The Ithaca Practitioners of Alemaking (IPA) is a homebrew club based in Ithaca, NY.  Home to several colleges, dozens of craft breweries and wineries, and the highest number of restaurants per capita in NYS, Ithaca provides the perfect backdrop for the homebrew enthusiast.

Ready to sample?

About The Club

Many, many years ago,  several friends (all named Jeff) got together to share some of their homebrew.  They told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on and so on.

From humble beginnings in 2002, the IPA Homebrew Club has grown into a widespread, highly active club.   Reaching across international borders, IPA’s membership has risen to over 150.  Members from Ithaca, Cortland and the surrounding area have joined with members hailing from Australia, Great Britain, Poland and beyond to participate in what has become a new international pastime: Homebrewing.

IPA members have done it all.  From designing and creating their own club booth and draft system, to procuring barrels for aging beer, to traveling long distance to the National Homebrew Conference, IPA’s presence has been felt near and far.

And, there are plans for creating and selling new merchandise,  and even hosting a local homebrew tour where You become the brewery.

Who knows what we’ll do next?

Current Officers:

El Jefe Por Vida: Jeff Tonole

Treasurer: Chuck Raniewicz

Master of Grain:  Clair Haus

Event/Brewery Trip Organizers: Chuck Raniewicz, Clair Haus, Joel Sleppy

Iron Brewer Overlord: Brandon Fortenberry

Web Admins: Chuck Raniewicz, Mike Neville

Steward/DD: Joel Sleppy

Anyone who homebrews or wants to learn the craft of brewing is welcome to attend our monthly meetings. You are encouraged to bring some homebrew to the meeting; otherwise, just bring your thirst for knowledge and good beer.

If you have any questions or want more information about the club, drop us an e-mail.


We currently meet on the first Tuesday of each month at Personal Best Brewing – 402 W Green St, Ithaca, NY 14850   7:30-11PM

The meetings are casual and informal, providing an opportunity to share some homebrew (as well as homemade wine, cider, and mead) and talk with fellow brewing enthusiasts.

With 10-25 members at an average monthly meeting, participants are asked to sign-in their beers and provide a brief description. The steward then sequences the beers for tasting  (light to dark, with hoppy beers at the end).  Tasting typically begins about 8 and lasts til the beer is gone.

We encourage you to buy a pint or two and  bring your own tasting glass to preserve our welcome at the brewery.

All are welcome and we encourage you to bring and share your homebrew!


The IPA Club is active year round with events and activities ranging from group brewing, to competitions, to club trips and barrel-aging beer.  Check out what we do when we’re not just tasting beer.

(*hint*- we’re tasting more beer)

  1. Big Brew & Learn to Homebrew Day –  These are annual AHA sponsored events that IPA participates in every year.  Big Brew is in the first week of May while Teach A Friend to Homebrew Day is in November. Both events are group brews where participants bring their equipment onsite and brew.  There’s usually some grilling and chilling happening along with sampling of homebrew.  Click the above links for more info from the AHA site. .

  2. Oktoberfest – In the last week of September or, first week of October, IPA members host their annual O-Fest party.  This is usually at Stewart Park in the big pavilion and is open to all members, their families and friends.  The event is our version of the German tradition and features a pot luck dinner where members bring a dish to pass, grill foods and of course, sample homebrew.  Other activities include lawn games, keg tossing, and activities for kids.  This is the largest event of the year for the club and all are encouraged to attend.

  3. Brewery Trips – Every few months or so, we organize a trip to several area breweries.  The IPA Club rents a van, finds a DD and members pile in to travel around to sample many different breweries in NYS. To date, IPA has covered Syracuse, Rochester, Binghamton, Finger Lakes and Elmira/Corning area breweries.  These are seriously fun!

  4. Iron Brewer – About once a year, participating IPA homebrewers are asked to brew with a certain “secret ingredient”  and produce the best beer possible. Winners advance to the next round and the competition stiffens. Who will be the next Iron Brewer?? Will it be you??

  5. Barrel Aging Group – A spin off of the original club, the Barrel Group organizes an occasional barrel purchase with the intent of producing 55 gallons of wood-aged beer. Participants each brew 5 -10 gallons and meet to fill the barrel. After the beer has aged, the participants meet again and pick up their barrel-aged beer.  Past barrels have included a port wine barrel, a whiskey barrel and a red wine barrel. What will be next?

For certain events, you will need to check the IPA Discussion Group or IPA Facebook page to find out the dates for the current year.

Contact I.P.A

The Ithaca Practitioners of Alemaking are always accepting new members. No dues or fees are required.  Come to a meeting and say Hello!

If you wish to contact the club, please email us at