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Brew & Grow

Not Rated.
Brew & GrowBrew & Grow
BA SCORE
82
good

17 Ratings
Ratings: 17
Reviews: 17
rAvg: 3.37
pDev: n/a
[ Homebrew Store ]

1824 N Besly Ct
Chicago, Illinois, 60642-1210
United States
phone: (773) 395-1500
// CLOSED //



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Place added by: Reneejane

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Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 17 | Reviews: 17
Reviews by tapman:
Photo of tapman
3.55/5  rDev +5.3%

Okay, so yea, its more bent towards home growing than brewing, but they have enough stuff for the avid begginner to intermediate/advanced home brewer. Didn't see anything exceptional. They have all the grain you could want, though I don't think in bulk. Prices are the same as a couple places I went to in the 'burbs, so I don't think its so bad.

Had the pleasure of getting there when the brewmeister (the local guy who comes and brews a couple of brews for in store sampling) and had a pleasant chat with him while I got to try a couple of their house brews (a schwartz bier, a fruit-flavored wheat, a dunkelweiss, an American amber ale). That was pretty cool, as he gave me some tips on home brewing. Had a good time.

More User Reviews:
Photo of MayorAdamWest
2.05/5  rDev -39.2%

I've have taken to ordering all of my supplies online from Midwest because the service is so bad. That's right...I'd pay shipping and handling rather than deal with the staff.
The Staff:
- Would much rather hold conversations than ring out customers.
- I attempted to place a special order for yeast and they didn't even bother to get my name or number.
- Don't bother to ask for help. If they even know anything about brewing, they treat you like you're an idiot for not knowing the answer.
-Every time I've visited I've felt as if I was bothering them.
-The last time I was in I purchased a new auto-siphon and some tubing. I pointed out to the clerk that I didn't think the tube was the right size. His response was that it was the only one they carried and that he was sure it was the right one because it was what everyone purchased. I should have sized it up in the store (my fault), but I didn't. I got home, it didn't seal, I tossed it and went to Home Depot.

I will only return this store to purchase bottles, due to the high cost of shipping and chances for damage. I just hope that I don't end up on some DEA watch list.

PS. I don't care if they've now post signs asking for negative feedback in store. You should have taken steps to higher the correct people in the first place. One or two bad apples is expected with any business...an entire staff is another thing. My suggestion to the owner, instead of putting up signs...do an online search for "interview worksheets", higher people who aren't ---holes and make sure they understand the customer matters. The customer isn't alwasy right and is usually a complete douche, but they matter none the less.

Photo of jrallen34
4.5/5  rDev +33.5%

The name says it all here. I love walking in and the first thing you see is bat guano. While the name lists beer first I think the priorities are in other areas with most of the store dedicated to "growing". Having said that what it does have for brewing is great.

There is a huge selection of ingredients and supplies that are very reasonable priced. Additionally, they have tons of brewing books, that I've never seen before.

The staff is extremely knowledable and helpful. They know there stuff and offer great suggestions and hints. They are also always brewing, and they've had some great stuff, especially a red sour.

They also have parties and give away food and beer. Great place to go.

Photo of saugbrewer
3.75/5  rDev +11.3%

When I started all-grain brewing I got most of my supplies online. But I'd been to Brew and Grow a number of times when I began brewing and recently have tried to shop locally and get ingredients here.

They have a nice selection of brewing books and most of the basics that you'll need in terms of equipment. My biggest complaint is that they are sometimes out of certain malts. Hops, I understand; they're not always easy to get but their hops selection actually has been pretty good over the last year. But be prepared to adjust your recipe based on what's available or call ahead to check what's in stock. Also, I have been buying 50# bags of 2-row here and saving a fair amount of money on base malts. Buying at that kind of bulk isn't an option online.

My other complaint used to be service. There were a couple of employees who looked disinterested in being there and not very helpful in general. However, there has been some staff turnover and I've found the new crew to be helpful and somewhat knowledgeable with suggestions for substitutions when necessary. And yes, if you go on the weekend, you'll likely get a free beer or two and good brewing advice from the owner.

Photo of kleinstadt
3.8/5  rDev +12.8%

This place is, as previously mentioned, definitely geared towards growing vs. brewing. The brewing selection is reasonable, however. Good selection of malts, and the selection of hops is decent. They recently started stocking White Labs and Safale, and their Wyeast selection is very good.

If you are a newbie, and have questions, don't go any day other than Saturday. The extremely friendly brew-guy is there only then. He will offer you a beer and answer the dumbest of questions you could ever muster with only a smile and a helpful response.

Otherwise, the weekday guys, although knowledgeable, aren't falling over themselves to help you out. They're much more interested in growing, or doing whatever it is they do with whatever it is they grow.

It's a little more expensive than the usual online sources, but once you factor in shipping, it's about the same. They can be a little short on grain or extract late in the day on Saturdays. Calling ahead is a good idea, but don't expect enthusiastic answers.

EDIT

Apparently, the owner must be reading BA and/or Yelp. He's put up a bunch of signs asking the customers to call with negative feedback, and the staff has become much more friendly and helpful. I changed my service rating from a 2 to a 4.

Their hop selection is quite good now, and they've added some equipment too.

They're opening up a new store somewhere around 2600 N. Kedzie in the future. Hopefully the new store will have even more brewing ingredients/equipment.

Photo of greenethumb
2.85/5  rDev -15.4%

This was the first home-brew shop I went to. I actually went there to buy a kit, but I realized that they were quite a bit more expensive than the online vendors I had been looking into. I would have been happy to pay the extra dough to support a local shop, but they didn't have an wort chillers to offer with their kits, and were missing a few other pieces.

After buying my kit elsewhere, i returned to get some ingredients... ok, selection. They keep the hops on lock-down and tend to be out of many varieties. It took some prodding to get help on decent substitutions. The staff was hit or miss, more often then not they seem more interested in socializing amongst themselves than answering customer questions, which as a newbie can be daunting.

Overall, ok selection, ok price, ok service.

I am a big supporter of patronizing your local shop, but this is not the best place for complex grain bills, hop schedules, or getting your questions answered.

Photo of tedsox31
3.7/5  rDev +9.8%

Went here the other day to pick up some hops, as I had forgotten to get some with my other brew supplies. There is a good amount of different types of brew kits, and it looked like they had a decent selection of hops even though there is a shortage. They also had some other random malts and honey. I think that the store on the whole is more into growing plants and such, which could explain the random assortment of brew equipment and supplies. It was a little out of the way for me, but the guys behind the counter helped me out a lot. I'll go here again in a pinch.

Photo of floatingpancake
4.35/5  rDev +29.1%

I thought this place was great! Although after reading reviews it seems to me that it would be wise to call first to make sure they have what you need. I had a nice long chat with the brewmaster, who is there every Saturday, and he was very helpful. They seemed to have everything we could have needed, and were able to provide good reading material, and advice that helped in making our first ever brew of a Chocolate Oatmeal Stout. Make sure to grab lunch 3 blocks west at the Riverside Cafe at 1656 Cortland just up the street (Killer Sicilian Italian Beef!). While you're at it there's at pretty good selection of beer at the Bucktown Pub next door.

Photo of KnoxBrew
3.7/5  rDev +9.8%

Went to this place the other day. It is moderately difficult to find, but easy to get to if you Google directions, and when you get there is a good amount of signage so you can find the store itself.

The guys were helpful, though I didn't talk to them much because I was there on my lunch. They had a good selection of equipment at good prices. I bought a carboy, bung and airlock for less than the cost of just a carboy from Midwest Supplies (and that's before shipping).

I'll definitely be going back again.

Photo of emerge077
3.7/5  rDev +9.8%

Stopped in here with a friend before a homebrewing session. We were immediately offered an in-house rye beer, after browsing the brewing supplies.

They have a rack of brewing books, including Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher of the Chicago Beer Society. There was a small rack of unusual ingredients such as orange peel, and other herbs and spices. We came for malt, yeast, and hops, and left with what we needed. Yeast and hops were refrigerated behind the counter.

It was specified that they will only sell you hops if your recipe calls for it, so don't expect to stockpile here. They had the basics, and offered advice if asked. We were there on a saturday, and the beer guy was there. Your mileage may vary...

Photo of BrewSomerville
3.15/5  rDev -6.5%

This place is on the second floor of a building that is on a very short street that is in desperate need of repair.

The service is friendly. I was offered some Beer while I was shopping. They also packaged up my stuff (malt mill and immersion wort chiller) for me because I tild them I would be travelling with it.

I'm not into growing stuff at this time but if I ever do get into that, and I'm in Chicago I'll check it out.

The prices are higher than what I was expecting, and they are not willing to negotiate.

Overall, this place is ok depending on what you need.

Photo of malcontent
3.35/5  rDev -0.6%

Definitely a gardening shop first and a brew supply store second.

Selection is a bit limited (they have never had all the ingredients I've needed) although it is well organized. The selection of brewing literature is largely current, but once again, limited.

I am still yet to go here when their "brewer" is around although I've found the rest of the staff to be knowledgeable and at the very least resourceful. Location is somewhat out of the way and the prices are a bit steep although I'll chalk that up more to the cost of doing business in Chicago instead of cynically assuming they're taking advantage of their position as the only brewshop in town...

Hey, free samples of what the brewer has been up to is certainly a plus! Almost enough to make you forget that they don't stock Munich malt...

Photo of balconybrew
2.45/5  rDev -27.3%

Definitely phone first... and make sure they have two of whatever you need...

It is a chain and it is very "alternative." I, too, was bombarded with reggae music. They are willing to help, but I was not there when the "brew guy" was. Selection is minimal and don't go around any holiday. The majority of this store is focused on hydrotropic growing. They only have Wyeast and the selection can be minimal. The location is tough to find. Hit the web for directions and be careful, there are a lot of one ways over there.

The location is by a ComEd station and the lot in back can be somewhat scary. They used to grow their own hops outside, but the neighbors took them down.

Photo of mmcave
4.15/5  rDev +23.1%

This is my first experience with a home-brew supply store, so maybe I have a bit more to learn. That said, I found the store employees to be very helpful and knowledgeable about the practice. The location is nice because its so close to me. Its sort of in an industrial ally, which I found to be fun. You feel like your in the wrong place until you walk into the place and suddenly you realize that you've landed. In the store there does seem to be a battle between brewing and growing. Honestly I can't say too much else until I buy my supplies and brew my first beer, more on that later.

Photo of StAnthony
2/5  rDev -40.7%

I was psyched when I found out about this place yesterday--Chicago's only near-north brewshop was just steps away from the Clyborne Metra station, so I could easily swing by on my way home from work to get what I needed to prepare for this weekend's batch. Well, I guess that yeast-starter is going to have to wait...

I went there with a list of four things. Pretty standard things too. They only had one in stock, and two of the items they apparently never carry. No fermentation buckets even!

Yeast selection is poor. They present the whole Wyeast list to you, but you only know what they actually have by asking them to go to the fridge (behind the counter) and check for each, one by one. Well, they couldn't find any of the three types that I was confident could do the job right.

They also didn't have One Step sanitizer available for separate purchase outside of their equipment kits. I'd rather not rinse everything after sanitizing so that won't do.

Pricey too. I compared prices of a number of grains to those offered at my local suburban shop and some were off by as much as a dollar or more. But that goes for everything in the city, I guess.

Grungy atmosphere (but not even in a cool way). Truth be told, the shop was about 75-80% focused on "alternative growing" and maybe just doesn't care enough about the homebrewing side to make the effort. Raggae music and such can make the visit a little uncomfortable for a pure-bred brew boy like myself.

My advice: Only go if you're desperately in need of something immediately, but definitely call first to make sure they have it (don't hold your breath). It's a shame...so close, yet so far away.

Photo of Sayson
2.85/5  rDev -15.4%

Getting to Brew and Grow in Chicago is a test of one's commitment to the art of brewing. It is hard to find. Once you get there, it all makes sense. It's behind one of the big billboards on the Kennedy. They have many of the basics that you'll need for breweing, but as has been noted the staff is pretty clueless. Don't expect to get your hand held here. Go there with a list of stuff you need and get what you can. This is a convenient shop in a pinch. One nice thing I noticed is that they carry issues of Zymurgy and the other homebrew magazines. If you don't have time to brew, you can always find time to read about it. I would also warn the reader against purchasing specialty grains pre-ground here. My guess is that they have been sitting around for quite a while.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.4/5  rDev +0.9%

This store is nice because its close and its a chain. Meaning that it has lots of little things that I usually forget and need at the last minute and can't mail order or drive 45 minutes to get. That being said the mark up on things is much higher than other place.

Use randmcnally.com to map this place cause you won't find it by accident. If you go to the Discount Wine Center on Elston and they let you walk through their back door then you are there. You walk in this small door and up a flight of stair to the main door. They have everything you need for hydroponics and a good homebrew section.

They have one person in there that knows a lot about the stuff but he is rarely there. However everyone knows where stuff is if you can tell them the name or describe it to them. Everything is within a 10ft by 10ft space so you can always just look around till you find what you need.

Its good in a pinch but the prices make it worth heading to other local places, and there are some BA s that have better shops not to far south of the loop. And if you ever wanted to make a beer with bat guano they have that too.

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Brew & Grow in Chicago, IL
82 out of 100 based on 17 ratings.