store is a bit more drama-free than the pub off-sales, but was still not really something to write home about.

However, several weeks ago, the Dufferin started offering beer at its wine shop. “What?” you say. “That’s crazy talk!” It may be, but ironically enough, the Dufferin Wine Store now has one of the best selections of quality beer in the city, especially if you’re into Belgian style beers and trappist ales.

Duvel, Chimay, Orval, Gulden Draak, Piraat, Leffe Triple – there are things to be found here that you won’t see anywhere else, not to mention the typical Belgian selection of Stella, Hoegaarden, Abbay de Leffe, and several varieties of fruited lambic, along with a decent selection of Quebecois abbey style beers from Unibroue (including a new one just released today – Chambly Noire), the more mainstream European and Asian imports, and the more run of the mill domestics as well.

The knowledge of the staff was put to the test when I approached the counter with the new Chambly Noire and some Hoegaarden. “You like Hoegaarden?” he asked. “You should try *this*.” He held up a bottle of Celis White. “One of the best witbiers you can buy.”

“I grew up in Texas. I love the stuff.” His eyes lit up as if I’d just told a 5 year old I was born in Disneyland. (And yes, there are some legendary beers in Texas, and Celis White, a Belgian-style witbier, is one of them, but only we smart ones know they exist and where to find them.) “I was really worried when Miller bought the company from the founder and subsequently shut it down, but what a great surprise ending when Michigan Brewing bought the rights and started making Celis again. . . .”

At any rate, you don’t have to know whether Pierre Celis was the same guy who founded Hoegaarden in order to buy beer at the shop, but either way you might learn something. And you’ll leave with some fantastic beer.

6 Comments so far

  1. maktaaq (unregistered) on September 26th, 2006 @ 10:45 pm

    Hey, you were supposed to go to bed when I left, not buy beer!

    Yummy beers…we’ll have to stock up next time I am visiting, for a Flying Saucer-style taste test.

  2. Rebecca (unregistered) on September 27th, 2006 @ 8:54 am

    Haha Maktaaq! My guy wanted beer to AND from the meetup :-|

    Oooh we stopped there one afternoon on a quest for beer in the city when the liquor stores were closed on a holiday. Seriously I think there’s only like 3 beer/wine stores in the downtown core (excluding BCL)… but if you know otherwise please let me know ;)

  3. Matt (unregistered) on September 27th, 2006 @ 9:03 am

    For wine-only stores, there are quite a few: Taylorwood Wines in Yaletown, the wine store adjoining Steamworks, the wine store in the basement of The Bay. . . . But I think this may be one of the only beer stores that isn’t the back door of a pub. Perhaps that explains why they have a selection which consists of more than Molson.

  4. Ryan Choo Choo (unregistered) on September 27th, 2006 @ 7:17 pm

    … and there’s Marquis on Davie & Burrard for another wine only place

  5. Nick (unregistered) on September 27th, 2006 @ 11:34 pm

    The wall centre has a good wine store on Hornby Street. They also have fridges for their beer, imagine that, cold beer!

  6. Rebecca (unregistered) on September 29th, 2006 @ 11:19 am

    Nice! We found Jimmy’s on Robson and Hamilton (?) (across from the Library) and I’ll add all those to my list now too – still nothing in the West End except the BCLS on Davie and off-sales at the Dover :p

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