Necessity is the mother of invention. This aphorism is the raison d’etre behind so many good things: fire, the wheel, puffy pretzels. And on Sunday, May 1, Eagle Rock Home Brew Supply will join that list with a grand opening.
Like many other Los Angeles area home brewers, Pasadena resident Thomas Galvin—the Eastside co-partner of Eagle Rock Home Brew Supply —was a frequent shopper at Greg Beron and Kevin Koenig’s Culver City Home Brewing Supply. But Galvin found that often, when he finished a batch of home-brewed beer, he didn’t have the time—or the inclination—to drive to Culver City for additional supplies.
The difference between Galvin and his fellow beer enthusiasts is that instead of resigning himself to the inevitable, Galvin was motivated to open a home brewing supply store on the Eastside. He approached Beron and Koenig for advice.
As it happened, unbeknownst to Galvin, Beron and Koenig had already been considering a store in Eagle Rock, Glendale or Pasadena because, according to Beron, so many customers were either coming from the Eastside or shopping online. Besides, the 1,000-square foot store in Culver City was getting “maxed out.” A partnership was formed, which sums up yet another aphorism that applies to Galvin and Eagle Rock Home Brew Supply: luck is when preparation meets opportunity.
Eagle Rock was the favored location, says Beron, because it has cheaper rents and is an area on the upswing. Additionally, the partners felt that Eagle Rock shared the Culver City sensibility. “Even though it’s not incorporated, it has a similar identity and sense of community—a small town feeling,” noted Beron. Also attractive was the fact that Eagle Rock is freeway-accessible from several different directions and is “centrally located” within the Northeast L.A. area.
Despite Eagle Rock’s small town sensibility, Eagle Rock Home Brew Supply was still subject to big city Los Angeles building and safety codes. Galvin shakes his head when he remembers how naïve he was about the opening. He says ruefully: “I thought I’d be able to put up some shelves, move in some supplies, and open in July .” Ten months later, Galvin and Eagle Rock Home Brew Supply are finally ready to open shop.
The light-filled storefront space has pale wood and soft white walls. Bright white bins hold over 50 kinds of grain, while gleaming, stainless steel tables provide ample workspace. Near the containers of malt, the enterprising Garvin has improvised a malt mill from a hand drill. There’s a small selection of equipment, such as funnels and strainers. Galvin offers the assurance that it will expand beyond the basics to specialized extras.
“Of course we didn’t have some of those odds and ends when we opened [Culver City Home Brewing Supply] 10 years ago,” chuckles Beron. In the meantime, Galvin promises that home brewers can expect the same kind of friendly, hands-on help at Eagle Rock Home Brew Supply that earns raves from customers of Culver City.
Not only can brewers try one of the store’s “exhaustive number of recipes,” including some that are either new to or “tweaked” for the Eagle Rock store, but they can get expert advice from Galvin, who, like his Westside partners, is a certified beer judge.
“People will come in and say things like, ‘My yeast didn’t eat all my sugar,’” says Galvin. “We help them figure out what went wrong. The store doesn’t have staff—“only partners,” says Beron, adding: “It’s hard to train people because the knowledge is so specialized.”
This Sunday’s Grand Opening is from noon to 4 p.m. and will include samples of specially brewed Colorado Boulevard Pale Ale until they run out. From 5-8 p.m., Galvin will be holding the first of monthly, Sunday night Beginning Home Brewing classes out back in the parking lot. (To reach the parking lot, go through the Citi Bank parking lot next door, turn left into the alley and left into ERHBS’s lot.) The class is $10; $5 can be applied towards a home brewing kit that night.
Here’s a final aphorism that applies to Galvin and his customers: “Good things come to those who wait.”
Eagle Rock Home Brewing Supply, 4981 Eagle Rock Blvd., cross street Chickasaw, 323-258-2107 www.brewsupply.com. E-mail: EagleRockHBS@yahoo.com. Open Thursday–Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, 12 noon–4 p.m.