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Bushwick Brews: Barrier's Copernicus Cream Ale from Miles

Batman and Robin

At Miles (all photos by Matt Chapman for Bushwick Daily)

Batman and Robin.  Sherlock Holmes and Watson.  Che Guevara and Alberto Granado.  Heroic two-man operations are the theme of this week’s post, in which we feature our very own local heroic duos, with a beer-related twist, of course. First there’s Dan Romero and Travis Dubeuil, newlyweds who after living in Bushwick for six years decided they wanted to further ingrain themselves in the community. They opened Miles, a rocking local bar with worthy beers on tap, several of which we sampled for this week's column.  Then there’s Evan Klein and Craig Frymark, the two-man team behind the Long Island brewery Barrier, who brewed the beer we're highlighting today, the Copernicus Cream Ale.

Miles may be owned by two men, but Phoebe Waterson, the bar's head bartender and mixologist, is hugely instrumental in determining its draft list – and they've got one of the strongest around. They may only have seven taps, but not one of them is wasted and they serve up some hard to find gems, like Stone Ruination Double IPA, without breaking a $6-7 price point.  “It was really important to us to never have the run-of-the-mill beers that you’re going to find everywhere,” Phoebe said.  One of the coolest ways they’re doing this is by devoting one tap at Miles to serving exclusively Barrier brews.

Barrier Brewery is what you might call a homebrewer’s brewery. Unlike most breweries, they don’t have a flagship beer or follow seasonal trends in production; instead they devote their resources to producing close to 50 different beers a year in small batches, optimal for experimentation. They opened in June 2010, with Evan and Craig brewing in two keg batches and running literally every aspect of the brewery themselves, down to distribution. Last summer they opened their own brewhouse allowing larger-scale production and they recently opened a taproom serving free flights accompanied by live music.

One of the reasons that Barrier’s partnership with Miles works so well is the diversity of beers Barrier brews. Dan, Travis and Phoebe get lists of available Barrier brews each week and when a keg kicks they get to peruse a large selection of beers to see what they’d like to try next. This week’s beer, the Copernicus Cream Ale is a clutch beer that could easily become many folks’ go-to. It pours a deep amber and, true to the style, is subtle and balanced with neither hops nor malts dominating the flavor. The taste is smooth and goes down easy with a little corny sweetness from the malt coupled with some floral hops. Just as Copernicus set us straight about the earth rotating around the sun, the Copernicus is a reminder that when done right, a perfectly executed style doesn’t need a lot of bells and whistles. Copernicus Cream Ale doesn’t ask too much out of you, only that you sit at the bar, sipping away, and enjoy Miles’ lovely, low-lit ambiance.

On a sign-off note: Bushwickians, I want to know what brews you’re drinking locally.  So let me know where you’re at, what you’re drinking, and hashtag it #bushwickbrews; I’ll be doing the same!

★★★

Copernicus Cream Ale gets 3/5 stars – 1 for its easy drinkability, 1 for its superb balance showcasing the cream ale style, and 1 for the brew prowess of its brewmasters.

Miles is located at 101 Wilson Avenue.  It is open nightly from 6pm - 2am with happy hour from 6-8 with $1 off all drafts.  Beers are $6-7 and my Copernicus Cream Ale set me back $6.

Bushwick Brews is a weekly column dedicated to the exploration of Bushwick’s finest beers written and curated by brewista Erin Wicks. 

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