Home Beer, Wine, And Cheesemaking Shop

Not Rated.
Home Beer, Wine, And Cheesemaking ShopHome Beer, Wine, And Cheesemaking Shop
BA SCORE
99
world-class

23 Ratings
Ratings: 23
Reviews: 22
rAvg: 4.62
pDev: n/a
[ Homebrew Store ]

22836 Ventura Boulevard
Woodland Hills, California, 91364
United States
phone: (818) 884-8586

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: mickeymac)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 23 | Reviews: 22 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by JayTheFinn:
Photo of 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.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Kramerwtmf
4.75/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.39/5  rDev -5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 3 | selection: 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

Photo of MrVonzipper
4.94/5  rDev +6.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

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.

Photo of tjensen3618
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.

Photo of Alex80
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.

Photo of Moose777
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.

Photo of SShelly
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.

Photo of SolsticeDreamer
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!!

Photo of errantnight
4.05/5  rDev -12.3%

October UPDATE:

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.

ORIGINAL REVIEW:

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?

Photo of Brewlore
3.6/5  rDev -22.1%

--Edited review--

Editing this review due to the fact that I had merely perused the shop prior to reviewing it. My second time there (when shopping for a new batch of ingredients) it was surely more of a downer.

Whilst the selection is good (malts/hops/adjuncts) I do believe the customer service was lacking. I did get great help from various Falcon members but on more then a few occasions I had horrible service from the owner? or manager?

It's a great homebrew supply shop but the main thing that is stopping me from returning here was the customer service. I do not appreciate being barked at for asking a question

Photo of theopholis
4.85/5  rDev +5%

I haven't been to a lot of homebrew shops. Maybe half a dozen. this one is by effing far, the best I've seen.

The shop is ancient. The owner is no spring chicken either. What that means is, you get old world charm with the attitude of Richard Prior. That's right....we bad....

John Daume, the owner, is allegeldly cantakorous and abrupt. He is actually probably one of the most friendly (if not sarcastic) people you are likely to meet. In addition to being incredbibly helpful, his knowledge of home-brewing is damn near encyclopediac.

Better yet, the shop is like a damn Fry's electronics store. If the guy in the shop can't answer your question (a real rarity), there are generally 4 or 5 customers ready to pounce in and give you what they think is the right answer. And they are right on the money about 95% of the time. Wish my proctologist had that kind of track record...

The shop is also the sponser of the Maltose Falcons, the oldest homebrewing club in the US. John takes care of the Falcons, and the Falcons take care of him.

I would be remiss in my duties if I didn't point out how fanatical John is about taking care of his brewing (and vinting) ingrediants. I can't tell you how many times I've visited shops where they don't refrigerate the hops, or grind an entire sack of grain when it will take 6 months to sell it. You don't see that at HBWC. John takes care of YOUR future ingrediants to the point of giving you a not-so-friendly growl if you leave the hops or yeast freezer doors open to long. And that is why John's prices are "reasonable" instead of "inexpensive". He doesn't sell stuff past it's shelf-life. He puts a lot of effort into making you get the freshest ingrediants possible. That means he occasionaly has to toss stuff out or give it away. I'll gladly spend the extra 5 or 10 bucks to get a really exceptional batch of beer instead of some funky concotion and wondering which one of my ingrediants was 4 years old.

Photo of jeffjfindley
5/5  rDev +8.2%

Ok, so this is the only homebrew supply shop I've ever been to, but I've had more than enough experience shopping for everything else that I feel very comfortable giving this outfit a perfect rating.

The shop was founded in 1972, at a time when the San Fernando Valley probably more closely resembled Mayberry than the bustling quasi-metropolis it is now. This is reflected in some of the quirks of the shop, like the fact that sometimes in the middle of the day there will be a sign on the door saying that they're out to lunch, yet the door is wide open and you can puruse to your heart's content. I like to go in there and sniff the hops in the freezer, and maybe chew on a grain or two. There's also the owner's penchant for feeding all of the neighborhood stray cats, who walk around as if it were they who ran the shop. As one who wearies easily of the dehumanizing quality of our time, I find these eccentricities to be very endearing.

The aforementioned owner, John Daume, is an interesting study himself. Infamously cantankerous in his phone manner, I have found him to be a great deal more cordial in person. He has also been very helpful with any questions I have had, and that is a lot. Ditto for the rest of the crew. Mark in particular should be eligible for sainthood for putting up with me.

As I said, it's the only shop I've been to, but in my experience and based upon the respectable amount of reading I've done on the topic of homebrewing I have been unable to find anything they don't carry. The prices are reasonable too.

The shop has been the home to the Maltose Falcons, the oldest and most respected brewing club in the US, of which I am a member. John, being a founding member graciously allows our meetings to continue in the back of the shop.

In closing, great shop, great stuff, great help. I'm just getting started on my hombrewing journey, and I don't know where I'd be without this fine shop. Just don't let John catch you with the fridge open.

Photo of jonnylieberman
4.85/5  rDev +5%

The best homebrew shop on earth, period. Other stores might have more stuff, but odds are if John doesn't have it you really don't need it. Also, and more importantly, at anytime during the day, some of the most knowledgable beer experts in the world are just standing there ready to help you out. Or give you some beer.

High quality gear ranging from refractometers to a full line of Blichmann prodcuts (including the Therminator! just bought one) to loads and loads of clean, new bottles fill up nearly every inch of the place. More malt, hops and yeast than you'll ever use AND the yeast is constantly being rotated. On any given day, there is a bag of free yeast to be had -- why? Because it is a day past its prime. I've NEVER seen another homebrew shop do that.

John Daume who owns the joint is a cantancerous old buzzard and if you catch him at a bad moment, he'll let you know. My advice? Bring your most attractive female friend along with you. Trust me. However, in John's defense, he has graciously allowed the Maltose Falcons to meet every month in the back of his shop -- we wouldn't be the Oldest and Greatest homebrewing society without him and his support.

Oh, and if you are into that whole wine and cheese thing, he's got stuff for that, too.

Photo of Zorro
3.5/5  rDev -24.2%

Hard place to find and this place is a REAL! Hole in the wall.

This place is really located on Rigoletto Avenue. Directly behind Pacific Coast Motoring.

No parking at all. You have to park at the bank across the road.

So you walk up to a screen door that looks NOTHING like the entrance to a business.

And then you see the inside...

Super Clean Home Brew shop.

Weird also because the resident pet is a skinny black cat and not a dog.

The owner gets tied up talking to some kids as I look around and can't find the dry wheat malt.

Eventually they go away and I ask, seems it is so popular it is in the 5 gallon buckets rather than prepackaged. Everything here is help yourself. Yes the Costco of Home brewing!

I asked about Hops for a Hefe and I do not get a straight answer. No matter I need a mild dose of Nobel hops for a 3 gallon batch. I selected 3/4 Oz of Spaatz.

Then the kids came back because they forgot to pay the place. 15 Minutes later I can pay for my basic Hefe kit and leave.

Strange and mystical place indeed!

And the only Home brew shop you will see for 180-Miles North up the 101.

Photo of beersarang
5/5  rDev +8.2%

Holy Crap!

Best selection of any homebrew shop I have every seen. Equipment to make every type of alcohol, tons of grains, hops from everywhere, and 20 strains of liquid yeast. Bottlecaps of every color etc. This place is amazing. They have a free beer to sample in the fridge, that was awesome. Owner is a cool guy and another guy working there was very helpful and fun to talk to. This place is a wealth of knowledge and equipment.

Overall the best in the Los Angeles area from what I know, but a little hard to find. Mapquest it so you won't miss it, its sort of tucked behind another business.

Photo of Fletch
4.85/5  rDev +5%

Okay, so I dinged service down to 4.5 because the owner is SOMETIMES a little grouchy, though still good-natured.

Almost 40 different malts, plus a number of adjuncts, available to weigh out and crush on the CrankandStein mill. Both syrup and dry extracts available in bulk and pre-packaged. Honeys, fruit purees, etc for meads, etc. A large commercial glass door fridge filled with pre-packaged whole hops (about 24 varieties?) and bulk pellet hops, must be over 35 different pellet varieties. Most of both Wyeast and White Labs liquid yeat lines, including whatever seasonal or special edition strains the companies are running at the moment. The shop also stocks several brands and varieties of wine kits and also does a coop grape buy at the harvest.

Equipment runs the gammut from your basic ale pail to refractometers, mag drive pumps, stir plates, etc. Not to mention de-stemmers, crushers and variable volume fermenters for winemakers.

The owner is a also a very generous benefactor to the Maltose Falcons Homebrewing Society - the oldest homnebrew club in the known universe.

Photo of twilight
4.85/5  rDev +5%

Awww... yeah! This is what every homebrew shop should be.

I made the trip with my brother-in-law and missed the shop the first time we drove by. Tucked in the back, behind another business, this is a small, but clean and well-lit shop. My jaw kept dropping at the shop's set up. Almost all grains, extracts, and hops were in bulk! They also had the large can malt extracts, as well as some small cans.

The equipment! Carboy drainers, pyrex beakers, different colors of bottlecaps, big unknown metal things which made me scratch my head as to their use. I'm by no means an advanced homebrewer, but this shop made me wish I was. It almost made me want to move back to Los Angeles!

Photo of GreenCard
4.85/5  rDev +5%

When I lived in LA and wanted to brew a batch of beer, this is always where I began. Despite the fact that it was a 30+ minute drive from me, the trip was always worthwhile.

My beer recipes are always a bit quirky, needing some lesser known ingredient or two. HBWCS always met the challenge. John Daume, the proprietor, stocks an enormous selection of base and specialty malts, liquid and dry yeast (pretty much every one on the market), domestic and imported hops (leaf, plug or pellet), dry and liquid extract in bulk or can, the full line of Brewer's Garden herbs and spices, chemicals, cleaners, sanitizers, magazines, books, and on and on and on. On top of that, his supply of equipment is simply staggering: kettles, carboys, conicals, kegs, pumps, glassware, bottle-caps, etc. He also stocks a huge selection catering to winemaking, as well as quite a bit for cheesemaking.

Prices are reasonable and the hours are pretty convenient, even for LA standards. The shop sponsors the local homebrew club, The Maltose Falcons, which holds an in-shop brewing demo once a month in addition to the club meetings, held in the back of the shop.

If you're a homebrewer in LA and you haven't made it out to the best shop in the LA basin, then you should slap yourself.

Photo of altadenabrou
4.2/5  rDev -9.1%

A very fine shop with excellent supplies and materials, though the proprieter is quite grumpy if you catch him too early in the morning! Excellent advice, though, on a wide range of topics. Also, the shop provides a huge range of recipes from the Maltose Falcons Homebrew Club (L.A.'s oldest, I believe), which are exciting and innovative. Prices seem about right.

Photo of drewbage
4.82/5  rDev +4.3%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 5

This is easily one of America's oldest and best homebrew shops. The store has been open since 1972 with the same owner who is also a professional vintner.

Homebrew supplies are wide ranging. There are 4 different extract syrups in bulk with a bunch of the extract cans. Malt selection is vast with over 36 different malts available to weigh freely and crush on site. Yeast selection is incredible with virtually the whole Wyeast and Whitelabs catalog. Hops are kept cold and stored in good condition.

Tons of custom recipes are available and any of the vast array of books are open for perusual for easy recipe creation.

Brewing lessons are available monthly from the Maltose Falcons Homebrew Club. (Members get a 10% discount)

Shop does mail order even though there is no catalog.

Photo of elmocoso
4.35/5  rDev -5.8%

I have been shopping here for a couple of years and from what ive heard on the internet about other Homebrew shops around the states , i feel lucky to have this one (somewhat) near my home. The Maltose Falcons brewpub has a monthly brew session in the shop so people can come and help and learn. Members also receive a discount on all purchases. there are about 30 different uncrushed grains available at all times and you can crush them for free at the shop. Check it out.

Photo of mickeymac
4.35/5  rDev -5.8%

This a small shop, but it's kept clean and well-stocked. The service is always friendly and helpful. They've got a good selection of grains and a decent supply of extracts. Hops and yeast are always fresh and properly stored. Although the shop also sells wine and cheesemaking gear, the main emphasis is beer. A local brewing club also operates out of the shop.

Home Beer, Wine, And Cheesemaking Shop in Woodland Hills, CA
99 out of 100 based on 23 ratings.