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John's Grocery Inc.
$$ - reasonable
[ Store ]
401 E Market St
phone: (319) 337-2183
Specializes in imported beer and glassware; also known as Dirty Johns for selling Playboy magazines in the 1950s.
Monday - Thursday: 7:30am - Midnight
Friday & Saturday: 7:30am - 2:00am)
Sunday: 9:00am - Midnight
(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Ratings & Reviews
| Reviews: 62 | Show All Ratings:
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Places like John's are few and far between. They definitely carve out there own unique niche, combining a quirky small neighborhood market with a top quality beer store. You have to respect an independent retailer like this, doing everything themselves, and doing it well. The only similar regional places that come to mind are Tenuta's in Kenosha, Groppi's Market in Milwaukee, and West Lakeview Liquors in Chicago.
We had to ask where the beer was when we walked in, as it was hidden past a door in a wall of potato chips (you read that right). Inside the beer room were walls of imports of all kinds, many obscure styles and breweries i've never seen before, as well as the top quality standbys. Cases stacked up near the door, and a walk-in cooler inside to the left. There were hundreds of imports, pretty impressive. Obscure breweries from New Zealand (8 Wired), Japan (Baird), Italy (Revelation Cat), Denmark (Bøgedal), and more... not just the usual UK (Cains Dark Mild), German (Leipziger Gose), Belgian stuff (Hanssens), but those were all there, and very extensive.
Craft stuff was mainly all in the walk-in, many seasonals and limited releases, and a broad representation from the midwest as well as east/west coast stuff. Noticed Cricket Hill from NJ, Lost Coast from CA, and many things in between. A small sampling: Boulevard (4 smokestack series, 750s and 4-packs), Goose Island (4 reserve line bombers, 4-packs), Lakefront bombers (Fixed Gear, etc.), Brau Brothers, Bells, Founders (4-5 6-packs), Jolly Pumpkin (4+ 750s), Potosi, New Belgium (Lips of Faith series).
The Iowa shelves held beers from Great River, Peace Tree, Madhouse, and Millstream. Singles were available for several of these, ranging from $2-3.
Staff was really helpful, pointing us to the Iowa micros inside the beer cooler, giving lunch recommendations, and opening up the glassware shop next door for us (a sight to behold in itself). Top place in Iowa City, must see if you're passing through on I-80.
06-27-2011 16:00:07 |
More by emerge077
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $
Made a stop at John's prior to heading over to the Sanctuary while passing through Iowa City.
The at-the-time A+ rating with over 50 reviews really had my hopes up and I think I was let down a bit.
To begin with, beer in Iowa is limited to what establishments can get through their distributor. The impressive wall of Belgians is occupied by most of the most common and accessible Belgians. No Cantillon (hoping to luck out and find something rare and dusty) but they did have some Drie Fonteinen.
I didn't buy any beer on this visit and I'm not sure I would risk spending money on the majority of the non-Belgian imports. I saw a couple of English IPA's where the sediment lead me to believe they had been there for quite some time.
What I did love about this place was the house next door where I dropped $130 on glassware - especially my new Reissdorf Kölsch serving tray with .20 CL glasses. Got an altbier, rauchbeir, czech pilsner, Unibroue wit, and a bunch of other glasses.
Overall, this may be a great place for chilled and Belgian beer if you are a resident of the area. It is an excellent stop for those looking to extend their glassware collection.
06-16-2011 03:01:06 |
More by Yetiman420
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $$
Having lived in Iowa City for my entire life, I have to say I'm surprised I didn't go there more often even before I turned 21. This place is the epitome of a quirky, homey, and unique grocery store. The shelves are stocked full of a huge variety of items and you can rest assured you'll find just about anything you need there. And I havent even started talking about the beer selection!
If you want to find that rare imported beer, you stand a pretty good chance of either finding it in-stock or being able to order it in. Nearly every country that brews beer of any sort is represented in their beer room. Not to mention their impressive trappist beer selection (of course, no westvleteren in stock though).
They also make a good point of carrying lots of local brews including their very own specialty wheat beer brewed courtesey of Millstream Brewery in Amana, IA.
Also a great selection of beer memorabilia and beer glasses next door in John's Grocery's House of Glass. Lots of cool swag to compliment your beer purchases!
Overall, my #1 spot when I want to just "try something different"
04-10-2011 21:48:32 |
More by rundocrun
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$
Upon first discovery of John's grocery I was blown away by their whisky selection. Definitely one of the best in the area, if not in eastern Iowa. Some good stuff like George T. Stagg from the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection and Pappy 20 year old, at affordable prices.
It wasn't until a few weeks later that I really started getting into their beer selection. I realized it was grand, but I did not realize the selection. From J.W. Lees, to a great selection of Flanders style sours, and some decent American Craft brews. Most of the collection is based around Belgian style ales.
One of the best selections of Nogne I have seen, and the take great pride in things like that. Anyone between Chicago and Lincoln, NE should take the trip to Johns Grocery in Iowa City to check out the selection at this small corner grocery store.
02-22-2011 04:14:10 |
More by MarcatGSB
quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$
Discovered John's when we went back to Iowa City for a basketball game last weekend. It's a good thing I didn't know about this place during law school or I likely would have flunked out. Fantastic selection, particularly their import section as other reviewers have previously pointed out. We were there on a Monday morning as they were stocking the shelves and we got great service from several very knowledgable staff members. I also thought the prices were good, even on the individual Belgian bottles. There were not as many domestic microbrews as I expected, but they more than made up for it in their fantastic import selection.
02-16-2011 19:25:27 |
More by augievikings
quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
When you walk in it is a traditional mom & pop style local grocery store. Really good selection of beer (as well as wine and other liquors). As far as beer goes, there is a very good selection of Belgian beers, along with a decent selection of German and British beers. Some nice vintages (especially of J. W. Lees Harvest, '99 to present and various selections of barrel aged ones). Also a good selection of American beers (at least for ones available in Iowa it is very good). There is a large walk in cooler area full of American beers. The back of that cooler has different Macro selections though. They also have a John's Mystery pack of 24 beers for $20. It has some random beers, don't expect anything great but you get your moneys worth.
The people that work the beer department are pretty knowledgeable about beer and make good recommendations. Fun to talk to about beer and as long as they don't need to help someone, they are more than happy to talk beer with you.
The quality is good and they try to keep the beers as fresh as possible. They do what is possible to maintain there beer in ideal conditions.
Price is about what you would expect. Sometimes they have some nice sales on some decent things. Average price and it is normal to lower price for what you would expect in Iowa.
They now also own the place next door to the actual grocery store to hold their massive selection of glassware. Pretty good prices and a number of different glasses. You also get a free glass if you purchase $100 worth of beer (which you easily could do).
A great beer store, and one of the best or the best in Iowa. Really good selection for Iowa, really helpful and nice employees with a good price and quality. If you are in Iowa City or around the area check this place out. Highly recommend, especially given that it is a mom & pop style store that is great to support.
Also RIP John Alberhasky, I thought this would be a good day to express how much I appreciate your store. In Heaven there is now beer.
10-15-2010 01:27:03 |
More by FreshHawk
quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | $$
Wow. That's the first thing I said when I walked into this place. First off, the whole thing's the carnival ride equivalent of a smaller, labyrinthine grocery store. Tons of stuff on shelves stacked super high.
Wine. Beer. Food. More stuff. Insanity.
There's an awesome cold beer selection with a ton of six-packs and single bottles.
And there are shelves and shelves of the more local -- few-state wide, I mean -- brews, along with an INSANE amount of Belgians, many of which I'd not only never heard of, but certainly had never seen. Limited edition stuff. Crazy-looking bottles. Had I been staying in the area -- and not driving through many more states on a book tour -- I would've EASILY spent $100 or more in this place.
A true gem, it really is. And they have, it seems, a pretty awesome wine selection too.
Seriously, check this place out. I was disappointed because I don't know if I'll ever be in Iowa City again, but if I am, I'll know where I'll be going.
08-04-2010 18:15:13 |
More by asabreed
quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4.5 | $$$
Been going to John's for 10 years now. Lots of changes lately (well lately for me, I haven't been back in 5 years before DLD week).
John's has always focused on more of the Midwestern flagship/introductory/session styles of beers, with a few exceptions. That remains. Also a minimal amount of hop forward selections. Lots of stouts. Carry almost no east coast beer. Lots of Midwest & some Colorado stuff. It definitely has the best selection overall in all of Iowa IMHO.
The glassware is in another building now and far less impressive than it used to be. Some beer schwag at jacked up prices compared to what you pay at the brewery.
04-30-2010 20:57:27 |
More by Beerandraiderfan
quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$
I hadn't been back to John's since I graduated about 10 years ago so wasn't sure what to expect. I had gone in to grab some beer for tailgaiting but also wanted to see if there were any good selections that might have been picked from the shelves in Chicago or that I couldn't find in Chicago. Needless to say for a smaller store in Iowa City I was extremely surprised with how the selection has grown since I had been there. Plenty of selections from Bell's, Goose Island, Left Hand, New Belgium, Two Brothers and Boulevard along with plenty of locals from Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota. Also at least half a wall is dedicated to imports from all kinds of countries. They were also having a samplings of a brewery in the Amana Colonies which the Pale Ale was great so I picked up a sixer of that. The walk in refridgerator is huge and has your usual cases of mainstream beer but plenty of craft beers cold and ready to go. I ended up finding plenty of the Goose Island Bourbon County Stout which has been off the shelves in Chicagoland for quite sometime. I was speaking to the staff about how I was excited to run across the Goose Island BCS and he let me know they still had about 5 cases and would be more than happy to ship me some if I liked, all I had to do was call the shipping department.
All in all I was very happy to return to John's Grocery and plan on going back any time I'm back in Iowa City. The staff was courteous and extremeley helpful and went out their way to make sure I was being helped.
09-23-2009 20:37:55 |
More by HawkeyeDaz
quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$
After finding out online that John's is a good place for glassware, I made a point of stopping here on my way to, and subsequently from IL.
I'll begin at the beginning. My first reason for stopping here was glassware. To get it, you have to cross the small parking lot to what's best described as John's gift shop. While I was there, I met the Manager and "Bier Guy" Doug, who is the son of the store's founder. We had a nice chat about beer and the history of the store. He was a pleasure to talk to and seems to love his job.
The main store is best described as a cramped maze that has everything under the sun. To get to the beer, you have to do a bit of wandering. It's kept way in the back. About half of it is in a tight walk in cooler. The rest is on shelves in a just as tight air conditioned room. Because the space is so limited, John's uses every spare inch of it. Beer is shelved from floor to ceiling and the variety is tremendous. If my budget were unlimited, I could have driven away with a car load of Midwest beers that have yet to wander to CO. Import selection was also great.
When all was said and done, I left with six new glasses and about a case of beer. If you're ever in Iowa City, John's is a must visit.
07-20-2009 21:16:24 |
More by Rayek
John's Grocery Inc. in Iowa City, IA
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