Crazy Beer Store

The gateway to lair of the beer horder!

There’s a place in Rockland County,  New York called Cable Beverages that I’ve been meaning to check out for a little while now.  I really hadn’t heard much more about the place than they have a great selection of beers and it’s a must-visit spot for beer nerds in the region.  Well, I happened to be in the area with a little time on my hands yesterday, so my four year old daughter and I popped in to check the place out.  It turns out Cable Beverages is the craziest beer store I’ve ever been to. 

Imagine a dedicated beer nerd with a small retail space and hoarding disorder, and you can begin to imagine what the place was like.  The tiny store was dingy and dimly lit, with four or five short aisles packed closely together. The shelves themselves were crammed with a disorienting mix of bombers, singles and cartons, all side by side.  It was hard to see what was on the old metal shelves because the aisles were about as wide as my shoulders, making it difficult to peruse the lower shelves without bending over sideways. The ends of the aisles (and random spots in the aisles) were choked with cases of beer that looked like they had been placed there temporarily and then forgotten, only to have another case added to the stack to be quickly forgotten as well.  It was also about 90 degrees inside, as I think the exhaust from the wall of coolers wasn’t properly ventilated.  The place was mayhem.

But it was also nirvana.  You see, the chaos served an important purpose – cramming as much craft beer as possible into a small space.  After walking the aisles once, the system started to make sense. The Belgians were together, so were the UK beers.  The American stuff might have followed a loose geography, but that eluded me.  Overall, the selection was marvelous, with a deep offering of hard-to-find goodies as well as old standbys.  There were also hidden gems on the end aisles, including a 2005 Utopias they wanted $299 for.  I think it was between a giant dusty bottle of Corsendonk and a 12 pack of Coors.  Bizarre.  They also had a growler filling station (improvised mostly of plexiglas and duct tape) which has several tasty offerings on tap.  I wish I had taken some pictures, but I was too worried about my four year old getting crushed by teetering cases of Southern Tier to think about snapping some pics.

In the end, I found some really nice beers, include a four pack of 21st Amendment’s Monks Blood (Don had sent me a can of this stuff and I loved it) as well as a couple of bottles of Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Ale, which my wife loves and I can’t find around me.  I also grabbed a four pack of Dogfish Head Midas Touch, which my daughter picked out for it’s pretty purple labels.  There was probably better stuff there, but I was so turned around by the chaos of the place, I was glad to leave with anything. Next time I go back, I’ll go armed with a plan – and a couple of empty growlers.

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Categories: Beer, Lifestyle

Author:Jim

Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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12 Comments on “Crazy Beer Store”

  1. June 28, 2010 at 12:54 pm #

    I just discovered a place like this in Toledo…it too is a fine blend of disorganized mayhem and varietal bliss. I don’t think they have any Utopias, but I always find hard-to-come-by brews nestled in the most unlikely places. They also have a humidor, which is fun.

    Was all the beer refrigerated? 90 degree beer…yum.

    • June 28, 2010 at 1:05 pm #

      No most of it was on the shelves in the heat. Maybe it was more like 80 or 85 degrees – stuffy and warm, but not enough to make you sweat. Hopefully the beer won’t be affected.

      I thought the taps were cool, as I haven’t seen those at my NJ beer store – I’d definitely pick do growlers if the price is right.

  2. June 28, 2010 at 12:56 pm #

    I know where I’m going this week to grab some stuff for the 4th! Never heard of this place and it’s certainly not far from us, Jim….will try to go when I’m without the kid and maybe I’ll snap some photos for you and we can “update” the post. Sounds cool!!!

    • June 28, 2010 at 1:07 pm #

      That would be awesome, Katie. Make sure you’re solo and have a little time to take it all in and you should be good.

      I went in hoping to find Bell’s, but they’re in PA, not NY. I guess I’ll have to head west soon…

  3. June 28, 2010 at 1:10 pm #

    Ha. You’ve found my secret place! I don’t go up there too much except for when I’m looking for something unusual – you never come out empty handed! Only thing I don’t like is a lot of the stuff is not priced, (its in a little book by checkout) but its no biggie.

    Its tight, but the help is good and if you sign up for their email list you get notifications of beer tasting events they seem to hold a couple times per month. The company rep will come out and talk about their beer and whatnot. (You can get updates by following them on Facebook too)

    Also, if you bring your empties when you go you’ll get 5 cents back per bottle, where in NJ they force us to give the bottles away for nothing!

    • June 28, 2010 at 1:23 pm #

      I forgot to add the part about how I was charged 5 cents per bottle for the empties. I should save up my recycling, take it there as returns and get some “free” beer! Sure my car will smell like old beer and I’ll only be able to afford Schlitz, but I’d be gaming the system, maaaaaan!

  4. Rob Crozier
    June 28, 2010 at 3:06 pm #

    Here’s a link to their website:

    http://mysite.verizon.net/vzeos5j1/index.html

    • June 28, 2010 at 3:17 pm #

      Great find, Rob. I love that it’s a Verizon mysite – very high tech. 😉

      Also, looking at the pictures, I bet that’s the cleanest and most well lit that place has ever been. Not that it’s prohibitively disgusting, just a bit run down. Still, I’ll go back with my growlers set to “fill.”

  5. June 28, 2010 at 6:08 pm #

    Seattle has a couple of stores like this in the metro area. I’ve only been to Bottleworks. It is like the other stores mentioned in that it is a mish-mash, but I found it to be a slightly organized mish-mash. Rather than a humidor, this establishment is also a bar, and therefore 21+. There are usually a couple different beers on tap for tasting… and it’s in an eclectic urban neighborhood: Wallingford.

    • June 28, 2010 at 6:27 pm #

      I love places like this, whether it’s beer, old school food or whatever. Lots of character and it just works.

  6. steve
    June 29, 2010 at 11:47 am #

    5.7 miles, or about 9 minutes from my house… thank you very much, I have found my new go to store

    jealous?

    • June 29, 2010 at 12:00 pm #

      Ha ha. Don’t cry for me, Steve. I have the the Liquor Outlet (the North Jersey Mecca of beer) which is on my way home. Clean, well organized and with a massive, well-curated selection, it’s a terrific place to shop.

      Of course I love places like Cable because you can find some dusty goodies tucked away there. For instance, I got a Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Ale at Liquor Outlet and Caryn loved it. But it was all gone by the time I went back there (things fly off the shelves), but I was able to grab two at Cable, where stuff sits a bit longer.

      Anyway, Cable is a terrific place to find new and tasty stuff to try. I hear the guys who run the place are really cool beer nerds, so make sure to chat them up and see where they’ll lead you – it’s the best way to find new beers. Have fun!

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