I have obviously been to BevMo and such but I am wondering what places in the Bay Area are the best spots for finding esoteric beers or places that just simply have a very special/large selection of craft beers.
Perry's Liquor in Livermore actually have a pretty impresive selection. You can even search what he has in stock on his website (Perry's Beer Inventory).
Also, Whole Foods keeps a good selection, as does Draegers.
+1 on Beer Revolution
-1 on Berkeley Bowl--big beer aisle but the selection isn't that compelling and they don't have anything I haven't seen elsewhere (I haven't been there in a while so maybe I should go back before I say this definitively).
+1 on Whole Foods (at least the one in Oakland) which in the past year really seemed to expand its beer selection.
Worth considering are a couple of places that look like typical corner liquor stores if you just see them from the outside:
Ledger's in Berkeley--a large and weirdly (dis)organized selection.
Broadway Liquors in Oakland--recently changed ownership and the new owner, trying to branch out, has a big selection of craft brews and Belgian beers.
I have been going to the new one (West). You are right in the fact that a lot of the normal craft beers are similar ot what you find elsewhere. But they have a huge selection of belgian ales and whatnot. Mostly singles, mostly more expensive than I want to pay, but intriguing.