Home-brewing has quickly become a new national pastime—even President Obama brews his own artisanal beer in the White House. However, you don’t need a professional kitchen staff to help you create your own bourbon-aged Stout or lemony Lambic.
The Home Wine, Beer, and Cheesemaking Shop, located on Ventura Boulevard and Rigolleto Street (near Fallbrook), is one of the premiere home-brewing supply shops in southern California.
Although finding this homebrew haven is a bit tricky—the front door is located off of a side street—it’s worth the effort. Once you walk into the shop, which looks like a cross between a chemist’s lab and a mini-warehouse, you’ll get lost in all the grains, hops, and stainless-steel tools.
John Daume started his homebrew supply shop in 1972, and says that he was just lucky that his interests and talents coincided with a growing DIY brewing community.
But Daume also works incredibly hard at making the brewing experience both accessible and pleasant for the customers—many of whom go to his shop with limited working knowledge of the process.
“Both the most difficult and rewarding part of this job is making sure that everyone keeps a positive attitude—if you, as a worker, can’t bring that positivity to the customer, then you shouldn’t be in retail,” Daume said.
“I want my customers to know that they are our number one priority, and that they’re wanted and valued here. I enjoy knowing that I can bring them the best advice, and the best product at the best price,” added Daume. “I also love the community. Not only is our location really good, but it’s a nice mix of white collar and blue collar workers. It’s a great place to be.”
As much as he enjoys working with Woodland Hills locals, Daume always gets a kick out of occasional visits from professional beer, wine or cheesemakers.
“They always appreciate our level of commitment and knowledge,” said Daume.
Besides selling supplies for brewing beer (and for the truly motivated, rhizomes for growing your own hops plants), Daume sells supplies for winemaking, and for the under-21 crowd, cheesemaking.
Patrick, a repeat customer at the store, said that they have a great, ever-evolving selection of ingredients at the shop. “And,” he said, “if they aren’t carrying the exact same ingredients you used for one batch of beer, they can help you find whatever substitutes you need to make it just as good as before.”
Evan Aarons, also a repeat customer, was really thrilled with his hops plants. “I was a bit skeptical that they’d grow so well in LA, but they’ve just exploded in size despite this ridiculous heat. I’ll definitely be trying to use those in one of my up-and-coming beer iterations.”
For those that might be overwhelmed by starting a fermentation project from scratch, Daume sells plenty of kits to get even the most novice food-chemist started. He also sells a veritable library of how-to books.
And if joining a community of beer-brewing brothers and sisters is more up your alley, you can always show up at a meeting of the Maltose Falcons, the homebrewer’s club, sponsored by Daume.
The Home Beer, Wine, and Cheesemaking Shop is located at 22836 Ventura Blvd.
Hours: Monday-Friday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.