First and foremost a home brew shop - and not just any home brew shop, but one of the finest in the land - Grain & Grape also boasts a decent line in quality craft beers. This bottleshop element is just one of the many facets of John Preston's store, one that grew from a need to supply customers who were studying to become beer judges with classic examples of the huge range of beer styles they were learning about, but which has grown to the point where at any one time there are 150 different beers on the shelves.
It's a constantly changing lineup too, with the staff appreciating that their clientele are often those who like to try everything new that comes out, but don't often come back for the same thing twice. That said, there is a handful of regulars on the shelves and it's one of few places in Melbourne's west where you'll find such a wide selection of good craft beers. What's more, there can't be many places where those curating the beer list are such experts, so you're highly unlikely to find anything that isn't worth taking home.
As for Grain & Grape's main purpose - that of supplying and educating home brewers (and a fair few microbreweries too) - it's a veritable treasure trove. The forerunner to the store opened in Edithvale back in 1990, undergoing a few moves and a name change before landing at its current spot in the shadow of the West Gate Bridge. Its offering has grown from a dozen grain varieties to 90 and from ten hops to 40 and it was the first place to start stocking liquid yeast. Throughout there are shelves and buckets full of every implement a budding brewer could wish to get their hands on, from the smallest fastener to complete Braumeister setups that will set you back a few grand.
They hold home brew demonstrations every second Saturday morning and are backers of the Australian National Homebrewing Conference too. And between the staff, as founder John likes to say: "We've got 100 years of all grain brewing experience."