It starts slowly, beer fever. First you start to look at your Bud funny. Soon you're quizzing the bartender about lambics and wheat beer. You start shopping at beer specialty stores and filling growlers directly from local breweries. The final phase of beer geekdom is home brewing. Here are six stores that can satisfy all home-brew needs:
Arbor Wine & Beermaking Supplies
184 Islip Ave., Islip, 631-277-3004, arborwine.com
Owners Laura Arbacas and Rachel L. Acevedo sell everything you need to make your own beer, wine, mead, vinegar, liqueurs and even kombucha (fermented tea). Kegs and keg parts are always in stock.
Back Alley Brew Shop
22 W. Main St. #10, Patchogue, 631-569-5075, backalleybrewshop.com
Originally part of the adjacent Hoptron Brewtique brew pub, Patrick McHale's home-brew supply shop offers equipment and ingredients, as well as classes and monthly bottle swaps.
Glen Cove Home Brew
58b School St., Glen Cove, 516-200-9300, glencovehomebrew.com
Six months after Robert Janosick brewed his first beer, he opened this home-brew supply shop. Janosick is a firm believer in the power of following directions and believes anyone can learn to make good beer.
Homebrews & Handgrenades
2378 Grand Ave., Baldwin, 516-223-9300, brewgrenades.com
In addition to offering a wide selection of ingredients and equipment, Peter Tripp's shop functions as a community center for South Nassau home brewers, with classes at every level and popular monthly bottle swaps.
Karp's Homebrew Shop
2 Larkfield Rd., East Northport, 631-261-1235, homebrewshop.com
Located inside an 80-year-old hardware store, Karp's has been serving home brewers since 1994 with beer- and winemaking ingredients, supplies and books. Owner Alan Talman also teams up with local breweries for master classes.
The Brews Brothers at Kedco
564 Smith St., Farmingdale, 631-454-7800, kedcowinestoragesystems.com
Inside Kedco, Long Island's sprawling wine-storage and accessory store, co-owners Ken and Dave Windt have set up an annex called "The Brews Brothers," where customers will find everything they need to start making their own beer or wine.