Brew Review

Beer Review – Ithaca Groundbreak Saison

The Groundbreak Saison is one of Ithaca Beer Company’s seasonal beers and is available between February and April. I missed the opportunity to try this beer on draught a few months ago, so when I saw it in the refrigerator case at The Foodery, I just HAD to pick up a bottle. Here is what Ithaca Beer Company has to say about this beer:

“An Americanized – think hoppy – Saison, Ground Break is brewed with generous amounts of Amarillo, Crystal and Glacier hops and flaked rye.  It’s fermented with a blend of Belgian and American yeasts.  Enjoy the very dry and hoppy bite of Ground Break as the first signs of change start breaking up the long cold winter!”

Is this beer the first sign of Spring? Let’s find out…

  • Appearance: Golden yellow with a slight orange tint. Cloudy. Fluffy, half inch head that dissipates slowly. Moderate lacing left on the glass.
  • Aroma: Lemon zest. Yeast. Clove and other spices.
  • Taste: Well carbonated. Has that Champagne fizziness that is typical of the style. Creamy texture. Starts off with lots of citrus. Tart with moderate hop bitterness. Dry, spicy finish.
  • ABV: 6%

I am a huge fan of the delightfully funky Saison beer style! While the Ithaca Ground Break Saison isn’t the best Saison that I’ve ever had (Goose Island Sofie and Saison Dupont are my favorites so far), it’s still a very good example of this beer style (it’s also much less expensive than my two current favorites). Though I drank this beer on it’s own the other night, it craves to be paired with food, particularly rich, creamy cheeses, and charcuterie. Gonna have to put that pairing on my already long to-do list.

16 replies »

  1. So I’m minding my own business (well, not exactly my own – my work’s business) and moving slowly towards a reasonably productive stretch when out of the corner of my ear comes the telltale *ding indicating a new e-mail….

    Ah, a new beer review from one of the BoozeDancers – G-Lo. OK, having been somewhat responsible for introducing him to the dark and delightful world of craft beer obsessiveness, I’m willing to allow a short distraction and read the review.

    Ithaca Groundbreak. Had it, know it. Not a huge fan it myself because it’s more Saison-like or “Saison Lite” than a legitimate Saison (such as Sofie or Saison Dupont as G-Lo named). Ithaca’s version would cower in a dark corner if approached by a Saison du BUFF. But I digress…

    I’m nearing the end and then, to my astonishment, horror and visceral disgust I see not one but two highly offensive inclusions – yes, “inclusions” – just like the dirty little specs of black carbon that ruin real diamonds and forever earn them the title “Zales Diamond”. These inclusions; however, are not specks of carbon but are, instead, claimed by some to be edible foods.

    OFFENDER #1: “rich, creamy cheeses”. Only things worse than seeing the words are seeing the offal encased in pretzel dough surrounding a hot dog, and; having the insidious rotting milk injected into an unsuspecting virginal hot dog itself.

    OFFENDER #2: “charcuterie” What does this even mean? I nearly passed out at the thought of it. I know that Tria does a nice business of pairing these offensive and freakish things with wine (and allegedly with beer) but they’re preying on the unevolved (for the record, I’m a big fan of their’s despite their association with the cheese-afflicted).

    OK, that about sums it up. Otherwise, nice review


    • Because I’m always willing to lend a helping hand to those less fortunate that have not or will not partake in the joy and wonder of that which constitutes charcuterie, I offer the following information which I have copied and pasted from

      Charcuterie (pronounced /ʃɑrˌkuːtəˈriː/, /ʃɑrˈkuːtəri/; French: [ʃaʁkytʁi], from chair ‘flesh’ and cuit ‘cooked’) is the branch of cooking devoted to prepared meat products such as bacon, ham, sausage, terrines, galantines, pâtés, and confit, primarily from pork. Charcuterie is part of the garde manger chef’s repertoire. Originally intended as a way to preserve meats before the advent of refrigeration, they are prepared today for their flavors derived from the preservation processes.

      And for you wanna-be poets, this is from Webster’s online dictionary:

      Rhymes with CHARCUTERIE: Adar Sheni, advanced degree, Aegean Sea, Agri Dagi, alienee, Amundsen Sea, biographee, bouquet garni, carpenter bee, Caspian Sea, casus belli, charivari, chincherinchee, chinoiserie, consent decree, covenantee, cucumber tree, decision tree, dedicatee, delegatee, distributee, East China Sea, ESOP, evacuee, examinee, exuviae, facetiae, fait accompli, felo-de-se, fortunately, HTLV, interrogee, interviewee, jaborandi, Labrador Sea, millidegree, New Jersey tea, omega-3, Pasiphaë, patisserie, persecutee, poète maudit, prima facie, reliquiae, relocatee, Sault Sainte Marie, Simon Legree, skeleton key, South China Sea, to a degree, umbrella tree, wayfaring tree.


    • Son, we live in a world that has beer, and those beers have to be enjoyed by men with cheese. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Ale Monger? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for the lactose intolerant, and you curse the Cheese-makers. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That cheese consumption, while tragic, probably made that beer taste better. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, made that beer taste better. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want the cheese, you need the cheese. We use words like Cheddar, Gouda, Brie. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent enjoying food and beer. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very flavor freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a cheese wheel, and start slicing. Either way, I don’t give a damn how diabolical you think we are.


  2. To the Alemonger, I must apologize for the constant barrages of my cheese-minded cohorts. To Aaron Sorkin and the rest of “A Few Good Men”, I must apologize for the Wookie. To Russell Crowe and the rest of “Gladiator”, I again must apologize for the Wookie. However, apologies aside, I too nearly had a beverage pass through the nose and I am entertained. More creamy cheeses and charcuterie for all the men!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.