Ithaca Beer Company

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American Wild Ale
4.29 | pDev: 9.32%
Ithaca Beer Company
New York, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Reviews: 207 | Ratings: 452
Photo of jmarsh123
4.22/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to mjtiernan for the bottle!

Pours a pink hued brown with a big frothy white head that fades into nothingness after a few minutes.

Smells of some funky brett although not overpowering. Also oak and some berry sweetness although I probably wouldn't pick out blueberry specifically if I didn't know.

Flavors start out with some tart lemon/berry flavors and some underlying brett funkiness. Definitely puckering although far from sour. Some oak comes into play and it finishes semi-dry.

Light-medium mouthfeel with prickly carbonation although it was not a gusher.

One of my bigger wants for a while. Good enjoyable beer although it lacked the wow factor to push it into elite status. I didn't get a ton of blueberry aroma or flavor from it nonetheless still a good beer just not quite what I was expecting.

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Photo of vonnegut21
4.24/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I was worried this one was going to be a gusher, but there was no overflow upon opening.

A: Pours a pale, pinkish hue with a tinge of light purple as well. Huge white head fades quickly. Just a beautiful looking beer.

S: Moderate brett sourness up front, with some vinuous character and perhaps a bit of blueberry that follow.

T: Mildly sour, but not puckeringly so. Very drinkable. Sourness is fairly straightforward, lacking the complexity of a Belgian fruited Lambic. The back of the palate lingers with fresh blueberry, which is quite nice. The taste is nice, but it could use more acidity and some deeper flavors.

M: Super carbonated, dry and wine-like. Well suited to the flavors going on.

O: A very nice sour. If I could get this off the shelf (other than for double retail) I would definitely buy this again. As a super hyped release, I'm not sure it quite lives up to the hype.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.23/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a slightly pinkish amber with a white head that fades quickly. The beer is quite hazy with a lot of sediment at the bottom of the bottle. The nose is a tame sour with no real trace of blueberries, but a lot of funk/brettiness. There is only a touch of alcohol and sweetness. This sour is incredibly drinkable with a bone dry finish and slightly lingering sourness. The beer is definitely worth waiting in line for, but I'm not sure it's quite worth double the price off shelves...

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle from 2012, thanks to Matt for the trade!

Pours with a crackling, lively carbonation that forms a quickly rising and falling head of white, not unlike ginger ale. The body is hazy pinkish-purple with zero lacing and a placid surface for the duration of the glass.

Aromatics lead off with blueberries, vineous wine, and some underlying wet hay and lemon pulp. A hint of musty boards and cloves follow through.

Light bodied with a crisp, sharp, splintered mouthfeel.

Ripe, tannic blueberries with grapeskins and an oaky dryness start the palate. Winey undertones step forward with juicy but bone-dry fruit following through. More than tart yet barely short of sour.

Finishes with ripe fruit, a decent level of tartness, and a tannic dryness.

Insanely drinkable and the blueberries are balanced well with the red wine barrel aging.
Too good!

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Photo of jethrodium
3.8/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle generously shared by popery. Thanks David. Not sure which batch. Pours a slightly reddish cloudy amber with a small white head that settles relatively quickly and leaves some light lacing on the glass. The aroma has quite a bit of barnyard funk and a bit of noticeable sweetness. Quite fruity with cherry and raspberry. I wouldn't have guessed blueberries. The initial taste has a bit of sweetness and is quite tart. Cherry and raspberry, a bit of barnyard funk and a touch of wheat. The finish is tart with a bit of funk. Medium body. Medium carbonation. Not bad.

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Photo of DovaliHops
4.45/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received this in a trade... Had it in the beer fridge for a few weeks, and it BLEW UP on me. I remember reading about this beer blowing up in the past. Bottle didn't explode, but blue cork ejected itself from the bottle. I'm going to review this beer, even though I don't know how many days it's been exposed to air. Batch E!032. Must not have exploded too long ago...still pours with a very fizzy, large white head. A nice, murky, pinkish-orange color. Scent is VERY funky. Nicely tart with a bit of blueberry and some strawberry in the nose. So far so good. Still a good beer. Taste is where it kinda seemed weird. It was very acidic with a definite oxidized flavor. It must have blown up AT LEAST over 12 hours ago. Regardless of the off-putting oxidized flavors, there were still some nice cheese and barnyard flavors. A bit of berry, but very champagne like. Mouthfeel is tingly...sharp sour...puckering. Drinkability is still high...with the oxidization. Overall, a very tasty beer...I just wish I could enjoy it the way it was meant to be enjoyed. It must have exploded hours before noticing...because I couldn't imagine a beer being this drinkable after being exposed for so long.

Big THANKS to DaveHack for sending me another bottle of this after my first one exploded! Drank this bottle last night, and although it wasn't extremely different from the oxidized bottle I had not to long ago, this bottle tasted a bit better. It was more sour and didn't have that strange lingering, oxidized flavor. This beer was outstanding!

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Photo of shleepy
4.08/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from 750 bottle into snifter glasses.

A: Pink-ish orange (grapefruit juice-like color), small head, very hazy.

S: Funk, some floral and berry notes.

T: No blueberry flavor that I could detect (so, quite different from Cascade blueberry). Sour and lemonade-like... More citrus and grape than blueberry or raspberry. Still, very enjoyable.

M: Fairly light, very drinkable. Acidity on the high side, but not painfully so.

O: Not very blueberry-like, but very refreshing, sour, and delicious.

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Photo of KevSal
4.17/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

big thanks to GuisseppeFranco for this guy! thanks nick

batch E 041, most recent release.

bottle says its a mix of barrelled beer from 2010 and 2011, than bottle conditioned with champagne yeast. sounds delicious

capped and corked 750 poured into a rr ation glass

a- looks alright, like murky pink lemonade with floaties. cant judge a book by its cover

s- this guy smells great, funk right up front followed by the blue berries and some sourness. i can tell im going to like this one, wish the blue berries popped out more a tiny bit more.

t- sourness upfront with very pleasent berry. funkiness follows, very good balance. i like what the champagne yeast does to the flavors. still wish the blue berries were a bit more showcased

m- great mouth feel, the yeast really does a good job adding to this brew. thick for a sour but relatively medium bodied.

o- fantastic beer! very well done. you can taste the care and time in this brew, hope to try it again!

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Photo of Holland
4.37/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch E!041 from 2012 release.

A: gushed for me when I opened it at 55*F or so. This probably stirred some sediment, making it come out a cloudy reddish orange color with a light pink head that continues to replenish itself.

S: strong lemon scent, grape, and berry.

T: this is where the blueberry comes on, as it was barely distinguishable in the smell. Excellent taste of sour funk, blueberry, some malt sweetness, and mix of slight malt and lemon aftertaste.

M: highly carbonated (don't disturb the bottle before opening) and a medium body make this perfect for the unseasonably warm day today! My only complaint is that the body seems a tad too heavy for this beer.


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Photo of cavedave
4.26/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch E!041

A finger of white head quickly fades to a a bare cap atop a turbid, thick looking, yellowish, brown with a red cast beer. Looks like cider. Not a beauty for sure, but most wilds aren't.

Sweet grain and fruity yeastiness with hints of funky and tart brett, berry, wine, and rounded wine vinegar notes make an excellent bouquet.

Very strong and bright taste, wine vinegar first, a very rounded tart/sour, gentle graininess, with berry and sweetness coming in, some funky notes as well, hints of barnyard and straw, and tart yeastiness finishing it brilliantly. It has a fruitiness that isn't blueberry in flavor specifically, but a thick, general, puckery fruit taste that is crystal clean and astoundingly delicious.

Brightly carb.'ed, full bodied, viscous, and excellent finish. This baby gets extra points for its clean taste and great clearing from palate.

One of the finest fruited wild ales I have been privileged to try. Highest recommendation.

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Photo of xenjoiii
4.48/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A bottle from todays release. One down, eleven to go.

Batch E!041 into my Southampton snifter

Poured a beautiful rose color (as stated on the bottle). Nice one finger head formed an slowly receded leaving a nice ring around the glass. Fresh, juicy blueberries in the showcase in the aroma, which are accompanied with nice bretty undertones. I'm also getting wine characteristics. On to the tase: Mild tartness upfront. Fresh juicy blueberries emerge in the middle of the mouth. A marriage of berries and funk out the back. Grade A.

Overall, I absolutely love this beer. The contents within this bottle completely justified leaving my house at 2am to drive 262 miles to the brewery for the release. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. To all that I had the pleasure of meeting this morning/afternoon, Cheers.

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Photo of suspect
4.27/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a corked and capped 750ml bottle into a Duvel Tulip. Batch E!012. 2011 release.

A: Clear, clean pour. Amber hued golden color with a touch of purple. Lacing is spotty and settles pretty quickly.

S: Barnyard funk mixed with a blueberry sour patch kid that has been left in a grass field. Literally smelled like cow manure for the first minute but that quickly fades as the beer aerates. The bouquet is actually much more present than the words used, but there was really no other way to describe it.

T: Made me make sour face. Literally, couldn't help puckering. Taste follows the nose pretty much directly. The taste is the mouthfeel. Blueberry is left in the back of the throat in such a subtle way. Middle of the taste is a mild grass. The very first taste is the sweet of the malt and it's totally overpowered by the sour.

M: Of the most puckering sour I've had in such a good way. The feel is the highlight - wonderfully carbonated, excellent feel.

O: This beer is a really superb sour. I'm glad to call this my hometown brewery for what they've done with sours. Between Brute and LeBleu, I'm thoroughly impressed.

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Photo of claspada
3.78/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Batch E!021 which I believe was released in December 2010.

Pours a golden honey amber color with a massive bubbly white head that recedes quite rapidly which is surprising considering how massive the head was. Champagne like effervescence and rising bubbles from the bottom just like a champagne would.

Aromas begin with quite a bit of citrus, lactic and cider vinegar notes, but nothing which necessarily says "blueberry". There is some mild funkiness and a decent amount of white vinous and oak smells. Perhaps a fresher bottle would have had more berry.

The tastes follow the nose which is also somewhat disappointing. While there was some very light indiscernible berry flavor, it wasn't necessarily something which I would pinpoint as blueberries. Like the nose, there is a slight citrus/acidic notes and Brett funk, but that and the sourness are not all that intense. Lots of oak and white vinous notes permeate the flavors.

Mouthfeel is medium to light bodied with a lot of carbonation that continues to scrub your palate well after you consume. Finish is super dry and clean from the Brett and oak.

Overall, this was a huge disappointment for me. I was hoping for a lot more berry flavor and I got more of a champagne beer. Reminds me a great deal of the Brute from Ithaca with a tad bit of citrus/berry in the background. Maybe a fresher bottle would have had more blueberry but the Brett yeast has eaten up most of it hereafter a year plus in the bottle. A decent sour but too much carbonation and not enough berry flavor has this in the unlikely to revisit category.

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Photo of ShanePB
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750 ml bottle, Batch # E!032
Served in a miniature goblet

A: Clear, bright ruby/rose colored body with a fizzy soft pink head that dissipated almost immediately. Tons of carbonation is visible throughout the glass, evidence of the champagne yeast used. Only a thin weak ring of tiny bubbles laced the edges.

S: Lots of berry fruits - blueberry, raspberry, strawberry. A nice tartness, sourness and funk from the brettanomyces. Minor hints of grain and pale malt towards the back but the fruits take over this beer aggressively.

T: Wow, that is tart and instantly puckering. Nice amounts of sour, tart qualities last throughout. Blueberry, raspberry, strawberry all blend into a bouquet of delicately balanced sweet and tart flavors. Easily one of the most tart beers I've sampled, and it's wonderfully delicious.

M: Highly bubbly and effervescent, somewhat dry but very clean and crisp. Ends with a nice cut of flavors and bubbles - really a remarkable drink.

This was simply delicious. It had an enamel-ripping tartness that both my girlfriend and I really enjoyed. The berry flavors elevated this one from being a simple, straight up sour beer into something that does go a bit overboard while still remaining grounded.

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Photo of illidurit
4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle shared at the January 2012 Santa Cruz tasting at Sante Adairius. Pours a dark orange color with a pink heart and an effervescent off-white head. Aroma is more reminiscent of sour citrus than of berries. Flavor is lemony with a lambic sourness and a pleasant blueberry finish. A little funky throughout, dry and clean.

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Photo of spdyfire83
4.12/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

137th Review
Bottle to snifter

From notes. Thanks to joshclauss for bringing this to the table. Opened at bspringer's birthday celebration. An epic night for sure to celebrate his golden day of birth!

A: Dull grapefruit-esque in color. Barely 0.5 (bubbly white) fingernail head on medium pour.

S: Blueberries - go figure! Hint of sour and funk; quite tart as well. Very inviting though - I like!

T: Sweet, fresh blueberry field. Quite sweet, but not overly sweet. Crisp, dry finish.

M: Light bodied with minimal carbonation.

O: This beer reminds be of picking blueberries when I was a kid - great times! A solid beer with a nice balance of tart, sour, and dryness.

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Photo of doughanson78
4.65/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Very beautiful orange with red hints. Looks wine like. One finger fizzy white head with barely any retention or lacing.

S: Nice funkiness. Pretty sour and tart. Blueberries are very subtle but work very well. Awesome smelling beer.

T: Sweet and tart upfront. Not as funky as the nose. Tart and funky finish with sour apples and again very subtle hints of blueberry that work very well.

M: Light body. High carbonation. Super crisp and super dry finish.

O: This is up there with the best sours I've had. I was apprehensive about this being over the top with blueberries, but majorly surprised. Awesome beer. A must try.

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Photo of oline73
4.27/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was opened at a tasting this weekend. Poured into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber color with a hint of purple in there as well. There is a layer of white head that goes away quickly.

Smell: Natural blueberries are the star here. Very tart and a bit funky. I'm excited to try this one.

Taste: This beer is extremely tart and a bit harsh, especially in the finish. The blueberry flavor builds towards the finish. Really nice flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with mild carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This is a really tart beer, but the fruit works so well with the sour flavors. I just love the finish. I'll have more given the chance.

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Photo of rowingbrewer
4.92/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I have had this beer on three occasions and this last one inspired me to review it. The beer pours a lovely blue hued but almost entirely transparent Color. The smell is bluebuerries funk and a rice tartness. The flavor was really nice blueberries up front followed by an almost puckering sourness and funk. Wow this beer was sour this time around as was the brute we had next to it. The mouthfeel was light and dry with good carbonation. Overall the best fruited American wild I have had

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Photo of allforbetterbeer
4.16/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle is nearly a year old. Batch E!32. Poured into a snifter.

This bottle has rested upright (synthetic cork) for nearly 12 months without being disturbed, thus the body is crystal clear and shows a brilliant rose-amber body without head and full of large bubbles. This is an outstandingly beautiful wild ale.

Smells of funky lambic-style ale, with a tart bite overlaid with brett. There is a slightly sweet fruity note that is probably due to the blueberries. For an American wild ale, this smells quite like a lambic, which is awesome.

Wow. This tastes awesome. The initial flavors are a melange of wild ale and brett funk flavors all wrapped up in tartness and dry crisp fruit. This gives way to a strange powdery blueberry-pie aftertaste that is oddly synthetic. It really reminds me of what a blueberry sweet-tart might taste like. How interesting.

The mouthfeel is full of bubbles and reminds me of champagne or gueuze. It is quite dry but not quite into the ultra-dry territory.

Conclusion: I recently had my first bad cellaring experiment recently with an American fruit-infused wild ale, which prompted me to open this. Originally I was going to keep this bottle till it was many years older, but then decided not to as this would probably wither away all the blueberries, and not being a true lambic it might not (probably not) improve with age. As it is I like it quite a bit, and would be interested in trying it ultra-fresh if I ever got the chance. I am glad to see beer like this being produced this side of the Atlantic.

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Photo of msubulldog25
4.38/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Been holding this 750ml bottle (Batch E!021) for over a year (can't recall which fine BA sent it); wrapped cap over an indigo-colored synthetic cork. Poured to a teardrop glass at cellar temp (low/mid 40s).

Christmas Eve 2011: hunkered on the couch watching "It's a Wonderful Life" with my wife. A 'LeBleu Christmas'?

Bottle label lists a blend of 2007, 2008, and 2009 with Brettanomyces and champagne yeast.

A: Some crustiness below the cap, and barely a sound when the cork removed ~ bad omens? No way, first pour is a huge fizzing cloud of white bubbles (oops, over 3 fingers --- more careful pours would follow) atop a coppery-orange tinged pink. Liquid is almost clear and showcases an amazingly active carbonation. As is the case with champagnes/sparkling wines, the lively head dissipates quickly. Mesmerizing to stare into the gently swirling pattern created by all that rising air. No lace whatsoever.

S: Not so 'funky', just a bit musty with a fleeting sent of rosy perfume. Grapeskins and grassiness. Blueberries don't have a strong aroma in their whole form, so their contribution here is only subtle sweetness.

T: Immediately I'm struck not by blueberries, but by a squirt of lemony citrus and herbal/botanical flavors of tea and honey. Doughy rolls and a touch of tart apple... the closest thing my palate can easily recollect is a few samplings of mead-based braggots over the last couple years. Interesting! Patience is rewarded when blueberries appear after at least 30 seconds, an aftertaste of earthy sweetness and mild tannins. What a wonderful finish! The pattern repeats with each sip, making the fact that we stretched the bottle out over almost two hours an unending joy.

M: Juicy mouthful, lightly acidic - thirst-quenching like a sip of tart lemonade. Effervescent/crisp, but smoother rather harsher bite-wise. Medium-bodied, with a thin veil of yeastiness sticking around and a thinner acidity attacking my teeth and tugging my cheeks. I don't often comment on burps, but this one's fairly gassy - but, the berry flavors rebound quite deliciously!

O: It's been months since I've had an 'American Wild Ale' with as much character as this one. Both my wife and I (she kept stealing sips) marveled at the nuances and richness of flavors and the lovely color. The acidity hindered the drinkability for me (I have acid reflux), but only a little; otherwise the moderate ABV and layered complexity would keep me (us, really) coming back to LeBleu again and again. East Coast BAs: help a brother and sister out?

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Photo of jsanford
4.2/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Courtesy of THE CPJ. Batch E!012.

Pours a hazy peach with a patchy white head. Subtle aromas of blueberry, oak, Brettanomyces, and wine grapes. Very tart and "oaky". Taste is similar to the nose, nice flavors of Brett, blueberry, oak, funk, and lemon juice. Mouthfeel is crisp and bubbly, with a medium body, sharp carbonation, and a dry, puckering finish. Overall a nice beer, I wish the blueberry came out a bit more.

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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.24/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a snifter.

A- Pours out a Pinkish dark brown color, very thin white head that dissipates to nothing, no apparent lacing as well.
S- The aroma is really nice, fresh blueberries up front, nice fruity notes coming out, sour, funky, cannot wait to try it.
T- The taste is impressive, really easy drinkability, love the blueberries flavor that comes out, some lemon notes, nice balanced tartness, sour, slight funkiness.
M- Medium/light mouth feel, dry on the palate, decent carbonation, clean finish.
O- I’ve been wanting to try this one for a while, really easy drinkability, refreshing and tasty, would like to get a bottle to age.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.12/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours out a clouded, pink rose-coloured body with a fine-textured, whitish head.

Smell: A solid scent of funkiness lightened and brightened up with citric notes and a small-sized spoonful of wild Maine blueberry jam.

Taste: Faintly sweet, initially, with a bit of sugar cookie-like maltiness and the small burst of tartish berries cut with a sip of brine water. Moderately acidic. Mild, good-natured phenolic qualities. Squirt of lemon. There's just a nice evenness about all the flavors presented. The barrel aging imparts a touch of oak on the pleasantly puckering finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Highly carbonated, very active on the tongue.

Drinkability: I've had a few Ithaca beers, some I liked, some, well, I wasn't impressed with at all. This one I found to be rather likeable. I could see myself endlessly drinking it until I fell dead of the spot of a heart attack and/or liver failure.

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Photo of afksports
4.14/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Opened LeBleu while watching the Giants lose. Haha. Gives me a little joy when my Eagles suck so bad.

Appearance is pink and murky, a bit of lace, but
not super sexy. Smell is great, a little funky, tart and sour. A little musty. Blueberry isn't a strong smell, not a strong taste, but it's there in both. The beer starts sharp and tart and finishes lean and sweet. Bit of sugar, burst of flavor, it's fun and quick, light in body and light in abv.

Overall very pleased to share this one. Thanks to Chris for hooking me up!

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LeBleu from Ithaca Beer Company
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 452 ratings