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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Ratings: 90 |  Reviews: 67
Photo of slander
4.35/5  rDev -4%

I've got a 4 and change hour drive back from Syracuse ahead of me and I'm thinking that this will probably be the only opportunity I'll ever have to hit Ithaca, as I'm so very seldom in the middle of New York state. It's not exactly along the way to or from anywhere and a good hour round trip off the highway, but I can probably get a good "one-two" in. Mind you, the weather's got to hold, but slow and steady always wins the race so I'll just point the car south west and...
Took me and up and down the block to find Finger Lakes tucked away, but it was well worth the hunt. You know what you've got when you enter the place as you can get a pretty decent view of the place, though it's more than all that. The first thing you do is lateral to the far wall and see what's going on in that imports aisle, Belgians along the wall and other imports behind you. Cantillon, De Dolle, Fantome, Hansens, Caracole, all the usual suspects and a couple of unusual items. Likewise, a good collection of English & German opposite. The next 2 aisles hold mostly American micros, local and regional (Ithaca, Middle Ages, Southern Tier, Cooperstown, Saranac, Keegans, Blue Point, Brooklyn, Victory, Weyerbacher, Stoudts, Long Trail, Otter Creek, Magic Hat, Harpoon, Cisco, Buzzards Bay, Sam Adams, Smutty, Allagash, Atlantic, Shipyard, DogFishHead) and not so (Boulder, Great Divide, Flying Dog, Celis, Lost Coast, Sierra, Anchor, Rogue, Stone, Anderson Valley, Mendocino, North Coast). A couple of bottles of Heavyweight Black Saison made Ithaca feel close to home.
Wasn't 'til I was around the far side that I noticed the growler pour area. Currently 11 taps (Flying Bison Skye Pilot Scotch Ale, Ridgeway Lump of Coal, Celis Grand Cru, Arrogant Bastard, Goose Island Christmas Ale, Rogue Brutal Bitter, Sierra Celebration, Avery Old Jubilation, Piraat, Lake Placid Ubu Ale, AB Winter Bourbon Cask Ale).
The rear corner of the store is packed with a most extensive collection of juice and sodas. All sorts of small and local brands with cutesy packagings. Also, they've extended us the courtesy of tucking all the crappy macros out of the way so they aren't a nuisance to anyone.
Good snacks and a nice glassware selection in the corner. Bought me a bottle of Pater Lieven and a couple of Cantillon tumblers and hit the road. Worth the visit if you're in these parts.

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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 sholland119
4.55/5  rDev +0.4%

A great beer store, not to be missed if you are in the area.

The selection is wide ranging and diverse, with great Belgians, Germans, British and American beers. The selection really shines in the domestics, with a great representation of NY, mid-Atlantic and NE breweries. I have never seen Really Old Brown Dog in a beer store. There were more bottles of Flying Mouflan and River Horse Oatmeal Milk Stout than I ever saw near home (which is one hour from each brewery). We could have spent a ton of money if we had room in the car.

The growler fill station is a nice touch as well.

Service was disinterested but not unpleasant.


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Photo of seanchai
4.4/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

Photo of akorsak
4.08/5  rDev -9.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 5

Stopped after grabbing some Brute at Ithaca's release. It was almost rush hour so traffic was a bear.

Quality: Wow! This selection is awesome. I was greeted on entrance. And did I mention the selection! The entire floor is dedicated to beer, lots of it, and lots of good stuff.

Service: I was greeted on entrance but generally left to my own devices.

Selection: There was so much that it was overwhelming. I didn't know where to start: the Nordic and Russian offerings, Belgians, Domestics, local domestics. There was just too much to process. I grabbed a Black Ops and Squall IPA but saw more labels that I care to remember. This rivals Half Time in size. Well worth a visit on a busy Friday afternoon. If you can't find something new here, you can anywhere (although they didn't have the newly released Brute, tsk tsk).

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Photo of mynie
4.83/5  rDev +6.6%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5

I stopped reviewing most bottle shops a while ago, since 1) there's often usually just one game in town, and it's not like people are going to make travel plans just to go to beer stores, and 2)things can change a lot in a short amount of time, and store visiting experience can vary wildly trip by trip.

I'm reviewing the Finger Lakes Beverage Center, though, because it is probably the best beer store I have ever been to. The only ones that come close are Waterbury's Beer Cellar and Milwaukee's Discount Liquors and Three Cellars, but each of those go for a very different vibe.

They don't sell beer at liquor stores in NY state. Meaning, a beer store is a beer store. And this is the largest, most sprawling, most obviously well cared for beer store I've ever been to. They have a cold section that puts any Binny's to shame, single bottle selections for a large variety of local, midwest, and east coast brews, large and nicely rotated selections of Belgian, Scandinavian, English, continental, and Japanese brews, and a fantastic and cheap variety of macro domestics. Also growlers.

The staff was friendly and knowledgeable and they had enough people working that there were no lines, even as people were getting their growlers filled. The vibe was pleasant and middle class--didn't have the grimy liquor store feel--and the prices were markedly cheaper than what I've gotten used to in Massachusetts.

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Photo of Deuane
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

What a gem! Row upon row of nicely organized imports and micros. Each section arranged with geographic order...Belgians here, British Isles there, German bier over here. Three rows of American micros, a beautiful display stand of Unibroue products and a dozen or so taps available for growler include Dark Horse Sapient Triple....WTF!!

Nice to see they tuck the crap out of the way for those of us not interested!

Service was great with all questions answered promptly and you have a case discount, can I set this down over here, do you have xyz?

I picked up a bunch of Bear Republic bombers and an entire mix and match case of American micro IPA's from places that I cannot get beer from in PA or do not want to buy an entire case of!

I will make sure to hit FLBC next time we are in the area to visit our friend attending Cornell or hitting the multitude of nearby wineries....which we do on a twice a year basis. A great store in a great town...what more could you ask for?

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Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -11.7%

Photo of BeerBucks
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.02/5  rDev -11.3%
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.

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Photo of Soloveitchik
4.6/5  rDev +1.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5

Photo of Seanibus
4.65/5  rDev +2.6%

Breathtaking. It would be hard to imagine a better beer store. Tucked in an inconspicuous corner on State Street, this place turns out to have a vast and varied selection of beer from all over the world. But it really shines on American craft brew, featuring an astonishing selection of beers from all over the country. Most are offered as both sixpacks and singletons, with lots of 22oz bottles and rarities. It has an excellent collection of New York brews and a good mix of small regional producers from the Northeast. Toward the back is a good selection of cold sixpacks. And there is even a good lineup of artisnal sodas from all over.

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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 TheBeerdedCharmer
4.14/5  rDev -8.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Photo of indiapaleale
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

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...

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Photo of stakem
4.35/5  rDev -4%

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.

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Photo of bigred89
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of Durge
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%

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.

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Photo of epyon396
4.32/5  rDev -4.6%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 4.75

Ok. So keep this in mind while you read my review. I live in Philly, where we are super-spoiled. Cantillion, Russian River, Drie Fonteinen, and other awesome things are readily available in my area.

And this bottle shop blew my mind. I was giddy. I'm jealous of people in Ithaca.

"Huge selection" does not even begin to cover it. Expansive and cavernous building, especially in the back coolers. The place seems unorganized at first, but then you realize that it is broken up by region. I have no idea what the review below me is talking about with "NY brews and clearance beers" and "nonexistent pricing". This is simply wrong. The only beer that I noticed that didn't have a price was Firestone Walker Bretta Rose, which I didn't care how much it was. I bought several. Eclipse variants, Almanac, a buttload of Mikkeller, Westbrook Gose, Single Cut, Drie Fonteinen were just the things that I bought. Practically every region and country are covered to some degree in this store. Prices are more than fair, as well.

The staff had no problem helping me discern the difference between the Eclipse variants (nothing on this earth can make me second guess myself like that wax) and gave me samples of the beers on tap while I was zipping around the store like a hummingbird filling my cart. Not out of their way friendly, but friendly enough.

If you're in the area, stop here and Northstar House. Seriously.

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Photo of dwoolley1
4.29/5  rDev -5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5

Photo of indianabeerman
4.39/5  rDev -3.1%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.25

Photo of asabreed
4.7/5  rDev +3.8%

My wife and I decided to spend a Saturday in Ithaca, which was a few days ago, to tour some wineries, hit some decent places for food, Ithaca Beer Company, some wineries by the Cayuga, and of course, the Finger Lakes Beverage Center.

I'm glad I did, to say the least.

This may be the best beer store I've been to, and though that's not saying a lot compared to some I imagine, it makes me very happy to be only an hour from it since we're in Vestal.

One thing I love about this store is the wealth of singles that around. You don't have to, for most beers, grab a 4 or 6-pack if you don't want to. That makes it so much easier to grab, well, many 6-packs, especially if you want to try a bunch of different things, which I like to do when it comes to awesome stores.

I picked up the Ithaca stuff I wanted. Brooklyn Black Ops ($20, which I'm not sure about, but I've been wanting a bottle for way too long), Squall IPA, and a lot of single bottles. I didn't want to spend more than $100, and I didn't.

Now you won't find something like Lost Abbey in this place. I don't think so at least. But Stone, Victory, Great Lakes, practically every single local or semi-local or within-a-few-states craft brewery. And a lot of Belgians and Scandinavian stuff too. We were limited in time, but they have a ton of stuff. A lot you can get by the case.

Prices are good. Of course singles, 12 oz. singles, will cost you more than 4 or 6-packs, but the mark-up's not that bad.

And the places is super clean and very nicely organized.

I wasn't greeted anytime I was in the store, which always annoys me at least very slightly.

I used to work at Once Upon a Vine in Richmond, and the one thing I always did was at least say "Hello" to the customers. Is it really that hard, honestly, especially since there were at least three people working there?

And the person who checked me out was tight-lipped and didn't say anything except "$107.62" or whatever it was. Again, you don't need to be up in my grill when I'm walking around, but pleasantries shouldn't be dead, especially when you're spending a good chunk of cash.

But this place is not to be missed. When we're in Ithaca again I'll be stopping there, and I can see myself spending around the same amount if not a lot more cash... if I have it.

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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 warmstorage
4.04/5  rDev -10.8%
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.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
4.35/5  rDev -4%

This place is full of craft beer, I would say between 900-1000 choices. An aisle each for Belgian, German, English, and other countries. Several isles for American craft beers, all of which are nicely organized with prices for bottles, six packs and cases displayed.
The Belgian section is excellent, with trappist brews, quite a few sours (rodenbach, cantillon, others), fantome stuff, de struise and many others.
There are also a ton of regional brews represented with their entire lineups (Middle ages, horseheads, Ithaca, Weyerbacher, Southern Tier, Erie, many more).
Besides regional beers there are tons of brews from all over the country to choose from (Avery, Troegs, Pretty Things, SN, occasional Alesmith, Bear Republic, tons of Stone, etc.). I have yet to see or find something that I thought was out of date or too old. Also, every week or two Finger Lakes gets new beers to improve their selection, which is great.
There are also 8 rotating taps for growler fills, which is something that I haven't seen at many places.

I have had a few conversations about beer with people working there, and they know their stuff, even when I have asked questions about things like Sam Adams Tiple Bock and Captain Lawrence Nor'easter, someone working at Finger Lakes had tried them and was able to tell me what I needed to know. Generally you are greeted at the door and that is it, they leave you to browse

Prices are pretty good. They compete with Wegman's, having the same prices for the few beers they have in common(although some things are a bit cheaper at Weggys).

Overall, Finger Lakes is worth a stop for anyone passing through the area.

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