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In this column, we’re highlighting a local-ish beer worth drinking right now.
It’s damn near impossible to go online or turn on the nightly news these days without being bombarded by the same alarming headlines. Many might find it unsettling that we are unable to do anything to contain it, but like it or not: Barrier Brewing Company is here to stay.
The infectious microbrewery based out of Oceanside, Long Island, has stirred a fever amongst craft enthusiasts since opening in June of 2010. Undoubtedly, you would have already seen an outbreak of its unique brews within the watering holes of the city if not for one significant setback named Sandy. Nearly two years ago, the superstorm ravished the brewery, filling the facility with over four feet of saltwater surge.
After an outpouring of hot burning love from neighbors — $29,000 in relief was provided by a collaborative charity brew, named Surge Protector IPA — Barrier is back and stronger than ever. In fact, it’s more than willing to smother you in its own Hot Burning Love; it’s a 5.4 percent chili amber ale, brewed with fresh peppers, available in 22 ounce bottles.
Still, as sensationalized media reminds us, chances of encountering Barrier these days is extremely minimal. With a relatively small operation, areas affected by its distribution remain scant. There are several precautions you can take, however, to ensure safe consumption. The most direct path is the one that leads to their tasting room, conveniently served by the Long Beach branch of the LIRR. Open from Wednesday to Sunday, you can sample up to 10 selections on tap. Find your favorite and fill a 64 ounce growler to take home and spread among your unsuspecting friends and family. The brewery’s Lime Disease, for one, is difficult to resist. An extra pale ale brewed with actually limes, it has citrusy tang to humble those high-alpha hops.
But if Nassau just isn’t your thing, there are consistent Barrier sightings around town. Frequently on tap at the Pony Bar in the Upper East Side, and at Bierkraft in Park Slope, six-packs have also been reported at outposts as dependable as the Whole Foods on Houston. Expect to see more soon, Barrier is downright contagious.