Originally Posted by reuliss
Why do you prefer them? I get that the whole leaf hops absorb more wort. Other than (at least at my LHBS) the fact that there appear to be more varieties available in pellet form, what do you see as the biggest advantage or two? I guess I'm approaching this from the same school of approach that I do when cooking--go for the freshest, least processed ingredients possible. Pellet hops seem like using canned corn when there's fresh stuff on the cob available.
Your corn comparison is not really apt. Canned corn has been cooked suboptimally (for preservation and not for flavor/texture) and then pasteurized for long term storage at room temp, in water (a state corn was not meant to be stored in). Hops that are pelletized are exactly the same stuff as hole cone hops, they're basically just cut and pressed, entirely under a neutral gas, usually CO2 or N2, so no flavor or aroma is lost. Apart from the heat of compression, the hops are never heated or cooked in any way. A better comparison would be buying whole broccoli vs cut florettes.
Anyway, you already listed two big advantages that I don't think should be tossed aside lightly: price and availability.
The other big advantages are: better AA utilization from the same amount of hops, much longer storage times (last longer), take up less space, easier to weigh out, easier to dry hop in a carboy (especially large amounts), less wort absorption, among other things.
The only downside to pellet hops (and this is a pretty minimal one) that comes to mind is you have to use a bag or spider if (and only if) you use a plate chiller, and really, you kind of need to filter out leaf hops in the same way.