NYC/LI Homebrew Shops

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by BoardwalkBock, May 11, 2018.

  1. BoardwalkBock

    BoardwalkBock Devotee (479) Aug 18, 2012 New York

    Fellow NYC/LI brewers - what is your go to homebrew store? I’ve been using Homebrew and Handgrenades for years due to proximity and selection, but unfortunately they are going out of business next month and I don’t have a back up. They were only 20 mins from me which made it very convenient.

    Let’s hear what else is available. Thanks!
  2. minderbender

    minderbender Initiate (187) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    I shop at Bitter & Esters in the Prospect Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. It's a great neighborhood to visit, tons of good food and drink, and only a short walk from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden ($$ most days), Prospect Park (free obviously), and the Brooklyn Museum ($$ most days - technically a "suggested donation"). Also it's near the central branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, which any New York State resident can use for free.

    The shop itself is nice. I'd say its selection of hops is excellent (though not cheap), and its selection of yeast/bacteria is pretty good too. The grain selection is decent, but you might not find exactly what you want. (For instance the store carries Weyermann pilsner malt, but the only Vienna and Munich malts it carries are from Avangard, and the only "Belgian" pils malt is from Swaen, which is actually located in the Netherlands.) If you are interested in brewing on premises, they offer that (but I've never done it).

    But I mean, it's not very convenient to Long Island, and I would think it would be a nightmare to find parking. If you weren't going to drive, I guess you could take the LIRR to Atlantic and then walk over. Or I mean, if you can get the A/C way the hell out in Ozone Park or at the Aqueduct Racetrack or something, I guess that could work, just take it to the Clinton/Washington stop (which is a local stop, so you have to switch to the C if you start on the A). Or like get the J/Z at Jamaica and switch to the A/C at Broadway Junction? I almost never go to Long Island so I don't really know the situation in terms of getting into the city.

    Honestly though there's no way it would be worth the trip unless you want to visit Brooklyn anyway. Which, I mean, you should, Prospect Heights is a great neighborhood with an embarrassment of riches in terms of good beer bars (Covenhoven, Gold Star, BierWax), plus a good mezcal bar (Madre Mezcaleria), plus like a million other things. But purely in terms of homebrew supplies, if I lived on Long Island and Bitter & Esters were my only option, I would mostly use the internet for my ingredients and only shop at Bitter & Esters when I wanted to visit Brooklyn anyway.

    [edited to add: I guess the other thing is if you're a Nets fan, you could squeeze a visit to Bitter & Esters in before going to a game at Barclays Center, or like before a concert or something.]

    [edited to add: Or like the Islanders? But I'm not even sure they play at Barclays anymore, and if they do, it's not for much longer.]

    [edited to fix typo]
    #2 minderbender, May 11, 2018
    Last edited: May 11, 2018
    BoardwalkBock likes this.
  3. BoardwalkBock

    BoardwalkBock Devotee (479) Aug 18, 2012 New York

    Thanks for the detailed response. People have told me to use Bitters and Esters before. I don’t mind taking the ride out there, I’m in Long Beach and can usually get to the area within a hour. Plus, I can hit some breweries in the area or stop by on my way to an Islander game. I also lived in Carol Gardens for the first few years of my life and still have relatives in the area, so I can always find a reason to get out there.

    You mention their hop prices are a bit high. What are we talking about per ounce? Lets use Citra for example - I get an oz of Citra for $2.50. What’s the going rate at B&E?

    My problem with ordering online is that I dont make the same beer twice (I tweak recipes constantly) and dont want to commit to buying in bulk if I am just going to wind up sitting on ingredients. This is why Homebrew and Handgrenades was so convenient for me. 10 min drive and I only had to pick up what I needed for a single batch.

    Might have to buy my hops in bulk on line and just use B&E for the grains and yeast.
    Prep8611 and minderbender like this.
  4. frozyn

    frozyn Zealot (573) May 16, 2015 New York
    Premium Trader

    Citra is $3 an ounce -- their website has pricing on everything, just have to add tax (and take 10% off if you're an AHA member). Like you, I don't brew the same beer twice, so the increased cost in materials is definitely worth it to me. I also brew 2.5 gallon batches and have a tiny apartment-sized fridge/freezer, so I'm happy to pay a premium for B&E to store my materials for me vs. buying in bulk online. For 5 gallon batches, and if you're brewing a lot of hop-heavy recipes, would be worth it for you to buy hops online and get the grain/yeast in the store.
    GormBrewhouse likes this.
  5. minderbender

    minderbender Initiate (187) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    I'm in Carroll Gardens all the time. Very nice neighborhood. I like how there are still statues of the Virgin Mary in front of half the houses. As a side note, if you haven't read it, I recommend the novel Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem.

    Anyway Bitter & Esters is a great shop if you can get there. Very friendly owner and staff, and they put on events every once in a while. There's a monthly bottle share, plus they bring in people like Mike Tonsmeire and Stan Hieronymus to give talks every once in a while. Next time I notice something interesting I'll shoot you a message.
  6. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (393) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    For ingredients sounds like ordering on line would be much more easy. Morebeer has free shipping after spending 59 dollars.
    Prep8611 likes this.
  7. BoardwalkBock

    BoardwalkBock Devotee (479) Aug 18, 2012 New York

    Sounds great, thanks!
  8. BoardwalkBock

    BoardwalkBock Devotee (479) Aug 18, 2012 New York

    The problem with buying online is that it requires buying in bulk to be worth it, and I don’t brew the same beer twice in a period of time that would allow the ingredients to stay fresh. I tend to brew with recipes I make a few days before starting my yeast starter. I’m very spontaneous when it comes to brewing. Sure, I can buy hops online and store them in the freezer but I am constantly adjusting my grain bills based on a previous batch or previous beer (depending on my experience) and in that case I may add something I dont have or remove something I bought too much of (and it will just wind up sitting around). The only grains I am going to buy in bulk are 2 row, pilsner and wheat, since I use them in a variety of beer styles.

    Having a LHBS within 10 minutes of my home has spoiled me.

    Thanks for the suggestion though, I will definitely check out Morebeer for hops.
    GormBrewhouse likes this.
  9. Granitebeard

    Granitebeard Initiate (97) Aug 24, 2016 Maine

    Not all online shops require bulk buying. Adventures in Homebrewing offer decimal place ordering for ounces. Scroll down on this 2 row page

    Also check with B&E and see if you can order one recipe on their site then pick it up in store. My LHBS in Maine does that. Send them an email or call and see what they can do to accommodate you.
    riptorn and GormBrewhouse like this.
  10. minderbender

    minderbender Initiate (187) Jan 18, 2009 New York

    For anyone in the NYC area (tagging in @BoardwalkBock) - John Palmer is going to be at the bottle swap at Bitter & Esters on Wednesday, July 11. The swap starts at 6:30 p.m. Bring some homebrew and chat about it with the man himself!

    Palmer will also be be giving a talk and signing books at Fifth Hammer on July 13 at 7 p.m.
    BoardwalkBock likes this.
  11. BoardwalkBock

    BoardwalkBock Devotee (479) Aug 18, 2012 New York

    Yep and I believe the weekend after he will be at Brewers Collective out on the Island. Was planning on going to that one but seeing as I haven’t tried Fifth Hammer yet, I will probably go to both! Very excited.