Mass Riot 1

From left, Prison City Pub & Brewery assistant brewer Robert Bowen, head brewer Ben Maeso and cellarman Joe Rusch at the Auburn brewpub in March 2018.

The publication that said Prison City Pub & Brewery makes the best IPA in the country has singled out yet another beer from the Auburn brewpub.

Paste Magazine ranked Prison City's Illusion of Knowledge No. 7 in a blind tasting of 151 pale ales whose results were published Monday. The beer finished ahead of entries from national breweries like Firestone Walker and Sierra Nevada, as well as regional favorites like Maine Brewing Co. and Threes Brewing, of Brooklyn. Saranac Brewery's pale ale was ranked No. 38, and fellow Utica brewery Woodland Farm's Up All Night was ranked No. 11. Another Prison City pale ale, 4 Piece, was entered in the tasting but did not make the ranked portion.

Paste said of the Prison City beer, "With Illusion of Knowledge, Prison City lives up to the bar we’ve already set in our minds for them. This one is bright and tropically inclined, with lush flavors of pineapple and mango. At the same time, it’s still quite light of body — very easy drinking, very approachable, very tasty. It does what all of the best (New England pale ales) do, which is to balance drinkability and pleasing texture with a certain fruity decadence and hint of sweetness. That’s what the style is all about, and this is a prime example."

Register for more free articles
Stay logged in to skip the surveys

Illusion of Knowledge is not currently on tap at Dawn and Marc Schulz's Auburn brewpub. The beer took its name from a Stephen Hawking quote: "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." It was first released shortly after the death of the famed author and physicist March 14.

Paste has previously recognized brewer Ben Maeso's Chin Check barleywine and Mass Riot India pale ale in its blind tastings and rankings. Chin Check finished No. 25 in a January ranking of 62 barleywines, and Mass Riot finished No. 1 in an August 2016 ranking of 247 IPAs. The latter honor raised the national profile of Prison City and made Mass Riot a hot commodity among craft beer enthusiasts: More than 200 of them lined up outside the State Street brewpub the morning of March 24, some as early as 4 a.m., to buy the first 16-ounce cans of the IPA.

Get local news delivered to your inbox!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Lake Life Editor David Wilcox can be reached at (315) 282-2245 or david.wilcox@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @drwilcox.


I'm the features editor for The Citizen and auburnpub.com, and have been here since 2006. I also cover local arts and culture, business, food and drink, and more.