This last Saturday was a perfect storm of plans falling apart, which made my day wide open to finally get out to some local Long Island breweries.
The day started off at Barrier Brewing in Oceanside. I know this place makes great beers and the brewery did not disappoint, outside of the fact that the brewery is located in what is essentially an industrialized warehouse in the middle of suburbia that is hard to find.
It warped me back to playing hardcore shows in some random back alley warehouse… ahh, youth….
I was able to try 6 brews which all had a great smooth balance to them. Each one was very well crafted beer. However, there was very little to see at the brewery. The brewing system is set up in the background and there is nowhere for you to sit, or really explore. This is very much a destination to go to if you want to get the freshest beer possible, not for a fun trip with friends to hangout and enjoy the scenery, but tours are available. It seemed like it is mainly open for really delicious growler fills.
After Barrier, my lady and I continued to Great South Bay Brewery. This brewery has a very similar vibe to Barrier, but triple the space – much easier to stand around to enjoy the tastings. Both breweries brew on a one barrel system, but at Great South Bay you could actually check out the brewing set up.
The beers on tap were great, but unfortunately, my favorite beer, Marauder, a Scotch Ale that is aged on bourbon casks was not on tap.
This was fixed by Ryan the bartender, who was kind enough to pull a small taste out of a cask. After tasting all the beers and finding out about the breweries future expansion plans (which is on the same plot of land), I got a growler of the Saison and took off. This was the coolest brewery visit i have had the opportunity to experience. They even post their brew sheets (including brew day details!) on their primary fermentation fridges.
Ryan and his lovely lady, Mackenzie were great at explaining everything and took the time to really go in depth with all of the beers. It was obvious that Ryan was passionate about the beer he was pouring. I look forward to heading back there asap – tip them well!
Here are some tastings of a beer from each brewery:
Barrier Brewery Bulk Head Hoppy Red Ale
Appearance: Light amber brown that is wonderfully clear
Nose: Malty and sweet with bready tones
Taste: Smooth husky dryness. Maybe a rye backbone? Raisin and dark fruit undertones
Mouthfeel: Low carbonation and easy finish
Overall: A really nice smooth beer. I could drink a lot of these. Really good out of 10
Great South Bay Brewery Saison:
Appearance: Cloudy straw yellow color with a nice full head that stuck around for awhile
Nose: Bready yeast essence with tart, citrus, and flora notes
Taste: A crisp bready phenolic taste that ends in a citrus flora lemon character with a significant yeast character
Mouthfeel: Nicely carbonated with a quick dry finish
Overall: A good light Saison with a bit of booze. I like it, but a little light and lemony for my tastes . Very nice out of 10