If you’re new to homebrewing, entering your local homebrew shop (LHBS) can be a little confusing, strange and even intimidating. If it is your first time going, or going to a different homebrew shop, it’s like a rite of passage for an aspiring brewer. It’s a step into the unknown for some, and the unfamiliar to others. It’s exciting, fun, but you want it to be a good memory, not one where you feel inferior.
Homebrewers come from all walks of life, and you want to collaborate with those who want to help. One of the main reasons I got hooked to homebrewing was due to the owner of the local homebrew shop I first experienced.
Yet, I’ve been to a different homebrew shop and thought, “This guy isn’t helpful at all.” To make a long story long, I’ve been to different Homebrew shops in my day, and each have a unique method to their madness. Here are some anecdotal tips from a guy who’s been in your shoes.
Before you go:
- Check out their website. They might have some good info before you shop.
- Have your list and notes ready. Always come prepared.
When you arrive:
- Take a stroll. Know where things are. Observe how they store grains, hops, and how the grain mill works. Get to know their system and flow.
- Find your person. I’ve met some great people who’ve helped me tremendously. I’ve also met some some workers who made me feel like I don’t belong. Find a person you can relate to and develop a rapport.
- Strive for independence. There is no better feeling than walking into a Homebrew shop, getting everything you need, and paying the cashier with a sense of accomplishment.
- A homebrew shop is a great social event. So much going on, so many people there for the same common goal. It’s a great way to meet fellow enthusiasts, so be prepared to be social.
- Be willing to share you ideas, and always ask questions. You might get some great info to utilize. Be open and listen to others ideas.
Make your local Homebrew shop feel like a home away from home!
Mich”ale” and An”brew”