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John's Grocery Inc.
$$ - reasonable
[ Store ]
401 E Market St
phone: (319) 337-2183
Specializes in imported beer and glassware; also known as Dirty Johns for selling Playboy magazines in the 1950s.
Monday - Thursday: 7:30am - Midnight
Friday & Saturday: 7:30am - 2:00am)
Sunday: 9:00am - Midnight
(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Ratings & Reviews
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| Reviews: 62 | Show All Ratings:
quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | $$
This is is the place to find the best selection of beer in Iowa City. However, the selection is still only moderate in comparison to places in Illinois and Indiana (where I spend a great deal of time). I feel that the selection overall is over-hyped and their website has a great deal more beers than there store actually has. An employee told me this is because they haven't updated the web site in ages. Prices are good and usually you can find someone to help you find what your looking for unless its a friday or saturday night.
Overall if your in Iowa City and don't want the usual keystone hard liquor combo then you will be able to find a good to decent beer at John's
03-25-2009 23:21:55 |
More by Jbeyer
quality: 3 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$
Update 2: This is my first visit to John's since they moved the beer in the backroom and this is my first visit since the beer selection has increased and dramatically improved in Nebraska.
I am sorry but John's is not anywhere near as good as I remember. Where did all the Belgian ales go? There are obviously fewer American craft beers as well. I was sort of confused/concerned about all the X-mas beers still on the shelves. Sure, most are still good to drink but are some of the other beers equally as old? Honestly, there was nothing I *needed* to buy but I did pick up a couple bottles for the hell of it.
John's is just not what it once was... IMO.
Update: Okay, I've been here a "few" more times since my original review. Let me say a few things. Johns' has the best selection of beer in the state; it is better than Cyclone in Ames. The Belgian selection is as good as I've seen anywhere (including Blue Max in MN). Also the service has been perfect every time I've been there. If Doug is not in, ask for Eric, and if he is not in... you are NOT out of luck. The beer knowledge runs deep here, so does passion. The workers are friendly but honest; ask questions they can help.
Don't expect a lot of American micros because they don't exist in Iowa. I don't down grade their selection for that; it is not their fault. Blame Iowa laws. The prices are a little high (compared to say, Gomers in KC but on par with Blue Max) but, again, this is not their fault. Blame Iowa laws.
John's is a gem.
This is my original review and first impression:
I was completely impressed when I visited John's Grocery. The beer selection was awesome; they had a slew of Belgium beers... including Westy. It seemed like most of the beer they sold was various European imports. Many of the micros they carried I've never seen in the greater Mid-West and many were indigenous to the local area. A good chunk of the beer is in a cooler. Bottom line the beer selection is great.
Anyway... when I visited John's it was 8:30 am on a Friday. I was greeted (almost at the door) by Doug Alberhasky, the store manager and "Bier Guy." He asked us (my girlfriend and I) if we needed anything. Long story short... he took us on a personal tour of the whole building, he talked about John's history, he was a great guy to shoot the shit with about beer, plus he took my girlfriend to the "(ware-) house" so she could peruse their pint glasses for sale. We got absolutely detailed help. Doug also pointed me out a few beers and I took his advice on all of them, he was right... they were excellent.
John's is a grocery store, and a small, unassuming one at that. They do have a deli but I did not check it out. I thought the prices were very good. You need to visit this place; Iowa City is on I-80 so what is you excuse!
08-06-2008 15:16:13 |
More by bditty187
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
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | $$
I had read about this place and was very excited when, walking back to our car, our local Iowa City friend said we were one block from the famous John's Grocery.
So there we went, a funky store with groceries, cold drinks and lots of beer shelved among a maze of narrow aisles.
To be honest, I didn't find anything super amazing or must-have, but the selection is good. More so considering this is Iowa City!
Some names that caught my attention were several Harvest Ale; a lot of Belgians like Ommegang, Chimay and Delirium;l Mikkeller, Nogne and some obscure Scandinavians, plus British brews a plenty.
Bombers are inside a walk-in cooler, which is great, and include Boulevard, Rogue, Goose, Cricket Hill from New Jersey (bought a bourbon-barreled porter).
Ton of 6-packs with the usual names, all cold and mostly Midwest. To be honest, nothing here blew me away, but I'll concede that -for Iowa City- this is a good enough selection.
Service was friendly and helpful- we were perusing the aisles and a beer guy came over asking if we needed help.
09-24-2011 01:25:46 |
More by DoubleSimcoe
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
quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | $$
This is a great little store with a huge beer section. Seems like they have just about anything you can dream up, or something close to it. Biggest selection of Belgians I've ever seen. Lots of singles and different sizes including mini-kegs and champaigne bottles. An amazing number of beers are available with their own brewery's glassware which is really sweet. I could spend hours in here.
I'll be very suprised if I find a better place than this to buy beer while in Iowa. They are open 'till 2 am, which is also very convenient.
02-12-2006 22:43:40 |
More by JudgeRoughneck
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.25 | selection: 4.5 | $$
John's is one of the better beer stores I've ever been to, probably just behind Hop City in Atlanta and Bruisin' Ales in Asheville.
It's a small grocery store, cramped and packed full of stuff, with the beer in the back. There's a large shelving section with an excellent selection of mostly foreign beers, and lots of singles from various US breweries. Then there's a walk-in cooler with a ton of local stuff, both six packs and singles, as well as the macro beers.
Fantastic selection here for out-of-towners. I was able to pick up a lot of singles from Iowa and other Midwest / Great Plains breweries. Dropped about $80 in two visits over the course of a weekend.
Highly recommended if you're visiting Iowa City.
06-04-2013 22:39:48 |
More by shivtim
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Stopped in on my trip past I-80. Easy to get to but the lack of parking was a disappointment. There is a small lot behind the store but it looked like chaos going on. Ended up parking a block or two away on campus. Risking a ticket I hurried myself to the store. One of the most interesting stores for beer I have set foot in. A small market/deli/wine/ and beer store. I think beer takes up most of the space but I did not search every nook and cranny in the building as I was in a hurry. Nice selection and I picked up a few bottles of interest or on sale. I think if it is for sale in Iowa, it is at John's. Interesting mix of college kids and longtime neighborhood residents. Service was very good and friendly even though I did not ask for assistance.
Not sure of the business model, but I would do away with the market and expand the deli and alcohol departments. God knows they need the room and there did not seem to be much focus on the deli which I think could be huge.
11-11-2012 00:34:54 |
More by morimech
quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | $$
I hadn't been back to John's since I graduated about 10 years ago so wasn't sure what to expect. I had gone in to grab some beer for tailgaiting but also wanted to see if there were any good selections that might have been picked from the shelves in Chicago or that I couldn't find in Chicago. Needless to say for a smaller store in Iowa City I was extremely surprised with how the selection has grown since I had been there. Plenty of selections from Bell's, Goose Island, Left Hand, New Belgium, Two Brothers and Boulevard along with plenty of locals from Iowa, Illinois, and Minnesota. Also at least half a wall is dedicated to imports from all kinds of countries. They were also having a samplings of a brewery in the Amana Colonies which the Pale Ale was great so I picked up a sixer of that. The walk in refridgerator is huge and has your usual cases of mainstream beer but plenty of craft beers cold and ready to go. I ended up finding plenty of the Goose Island Bourbon County Stout which has been off the shelves in Chicagoland for quite sometime. I was speaking to the staff about how I was excited to run across the Goose Island BCS and he let me know they still had about 5 cases and would be more than happy to ship me some if I liked, all I had to do was call the shipping department.
All in all I was very happy to return to John's Grocery and plan on going back any time I'm back in Iowa City. The staff was courteous and extremeley helpful and went out their way to make sure I was being helped.
09-23-2009 20:37:55 |
More by HawkeyeDaz
quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
Eccentric, old, dilapidated, that is what you walk in and see. Eccentric help that could pass as homeless or pot heads that love good quality beer as much as the rest of ya'll. But since I am a girl I must reiterate the condition of the building, kind of scary. It is a really old building, so old in fact that they transport the beer up a pulley system circa 1904 (I think). But the true measure of the store is the beer! It blows my cranium how a state just miles east of us can retain these beers. They represent many states in the union and many states in the EU.
I wish there was more room. I wish the hand-baskets worked better, $10 Belgians and some cheap-ass basket. Wack.
The selection is not only good by dated correctly. No skunky junky beer here. Doug and Eric (and help) enjoy quality, timely beer like all advocates. The only truly bad thing about Jonh's, ignore the previously stated, is the space. All the beer is located in a cramped seemingly cubbie-like space. So moving around this cramped area with expensive beers makes a klutz like me nervous. But come one, come all to John's.
08-07-2005 20:56:08 |
More by BlueMooner
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John's Grocery Inc. in Iowa City, IA
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