I've compared prices between local shops and online, and by the time you add the shipping (for online) or the Tax (for local) it seems to be close to a wash. I buy local for a number of reasons 1) support the local economy 2) I can chat with the folks in the store, and often time get input and ideas I would never get any where else 3) I take my homebrew back to the store and ask for input/advice. The down side to buying local is you may have to watch the freshness of ingredients, and they may not stock what you want. I've found that if it's not in stock, they will get it for me, but I have to plan my brewing a bit better.
The guys at Hammersmith in Latham are nice and have valid opinions about most stuff in the store. If its a major purchase (like bulk malt), or a specialty item not found in Hammersmith, I'll go online. Otherwise, I enjoy checking the stuff out in the store, and buy most specialty malts and general every-session supplies at Hammersmith.
Does anyone else have an opinion regarding Brown's Brewery?
Since the assistant brewer at Brown's brewery was fired for allegedly pilfering brewing supplies for the use of the Troy Brew Club.
No longer can home brewers obtain yeast from fermenter wash outs. Too bad too. I enjoyed the visits to the brewing floor and speaking with the brewing staff.
The home brewing spirit no longer exists at this facility. Too many partners in need of their share of the bottom line. I would guess?
Brown's brewery is still as interesting as any other college town bar. With the regular mix of locals, students, did I mention students, drug dealers, and prostitutes. And the quality of the brews have returned as well.