The Brew Goes on for Grimm and Barrier, Even After Equipment Manufacturer Goes Bankrupt

Grimm’s Power Source—brewed by the couple at Beltway Brewing Company in Sterling, Virginia—features mangoes, Mosaic hops and Mosaic lupulin powder.

When life gives you lemons, make IPAs with kiwis and mangoes. This isn’t a beer-world take on the popular lemonade-producing aphorism, but precisely what two of New York’s most highly regarded brewers have done together in an attempt to recoup investments on new equipment. The result is a pair of special collaboration IPAs you can get this weekend—without needing to squeeze any fruit.

In the midst of major expansions, both Long Island’s Barrier Brewing Company and Brooklyn’s Grimm Artisanal Ales purchased custom brewing systems last year from Metalcraft Fabrication in Oregon. With its new brewhouse, Barrier plans to significantly increase production capacity at its facility in Oceanside by almost 75 percent. And for Joe and Lauren Grimm, spouses and itinerant brewers who live in Gowanus, their system (as well as wooden foeders for aging sour beer) will anchor their highly anticipated first brewery and tasting room that they’re building in East Williamsburg.

But early this year, both companies received some troubling news that threatened to derail their plans: Metalcraft had abruptly closed and filed for bankruptcy, and ahead of completing work for several clients.

For the Grimms, who hope to start producing beer at their new plant in August, learning that the brewhouse they had paid for had only been partially built was “a devastating discovery,” said Joe. His wife, Lauren, added, “Hundreds of thousands of dollars had suddenly evaporated, and it sent us in a panic to figure out how to build everything from scratch and to do so on our original timeline.” Beyond this and the statement posted on the Grimm website, the couple declined to comment on Metalcraft’s closing or their unfinished equipment from the defunct fabricator.

The two breweries created custom glasses for the collaboration.

Evan Klein, Barrier’s head brewer and owner, also chose not to elaborate, other than that the discovery of landing in the same predicament “led to a tight bond with Joe and Lauren forged through shared stress and craziness.” With this being craft beer in 2017, their newfound friendship could be cemented in only one way: partnering to brew a hazy, juicy IPA. In fact, they made two. “They’re actually going around taking peoples’ brewery licenses away if they don’t do a collaboration IPA this year, so we made sure to cover our asses,” Klein joked.

Barrier, as a relative veteran of New York’s beer scene, has been no stranger to collaborations. Some may recall that its then-new facility was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy in 2011, spawning a beer made in partnership with seven other Long Island brewers to help defray the costs of rebuilding. (I’m proud to have been involved with the project.) And in just the last few months, it has produced variations of its Money IPA with both Other Half and Interboro Spirits & Ales.

As for the Grimms, last year they collaborated with Blue Hill at Stone Barns to produce a saison using different cover crops, and made another of the style in Belgium with a cult-favorite brewery called Fantôme.

For their first joint effort, the local beer makers decided to each create a double IPA dosed with a tropical fruit, a natural enhancement of the redolent citrus flavors and aromas imparted by many of today’s most popular hop varieties. Grimm’s Power Source—brewed by the couple at Beltway Brewing Company in Sterling, Virginia—features mangoes, Mosaic hops and Mosaic lupulin powder. Barrier’s Groove Angle, meanwhile, features kiwis and Amarillo and Waimea hops.

Here’s the Pour-11 on the beers, as told by their makers:

Joe Grimm on Grimm’s Power Source: “We decided to be adventurous and try something we’ve never done before. Although we’ve released many fruited Berliner weisses, we’ve never put fruit into an IPA. We decided that mango would be an interesting way to extend the tropical notes we get from Mosaic hops.”

Klein on Barrier’s Groove Angle: “We hopped it primarily with Amarillo and a touch a Waimea. Then we double dry hopped it with Amarillo and added the kiwis at two gallons per barrel, so roughly 60 gallons went into the fermenter. We chose kiwis to complement the fruity flavors and aromas of the Amarillo hops. Plus kiwi is the sexiest fruit of the Actindia family! The finished beer is soft and juicy with notes of ripe tropical fruit such as kiwi and peach.”

Considering it may as well be illegal in 2017 for a limited-edition IPA to not be packaged in 16-ounce cans and sold directly from its brewer(s), Power Source and Groove Angle will be released in tandem this way tomorrow at noon at Barrier.

A portion of the proceeds from the sales of the cans, which will come in four-packs, will benefit the companies as they complete their respective equipment, sure enough to pour the “fun” into fundraiser. And where will that fun be poured into, Niko? Why, directly into the commemorative Teku glass bearing renderings of their unfinished brewhouses that will also be on sale, of course!

Outside the brewery, the Cheezy Pete’s food truck will sell grilled cheese sandwiches. Perhaps they’ll offer a powdered kind?

Photos courtesy of Grimm and Barrier.

Katherine Hernandez

Katherine Hernandez is an Afro-Latina chef and multimedia journalist. Her work has been published on NPR Food, PRI's The World, Edible Manhattan, Feet in 2 Worlds, Gothamist and more.