DIY food- and beverage-related crafts have soared in popularity in the past several years, and we’ll bet you can think of at least one or two friends who have at least flirted with a homebrewing hobby. Though equipment-heavy and time-consuming, there are enough people making their own beer in this city to fuel a number of loose organizations as well as a Brooklyn homebrew tour, a private living room crawl that nets the brew-curious a chance to try some of the borough’s best home-crafted ales and lagers.
Finding the raw material for this pursuit can be difficult, though, especially when you consider the obstacles involved with hauling sacks of grain and carboys on a subway commute. And unfortunately, one of the first stores in the city to supply this burgeoning artisan industry has dried up: the Bowery Whole Foods, which also stocks one of the largest craft beer rooms in the city, began liquidating its sizeable homebrew stock last month.
Though the decision to pull the three-year-old program was made on a regional level, a manager tells Fork in the Road that the endeavor was “just not profitable for the amount of labor that went into it.”
As for what’s left? “Some grains and a couple of kettles,” the manager says. “When it’s gone, it’s gone.” And it’s unlikely to come back, even if homebrewing continues to rise in popularity.
So where else can you get grains and hops in New York?
If you’re out in Brooklyn, you might check out Brooklyn Homebrew (Gowanus), Bitter & Esters (Prospect Heights), or the Brooklyn Kitchen (Williamsburg). Otherwise, check out Brooklyn Brew Shop, which sells a variety of equipment online and offers limited supplies through various retailers, including Top Hops and Whisk.