The Barrier Brewing Company is based in East Rockaway, just a short jaunt away from our native Brooklyn, and was only founded in 2009. They may not have a full website yet, but they certainly have great visual style. Their bottle labels are covered in evocative pop-art designs, equal parts funky, fresh, and tongue-in-cheek. From a raven-haired, gothic duchess named Morticia, to a row of gold teeth and Money bling, just looking at the bottles had us eager to try.
The designs are bolstered by a sterling reputation. Barrier was voted #3 in Best New York Breweries on Thrillist by a panel of 10 of the most well-known beer industry experts. When given the opportunity, we didn't hesitate to take matters (and bottles) into our own hands and see if the taste could match the style and the hype. Our findings? Barrier Brewing is the complete package.
This "Oak Aged India Pale Ale" was a mouthful to pronounce! Thankfully, however, it turned out to be far less intimidating than its acronym. For starters, it was a pleasure to look at - a cloudy, golden straw color made for a beautiful pour, topped with a half-inch of foamy white head. Immediately, citrusy scents of grapefruit, orange, and pineapple zest fused with white pepper and tropical spices and wafted lazily out of our glasses.
In terms of flavor, Atypical is like being on a distant, sunny vacation, taste-testing an exotic and tropical menu. A juicy, creamy flavor was made even softer and juicier by oak-y after-tones. With very little carbonation, this beer was a smooth and mouth-watering brew, delicious and unique from start to finish.
Ringing true to its name, this gloomy stout brings to mind the dark and stormy nights of mystery fiction. A Russian Imperial Stout, Morticia is as thick and boozy as it sounds, pouring a blackish, dark chocolate hue with a coffee-cake head. The familiar aromas of cocoa, coffee roast, and smoke hung in the room like a low, heavy cloud.
While balanced and smooth, Morticia's boozy heat was hidden beneath a crisp chocolate note, only to emerge later on the tongue. Slight hops were well-balanced with a creamy, roasty flavor. All in all, this dark and mysterious brew had us asking, "Who is this Morticia? And when can we thank her?"
The Money IPA was an instant favorite if only for its creative label artwork, which we would have to describe as "dank." Sporting an Action-Bronson-like character with gold bridgework and a slew of tattoos, Money has style and humor in droves. Barrier keeps this brew rotating in and out of its line-up, so you have to wait for it to make the rounds – kind of like a paycheck. Money IPA pours like money, with a limoncello glow and hints of peach & lemon drop.
The aroma was a brisk walk in a fall forest, with pine and citrus notes following a light lychee scent. That juicy fruitiness continued on the palate, as well, with immediate hops that dropped off quick with a gulp. There's a slightly bitter aftertaste, which we chalked up to the medium-bodied tang, but all said, Money is definitely worth the paper.