Cover image by Pierre-alain dorange (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Finding out where to buy your homebrewing supplies the first time around can be a chore. Luckily, there are hundreds of homebrew shops, both online and brick-and-mortar.
I tend to buy my equipment online and my ingredients locally to support the local store. It’s a tough market, and it’s essential to have a local supplier during a brewing emergency. Plus homebrew shop staff are usually very helpful, especially with beginners.
The online stores all offer low flat-rate or free shipping and have similar prices, though some have regular sales. Bulk hops, i.e. anything over single-ounce packages, tend to only be available online.
I’ve lived in a few places since beginning my homebrew career. These are my choices in those cities:
Brooklyn: Bitter and Esters (700 Washington Ave)
Small store that also offers brewing and tasting classes in addition to carrying all the usual ingredients and malts. They also have house recipe binders for those looking for inspiration. From what I can find, it also happens to be the only brick-and-mortar homebrew shop in NYC.
Syracuse: Sunset Hydroponics and Homebrew (3530 Erie Blvd E)
Friendly staff, though a bit disorganized. The beer I made with their ingredients turned out amazing so I have no complaints. Large, centrally located store with big selection.
Washington, DC: 3 Stars Brewing (6400 Chillum Pl NW)
The only homebrew supply within Washington DC city limits is at 3 Stars Brewery. These are nice guys that brew good beer and this is a Thursday-Sunday side-business especially good for fresh yeast, impulse shopping while filling a growler, and emergency runs after work or on a weekend brew day.
Has a loyalty program that gives you 5% on purchases redeemable after $200 in spending. Sometimes has rare equipment in stock, such as the used 3-gallon soda keg I recently purchased to make half-batches for my kegging system.
Lots of unofficial clone recipes of your favorite beers. Good prices on self-branded malt extract.
Has had a wide variety of hops on sale 30-50% off by the pound recently and sells in bulk.
Carries many specialty products, including the affordable new Torpedo kegs (1.5, 2.5, and 5 gallon sizes). This is where I purchased my 3.5-gallon Ss Brewtech Mini Brew Bucket with free shipping.
Has a really nice glossy mail-order catalog with unique and official brewery clone recipes, as well as constant special sales via their subscription email.
Even if you don’t order from them, it’s nice to have their catalog to visualize what you’ll need for your next homebrewing plans.
Good luck with your homebrewing plans and remember small, lightweight things like stick-on thermometers and thermometers can even be purchased on Amazon Prime if you’re in a pinch.
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