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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: skyler on January 06, 2018, 02:29:02 AM

Title: When a LHBS Gets It Wrong
Post by: skyler on January 06, 2018, 02:29:02 AM
Are there certain little foibles about your LHBS that tick you off? What are the things your LHBS doesn’t do that you wish it did?

I went to an LHBS today that has three choices of British pale malt (which is awesome), but carries only domestic caramel malt, Munich malt, and Vienna malt. And they weren’t “out;” they just don’t carry imported caramel, Munich, or Vienna malts. To add salt to the wound, they also don’t carry oxygen tanks or epsom salt (I know I can get those elsewhere, but I go to the LHBS expecting to overpay and one-stop-shop (or else I’d buy everything online). Gears officially ground.

I mean, I’m very LHBS-blessed. I live within two miles of two decent LHBSes, one of which is excellent. And there are a half-dozen other options within 30 miles. But man is it frustrating to wade through rush hour traffic to be so disappointed.





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Title: Re: When a LHBS Gets It Wrong
Post by: Robert on January 06, 2018, 02:51:29 AM
Given time I'm sure I could think of a lot of things. But I must admit, they can't carry everything.  Bad choices of what to carry? Sure.  But my guys try.  If I mention that I drove 20 miles or went online to get a malt, pretty soon they start carrying it.  Maybe others have asked too, but the owner says, "hey, whatever you guys want I'll order it."  They are one of the better shops.  But what gets me lately apparently isn't LHBS but suppliers. They are so consolidated (and maybe subject to control by entities with ulterior motives, beholden to Amazon, whatever?) LHBS can't necessarily get what we want.  Went in the other day wanting a liquid dip tube for a Corny (curved.)  Nope, just Firestone (straight.)  They ordered Corny, got Firestone.  20 miles away same story.  Ordered Corny from Amazon, got Firestone.  Aaauugghhh!


Title: Re: When a LHBS Gets It Wrong
Post by: Stevie on January 06, 2018, 03:28:27 AM
I am basically online only now. Nearest shop has questionable malt after the Thomas fire and the next nearest is priced about 50% high. I can order a sack of malt from MoreBeer, pay shipping, and still have it come out cheaper without the drive.
Title: Re: When a LHBS Gets It Wrong
Post by: Robert on January 06, 2018, 03:44:04 AM
Still gonna stick with my LHBS. I like to see before I buy and have a relationship,  but the whole business is getting squeezed it seems. Stevie, are you contributing to the problem? Mom & Pop getting steamrolled by The Man?  ;)
[Hey, glad YOU came through the fire.]
Title: Re: When a LHBS Gets It Wrong
Post by: Stevie on January 06, 2018, 03:46:11 AM
Still gonna stick with my LHBS. I like to see before I buy and have a relationship,  but the whole business is getting squeezed it seems. Stevie, are you contributing to the problem? Mom & Pop getting steamrolled by The Man?  ;)
[Hey, glad YOU came through the fire.]
I’d support local if the prices were fair. $80 for a sack of weyermann pils is outrageous. Many of the specialty malts are over $2. Plus it’s 45 minutes away.
Title: Re: When a LHBS Gets It Wrong
Post by: Robert on January 06, 2018, 03:48:43 AM
Ouch.  Can't blame you!
Title: When a LHBS Gets It Wrong
Post by: BrewBama on January 06, 2018, 12:24:43 PM
My only gripe with my local is they don’t sell their bulk malts by the portion of a pound. If I go to a grocery store and buy a potato at $X per lb, if the potato weight .75 lbs I don’t pay for the full pound — I pay for 3/4 of a lb. The local makes you pay for the whole pound even though he’s weighing out a portion of a lb. Other than that they have a fairly complete albeit basic selection that’ll get you where you need to go. Yesterday I stopped in and bought a couple of packs of 34/70. ...but I generally shop online.

One thing I do like is they have a fairly eclectic tap list. I like to have a pint while I shop.


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Title: Re: When a LHBS Gets It Wrong
Post by: klickitat jim on January 06, 2018, 12:25:06 PM
Keller HBS in The Dalles is the closest to me. Rick is a great guy. It's not very big but things are fresh and fair price. I use him mainly for grain yeast and odds and ends. I can email him a list and he has it ready for pickup.
Title: Re: When a LHBS Gets It Wrong
Post by: swampale on January 06, 2018, 01:09:38 PM
My problem is we don't have one. The nearest store is 2 hours away and my favourite store is 3 hours away. Online only :(
Title: Re: When a LHBS Gets It Wrong
Post by: coolman26 on January 06, 2018, 02:26:33 PM
I would love to buy local all the time. I generally buy grain in bulk as I travel. I miss having Rebel in Nashville. Locally, I just send in an order and pickup my odds and ends. I wish I could buy sacks from them, just too high.


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Title: Re: When a LHBS Gets It Wrong
Post by: Robert on January 06, 2018, 02:52:12 PM
I'm starting to feel very fortunate.  I've had mixed results online, but live so close to a good LHBS (actually they do probably most of their business online.) Just hope LHBSs aren't fading.  After all, if you go online, you're ordering from SOMEBODY's LHBS, so they might know what they're doing, or an Amazon-type fulfillment center, where they definitely don't. A general merchandiser putting item number whatever in a box is how I keep getting the wrong dip tube, and there's nobody I can talk it through with.
Title: Re: When a LHBS Gets It Wrong
Post by: Andy Farke on January 06, 2018, 04:40:43 PM
In terms of malts, I am usually understanding if a LHBS only carries one kind of Vienna, or only domestic, or whatever. Too many grains and not enough turnover, and you end up with stale product. The better stores will listen to customer feedback, and help you get what you need. I figure if I can get 90% of what I want at the store (as someone with sometimes fairly stringent recipe requirements), I'm in pretty good shape. Even big online retailers don't always have this variety of grains!

My one peeve--which is fairly common across many stores--is when they don't label malts with manufacturer, or don't update the labels. I really do want to know whose chocolate malt I'm using, for instance, because there can be a decent color and/or flavor difference between maltsters.

I'm lucky to have a really awesome shop near me...an excellent selection, and the owners are a family of super nice people who are really knowledgeable. Plus, they make my kids feel welcome in the shop, which is also a bonus!
Title: Re: When a LHBS Gets It Wrong
Post by: denny on January 06, 2018, 04:42:03 PM
We're lucky on that for a fairly small urban area we have 2 shops.  One is very good, the other is excellent.
Title: Re: When a LHBS Gets It Wrong
Post by: Robert on January 06, 2018, 05:00:00 PM
Andy has a good point about labels.  My LHBS which is very responsive as I've mentioned has largely kept up with what malts customers want, but the labels on some bins haven't changed in more than 10 years!  Regulars know that's, say, Weyermann CaraMunich and not Dingemans -- but newbies might ask for the one, see the bin labelled wrong, and wonder if they're getting cheated.
Title: Re: When a LHBS Gets It Wrong
Post by: denny on January 06, 2018, 05:05:15 PM
Andy has a good point about labels.  My LHBS which is very responsive as I've mentioned has largely kept up with what malts customers want, but the labels on some bins haven't changed in more than 10 years!  Regulars know that's, say, Weyermann CaraMunich and not Dingemans -- but newbies might ask for the one, see the bin labelled wrong, and wonder if they're getting cheated.

Man, hearing stuff like this makes me feel even luckier!
Title: Re: When a LHBS Gets It Wrong
Post by: Lazy Ant Brewing on January 06, 2018, 05:43:10 PM
I have two stores within 25 miles that carry brewing supplies as a sideline.  One is a restaurant supply store and the other is a agricultural coop.  Both have limited choice of brands and staffs with limited knowledge of brewing.

The one I patronize the most does keep yeast packets and hops in a refrigerator; the other does not.

I have become a "regular" at a small local brewery tap room and they are very supportive of home brewers. They will sell you full sacks of any malt at good prices ($42.50 for a 50-lb bag of pale ale malt and no shipping) and sometimes depending on which employee you are talking to less than full sacks. 

Twice I've got stuff for free.  Once I needed some brown malt for a porter I wished to brew and neither of the LHBS had it.  I went out to the brewery and they gave me about three pounds for free.  Of course I had two pints which I paid for to celebrate not having to order the brown malt online and wait for delivery.

And about two weeks ago I was drinking at the same table with the brewery's owner and mentioned I needed some Munich malt.  We went out to the grinding room and he gave me the remnants of an open bag with about 20 lbs in it for free. 

Needless to say the brewery is my first option for malts.
Title: Re: When a LHBS Gets It Wrong
Post by: Wilbur on January 06, 2018, 11:25:32 PM
Still gonna stick with my LHBS. I like to see before I buy and have a relationship,  but the whole business is getting squeezed it seems. Stevie, are you contributing to the problem? Mom & Pop getting steamrolled by The Man?  ;)
[Hey, glad YOU came through the fire.]
I’d support local if the prices were fair. $80 for a sack of weyermann pils is outrageous. Many of the specialty malts are over $2. Plus it’s 45 minutes away.
One has all malts prepackaged by the pound for $3/lb. Hops unrefrigerated. White labs yeast vials (circa 2015!)

The other is a hydroponics shop that's probably going out of business. Reasonable prices, not great selection, but enough to brew most styles. I'm hoping business picks up for this one.