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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: flbrewer on May 25, 2013, 05:30:42 PM

Title: LHBS
Post by: flbrewer on May 25, 2013, 05:30:42 PM
What's the consensus on buying brew ingredients from LHBS's? Price aside, do you use them? I imagine freshness would be a concern. Considering using one for hops and LME.
Title: Re: LHBS
Post by: klickitat jim on May 25, 2013, 05:35:15 PM
If they have what I want I buy local. I believe in supporting local brick and mortar
Title: Re: LHBS
Post by: erockrph on May 25, 2013, 05:47:35 PM
My two LHBS's aren't convenient to me in terms of hours and location. Neither carries Wyeast, either. I use them if I have to in a pinch, but I generally order online for the bulk of my ingredients.

My local hardware store carries a decent stock of things like DME, a few pre-crushed/pre-packed grains, dry yeast packets, plus cleaning supplies and hardware. I try to use them for all my odds & ends because they are local, and I want them to keep stocking the stuff.
Title: LHBS
Post by: duboman on May 25, 2013, 05:48:12 PM
My local store is awesome, great, service, always have what I need, fresh grain and most yeast. I always recommend supporting the locals!
Title: Re: LHBS
Post by: thebigbaker on May 25, 2013, 05:57:19 PM
I too am lucky as I have a great LHBS close by that has fresh grain, yeast, just about anything I need (and don't need according to my wife ;D), they have a great staff and they put on some great homebrew events too.  They are also attached to a brewery, so they make their own LME, which was great when I was doing extract batches.  I'm always one to support you local shops, but if you have issues, there are some great internet based shops too.
Title: LHBS
Post by: flbrewer on May 25, 2013, 06:01:45 PM
Side question...how can you tell if the liquid extract is a good brand/fresh, same goes for hop freshness?
Title: Re: LHBS
Post by: nateo on May 25, 2013, 06:36:39 PM
When you can order something and get it the next day, everything is basically "local." Most of the online stores AHS, Midwest, etc. have brick and mortar stores, as well. They all need support, too.

My LHBS sponsors my homebrew club, so I buy from them when I can, but their hours are almost never convenient for me, and their prices are too high to do mail order from them. I typically end up buying heavy/bulky stuff like grain from the LHBS, and get yeast and hops online.
Title: Re: LHBS
Post by: HoosierBrew on May 25, 2013, 06:54:37 PM
I'm lucky to live close to a great shop who almost always has everything I want.  On the odd time that they are out of something I need, I'll get it online.  I do like to buy bulk hops online when I see a deal that's too good to pass up.
Title: Re: LHBS
Post by: jeffy on May 25, 2013, 07:09:13 PM
My local is less than a mile from my house, has a huge selection of ingredients, plus they have a bar that serves craft beers, both brewed there and hand-picked elsewhere.  They support the brewing community, they have a beer garden and last night they had a food truck that specialized in panninis.
I love that place.
Title: Re: LHBS
Post by: HoosierBrew on May 25, 2013, 07:17:32 PM
My local is less than a mile from my house, has a huge selection of ingredients, plus they have a bar that serves craft beers, both brewed there and hand-picked elsewhere.  They support the brewing community, they have a beer garden and last night they had a food truck that specialized in panninis.
I love that place.
Awesome.  Mine is owned by a BJCP who really understands making great beer.  Selection and service are great.  There is a really good nano next door, and they have a food truck there on most days as well.  Just an all-around good experience.
Title: Re: LHBS
Post by: joe_feist on May 26, 2013, 03:11:39 PM
I use my LHBS. Actually, I'm very lucky in that we have agreat store very active in the craft-they sponsor lots of events, comps, etc. Now, there's a new store opening soon that will double as a brewery w/ taproom. I've met the guy and turns out he's a home brewer right here in my neighborhood.

As to freshness of the ingredients, I'm assuming my LHBS turns their inventory as well as anyone on line. There's a constant flow of traffic and it looks like the inventory is moving vs. sitting too long. I've been in the 'back room' to get full bags of grain and it didn't look overstocked. I guess if you have a concern, then look around. Maybe talk to whoever is working. Just get a feel And then decide.

I know all businesses need support, but I buy local when I can,
Title: Re: LHBS
Post by: nateo on May 26, 2013, 03:17:21 PM
I started buying my hops online after I bought a pound of very old hops from my LHBS in Denver. They were in a mylar bag, but they were turning brown on the edges, smelled cheesy. Not knowing any better at the time, I used them in a beer. It tasted like cheesy cardboard.
Title: Re: LHBS
Post by: corkybstewart on May 26, 2013, 03:39:36 PM
I buy 90% online.  The closest LHBS to me is 2.5 hours away.  I asked if they had any Roselare blend, then i had to explain what it was for.  The owner's comment, and I quote:  "why would anybody want to turn a beer sour?"
There are 2 very good stores in Albuquerque, but at 5 hours away they are not local.  When I'm up there I'll buy a bunch of stuff from both of them, but that's not very often since my daughter moved back south.
Title: Re: LHBS
Post by: nateo on May 26, 2013, 04:38:04 PM
The owner's comment, and I quote:  "why would anybody want to turn a beer sour?"

I had the exact same response when I asked about Brett cultures at a homebrew store in KS. They even had Brett Trois listed on their online store! C'mon, guys, you don't know what you sell in your own store?
Title: Re: LHBS
Post by: leejoreilly on May 27, 2013, 01:37:21 PM
I'm a big fan of my LHBS. It's about 20 minutes away from me, has a full menu of fresh ingredients and lots of equipment choices. They are big supporters of my local brew-club, even giving members a 10% discount. They host events like Big Brew Day on site and are just about to get started with classes and seminars for brewers. Plus the staff is knowledgeable and always ready to talk beer. I have gone to the internet for some of my more esoteric equipment needs more my LHBS is my "go-to" place.
Title: Re: LHBS
Post by: oscarvan on May 27, 2013, 09:05:35 PM
My LHBS (Keystone Home Brew Supply) in Bethlehem PA is staffed by knowledgeable and friendly people. They carry good stuff and it's always fresh. There is usually something to sample too.... 8)

If you want there to be a store where you can run to for an "Oh Shid! forgot to order XYZ moment" you need to buy everything there so they can stay in business, even when you know you're paying a few $$ more.
Title: Re: LHBS
Post by: dannyjed on May 27, 2013, 09:27:17 PM
My LHBS is awesome.  They have better prices than online stores and will special order stuff for me.  Great people and this store has been selling grain and feed since the late 1800's.
Title: Re: LHBS
Post by: Podo on May 28, 2013, 10:09:44 AM
I move around a lot, so if I live in an area where a LHBS is convenient to work or home, I try to use them, especially for yeast.  Mostly I'm an online guy though.  I went into a LHBS once and the guy seemed to think it was odd I wanted uncrushed grain, which didn't give me the best impression.
Title: Re: LHBS
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on May 28, 2013, 11:31:22 AM
Side question...how can you tell if the liquid extract is a good brand/fresh, same goes for hop freshness?

Why not use DME? Its much more shelf-stable and is easier to dose out by weight. Keeps well in an air-tight container.

Smell hops and look at the color. They shouldn't smell "cheesy", but they should also have a pleasing hop aroma, especially American varieties. The color should be green. Any gray/brown should be a concern.

A good homebrew store will sell hops in 1 oz air-tight bags or dose from small, air-tight containers.

A good homebrew store is a busy one - I always know hops/malts from my LHBS are fresh because I see a LOT of it going out the door!
Title: Re: LHBS
Post by: redbeerman on May 28, 2013, 01:41:03 PM
My local store is awesome, great, service, always have what I need, fresh grain and most yeast. I always recommend supporting the locals!

Mine too!  Bulk grain buys save me money on shipping.  I do buy most of my hops online, but these guys have just started carrying pounds for reasonable prices.  I buy yeast there because I can see the production date before I buy, been disappointed by some of the online stuff before.
Title: Re: LHBS
Post by: HoosierBrew on May 28, 2013, 01:59:02 PM
My local store is awesome, great, service, always have what I need, fresh grain and most yeast. I always recommend supporting the locals!
Mine too!  Bulk grain buys save me money on shipping.  I do buy most of my hops online, but these guys have just started carrying pounds for reasonable prices.  I buy yeast there because I can see the production date before I buy, been disappointed by some of the online stuff before.

+1.  I never buy yeast online.
Title: Re: LHBS
Post by: dordway29 on May 28, 2013, 02:49:16 PM
I think it depends greatly on your local shop. I currently work at one and am fortunate it's a good one. We have to do monster grain and supply orders every few weeks. Yeast is every week from both white labs and wyeast. Hops are only harvested once a year. So as long as the packaging is good you're fine. Heat, oxygen and light are what destroy your hops so eliminate those and you're fine. Ours are vacuum sealed in oxygen barrier bags and put in a freezer for storage. We currently carry 89 hops (pellet & leaf) and 110+ different grains/adjuncts. We could get more but we're running out of space.

You have to be careful with the online guys. There were a few months when wyeast wasn't offering any roeselare. But northern brewer and midwest both had it in stock. Which means they were at least 4 months old before they could order any more. The stuff you buy online isn't always fresh.
Title: Re: LHBS
Post by: tomsawyer on May 28, 2013, 02:51:03 PM
We got a small LHBS in a nearby town last fall.  I've been buying some stuff from them, making suggestions on what to stock, and recommending them to other brewers.  They are primarily supplying LDCarlson stuff so I still go elsewhere for certain malt brands and bulk hops.  Its nice having them as an option though and I hope they do well and expand.
Title: Re: LHBS
Post by: hopfenundmalz on May 28, 2013, 03:21:56 PM
My LHBS is very good. Adventures in Homebrewing. Great owners and staff.

They have fresh yeast. White Labs has the rewards program for returned empty vials. If you return 5000 vials Chris White will come and speak at your location. He has only done that twice, both times at AiH.
Title: Re: LHBS
Post by: Joe Sr. on May 28, 2013, 03:36:35 PM
I'd rather buy local and do so whenever possible.  The good thing is that a "new" LHBS (Brew Camp in Chicago) opened up close by maybe two years or so ago.  20 minutes door to door, tops.  They have good stock, they're prices are good, I have no complaints.

Before them, I had to drive maybe 40 minutes (depending on traffic) which makes for a much longer trip.
Title: Re: LHBS
Post by: micsager on May 28, 2013, 05:35:47 PM
What's the consensus on buying brew ingredients from LHBS's? Price aside, do you use them? I imagine freshness would be a concern. Considering using one for hops and LME.

My LHBS does double duty as a wholesale supplier for my commercial brewery.  We group our orders together to save on shipping.  And when I need something quick, I always go to the LHBS.  Most staff at these stores are experienced brewers that are willing to help the newbie. 

(plus he hosts our club meeting, and gives paid members 10% discount after the meeting. 

Even before I got the Brewer's Notice, I shopped almost exlusively at the LHBS.  You don't always save money, but I don't mind spending a little more to keep my money circulating around town.  The only thing I really did mail order was hops, and that was direct from a farm in Yakima, not Morebeer, Midwest or such.  Although, for many folks, those places are their LHBS.

 
Title: Re: LHBS
Post by: Joe Sr. on May 28, 2013, 05:53:45 PM
The only thing I really did mail order was hops, and that was direct from a farm in Yakima, not Morebeer, Midwest or such.  Although, for many folks, those places are their LHBS.

Good point on the hops.  I try to stock up when Hops Direct has a "yard sale."

Unless there's a hop that I don't expect to use repeatedly, I'll buy a pound or two at a time.

If it's something I only need a couple ounces of, I'll get those at the LHBS.
Title: Re: LHBS
Post by: Pinski on May 28, 2013, 06:29:09 PM
I started buying my hops online after I bought a pound of very old hops from my LHBS in Denver. They were in a mylar bag, but they were turning brown on the edges, smelled cheesy. Not knowing any better at the time, I used them in a beer. It tasted like cheesy cardboard.

Pizza Box Porter? ::)

Brew Brothers Rocks!

Title: Re: LHBS
Post by: tcanova on May 28, 2013, 07:14:57 PM
I use my LHBS whenever I can.  They give me a discount for being a member of the local brew club and they are very flexible when it comes to purchasing.  I can call and tell them what I want and they will put it outside their back door for me to pick up after hours. 

I did use an online site when I ordered my Blichmann but that was only because I was given 90 days same as cash credit and that helped with a major purchase.
Title: Re: LHBS
Post by: Jimmy K on May 28, 2013, 07:36:17 PM
Freshness can be a concern with online companies too. Your just a name on a box there, not a face at the counter. Selection can be a bigger problem. Still, our LHBS owners do whatever they can to help our club and promote homebrewing locally. They give us prizes, ingredients for demo brews, etc. So I shop there to give back when I can.