We cruised into Ithaca, NY hungry, thirsty and looking for a nice, relaxing weekend. What we got was great food, great beer and a weekend that kept us going. From the local brews to the gorges and waterfalls, this was one town that refused to disappoint us.
Surprisingly enough, the one place we planned on visiting, Ithaca Brewing, did not happen. We just didn’t have time, and pleasantly enough, we were able to find enough of their beer around town (surprise, right) to keep us happy.
When we got to town Friday night, we checked into the hotel, and then started the search for some brews and food. We hit up Bandwagon Brewpub, a local brewpub in the basement of a building. While there was a wait for the tables, we just grabbed a couple of beers. I had the sampler, which consisted of Strawberry Cream, Hefe-Wheat, Common, Double IPA and Oat Meal Stout.
|Ithaca Ale House Bar|
The Strawberry Cream was smooth, not really my cup o’ brew, so I placed it aside. For someone who enjoys the fruit beer (non Belgian lambic), this would be a good beer. The Hefe-Wheat was a refreshing beer, hazy with a nice yeast kick. The Common was very clean. I probably created a problem, because I was kind of looking for a Anchor Steam, and got an average, slightly better than average beer- I would put it on the level of Troeg’s Scratch Keystone Common. The stout was nice and smooth with the oatmeal not overpowering, but keeping it smooth. The highlight was the DIPA. That blew us away. Great beer, hops all over the place, but the malt was kept in check and made its presence as well. The place also had guest taps, as two of the group decided to get Abita Purple Haze and Southern Tier Hop Sun.
|Ithaca Ale House Tap List|
We left there in search of some cheesesteaks to fill our stomachs. We found some at the Ithaca Ale House. We also found a nice tap list, and a band that was starting to play. Beer of the night was the Ithaca Executioner 13- they called it a “Double Hoppy Wheat Ale”. It definitely was spot on. Hops burst through with power. Before that, I had the Ithaca Dark Humor. I think I was expecting too much when I read the description of “All Brett Porter”. The dark malts masked some of the brett, but there was that yeast bite to it that made it delicious. I also could not turn down a Sierra Nevada Southern Tier Harvest- still one of my favorite beers.
|Taps at Ithaca Ale House|
We left the ale house as the music was getting too loud for a narrow space (maybe we are just getting old). And found ourselves at an “Irish” pub in a hotel (Kilpatricks Publick House). It was time for a shot- it was a guys weekend after all. The Shillelagh it was. If you don’t know, this is the best irish shot out there- 1/3 Jamison, 1/3 Baileys and 1/3 Irish Mist (we had to substitute Amaretto, because an irish pub didn’t have Irish Mist). After plowing through this shot with the bartender (who we just taught how to make it), he suggested the “shot of the night”- a Pancake Shot. This 3/4 Jamison, ¼ Butterscotch Schnapps shot, followed by Orange Juice tasted just like a Pancake. It was crazy. Oh yeah, they had beer too. Ithaca Cascazilla (a pun from the stream that runs through town and Godzilla) was a hopped up red ale that we ordered a few of.
There, we met a wedding party (wedding was the next day), who insisted on tasting the Pancake shot- multiple followed. After being informed of the short night (bars stop serving at 1 a.m.), we ordered a last round, then headed over for some pizza on the commons, back to the hotel to rest up for the next day. Overall, it was a fun night of booze, food and friends (old and new).