Brewery Name: Ithaca Beer Company
Type of Brewery: Retail Brewery
Location: Ithaca, NY
Facebook: Ithaca Beer
Background: With so many new players to the craft beer scene every year, it's easy to forget that some top notch craft breweries have been around and successful since before the fad. Ithaca Beer Co. has been pumping out solid Upstate New York craft beer since 1998 so when I had the opportunity, I had to stop into their new taproom and check them out!
Growlers: Yes, they sell and fill 64 ounce growlers.
The Beers: Ithaca is a sleepy town in upstate New York that is probably best known for Cornell University and being a free spirited area surrounded by gorgeous landscapes. The beer that Ithaca Beer Co. puts out does homage to the hippy feel with beers like Flower Power, Daydreamer, & Hopkist. They offer a HUGE range of brews spanning from Oak Aged Porters to Double IPAs to a big bold Brown Ale.
Their website offers really great notes on the beers, and even lists some ideas for food and cheese pairings. A few of their brews are available with decently broad distribution. Keep an eye out for Flower Power, Nut Brown, and Creeker, all of which I’m told can be found through other parts of the country. Here’s what I got to try at the brewery:
Unfortunately, I wasn’t there are the right time to try a few that really intrigued me like the Cayuga Cruiser (Berlinner Weisse) and the Daydreamer (Kolsch) with German sourced ingredients. They also reportedly do a pretty impressive pumpkin ale come fall season.
Vibe: As you might guess, Ithaca Beer Co. has a very chill vibe. The tasting room is big with lots of high tables and a smaller restaurant style seating area in the back. Outside is a massive seating area with picnic tables, lounge chairs, a lattice covered section to grab some shade, and a view out to the beautiful property they own.
I went at a fairly busy time and elected to drink most of my beers outside and away from the bar, but in every interaction I had with them, the staff was extremely nice and always looking to get beer in front of anyone with an empty glass. I stuck around for dinner as well since everything looked so good as it passed by and man was that a good move...
Food: YES! Some of the best I’ve had at a brewery in fact! The menu is large but not overwhelming and has an amazing mix of sharables and full plates. The pizza’s were a highlight as well as the charcuterie board that is designed to pair with their flights.
Personal food highlight was the charcuterie board pictured below that came with locally sourced bacon, sausage, veggies, apricots, mustard, bread and pate. All are as fresh as you could ever want and the components are designed to pair with their beer offerings. Our waitress even offered an ideal beer pairing with each of the dishes we ordered as well!
In case you aren’t convinced from just seeing the plates, they use local produce and fresh vegetables (some of which are grown right on premise I believe) in their dishes and you can really tell that everything is bright and fresh.
Dogs: As per norm, I didn’t see anything posted about dogs and imagine they are okay in the outdoor areas but not inside. I’d call ahead to double check on that though!
Price ($ to $$$$$): $$ - very affordable to do drinks and dinner during the week or post up and have a solid beer session on a good weekend day.
Final Thoughts: Ten out of ten! I’ve got nothing bad to say about this place and can’t even really think of anything that I’d do to enhance my experience. Great venue, awesome beer selection by going to the source, impressive food and staff that love beer! What more could you ask for!
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