A Brewing Brotherhood Weathers The Storm

By Kelly McCarthy
By Dave Sherry

December 14, 2012 Updated Dec 14, 2012 at 12:38 AM EDT

Cooperstown, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A brewery off the coast of Long Island found comfort in a competitor.

Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown helped them make their first batch since being wiped out after Hurricane Sandy.

"It's exactly the kind of beer I'd like to drink while cleaning up our brewery," said Craig Frymark, Co-Owner of Barrier Brewing Company.

The first taste was bittersweet.

200 miles from home and their own brewery, destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.

"It seemed like such a monumental task that I just closed the door and walked away and kind of had to digest what had happened," said Frymark.

Brewery Ommegang reached out to a number of breweries downstate and Barrier Brewing Company was hit the hardest.

"All we want to do is just make beer that's what we love to do, it's what we miss doing and we just want to be able to do that again," said Frymark.

Here they could do just that.

A collaboration of Ommegang's Belgian style-ale mixed with Barrier's American flavor.

"This is nothing like any other beer we've ever done in our brewery, I mean truthfully we were struggling to get all the hops into the mash ton," said Simon Thorpe, CEO of Brewery Ommegang.

"Yeah it was a challenge, but it was a nice challenge. In making beer you make good friends," said Ommegang Brewmaster Phil Leinhart.

The chance to create an original taste that will go back to Long Island to keep Barrier Brewing Company from sinking under.

"When something like this comes along you get a lot of dry tap handles and bar owners are looking for beer, they'll replace it with something else," said Thorpe.

More than $100,000 in damage and months of reconstruction for Barrier Brewing Company, but not having a product just wasn't an option.

"To say this is it, close the doors, call it quits, I don't think we considered that for a millisecond. I think it was just what's the strategy to get back on our feet as quick as possible," said Frymark.

This first batch was started about a month ago.

The 500 kegs that will come from this brew will go to keep Barrier's customers from finding another provider.

"People will know about this brewery because it was devastated and if some good can come from that's helps them drive their business forward," said Thorpe.

"There's too much invested, we have too much enthusiasm for the future and what we're trying to accomplish I mean we haven't gotten close to reaching the goals we want."

Barrier Brewing Company still doesn't know when they can re-open in Long Island, but they had their first taste of what the future could hold.