Finger Lakes Beverage Center
Ratings: 64 | Reviews: 60 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by ithacabaron:
4.65/5 rDev +2.2%
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
More User Reviews:
4.02/5 rDev -11.6%
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.
01-27-2014 21:14:32 | More by GreesyFizeek
2.4/5 rDev -47.3%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2 | service: 2.75 | selection: 2.25 | $$$$
This is not that great a place and I do not understand the high reviews. First of all the store is dark, deliberately, so you cannot see the hand written tags some of which are missing and you have to ask "how much is this?": The fact that there is no price at all on some of the major displays should be a red flag warning. They have a no refund policy on a sign up front and that tells me that they have old beer. They have very old beer. The brew dog was dated best by 1/2013. I bought from their imports section and everything was stale and awful. The stuff they have up front from the bruery is clearly labelled with a date of march 2013, and according to http://freshbeeronly.com/The_Fresh_Beer_List.html that is the best buy date and they try to hawk it anyway through intimidation at the cash register. Many of their items are almost a third more than at wegmans, specifically the brooklyn large bottles . Some of their singles are $4 and mysteriously blurred dates on uinta and sixpoint , oskar blues, nrragansett and other cans. Not a good experience. Wegman's takes all refunds no questions asked.
07-13-2013 14:22:44 | More by utopiajane
4.3/5 rDev -5.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | $$
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.
03-03-2013 02:16:40 | More by VaporDome
4.04/5 rDev -11.2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 5 | $$$
Agree with others who have spoken of the selection: it's fantastic, even if not clearly organized. You have to browse the various narrow isles to find out what they have.
The quality of the beer in house is way high: lots of top-shelf beer. But also a wall, and I think an entire room, of college get drunk fast and taste nothing beer. Fine, sell to your local demographic, but a lot of gross shit there.
The service, well, was... fine. Nobody approached me. A couple people sort of looked my way, but then ignored me.
No food that I saw.
A very interesting looking growler bar, and I wish I'd had a growler handy.
The value, well... the usual upstate beers that are solidly priced, were solidly priced: Middle Ages, Ithaca, etc. The out of towners were somewhat to quite expensive. This is not a value buy place.
My biggest complaint was the VERY limited selections that are refrigerated: if you want me to pay $18 for a bomber or $22 for a corker and caged 750ml, can you at least have some of it refrigerated?
I accept that it might very well be the best place in Ithaca. But a 100, World Class? Nope.
12-09-2012 20:40:53 | More by warmstorage
4.71/5 rDev +3.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | $$
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.
06-13-2012 15:18:58 | More by rlee1390
Finger Lakes Beverage Center in Ithaca, NY
99 out of 100 based on 64 ratings.