Bandwagon Brewery, Ithaca, NY

Ithaca, New York, located at the southern tip of Cayuga Lake, is a community of diverse individuals. It is home to many eclectic restaurants and shops, and bursts with individuality. The city takes pride in itself by supporting small businesses and locally produced products. Situated in the heart of downtown is the Bandwagon Brewpub, home of the Bandwagon Brewery, makers of fine hand-crafted beers.

We arrived at the brewpub shortly after they opened for the evening and were promptly given a table. The interior is darkly lit, with brick walls, and an old wooden floor. It has a very rustic and snug atmosphere. The restaurant hosts a small bar area and a handful of tables which, I imagine, quickly fill up as the evening goes on! Our server was Chris, who managed to give us some information whenever he stopped by the table. We ordered two flights so we could sample everything that Bandwagon had to offer during our visit. Our beer selections were as follows.

Hidden Rabbit Hefeweizen
  • 4.7% ABV
  • Brewed with coriander and chamomile flowers.
  • Classic Hefeweizen flavors, reserved use of spices.
High Step Weizenbock
  • 9.3% ABV
  • Gold medal winner at Tap NY 2012.
  • Complex spices with a good malt backbone.
Ezra Red Ale
  • 5.0% ABV
  • Brewed in conjunction with Cornell University.
  • Great use of malt in nose and taste; a decent Red Ale.
Pirate Eye IPA
  • 6.8% ABV
  • Lots of grapefruit, citrus, and pine notes.
Sully’s Irish Stout
  • 4.1% ABV
  • Very sessionable; roasty, toasty, bready malts.
Grapefruit Session Ale
  • Session India Pale Ale
  • Lots of juicy grapefruit, good hop backbone and nice clean finish.
Westhaven Red Ace Ale
  • Red Ace beets from West Haven Farm.
  • Slightly tart notes make this a more interesting beer.
Belgian Style Tripel
  • Belgian Style Golden Strong Ale
  • Ripe fruit, spicy esters. An interesting finish.
6-4-3 Double IPA
  • Very smooth, does not taste like a high ABV beer.
Udder Delight Milk Stout
  • Milk sugar is added directly to the boil.
  • Creamy and smooth, lots of chocolate and toasted malt in the backbone.
Belly River Oatmeal Stout
  • 5.5% ABV
  • Chocolate and Caramel malts.
  • A decent oatmeal stout, but nothing too exciting.

All the beer that we tried was very well made. Unfortunately, they could not supply me with the ABVs on each of them. Looking at the breweries website, Bandwagon also produces a Peanut Butter Chocolate Stout which I would love to have tried but, unfortunately, was not on tap during our visit. Standouts for me were the Sully’s Irish Stout, Belgian Style Tripel, and the Udder Delight Milk Stout. The flights, costing $8.00 each, consisted of five beers. The brewpub also serves flights of beer from other breweries as well. If you decide to purchase a full glass of beer, they are available in 10, 13, and 16 ounce pours. The pint pours average around $5.00 each which is a pretty fair price. Finally, the drink menu also features a variety of red and white wines, many of which come from local wineries.

The food menu is equally diverse and contains many interesting choices. I ended up having the waffles with shrimp, Andouille sausage, spinach, onions, and tomatoes. This may sound like an odd combination but it was amazing and came highly recommended. The chef uses many locally sourced ingredients from area farms and dairies. Aside from food and beverage, the brewpub also sells t-shirts, growlers, and pint glasses.

Chris was able to share some information about the brewery, although it was difficult getting him to stay for too long to answer questions! Bandwagon Brewpub opened around 2009 and the current brewmaster is Steve Bareford. The most popular beer they are serving right now is the Pirate Eye IPA. The beers on tap change frequently, so return visits are recommended to see what is new and interesting.

While I wasn’t able to glean much more information about the brewery, I enjoyed a great meal and some excellent beers. Bandwagon is definitely a brewpub to stop at again because of the constantly changing draft line-up. I look forward to future visits to experience more of what they have to offer!

Ithaca is famous for its many gorgeous waterfalls. There are more than 100 within 10 miles of downtown! The city is also the home of Moosewood Restaurant, renowned for its award-winning vegetarian meals. Be sure to check out some of the waterfalls and local restaurants if you are in the area!

Bandwagon Brewery and Brewpub

Bandwagon Brewpub’s Facebook Page

114 N. Cayuga Street, Ithaca, NY 14850

Visited November 27, 2013

Blog post written by Thomas Andersen.


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