Finger Lakes Beverage Center

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90 Ratings

Type: Store

605 W State St
Ithaca, New York, 14850-3343
United States

(607) 277-2337 | map

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Added by bog

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Ratings: 90 |  Reviews: 67
Photo of tempest
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Thank the beer gods for this gift to Central NY. I came down from Syracuse for a day trip to Ithaca and stopped by on my way out of town.

Easily the best selection in CNY, hands down. These guys buy beer unavailable through their distributor to bring a prety awesome selection.

I was able to get a growler of SN Celebration Ale, a St. Bernardus Abt 12 and a mix-a-6 all for pretty good prices. Very good single selection in addition to everything.

Come here for hard to find Belgian and West Coast beers.

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Photo of BlastTyrant
4.85/5  rDev +7.1%

This place isn't as big as Beers Of The World or Half Time, but the space they have they put to good use. They cram the macro swill all the way in the back, and they waste no space in the Craft Brew section - it's all good stuff. Seriously, you could go down any aisle with a blindfold on and randomly grab a bottle, and you won't be disappointed with what you selected. Very clean and well maintained shelves, and I haven't found an expired beer there yet. They also have 11 beers on tap for growler fills, and they are always good selections.

Service is always good both when filling growlers and asking questions about the selection. I get to this store occasionally when I am in Ithaca for work, on several occasions when I make a large purchase, they have hooked me up with a free glass, which is always appreciated.

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Photo of katdaddy210
4.3/5  rDev -5.1%

Being from Pennsylvania,I am not used to being able to walk into a place and buy 1 beer, a 6pack, a case or a growler all in one place. My wife thought I was a kid in a candy shop(a big kid in a beer store) when I walked in. I was so confused as there was so much to look at. Nicely laid out per location(import or domestic micro) I had a great time just browsing and took back home some hard to get brews. Great place, a bit pricey although. Cases were a little overpriced. A great place to get samples though. Pennsylvania sucks for beer selections!

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Photo of Sammy
3.85/5  rDev -15%

A very good selection, a notch down quantity but not quality-wise from Beers of the World. Helpful friendly staff and nice store, but they are only average in their knowledge of beer and what they had, but they try. The stock turns pretty good, and there were a few beers not carried elsewhere. I did not have to go out of my way to get here rather than buy everything Beers of the World, but I would recommend it to anyone passing through. Prices are fair. Nicely laid out, and they let you use the bathroom.

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Photo of bultrey
4.85/5  rDev +7.1%

Tucked into a little plaza just up the street from one of the yummiest restaraunts in Ithaca (Maxie's Supper Club), this gem is allllmost as good as HalfTime in Poughkeepsie (just a slightly smaller selection), and is a must stop if you are within a 60-miles radius of Ithaca. Something like 8 growler lines, with impeccable service, careful filling and sealing (a nice plastic seal around the cap and neck of the growler last time I was there), and what appear to be larger-than-average growlers (though I can't confirm that; it may just be the shape). Growlers I've had filled there: Ithaca Double IPA, Rogue Brutal Bitter, Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, and Anchor Christmas Ale.
Excellent selection of local brews, styles from around the world, glassware, special gift packs, and gourmet sodas. Cave-aged Ommegang, Allagash Curieux, and a number of Cantillons and English ales are among some of the rarities I've picked up. Service is soooo friendly, I mean, they really are excited about your purchase. The staff is quite knowledgeable as well.
I thought prices were more than reasonable. I wish this place had been there when I went to school in Ithaca; I would have spent my days even drunker and poorer.

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Photo of nomad
4.85/5  rDev +7.1%

What more to say than... awesome store! This is truly a top notch establishment, easily one of the best beer stores I've ever visited. Felt like a little brother of the King of All Beers Stores, Half Time in Poughkeepsie.

Where to start? I'll just describe it in random circles - very strong in the American selection, with both sixers and bottles out, but in small quantities for quick turnover and little heat exposure. Pretty much all of the great breweries available to the state of New York is available, though not completely all. The cold bombers and sixers are way in the back.

Belgian selection is small but well picked. Just one side of an aisle, but smart choices of De Ranke, Fantome, Gouden Carolus, and others of the best of Belgium. German and British beers are on the other side - again, well chosen though not breathtaking.

Twelve growler taps are now up for consumption, with most refills around $6 - 9, with only the 12% alcohol North Coast Old Stock available for $12. All are pressure filled with care and sealed with electrician's tape (these people know what they're doing!). Nice variety of NY choices like Southern Tier and imports like Anderson Valley and Sierra Nevada.

Impressive soda selection of 150 kinds in every flavor imaginable. Couldn't even find the Coke and Pepsi, which like the Bud and Coors, is stuffed in a dark corner. Got to love a store that de-emphasizes such brands.

A small store but very well-lit, clean, and well-organized. Fabulous customer service and they really know and enjoy good beer. No idiot high schoolers working the cash register (actually had a great conversation with the wife and husband owners) and not a whiff of anything less than hand-crafted, artisanal brew at great prices. Click on the link to their website and you can get a big hint of the quality that infuses every inch of the store.

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Photo of ithacabaron
4.65/5  rDev +2.6%

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.

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Photo of JackStraw22
4.85/5  rDev +7.1%

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.

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Photo of Suds
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

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.

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Photo of cbl2
4.85/5  rDev +7.1%

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 I’ve 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 that’s 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.

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Photo of HappyHourHero
5/5  rDev +10.4%

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!!!

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Photo of shippos
5/5  rDev +10.4%

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."

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Photo of Dantes
4.65/5  rDev +2.6%

I found the FLBC, which opened this past Summer, thanks to some Ithaca-area BA’s. Boy I’m glad I did! This is the best beer store I’ve seen (haven’t been to Half Time)! It is conveniently located just a short stroll from the State Street Diner and The Commons. Furthermore, it has it’s own parking, a big plus for downtown Ithaca!

Quality: Because they’ve just opened, all of the stock is fresh. The downside is that there isn’t much in the way of vintage beers. I don’t 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. He’s 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 don’t 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 didn’t ask about 6-pack or case discounts (some offerings were too limited, but I don’t think I saw fewer than 4 of anything). They had virtually every Rogue and Victory listed on BA (many of which I’d never seen before), Unibroue 11 and Terrible, Allagash White 750’s (rare to me), and a good selection of Belgian and UK beers. They also stock 3 Floyds when it’s available. There are also 6 taps currently including SN Harvest, MA Wailing Wench, and DFH Punkin’. FLBC’s weaknesses were in their Belgian and UK areas, which included the common core offerings, but were thinner in the esoteric items. I didn’t see any Cantillon, and Fuller’s and Young’s were limited to the standards. However, they haven’t been in business a full year; and they did have some of the smaller UK breweries like O’Hanlon’s. As mentioned, they don’t 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.

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Photo of DagFishHead
4.85/5  rDev +7.1%

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!"

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Photo of bog
4.85/5  rDev +7.1%

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.

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Finger Lakes Beverage Center in Ithaca, NY
Place rating: 4.53 out of 5 with 90 ratings