I’ve previously written about the love between Barrier Brewing Co. and Miles, one of our favorite local beer haunts, which dedicates one of their seven taps to the Long Island brewery at all times. But this past week Miles took their relationship to the next level, letting Barrier take over all seven of their taps and pairing each with a specialized grilled cheese sandwich. I love that they can’t get enough of each other, and you have three more days to bear witness to this beautiful union yourself.
We tasted all seven Barrier beers on tap to give you our best recs, although you really can’t go awry with any of these delicious pairings. For those of you who still feel like it’s winter out, try the Oil City India Black Ale. It’s named for the oil processing plant located just around the corner from the brewery in Oceanside and doubles as reference to the resinous hops used in its brewing. This is one of my favorite styles of beer, incorporating the intense malt of a stout with the serious hop levels found in an IPA. The hops are mostly killing it in the aroma here, which is piney and herbal even though it looks more malty in the glass with a dark red-brown body and a beige head. The piney hops carry over to the flavor and are countered beautifully by some strong malt flavors dominated by bitter chocolate and a bit of roasted nuttiness. Sound like a good start? Well, things are only getting better. Order it with the Sofia Petrillo sandwich for another choice joining of opposites with tangy, earthy fontina countered by smoky, savory sopressata picante, rounded out with a faint nutty aftertaste from the arugula-walnut pesto. Delicious.
If you’re feeling more optimistic and think we could finally be on the cusp of summer try the Icculus, a German style Kölsch beer. It’s transulescent gold with a white head and yeasty bready aroma. The Kölsch style is very similar to a Pilsner, just a bit more robust. True to form, the Icculus has a bready, minerally flavor coming from the malt and is a little fruity from the yeast and a little grassy from the hops, but mostly it’s quite light and well balanced. It’s a refreshing pair with the Barbarella sandwich that features salty mozzarella on ciabatta with fresh tomato and basil and a little garlic-herb butter to spice things up.
Another standout was the Barancle, perhaps my favorite among the beers on tap—seriously nutty with some rich toasted caramel flavors. For those looking for something a little more outlandish, try the Frau Blucher (yes, THAT Frau Blucher), a seriously smoky rauchbier. It smells like bacon and the formidable smoky flavor dominates the taste of this otherwise light brew. Coming in at 6.2% and 5.4% ABV respectively, these brews are fairly sessionable as are all the others on tap (the Oil City is 6.0% and the Icculus is 5.1%), so you can knock back a few without getting too wobbly on your feet. Just one more aspect of brilliance working in favor of this situation.
Word on the street is two kegs have already kicked at Miles (although one of these was replaced by the Frau Blucher), so I suggest you hurry over to get your fill. When I was there a couple at the bar was from Oceanside and had come into Bushwick especially for the Barrier pairing. They highly recommended visiting the casual brewery located on the beach in what is otherwise an industrial wasteland and which has all the makings of a future Bushwick Brews column when things finally do warm up!
The Barrier Tap Takeover at Miles gets 5/5 stars – 3 stars for the choice and quality brews from Barrier on tap, 1 for the wonderful grilled cheese pairings, and 1 for the creativity of the idea itself.
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 sandwiches are $7-9.
Bushwick Brews is a weekly column dedicated to the exploration of Bushwick’s finest beers written and curated by brewista Erin Wicks.