In November I moved back to the East Bay. It took me a while to settle in but eventually things were in such a state as they could support a little brewing action.
I picked up a kit of ingredients from my new Local Homebrew Store (LHBS) and whipped up a batch of Golden Ale. The results were not what I was expecting but were passable. Kind of. If you don’t mind a Golden Ale which tastes like a hefeweissen…
Then I inadvisably started a batch of plum wine without any solid wine-making knowledge. I went to my LHBS looking for guidance and they were rude and dismissive. They didn’t want to discuss my project or offer any advice at all. In truth this is par for the course in my experience with this store, which I would previously visit when the need arose and I happened to be in the East Bay. The entire visit to them was discouraging. I received the yeast I needed (I think) but only because I specifically asked for a wine yeast. I also had to prod them, “Do I need yeast nutrient?” before they would offer that up. After that I’ve been on my own with only web and book searches to guide me on my initial foray into wine-making.
When I was able to go to The Beverage People I never had these problems. Even the simplest project (well, simple to me anyway) was of infinite interest to their staff. They all would probe for information, trying to make my project as successful as possible. Man, do I miss those folks. I’m seriously considering making the occasional trek up to Santa Rosa (gas prices be damned) just for the friendly, knowledgeable and helpful folks there.
The folks at The Beverage People are all a credit to their field. I thank them for being there to help guide people through the minefield which is homebrewing. I, for one, really appreciate and miss their knowledge and enthusiasm.