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Brewery Visits: Barrier Brewing Company

Michael Donato, January 22, 2015 -   

Last weekend I visited Barrier Brewing Company in Oceanside, NY on Long Island. This was long over due as I’ve had good beer from them at bars and my parents live 15 minutes from the brewery. When I was in high school and we had an extended lunch time, we’d often drive to the now closed KFC that’s around the corner from the brewery. It’s been six years since the brewery opened and shame on me for not visiting a brewery from where I grew up. I was not disappointed.

It’s not a big place, and it’s not a big brewery despite an expansion a couple of years ago. It’s basically a warehouse in an industrial area. It was raining that day and you can see why they had so much trouble during Superstorm Sandy. They sell a cool looking ‘Superstorm Proof’ shirt as a testament to surviving a storm that wrecked so many businesses.

They do churn out a lot of beer though; they had 11 beers on tap available for tastings. The tasting room is a simple space, some tables and a bar. They’ve got a free popcorn machine, and you can play Jenga. It was reasonably crowded for a rainy Saturday, but we snagged a spot at the bar and got a sampler.

The samplers were, or at least looked, homemade. The sample glasses were well-used. The beer was delicious. I chose Imposter, a czech-style Pilsner, Moochelle, a milk stout, Frau Blücher, a smoked beer, Bumble, a wheat IPA, and Red Button, an Imperial Red Ale. They were out of Red Button alas, so I substituted in the Crag Pile, an Imperial Caribbean Ale. I also had the Evil Giant, a rye IPA.

I enjoyed them all, though my wife was offput by the bitterness overall. I’d definitely say the brewery leans hoppy, but I thought the pilsner and milk stout were both excellent representations of the style.  So was the rauchbier, named for a character in Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein. I’m seeing more and more wheat IPAs popping up, and this was better than most though it’s still not my favorite style.

The Crag Pipe was the highlight. I was told ‘carribean’ means tropical and with honey and maple syrup. Untappd has it as an American IPA, which seems close enough. Much like Bell’s Hopslam, the honey and maple syrup add a little bit of sticky sweetness that really makes this beer shine and the hops bring out those grapefruit and tropical citrus type flavors.

Barrier doesn’t bottle a lot yet, but they had two bottles for sale. Their Hot Burning Love, a chili pepper beer, and Rock and Roll #2, which is an imperial IPA with Columbus and Galaxy hops. #2 was just released, and only has eight check-ins on Untappd. It’s a clear golden beer with a frothy head. It smells of rich thick hops with a bit of a dank earthy aroma. The taste is one I’ve come to associate with galaxy hops, a vibrant passion fruit with almost a lemony bitterness on the backend that lingers. The flavor is full and the resiny bitterness of the hops lingers on the tongue. This is a very delicious beer, and can easily stand with any of the top IPAs I’ve had from other, better known, brewers. If you happen across this one you won’t be disappointed.

Beer

Style

Rating

BAR

Bumble

American Pale Wheat Ale

4.01

4.52

MooChelle Milk Stout

Milk / Sweet Stout

3.79

0.3

Evil Giant

American IPA

3.78

1.75

Frau Blucher

Schwarzbier

3.71

2.13

Imposter Pilsner

Czech Pilsener

3.53

2

If you see something from Barrier Brewing Company on tap, it’s worth trying. If you’re in the area they’re worth visiting. And if you’re into cheesecake, Whistle Stop, which makes some of the best cheesecake on Long Island, is around the block on Lawson Blvd.

Michael can be found on Twitter and Untappd where he's craving more chocolate-chip cheesecake.

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