Finger Lakes Beverage Center

Not Rated.
Finger Lakes Beverage CenterFinger Lakes Beverage Center
BA SCORE
99
world-class

84 Ratings
Ratings: 84
Reviews: 64
rAvg: 4.54
pDev: n/a
[ Store ]

605 W State St
Ithaca, New York, 14850-3343
United States
phone: (607) 277-2337

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

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Ratings: 84 | Reviews: 64
Reviews by TDRudy:
Photo of TDRudy
4.88/5  rDev +7.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I thought I had been to good beer stores. I was wrong. This is close to the platonic form of a beer store. The selection is hugely extensive, well organized, and reasonably priced. Bottles are available in packs or as singles, and most beers are carried in multiple sizes if available. From Brewers I've never heard of to beer's I haven't heard of from Brewers you'd have to be on mars not to have heard of, this place has damn near everything you could want- my only complaint is that there seems to be a focus on imports at the expense of some less common domestic micros, especially those coming out of the midwest (Three Floyds, unless I missed it, is a glaring example).

More User Reviews:
Photo of ClavisAurea
4.51/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75

Lots to choose from. Great local NY selection and some stuff from the West coast assuming the breweries distribute. They drive to NYC to get some more obscure selections.

Photo of Ken05
4.24/5  rDev -6.6%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75

The remodel is about complete and Wow! This store rocks. It is laid out very nicely with over a 1000 different beers. Everything is new, clean and the lighting is much improved. They added tons of coolers and doubled or tripled the square footage. The World class rating can now apply for sure.

Photo of logicalparadox
5/5  rDev +10.1%

So. You like beer, eh? Imagine you lived a perfect life. You did good deeds, practiced self-sacrifice and gave charity, you once gave the shoes you were wearing to that homeless guy on the Commons. Then, you're hit by a bus (TCAT, of course... those damn wide turns). What is your reward for the sacrosanct life you've led? 42 virgins awaiting you in paradise? Assuming a just God, I'd have to think that heaven would actually resemble... Finger Lakes Beverage Center.

I defy you to find a place with a bigger selection, wider variety, and more amazing shopping experience for buying beer. Over a thousand beers to choose from. No, really. A thousand DIFFERENT beers. Pretty much all of those are sold as SINGLES! Now, if you want to see a grown-ass man prance down the isles of a store like a 5 year old in Toys 'R Us, this is the place. Pull up your Beer Advocate wish list. Pick one of those, one of that, and that, and omg TWO of THOSE.

Sure, you can build a six pack at Wegmans, but you have to buy in multiples of six and the selection is not even a 10th as good. Yes, that cool gas station on Green St. sells singles with no minimum, and yes it's craft beer, but their selection is what... like 20 choices? This is the only place I know of in Upstate NY where you can shop on a pint-by-pint basis for beer and choose from the entire universe of beer. No, you won't find Heady Topper or Pliney the Elder, but you're not going to find that anywhere else around here, either, and if you would, it would be here. Yes, Ithaca Coffee Company has a great selection and they also sell singles, but as awesome as that is it doesn't come close to FLBC.

The store has recently been expanded and now has a vast refrigerated section. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly and openly condones practices that I used to try and hide, like secretly replacing a bottle from a chilled six pack with a warm single (they are totally fine with you taking a chilled single and don't even require you to replace it with a warm one, but you should replace it anyway... it's just good beer etiquette.

They not only fill growlers with a tap selection of around 8-10 offerings that rotate regularly, but they also allow samples. Have a sample of what's on tape while you ponder what to buy. They aren't a bar, so you can't get a pint, but a little taste is just good for stimulating the taste buds.

Ithaca is extremely lucky to have a place like this and it speaks to the thriving nature of craft beer culture in the Finger Lakes and in Ithaca that this place exists and is itself thriving.

Photo of Dmmflys
4.28/5  rDev -5.7%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.75 | food: 2.5

This place had a great selection. The owner was very helpful and nice. They had good selection of local stuff I can't get in chicago. I'd go back in a heartbeat.
I only gave it a 3 for atmosphere because they where doing construction but from the looks of it the store should be great after they are done.

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.02/5  rDev -11.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

Great beer store, stopped in on my trip to Ithaca.

Bit of an industrial warehouse look to it. 5-6 aisles of all craft beers. Packs can be broken up into singles, no problem. Every typical craft beer you can think of is here, along with a few more choice selections scattered throughout. No service to speak of- not bad or good, just none. No help in selecting my brews, even though I didn't really need it. Cashier seemed friendly enough, though. Prices were ok, not great, not bad.

Photo of utopiajane
2.4/5  rDev -47.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2 | service: 2.75 | selection: 2.25

This is not that great a place and I do not understand the high reviews. First of all the store is dark, deliberately, so you cannot see the hand written tags some of which are missing and you have to ask "how much is this?": The fact that there is no price at all on some of the major displays should be a red flag warning. They have a no refund policy on a sign up front and that tells me that they have old beer. They have very old beer. The brew dog was dated best by 1/2013. I bought from their imports section and everything was stale and awful. The stuff they have up front from the bruery is clearly labelled with a date of march 2013, and according to http://freshbeeronly.com/The_Fresh_Beer_List.html that is the best buy date and they try to hawk it anyway through intimidation at the cash register. Many of their items are almost a third more than at wegmans, specifically the brooklyn large bottles . Some of their singles are $4 and mysteriously blurred dates on uinta and sixpoint , oskar blues, nrragansett and other cans. Not a good experience. Wegman's takes all refunds no questions asked.

Photo of VaporDome
4.3/5  rDev -5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25

Lots of beers in a very small space. You might have to squeeze by someone or even wait until they're finished before you can look at the beers. Not super well organized but not bad.

Many top quality beers here. Lagunitas, Stone, AleSmith, Founders, Dogfish Head. I'm fairly certain that you can get everything as a single if you choose to. They have a small refrigerated section and a cheap section.

Employees weren't that friendly unless they know you already but they were very knowledgeable and knew where everything was.

They have a growler bar with some interesting things on tap. Dogfish Head Bitches Brew was up last time I checked. The bar guy was very willing to talk about each one and let you sample them.

Prices are pretty normal to a bit high for some beers but the prices were mostly reasonable overall.

Photo of warmstorage
4.04/5  rDev -11%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 5

Agree with others who have spoken of the selection: it's fantastic, even if not clearly organized. You have to browse the various narrow isles to find out what they have.

The quality of the beer in house is way high: lots of top-shelf beer. But also a wall, and I think an entire room, of college get drunk fast and taste nothing beer. Fine, sell to your local demographic, but a lot of gross shit there.

The service, well, was... fine. Nobody approached me. A couple people sort of looked my way, but then ignored me.

No food that I saw.

A very interesting looking growler bar, and I wish I'd had a growler handy.

The value, well... the usual upstate beers that are solidly priced, were solidly priced: Middle Ages, Ithaca, etc. The out of towners were somewhat to quite expensive. This is not a value buy place.

My biggest complaint was the VERY limited selections that are refrigerated: if you want me to pay $18 for a bomber or $22 for a corker and caged 750ml, can you at least have some of it refrigerated?

I accept that it might very well be the best place in Ithaca. But a 100, World Class? Nope.

Photo of rlee1390
4.71/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Can't believe I've never reviewed this place. Been there multiple times while travelling through Ithaca.

The service is great, within a minute or two of browsing a worker asks me if I need help. At first I thought it was because I'm a twenty-something young looking lad. However one time my grandparents were going to Ithaca (who could pass up a free hour long ride to get beer) and I stopped in with them. Workers asked both my grandparents if they needed help. Great service.

Selection is amazing. Singles are offered, they seem to get the more sought after releases; Nugget Nectar, 120 Min (not that rare but nice to see them getting good amounts).

There is also a glassware shelf that sells all sorts of glassware.

They have a growler system, I can not speak to what they have/rotation. All I know is that one time they did a a Southern Tier Draft Only beer, so one could guess they get a decent selection.

Photo of mobius024
4.88/5  rDev +7.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Everything the previous reviewers say regarding range, quality, etc. is true. The Belgian section is outstanding. I've been going there for years. Mostly, this review is in response to another review stating they seem not to have some particular regional micros they really ought to stock. Three Floyd's was mentioned (with good reason). I've asked forThree Floyd's, as well as Russian River. In both instances the owner was as bummed as I that they were unable stock those beers. Basically, if there is a microbrewery with a good reputation and they don't have it on hand, there is a business reason preventing it.

Photo of keithmurray
4.44/5  rDev -2.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Stopped here on a trip to Ithaca.

Heard very good things about the FLBC so I had to stop in and see what all the fuss was about.

Walked in and it is bigger than it looks like from the outside. Aisles upon aisles of beer, glorious beer, I'd say about 6 or 7 aisles in all.

The beer here is very organized, as it is divvied up by region. Belgians, Germans, English and domestic beers all have their own section, clearly delineated.

The selection here is simply amazing. They had items I have never seen anywhere else before. Belgians such as Tsjees, Gouden Carolus, Westmalle.

Tons of domestics Great lakes, Sixpoint, Brooklyn, Troegs, Stoudts, etc. I could drop tons of money at this place, I was glad I stopped in.

Prices are displayed and they break down 6 pack prices as well as single prices. Prices are fair here

Photo of Durchfall
5/5  rDev +10.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

I found out about this place last year. I was going to the local Wegman's to purchase my beer because they were the only place in the area that seemed to have a decent selection. I went to a restaurant on the same street as the Finger Lakes Beverage Center and decided to go in one day.

Looks like your typical store aisles with shelves of beer. In the back is where they have all of the non craft stuff and Soda (their Soda selection is huge as well).

One of the best selections I have seen hands down. They have had everything I have ever wanted and then some.

The nice thing about this place too is that they have a huge selection of singles as well, so you can mix and match to your heart's content.

They also have a really extensive International section which I have yet to scratch the surface of.

Prices are reasonable and the staff is great too. If you need help they will give it. If you don't ask for it they won't bug you like a lot of places do. I just like to browse in peace.

Lastly they always have a few beers on tap which is nice while you are browsing.

If you are in the Ithaca area I would definitely recommend visiting them.

Photo of sliverX
4.16/5  rDev -8.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5

Atmosphere- looks like your average beverage store lost some points (in my book) for having Jimmy Buffet on the speakers and singing along.
Quality looked fine other than when trying to find best by dates and they seemed to have been wiped clear, the guy dusting with a wet cloth could be a culprit.
Service was fine cash guy was friendly no one asked if we needed help which is fine by me.
I think there were 3 or 4 breweries stocked here that we don't get in Buffalo which is why I wanted to stop along with more local things we only see on occasion like horseheads bc.
Some things seemed cheaper than normal and some seemed pricey I'd lean its slightly pricey here but college town best selection I expect a bit of a increase.
also if you're into craft soft drinks this place is jammed full of them it was hard to pick which birch beers I wanted for the ride home. If in Ithaca again I'll stop for sure.

Photo of atr2605
5/5  rDev +10.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Best place to purchase craft beer. This is my regular stop whenever I am looking to pick up some new craft beers. Even though some of our local grocery stores have started to carry larger craft beer brewers, the beverage center has plenty more to choose from. The staff is always helpful and pleasant, and their prices are right on par with everyone else. Oh, and they also have quite a few beers to choose from on tap which they rotate on a regular basis. They also have coolers of macro brews, so if you are having people over you can still pick up a mix of generic and craft brews. If you love beer and are in the Ithaca area, you have to stop by the beverage center.

Photo of Vierenner
5/5  rDev +10.1%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5

What a pleasant surprise! Visiting Ithaca on a college trip ... looked up local craft brew stores and visited Finger Lakes Beverage Center because of the large amount of positive reviews. Biggest supply of craft beer I've ever seen!! The owner provided one-on-one customer service as we paraded through the well-stocked store. Sampled several beers on tap ... engaged in good conversation. Was led to a supply of one of my "want" beers!
If ever in the Ithaca area, this is a must visit destination!

Photo of suspect
4.55/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 5

This place has become one of my favorite places to stop on a weekly basis! The first thing that hits me when I walk in the door is the sheer size of it and how it's lined with bottles. I've never had a problem finding stuff I want here. The only problem I've ever had here is trying not to spend too much. I've had some issues with beers past their prime.

Pat, the owner, and Nick, his son are really solid guys who will spend the time to talk beer with you if you want. If you'd like to be left alone to peruse the aisles on your own, you are free yo do that as well. This is a wonderful small business and I'm proud to call it "my beer store."

I'm not a huge soda guy but if I was - they have the largest selection of soda I've ever seen.

If you are even close to Ithaca - do yourself a favor and stop here!

Photo of Durge
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%

Yes, the reviews don't lie. This is a little jewel for beer lovers. While it isn't exactly tiny in size, it is true that they pack a mightly load of great beer (and soda) into those 4 walls. The staff does not hound you but they were attentive enough to be sure you weren't frustrated or lost at all, and they were very accommodating when engaged. They had a nice line up of growler taps, about 9 or 10 in all as I recall, and the bottled stuff was several solid rows of stuff from all over the country and a decent import selection as well. They have a glassware section and sell some beer shirts, and they seemed to have some specials on new and older items. There were lots of beers that I had not seen in my home state of Connecticut, even though they were brands that we carry. Although one curious thing was that many of the unusual ones I found were not highly rated brews on BA so I was able to manage my escape without dipping to heavily into funds. Brands like Erie and Dundee and specialties like Abita Christmas Ale, and many others that caught my attention and readied my wallet but ultimately researched out to taking a pass for the moment. Not to say I didn't leave some goodies behind, for sure, but apparently nothing that I could have told my grandchildren about. My favorite find for the day, though it remains to be seen if it will be worth the wait, was a bomber of Boulder's Killer Penguin from 2009! Been looking for that since 2009! Great selection of Great Lakes and many, many breweries that I frankly wasn't sure i'd ever heard of. They certainly don't have everything, but I'd match them against most anybody else for domestics and their import stock was more than solid as well. Most of the stock appears to be available as singles at a fair premium and they provide six-pack holders for the luxury. This is a friendly stop on the beer trail that is sure to provide some fun surprises to most BA enthusiasts. A must stop along with the Ithaca Brewing Company tasting room and the Chapter House.

Photo of mgbickel
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%

One of the few bottle shops we decided to stop at during our trip to Lake Placid, NY.

Man...they have lots of beer...isles and isles...six packs and big bottles, mix and match singles and even a growler fill area. I imagine pretty much everything that is available in NY is here...

I was greeted at the door, but pretty much left alone after that...which is fine with me.

Another note...they have the largest "craft" soda selection I have ever seen.

This store ranks right up there with the big boys of bottle shops. I am really happy I got to stop by and will make sure I stop by again if I am in the area.

Photo of indiapaleale
4.5/5  rDev -0.9%

Holy crap does this place have a TON of beer.

Here are the highlights:

*Immense selection - you name it, they've got it
*Mix and match an insane amount of singles
*Growler fill station
*Brewery t-shirts and glassware
*Nice selection of hard to find bombers
*Lots of canned craft beers

Great place to spend an hour picking out some beers. Staff was helpful but not annoying. The regional beer selection can't be beat. They've got more local offerings than any other place I've been to in upstate NY and I'd say I like this place more than both Halftime and Beers of the World (just my opinion).

I go here everytime I am in the area...

Photo of mbusster88
4.3/5  rDev -5.3%

Called them up the day before looking for some Dieu Du Ciel Peche Mortel, and crazy enough they had it. I have been looking for at least 6 months at every place I go to. This small beverage seller had the hardest beer for me to find! They held a couple for me overnight so I could drive down the next day (nearly an hour drive for me). When I got there I was asked about help a couple times, and wandered for a while. Prices seemed as good or better and the larger places I have gone. Really like the selection, as well as quality. Generally things seemed good date wise, but some did have old dates. Fortunately Peche Mortel is not a date issue. Really recommend this stop whether driving through or if your somewhat local like myself.

Photo of codewarrior
4.4/5  rDev -3.1%

This place is seriously unreal. I didn't talk with the staff much, they just left me to my own devices ... considering how much i spent, I'm pretty glad they did.

What I purchased:

3 Souther Tier Pumpking
1 Southern Tier Cuvee Series 1
1 Southern Tier Cuvee Series 2
1 Captain Lawrence XTRA Gold Tripel
1 2009 Ithaca Beer Co. Excelsior Alphalpha
2 Dogfish Head Bitches Brew
1 Rodenbach Grand Cru
2 2009 Ommegang Ommegedon Batch #4
1 Smuttynose Gravitation
2 The Bruary Black Orchard

... and I left so much on the table. The amount of stuff that's just sitting on the shelves here ... 3 unique Brew Dog Paradoxes, 2010 Festina Peche (summer seasonal, still stocked in October ... not sure if that's a good thing), Brooklyn Black Ops, and on and on and on.

In addition to all that, they have severely local stuff here ... Horseheads brewery for example, and lots of it, lots of single-brews sitting around from 2008, and to my shock the second I pulled 4 Bitches Brews off the shelves, they were immediately restocked (this is before I discovered that they had bitches brew ... in a f---ing cooler ... reminded me of finding black albert cooled at Colorado Liquor mart).

this place is just ridiculous, seriously, you could easily drop $500 without much thought here. Just an absurd selection ... I would just caution you to check the freshness date on beers where freshness is appropriate ... as their stock obviously doesn't move very quickly.

Photo of stakem
4.35/5  rDev -4.2%

This past weekend we took a trip to the finger lakes area. Searching beerfly confirmed that this was going to be my go-to place for beer during our extended weekend getaway. During our 3 day stay, I returned to this shop 3 times (25 minute drive one way from where we were staying.)

I was only asked once on my first visit out of 3 if I needed assistance which is completely fine with me. I usually prefer to be left alone to browse and be surprised at what I find on my own. However, some others might call that lack of service? Whatever no big deal, maybe the workers recognized me and knew I wanted to (for the most part) be left alone.

Huge selection with prices clearly identified and the prices were fair and in some instances cheaper than what I am use to seeing back in PA. Right upfront in the store are the gift pack type of varieties where you buy a couple bottles and get a glass, etc.

More than 5 rows of singles offerings with 4-packs, 6-packs and 12 packs convieniently located on the bottom 2 rows of the shelving. The bottles seemed to be arranged in a sort of area by area layout. Far left of the building had mostly Belgian offerings and some glassware to pick from. Middle couple of rows were the domestic offerings lined up by brewery.

The right side of the store had a list of 11 or 12 drafts available for growler fills. A chalk board displayed the offerings and prices which matched up with what is advertised on their web site. This draft area was placed between the register and a back section of the store that had the cold beer and soda. (I didn't enter that part of the store so I have no comments.)

The ends of the rows were displaying the seasonal offerings. Which at this time was a disturbingly large amount of offerings of pumpkin ale. "I hate pumpkin ale." I whispered to my wife. "I know, you tell me all the time. But look here is a stout/pumpkin ale." Dammit if I didn't pick one up anyway while I was waiting in line to pay.

I didn't spend much effort looking around at other beer shops in the area. Who knows, maybe I passed a better one during my travels. The point is, this place had everything I wanted and then some. I would return again.

Photo of Beerenauslese
4.7/5  rDev +3.5%

I heard about this store researching here on BA. I'm from San Francisco and I flew out to check it out. Well, not exactly. I came out for Belgium Comes to Cooperstown at Ommegang, landing at Binghamton airport (OK, I had another reason to be on the East Coast). After the Ommegang festivities, drove to Ithaca before my plane was to leave and scored a number of local NY and Midwest/East Coast beers that are hard to get here. I confess I hadn't done all my homework when I waltzed in and said to the staff that I wanted to take home a suitcase full of the best beers that I can't (yet) get in San Francisco. I left with Weyerbacher Insanity, Southern Tier Choklat and Jahva, a Captain Lawrence Nor'Easter, some Ithaca Excelsiors (12 and AlphaAlpha), Troegs Nugget Nectar, and some other locals. One of the staff guided me through the store (I should have gotten his name) giving me good advice, and while I may not have totally optimized the possibilities, I left with quite an exemplary cache.

I spent some years in Ithaca as an undergraduate in college. In the mid-70's, some students would take orders from other students for Coors beer and drive out to Colorado to bring it back fresh. I think it is great that students have a beer store like this (I am sure the faculty appreciate it too). There are great selections from all over the world and several taps of good beers to fill growlers. Well done!

Photo of kevman527
4.4/5  rDev -3.1%

My friend introduced me to this place, and I was blown away by the selection. In the Binghamton Area, we do not have anything that can compete with the FLBC.

I love being able to mix and match my own 6-packs with each bottle being individually priced. They also have an excellent selection of non-alcoholic beverages, a bunch of micro-sodas and what not. With them being only about an hour drive away, I come here about once every two months to stock up my supply.

Excellent selection, reasonable prices, I recommend this store to anyone who is within an hour drive.

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Finger Lakes Beverage Center in Ithaca, NY
99 out of 100 based on 84 ratings.