Heartland Homebrew Supply Visit

Heartland Homebrew SupplyA homebrewer in a new neck of the woods, I’ve got a lot of exploring to do. This week I trekked up to Des Moines to pick up goodies for Saturday’s inaugural brew day for my new brewery house. Keeping it as local as I can, I tramped through the door of Heartland Homebrew Supply looking to get connected with a new homebrew shop and a the “local” brewing community.

Oddly, that didn’t happen. And I was a little taken aback as I left. Most  brewing folks are friendly, good people. Not necessarily passing judgement on the “good peopleness” of Heartland’s owner, but he just didn’t seem to care. About me. About his business. And it would seem about beer. Maybe he was having a bad day, I thought.

He did mill my grain. That was nice. Most shops I’m familiar with have some sort of self-serve scenario where the customer picks out his/her grain choices and can mill if they choose. Not so, he just asked for my shopping list and went in the back to get it for me. I’m generally not too controlling (or paranoid, for that matter), but after experiencing his flippant attitude toward customer service, or at least people skills, I wonder if he gave me exactly what I had written down.

When it came to yeast, I was disappointed that neither of the two yeasts I needed were in stock. And if Wyeast 1028 isn’t common, what is? “Father’s Day,” he said, “really wiped us out, and the 4th of July.” I’ll give you the 4th, maybe, but Father’s Day was a month ago. Wait, the 4th was over a week ago. Order some freakin’ yeast! Perhaps I’m spoiled, but he should be able to order weekly, right?

If I am way below my estimated OG, I won’t be surprised, as his mill looks to be set wider than my old homebrew shop’s was. My grain was hardly cracked. A ploy to make me buy more grain? Paranoia, indeed.

I wouldn’t simply be second-guessing this character on my experience alone. Well, maybe I would, but I went to BeerAdvocate to confirm the address yesterday and looked at some sorry reviews of other brewers with experiences like mine. How troubling. I will give this place another shot sometime down the road, but with MoreBeer so easy to access, I can’t see giving this guy my cash.


8 Responses to Heartland Homebrew Supply Visit

  1. Matt says:

    I tried Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout tonight. I really like these Russian Imperial Stouts……..I think this is my favorite style

  2. […] and a touch of sweetness, this character came out nice, but not perfect. I was suspicious since the day I came home from the homebrew shop that it wouldn’t be right. I was surprised that they OG was where I wanted it, but I […]

  3. Jim says:

    Passing through…your experience with Heartland Homebrew is, unfortunately, a common one. The owner simply doesn’t give a shit. Makes me want to start my own shop….almost.

  4. […] latter two are reasons enough to give this place my business, as I didn’t find the other Des Moines option for a homebrew shop any too […]

  5. John says:

    the lack of customer service at heartland brew is why we only deal with beer crazy in urbandale.

  6. Ron Wilson says:

    It is amazing how little some of you people appreciate having a full time homebrew shop in town. All this complaining is absolutely pathetic. I have been going to Heartland Homebrew Supply for years and the guy is always helpful and friendly. There is everything you could want for brewing and if they are out of a specific yeast, big deal use something else. Do any of you remember how it was in Des Moines before Heartland Homebrew Supply opened up? There other 2 shops were crappy. Keep buying on the internet and there won’t be a hobby left when local shops close.

  7. Mark says:

    Ron – bite it.

    9 out of 10 brewers agree Heartland blows. I would rather deal with souless people from the Internet then to deal with that ass again (ass as in jack-ass or aka donkey).
    Calling him rude is being polite.

    I will give my money to friendlier people.

    Happy drinking!

  8. Munki says:

    I’m pretty new to brewing, but living in Norwalk, Heartland is way closer than anything else. My experience with the guy is that if you don’t know anything at all, he can be a bit of a jerk, like others have experienced. On the other hand, if you go in there knowing what you’re looking for (and assuming he has it) he can actually be a friendly, sociable guy. It’s just kind of hit and miss. Given the location, though, I’ll continue shopping there for immediate needs, like an extra lid here, an airlock there, stuff like that.

    It really is just hit and miss, though, like I said. Which is too bad. I have a hunch the guy is actually really knowledgeable and could help his customers out if he would just put a little more joie de vivre into his chosen profession.

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