Tag Archives: ITHACA NY


Personal Best Brewing


Opened summer ’23 in a high-ceilinged 8,000 square-foot warehouse a few blocks from the town center, PERSONAL BEST BREWING is helping to lead Ithaca’s downtown revitalization. A multifarious concrete floored venue with roomy picnic-tabled pub area, large overhead-doored indoor shuffleboard room and grassy enclosed biergarten (with firepits and outdoor games), Personal Best’s entrepreneurial head brewer, Anthony Cesari, slung 22 precision-detailed beers on my initial November ’23 Saturday afternoon sojourn.

A former city health club, Personal Best got the wheels in motion fairly quickly for an independent microbrewery. Cesari’s lively suds depend on efficient stylistic clarity, mild recipe risking, unconfined malted hop blends and the beautiful Finger Lakes water source.

Whereas nearby Revelry Yards relies on steadfast authenticity re-creating popular beer styles, Personal Best has a more expansive lineup of individually diversified, wider ranging and impressively meticulous brews.

At the 20 wood-seat, slate-topped central bar, there’s a gray brick-walled draught station and to the left are the sterling state-of-the-art silver brew tanks and fermenters. A small right side kitchen serves fine pub fare. Wood beams, lights and pipes hang from the exposed wood-trestle ceiling.

Crisply dry-hopped Italian pilsner, Rental Shoes, let lemon-candied herbage pick up floral-spiced perfuming over corny pilsner malts.

Maize-dried spelt and millet graining anchored Nostalgic Value, a rustic corn lager with musty barnyard acridity countering mild citrus spicing.

Festive autumn lager, Ritual Consumption, pleated leafy hop astringency into desiccated orange spicing and musty raw grained minerality.

Peculiar rye lager variant, Short Ride, utilized IPA-related Nelson Sauvin and Moteuka hops to enable lemony green grape and guava souring to penetrate its dry rye bed.

Musky English pale ale, Cone Poem, retained a dry herbal fungi mustiness for its dusky floral-daubed peach and apricot splotch.

Another English-styled ‘pub ale,’ Cult Status, splattered lemon zest across rye-dried pumpernickel, peppery herbage and papery gluiness.

Dryly sea-salted coriander consumed the cologne-perfumed lemon lime zesting of tequila-twisted, agave-doused Gose Dubbed Over, a ‘tart wheat ale’ with champagne grape esters reaching its acidulated malt base (and informed by a Margarita cocktail).

Meanwhile, classic sea-salted coriander spicing gained mild limey bittering and wispy herbage for Adult Gose Tour, a grassy-hopped gose.

Summery kolsch, Another Scorcher, let champagne-sparkled green grape esters get secured by grassy hop astringency and grainy pilsner malting.

Sweet flaked brown rice, toasted cereal graining and creamed corn sugaring punctuated Cold Spring Helles Bock, spurting spritzy lemon fizz over its brown bread base.

Honeyed wheat dough sweetened mild hefeweizen, Billowing Cumulus, slighting its dried banana, spiced orange and rotted apricot fruiting.

Fruity Pebbles-inspired sour wheat ale, Fruity Treble, coalesced pineapple tartness, oaken cherry musting, key lime bittering and vinous green grape esters with light lemongrass pungency over acidulated wheat dryness.

Zesty pink guava and bittersweet strawberry adjuncts gained light milk-sugared vanilla creaming for Blushing Meadows, a striking sour IPA with lemony lime-salted grapefruit, peach and mango remnants.

Sessionable Simcoe-Mosiac-hopped India Pale Ale, Today’s Active Lifestyles, brought sunshiny lemon-peeled yellow grapefruit bittering to dry pine resin and grainy malt earthiness.

Dryly offbeat Imperial IPA, Gear Monger, permitted gin-soaked grapefruit, mandarin orange and pineapple tanginess to gain lightly cologne-soaked pine lacquering.

West Coast styled IPA, Pilot Season, sprayed yellow grapefruit misting and lightly embittered orange rind musk on dry wood tones over raw honeyed pale malts.

Peachy yellow grapefruit salted Another Green Whirl, a dry-hopped NEIPA, absorbed minty pine needling and grassy cannabis snips.

Another dry-hopped NEIPA, Fear Of Heights, piled sunny Citra-hopped grapefruit, orange and pineapple tanginess to sweet oats-flaked pale malting.

Milk-sugared Imperial Sour Smoothie, Personal Trainer, sprung peach-pureed blackberry and raspberry tartness upon oats-flaked wheat creaming, allowing tertiary lemon limed bittering, champagne-like saison yeast and dry rum snips to flutter.

Lessly milk-sugared Imperial Sour Ale, Immersion Bender, let bright tropical fruiting ensconce mild oats-flaked white wheat creaming. Zesty pineapple-juiced orange concentrate, salty guava-passionfruit-kiwi conflux, tangy tangerine twist, strawberry rhubarb tartness and perfumed apricot whiffs picked up latent vodka kick, briny lemon-limed Margarita spunk, hard-candied citric sourness and minty floral riffs.

Nifty autumnal Imperial brown ale, Pumpkin Spice Latte, placed milk-sugared latte creaming atop sweet brown chocolate, leaving pumpkin-spiced nutmeg and cinnamon seasoning on the bourbon vanilla-daubed espresso back end.

Dry Irish Stout, Short Shift, posted dark-roast coffee bittering and toasted pumpernickel breading to dewy peat and blanched hazelnut residue above dark cocoa powdering.


Revelry Yards | Dining | ithaca.com


Joining Ithaca’s Aurora Street Restaurant Row during summer 2022, REVELRY YARDS serves steadfastly stylistic beers to go alongside wood-fired pizza, burgers, sandwiches and soups at the former Ithaca Ale House space. Its centrally located wood-lacquered 20-seat Container Bar, salvaged from a shipping container, services surrounding tables and four-seat booths as well as the front patio. Exposed pipes hang from the black art deco ceiling of the clean white-walled pub and the store-front windowed brew tanks are stationed upstairs.

Though highly conservative in approach (besides the few sour ales), each charmingly mainstream beer stayed crisply clean and easy to imbibe.

My wife and I joined local pal, Hank, to consume eight tidy suds, November ’23, in the midafternoon.

Musky grain minerality reached lemony herbal hop spicing for Pothole, a light-bodied Bavarian pilsner.

Easygoing floral-bound white grape esters gave atypical Italian pilsner, Cayuga White, its musty dry-hopped Sauvignon Blanc wining above acidulated wheat(?) malting.

Sweet amber graining and resinous hop herbage pleated lemony orange wisps for Flying Donkey, a mediocre Mexican lager.

Lightly orange-spiced Oktoberfest Lager let rummy marzipan sweetness fade into its biscuity base.

Floral-daubed kiwi tartness sparked fruit-spiced pale ale, Kiwi Tropic, leaving gooseberry, cantaloupe and melon subsidies.

Vinous grape esters and mild lemon tartness graced Happy Sour Ale, an oaken dried, lightly mineral grained moderation.

Lemony grapefruit-forward West Coast-styled IPA, Heat Of The Moment, picked up orange rind bittering and light pine lacquering.

Dry NEIPA, One Way Street, sunk lemony grapefruit pith bittering, sour green grape esters, floral sweetness and peppery herbage into sugared pale malting.


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Inside a white brick warehouse in Ithaca’s West End District just a half mile down the street from Lucky Hare, LIQUID STATE BREWING COMPANY came to fruition October 2017. Taking the space of an old laundry facility, Liquid State’s entrepreneurial brewsters, Ben Brotman and James Tielens (former Cornell Lab biologists) craft comforting New England-styled IPA’s and Euro-styled pilsner-lagers as well as sundry stylistic one-offs at their windowed backroom brewing station.

A family friendly pub with Skee-ball plus video and board games, Liquid State’s ten bench tables recall a high school cafeteria. Its pristine 15-seat wood lacquer-topped bar features 20 draught handles and many growlers.

After swimming at Buttermilk State Park, my wife and I (with Roscoe the dog) head to the covered cement-floored back patio to consume five of the fifteen available draughts this hot July afternoon, 2019.

First up, effervescent straw-paled moderation, Yard Lion Hefeweizen coalesced lemony clover-honeyed banana tartness with mild coriander-clove spicing and herbal lemongrass snips.

Sedate Daypack Saison cushioned its lightly soured lemony grapefruit-orange bittering with black-peppered coriander spicing and salted mango tartness above sugary pale malts.

Caramelized plum sweetness anchored rich La Trapeze Dubbel, a creamily mocha-malted medium body with dewy peat earthiness contrasting latent candied fig sugaring.

Juicy fruited Liquid Crush New England IPA, a milky beige yellow-hazed beauty, brought lightly vinous grape acidity and lactic gooseberry yogurt souring to tangy grapefruit, orange, tangerine and cantaloupe serenity.

As for the one dark ale (besides the untried light-bodied Stache Black Lager), robust Stray Dog Porter placed toffee-sugared brown chocolate sweetness alongside hop-charred coffee roast, leaving subsidiary cola, walnut and hazelnut illusions on the nutty tail end.


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In the newly renovated Press Bay Alley micro-retail center in downtown Ithaca, LUCKY HARE BREWING COMPANY began operations at this second location (the first is in nearby Hector) during April ’19.

A humbly pristine, white-walled, 200 square-foot tasting room with only four taps and no seats, its charming elegance lies in its immaculate petite splendor. Red plastic furnishings are set up in the cement-floored alley just outside the tap house’s overhead door for sunny day relief.

Entrepreneurial head brewer Ian Conboy, a marine scientist by trade, loves exploring the full range of beer styles and this sunny Saturday in July ’19 he had on hand one juicy IPA, a coffee-smitten Blonde Ale, a champagned IPA and a milk stout.

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Juicy tropical-fruited year round West Coast IPA, Falcon Punch, a sunshiny dry-hopped moderation, brought tangy orange-peeled grapefruit, peach and mango resilience to light pine resin above caramelized pale malting.

Dryly effervescent Brut champagne-styled IPA, Golden Pony, let green grape esters relay lightly vinous tongue-tingling sparkling wine illusions to kettle-soured citrus tones.

Roasted Ethiopian coffee mellowness engaged medium-bodied blonde ale, Blonde Moment, leaving espresso tones on its distant yellow-orange fruiting and bitter hop-charred singe.

Lactic cocoa-powdered milk stout, Milk Milk, retained dry Baker’s chocolate and black coffee tones to contrast mocha molasses sweetness at the thin finish.