Home Beer, Wine, And Cheesemaking Shop
Ratings: 23 | Reviews: 22 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by JayTheFinn:
5/5 rDev +8.2%
Hot damn tamales, what a great place! Selection, quality, service and knowledge is all right here.
I just started getting into homebrewing and was contemplating buying my basic brew kit from an online source, but then I read the reviews about this place, and since it's only an hour away I gave it a shot. So glad I did!
Yes, it is tucked away off the main drag, but it's really not that hard to find. Sure, the front door is camouflaged by another business, but the shop's sign is right over the door and hard to miss. There's parking all around on the side streets. The website's directions are quite easy to follow. By the by, the website could use some sprucing up to get it looking more up-to-date, but it's helpful in the very least.
When I called to check if they were open and when they closed I was told by a gruff-voiced older man, "5pm -- Sharp!". No f-ing around with dilly-dalliers here I guess! As suggested by another reviewer, Jonny I think it was, I brought along my attractive wife. Ha ha ha! John the owner was, let's say, very attentive to her. It was pretty funny, and hey if that brightens his day who could blame him? I'll bet 99% of the people that walk through his door are ugly grubs like myself. Who doesn't like a little eye candy now and then?!
We were mainly assisted by a younger guy named Shawn. He was extremely helpful, knowledgeable, patient and informative. He's the main reason I gave a 5 on the service. But John was there too, weighing in now and then to impart some wisdom and make sure Shawn hadn't forgotten anything.
The shop has a whole array of products for beginners on up. The ingredients stock seemed quite impressive, but I won't go into that since I'm a beginner and don't know my saaz from my eroica. Read the other reviews they'll give you better info on that. I just picked up a beginner's set, beer kit, 4 piece boiling pot set and big ol' spoon for about $160. Not bad! Now I'm just jonesin' for one of those 5 gallon wooden casks! Yeah I know they're meant for wine, but I want one damn it!
If you're anywhere in the LA vacinity this is your homebrew shop destination. I came down from the Santa Barbara area and it was well worth it.
05-21-2006 18:50:32 | More by JayTheFinn
More User Reviews:
4.39/5 rDev -5%
This place is a diamond in the rough as you say. When you walk in the place itself is very tiny and feels a bit crowded but the good this is they have exactly what it is you are looking for at great price. The service is just so so everytime I have been in there the younger guy is always in the back preparing other orders and doesnt care much for interacting with the customers maybe I'm just not that important. Anyway overall this is a wonderful little store and I am happy to keep shopping here over and over again
02-11-2012 08:28:35 | More by DarthKostrizer
4.94/5 rDev +6.9%
I had been planning to check this place out for years. I've always heard that this place is amazing for brewing. It completely blew my expectations out of the water. I haven't brewed beer in a while and now Ive been here I can't wait to get it going again.
This place has absolutely anything and everything you need as a homebrewer. Home brew equipment from low end beginner stuff to crazy mass producing home-microbrew operation stuff. A huge range of malts. A huge selection hops and yeast. Barrels for cask aging. Conversion kits. Even wax to seal the tops of bottles.
I'm so excited to have this place at my disposal and bring my brewing ideas to the table after a long departure.
06-13-2011 05:39:51 | More by MrVonzipper
4.55/5 rDev -1.5%
This shop is a little bit tucked away but it's not all that hard to find. It's a fairly small shop, but they have just about everything that the homebrewer needs, from a complete beginner kits and ingredients up to pretty advanced stuff.
Malts, Hops, DME, LME are all sold in bulk, you weigh it out yourself, it comes out cheaper this way and also allows you to buy just enough for your next batch or to stock up for a while. The prices are the same if not better than the online retailers.
The clerk came over and showed me how to weigh everything, package everything, and use the grain mill. They have anything you could want to make beer, with one exception, they didn't have Nelson hops which I was looking for, so I just substituted Citras for them.
I talked to the same guy both times i've been there, he's to the point, and very helpful. I no longer will be buying any of my brewing stuff online, this place is cheaper and it's also kind of fun to go weigh your own stuff out.
12-10-2010 17:22:29 | More by tjensen3618
5/5 rDev +8.2%
I moved to Encino, Ca from Reno, NV about two years ago. As a homebrewer, you could not ask for a better place to by goods for brewing than the Home Beer, Wine, and Cheesemaking Shop. I have been here more than 20 times since I have been in Encino. Every time I come in, I am greeted in a friendly manner, and if I ever have any questions about where I can find something in the store, the people here are always very helpful. I can ask them any beer questions I may have, and they never hesitate to give me advice on homebrewing. They have been doing it for a lot longer than I have and I trust their advice. The selection is huge! They have all the ingredients you need for just about any beer you can think of. And if they do not have what you are looking for (which I doubt), they will tell you where to find it.
Reno had a great homebrew store, but I would have to say this one tops it. If you are looking to make good beer check this place out.
03-06-2010 19:23:23 | More by Alex80
4.7/5 rDev +1.7%
I've been to the shop 3-4 times now over the past few months to pick up this and that.
The selection is very good and it is clean. I truly value this fine shop and its owner for providing an invaluable resource. I was a bit clueless the first time I went in. More curious than anything and was advised to pick up some reading material and do some research before I spent $600 on a ssteel conical fermenter.. good advise as I ended up using that money on other items.
I just like the feel when I go into the shop[, they ask if they can help you but don't feel pressure if you just want to brose around and check stuff out.
06-14-2009 00:52:00 | More by Moose777
4.85/5 rDev +5%
Basically anything and everything a bran new brewer through someone with a 1bbl+ system will ever need, excellent selection of malts, DME, and LME, all VERY fresh and well stocked, there is alot of turn around of product so perishable items dont sit on the shelf very long. John the owner has his moments but for the most part is very knowledgeable and his employees are all experienced brewers who really enjoy helping with even dumb questions (ive asked a few!). Overall I recommend anyone who is within a decent radius to use this shop because it really is the best. Oh and he is fully stocked on most hops right now as well, so that is great.
09-21-2008 01:54:45 | More by SShelly
5/5 rDev +8.2%
This is the only beer shop I buy from. Forget your online web site with gosh knows what kind of stuff. John keeps the place clean and only carries what you need, his been doing this forever! Homebrewing should only start with this man.
There is always someone who knows how to help or answer your question. No stupid extras laying around, all the basics and great quality. Only the best books on the subject at hand.
Basics kits to hard core pro equipment. Always fresh yeast, barley grain, and hops!!
06-07-2008 08:26:37 | More by SolsticeDreamer
4.05/5 rDev -12.3%
So I've been back thrice since then, largely upon the recommendation of Drewbage... and am glad that I've done so.
In all subsequent trips I've had the good fortune of dealing with John (the gentleman from my first time to the store). One weekend to special order some Brett and pick up an erlenmeyer for a starter, later that weekend for the rest of the recipe ingredients with a buddy of mine who I am introducing to homebrewing, and the following weekend to go back for the Brett (unfortunately, it hadn't showed, yet) and to drop off some homebrews for the Pac Brewers Cup.
Whether it's simply recognition, a better mood, or what, but my customer service experience has been much better with each subsequent trip. I would officially change my position from "severe reservations" to "pretty comfortable."
My original review is below, I'm sure I'll update again someday as for now, I'm going to keep this my regular HBS.
A mixed bag, with a very disappointing recent experience.
In general, there's a great vibe to the environment, a superb hop selection, solid yeast selection, an expansive but slightly odd collection of extracts (very few dry, quite a lot of liquid... but not comprehensive) including 5 barrels to pour your own with...
It seems like the kinda place that is run by experienced homebrewers that have cut out the chaff that they themselves will never use... which is great, if the environment were conducive to dialogue. Which it hasn't been.
I went once as a newb with a base recipe I was trying to modify and the service was curt, if not impolite, and terse. There was no one else in the store, nothing going on, and very much carried the vibe of "if you don't know what you're doing, why are you here?" with an added old-guy-at-the-convenience-store glare as if i was going to make a dash for the door with a can of malt extract or topple a stand. Finally, at check-out, the guy warmed up, gave some suggestions, and left me, despite my initial experience, reasonably pleased.
Went back there again after a handful more brews under my belt, with some specific questions about a saison recipe I was trying for with my first mini-mash, and got no answers. Even to very specific questions. Example:
Q: "I'm trying to avoid getting too much spice-y character (my recipe has no adjuncts in it) from this, but I really want to bring out the funk, even to the point of maybe some sour notes... any suggestions?"
A: Well, the yeast is going to give you your funk.
Really? Ya think?
Q: "I see that you have the platinum series White Labs seasonal Saison Yeast, can you tell me what kind of characteristics this has in comparison to their "regular" saison yeast, and if there's any difference between theirs and Wyeasts?"
A: "You want this one" - grabbing the most expensive of the three... the Platinum Series yeast.
Now, it was the way I was leaning, if only because it was a fresh seasonal yeast, but I know/knew nothing about these. And it may seem like I'm exaggerating... but I'm not.
Just a terribly frustrating experience, and a place that seriously gives off the vibe that if you're not part of the clique, you should find another homebrew shop. Well, I have, and I will, and I'll enjoy the savings (this place is just a tad pricer than some) and occasionally be disappointed at my limited options for fresh, well-maintained hops, but at least I'll be supporting some people that give a damn.
Obviously I'm in minority here. I don't know if I just got really unlucky, if I threw off some really negative vibes to the proprieters (I don't know if I've met John either time, but both were older gentleman that I dealt with), if I'm too sensitive, or what... but I've had nothing but great experiences at the two other shops I've been to. I can live with surly attitude, without forced congeniality, but without even helpfulness?
09-07-2007 00:39:09 | More by errantnight
Home Beer, Wine, And Cheesemaking Shop in Woodland Hills, CA
99 out of 100 based on 23 ratings.