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Finger Lakes Beverage Center
$$ - reasonable
[ Store ]
605 W State St
phone: (607) 277-2337
(Place added by: bog)
Ratings & Reviews
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| Reviews: 59 | Show All Ratings:
quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
A place that filled a real need in Ithaca -- a great retail beer store.
Only a few years old now (my memory is foggy), FLBC should be a required visit for those that wish to educate themselves about good brew in the Northeast US.
The owners are fantastic people, very friendly, who set out with two very specific goals -- support local (and EC) breweries, and get the beer to the consumer as fresh as possible.
They've accomplished both.
At the front of the store are usually a few 3Ls and magnums of brews for special occasions (Anchor OSA, etc.), followed by three very clean, well lit aisles, double sided. It's almost as if the owner himself has pre-mapped out a path towards beer appriciation. Starting at the right, there are things like Sam Adams, Red Hook, and the like. A little further down, is Smutty, and Ithaca Beer, and Anchor. Round the corner to meet Dogfish Head, Middle Ages, Cooperstown, and the like. By the end of the line, you'll find yourself surrounded by the funky lambics and quadrupels. I would like a slightly larger Belgian section, but what's there is already great (many things I've never seen anywhere else). Besides, the focus is on the Northeastern US, and all the great breweries around there.
Everything is fresh, well organized, and the staff knows their stuff. In fact, I'd say that the husband and wife that run and own the place are just about the nicest beer store owners ever. Just incredibly genuine, friendly people.
Two other positives:
1.) All the BMC stuff is way, way in the back, tucked into a corner. For once, we don't have to take the walk to the end of the store.
2.) There are some mysteriously hard to find bottles in the back coolers, including a very wide selection from a certain San Diego brewery (but let's keep that on the hush-hush). The owners of that establishment shouldn't be worried though, as again, these beers are treated with the upmost respect and care.
Last, but not least, there's a great growler line, but I've never taken advantage of it.
One quick note -- at the end of the block, you'll find Maxie's, another BeerFly location. One block west from that, you'll find the Greenstar Co-Op, the best place in the area to get locally harvested honey for meadmaking (and dirt cheap, too!). Hitting all three is suggested.
Go, go, go, to this store if you're within a 1.5 to 2 hour drive of it or closer. You won't be disappointed.
UPDATE: It's been about 6 months since I've been here, and things keep getting better -- new additions include 5 varieties of Cantillon, the full Heavyweight line, and 6 more taps on the growler line. The belgian section has expanded by leaps and bounds, and looks to keep growing. Prices have rose by a very little bit, but I think this is an indicator of market influences, not the store struggling. Even with the new prices, I left with a great collection of brew, and still spent far less than I expected. Just a fantastic store.
12-29-2004 17:38:19 |
More by ithacabaron
quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
This store is a recent addition to the Ithaca area, and it is a welcome one. I have only shopped for individual bottles, so I can't review how the store is at handling larger orders etc. The selection of beers is good, especially for upstate NY beers as would be expected. I think one thing it could use would be short descriptions of the beers. This would be helpful especially going in not knowing what to get.
Besides beer, there are also lots of different sodas you can buy; I haven't tried any of them yet.
12-10-2004 21:02:57 |
More by JackStraw22
quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4
I planned a party with some old college buddies, and we met in the Finger Lakes area. I was put in charge of the beer, and scouted out a local beer store. I'm seriously pleased with what I found.
I called ahead and had a nice conversation with the clerk on-duty. She was knowledgeable, friendly, and willing to work with me to get a few special-order kegs. They seem to have a good distributor.
The store itself is easy to find, and has ample parking. Compared to other NY beer stores, it doesn't have the selection of Beers of the World or Half Time. Still, it's got a wide variety of beers that cover most styles. Very nice selection of regional brews. They had about 5 or 6 beers on tap, for purchase in Growlers. I think that they could have been a little more creative in this selection (most seemed to be commonly available pale ales).
On site, the staff was pleasant and helpful.
I'm guaranteed to swing by this store on my next trip to the area.
07-31-2004 16:11:45 |
More by Suds
quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5
Located just off RTE 13 S in Ithaca at 605 West State Street, Finger Lakes Beverage Center is perhaps the cleanest, most well organized beverage center Ive ever been to. All 12 oz. beers was available as either a 6 pack or a single.
Just inside the store on the left was a sparkling clean selection of various glasses from a wide variety of brewers. Further on down that aisle was located a smattering of Belgian Ales on the left, and Western European brews (England, Scotland) on the right. Looking down the next aisle from the front of the store one could find German and Irish beers on the left, and a wide selection of American craft beers on the right (arranged by state and brewer). A nice selection of Rogue in both 12oz bottles, and 22oz bombers was present, as was every Weyerbacher beer, most Victory productions, all of the offerings of North Coast and Anchor. The next aisle featured New England brews (Wolaver, Smuttynose), and a very extensive selection of New York State brews: Middle Ages, Ithaca Brewing Company, Southern Tier, & Wagner on the left. A small setup of every Dog Fish Head beer was located on the right of this aisle.
Located in the rear was an impressive selection of gourmet sodas (if thats your thing), as well as a cooler that contained the majority of the Stone lineup (including Epic 04-04-04).
The staff was kind and courteous, pointing out various beers, and assisted in carrying my haul.
Top Finds: Allagash 4, Vertical Epic 04-04-04, DFH Festina Lente
Drawbacks: Some singles were expensive, but selection makes up for that.
06-28-2004 02:37:48 |
More by cbl2
quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$
Although I live in Syracuse, I travel to Ithaca every about every other week and this is where I get all my beer. The staff is very friendly Father and Wife/Son and Wife run the whole thing from what I can tell. Their selection beats any place in Syracuse, especially in the German and English selection, as well as an interesting choice of bombers. They have a couple shelves full of vintage/hard to find beers. There's a half aisle each of Belgian/Belgian Styles, British, and German beers along with a row and a half of American Micro's. Huge selection of craft sodas if you're interested. If they carry an American Micro they carry the full lineup including Dogfish, Brooklyn, Rogue, Victory, Wagner Valley, Cooperstown, etc. Decent glass selection, probably about 30 or so. 5-6 taps for growler fills, last time I was there it was Middle Ages Triple Crown, Stone Smoked Porter, Flying Bison Oatmeal Stout, Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye, Ithaca Apricot Wheat, and one other I can't remember. They usually try and keep some seasonals on, I think the hefe's are coming up. The store is neatly organized with four rows of warm beer up front where singles and sixers are along the top, and cases are stored underneath. Along the right are the taps, and then the cooler for bombers and craft soda. In the back are the coolers for cold sixers/mixed cases. By far the best beer store in a 150 mile radius. If you live near Ithaca you know how lucky you are, it's probably a trip for most, good thing I'm moving to Ithaca in two months:-) Look out!!!
05-14-2004 03:12:52 |
More by HappyHourHero
quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5
A welcomed and much needed store for the Ithaca area. A suberb and diverse selection of mostly upstate New York micros which rotate fairly often. A very nice a diverse seleciton of growler lines that change sometines weekly with special surprises popping up now and then. A decent selection of belgians, english ales, german beers and a mixture of mexican and asian beers, they are also starting a "vintage section" showcasing thomas hardys, special english imports and belgians along with DFH specialty brews and limited editions. Wide variety of sodas and some ciders and low alcohol (cheap) wines, oh and beers glasse too.
Surprisingly the macros that they carry don't count for the majority of the sales, I think Pat said that macros are average about 30% of total sales. They used to have a huge keg selection that rivaled beers of the world in rochester but since the NYS keg came into affect their selection has diminished to about 20 and are mostly macros. They often get new beers in about every couple of weeks and Pat (the owner) goes out of his way to get new beers in or special requests that you might have. Very friendly knowledable staff that will help you out making those tough decisions...with over 450 different beers currently it's sometimes tough. To sum-up FLBC in a sentence..."It's like a minature beers of the world in Ithaca, except the staff is much more friendly and knowledgable and the stock is always fresh, if it's not they won't even put it on the shelves."
04-26-2004 17:56:29 |
More by shippos
quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5
I found the FLBC, which opened this past Summer, thanks to some Ithaca-area BAs. Boy Im glad I did! This is the best beer store Ive seen (havent been to Half Time)! It is conveniently located just a short stroll from the State Street Diner and The Commons. Furthermore, it has its own parking, a big plus for downtown Ithaca!
Quality: Because theyve just opened, all of the stock is fresh. The downside is that there isnt much in the way of vintage beers. I dont know if the owner, Pat, plans on beefing up this up and I forgot to ask him. Based on what I saw Friday afternoon, I would guess that turnover is good.
Service: I was lucky in that Pat was able to walk the aisles and show me some of the highlights. He also gave me a heads-up about the kegs coming up on the six taps. Hes extremely friendly and is sure to extend himself for anyone. Prices were reasonable if not exceptional. NJ runs slightly cheaper, but the selection and inventory depth is well worth the slight premium. One minor complaint is that they dont take American Express.
Selection: Astounding! The store is entirely devoted to beer and artisanal sodas, with almost no macro presence. Almost all of the beers are offered in singles, with some cases and 6-packs stacked up front or in the coolers (including a pyramid of 04 Brooklyn BCS). Prices are clearly labeled. Stupidly, I didnt ask about 6-pack or case discounts (some offerings were too limited, but I dont think I saw fewer than 4 of anything). They had virtually every Rogue and Victory listed on BA (many of which Id never seen before), Unibroue 11 and Terrible, Allagash White 750s (rare to me), and a good selection of Belgian and UK beers. They also stock 3 Floyds when its available. There are also 6 taps currently including SN Harvest, MA Wailing Wench, and DFH Punkin. FLBCs weaknesses were in their Belgian and UK areas, which included the common core offerings, but were thinner in the esoteric items. I didnt see any Cantillon, and Fullers and Youngs were limited to the standards. However, they havent been in business a full year; and they did have some of the smaller UK breweries like OHanlons. As mentioned, they dont stock vintage beers, but probably would if there were demand.
Backwash: Not to be missed if you are in the Syracuse, Ithaca, Binghamton, Finger Lakes area!
Update (7/04): Better than ever! They've implemented the website; clearly labelled single, sixer, and case prices; built up the UK ales section; begun building up the Belgians, and added product lines from Bear Republic, Heavyweight, Ramstein, and Stone. They still don't take Amex, but that's the only flaw.
10-27-2003 23:41:02 |
More by Dantes
quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5
Finger Lakes Beverage Center is certainly attempting to fill the need for a large selection of quality brews in the Central Southern Tier of New York. They now boast over 500 beers (European, Mexican, Southeast Asian, Russian imports... Domestic Micros from Rogue to Shipyard and everywhere in between) with at least a few new offerings appearing almost weekly. The store is bright, clean, and neatly organized. Shelf allocation clearly emphasizes imports and particularly domestic micros, and even an assortment of amazingly popular "retro" beers (Ballantine, Black Label).
Stock turnover is brisk, making freshness a given. Beers are generally (and typically aggressively) priced as singles, 4/6 packs, and cases. In addition, a high percentage of the micros are also available cold! An extensive keg list contains a number of premium and micro brews in addition to all of the popular macros. If a keg is not in stock, it can be ordered and received in a matter of days. Availability of "single" bottles to make up mixed six-packs is a big hit in the area, and an absolute boon for semi-professional beer reviewers :)
A six tap growler line (with bargain jugs, or bring your own) turns over a dizzying variety of interesting brews usually changing every several days. Limited edition, seasonal, and keg-only micros are often featured.
The staff are the owners of the place. They are friendly, enthusiastic, and eager to please. They are very open to not only sharing their knowledge, but also to learning from their customers. Requests are recorded and filled whenever possible. It's clear that they are focused on providing an ever increasing variety of fresh, quality micros in family-friendly environment.
The selection is fairly wide and growing. Their distribution capability and expanding network of contacts and sources will continue to increase their variety. FLBC also has an extensive (120+) selection of gourmet sodas, a number of them produced by the same microbreweries whose beers are also on the shelves.
Most common reaction from new visitors: "Wowwww!"
10-25-2003 01:44:45 |
More by DagFishHead
quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5
The Finger Lakes Beverage Center is Ithaca's new and only true beer store. They carry at least 350 beers, 6 taps for growlers, and have an extensive soda and root beer selection. Upon entering, you'll see a wide variety of microbrews and imports before you see any of the macros in the back. Almost every beer is available as a single, six pack, or case. Often times, they also run promotions for free glassware (oh yeah, they've got a decent selection of that, too) with certain purchases. There's a great selection of Belgians, as well as German and English brews. Also, their local microbrew selection is excellent. Prices are right inline with what you'd expect for these beers.
If there's something you want that you don't see, they'll gladly write down your requests. The staff is very friendly. Since they're new, they're very open to suggestions. Freshness of the beer has not been a problem.
This place may not have the draw of some of the top rated beer stores on BA, but it's certainly close. If you're passing by the Ithaca area, you'll definitely want to drop by to see if they have anything unique.
07-26-2003 21:00:35 |
More by bog
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Finger Lakes Beverage Center in Ithaca, NY
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