Monday, June 21, 2010

Brew Gear: Online Supplier Review -

If you have been apart of the homebrew community long you have probably figured out there is at least one common thing that all of us possess, and that would be thriftiness. Let's face it, this really isn't a cheap hobby. You may tell yourself hey I am making great beer for cents on the dollar but this is only factoring in ingredients. When looking at all the equipment I have bought over the years I probably would have broke even by just going and buying craft beer from the local liquor store.

Here in Denver I am lucky enough to have three homebrew shops that are within a 20 minute drive. Unfortunately the closest one shafted me on some grain and the owner wouldn't take my advice that he should probably calibrate his scales. Oh well, such is life, I will take my money elsewhere. I am not always available at the operating business hours of the other two so I began testing out a lot of the various different homebrew supply providers online.

As with any business, prices are going to vary from site to site. Some having cheaper grain, some having cheaper gear, etc... One of the first things I try to find out about an online site would be the shipping policy, if they charge by the pound it probably will be a lot higher than just driving to the store, but if they have a flat rate shipping charge it usually ends up being right around the same. I get to be thrifty and lazy??? The perfect combination...

I came across this online homebrew supplier because I saw the owner posting on the message board that I frequent ( The website is very nicely designed. It flows and is easy to navigate around to find what you are looking for. 

 A nice feature that I have only seen on this online store is what they call the "Brew Builder." This feature allows you to build a beer recipe directly on the website. The brewer will choose the style that they are going for and it will let the them know if they are close to hitting the marks developed by the Beer Judge Certification Program. Not only does it provide you with the calculations for the quantitative values of the recipe but also give you the qualitative data about that specific style of beer.

Along with being able to build recipes directly on the site, they also allow the user to save recipes under their username. There is an option that will allow the brewer to share his/her recipes with others and even without a username you can search through other's recipes to help you build your own.

 Brewmasters Warehouse pricing is very reasonable. Most of my brewing needs can be had at this site for cheaper than I can get them at my local stores, with the flat rate $6.99 shipping I can get grain and yeast for my brew day without ever having to leave my house.

Although you have to option for quicker shipping I find that the FedEx ground used for the flat rate shipping is plenty fast enough. The order is usually fulfilled and shipped within two days of placing the order online. They send out an email with your tracking number so that you'll know when it is going to be waiting for you at the doorstep. The packaging is done very well and everything always arrives safely.

The number one aspect of Brewmasters Warehouse that keeps me ordering is the customer service the the owner Ed provides. There have been times when I have forgot to add an ice pack to my order, wanted to see if my package has shipped, or something had been out of stock. I have emailed and Ed always gets back to me within two hours (most of the time shorter) and takes care of the problem.

 I definitely recommend buying from Brewmasters Warehouse, they are a quality homebrew shop that has top notch customer service. I look at them like a German Shepherd, they might not be the best at just one thing, but they are at least second best with everything.  

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