Update, Friday: Krommydas and Furman released their first in a series of videos about the effort. The video is attached.
Drinking a beer may not be the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of charity, but thanks to a collaborative effort by several Long Island breweries, raising a cold one will soon count.
Brewers from eight different Long Island-based operations met at Blue Point Brewery on Tuesday morning, each contributing ingredients and expertise in one way or another to brew up a special batch of what will be named the Surge Protector IPA. Proceeds from the beer's sale will help out Barrier Brewing co-owners Evan Klein and Craig Frymark after their business was decimated in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Half of the proceeds of the Surge Protector IPA will go to Oceanside-based Barrier – which suffered nearly $100,000 in damages over the course of the storm – with the other half going to Long Island Cares, a food bank run out of Freeport and Hauppauge.
"In most industries, you might consider other companies competitors rather than comrades," Frymark, 29, said on Tuesday morning. "But this is really flattering, humbling and emphasizes everything we all love about this industry and what we love in the first place: the craft beer community. And this exemplifies that."
Participants included Blind Bat Brewery, Barrier Brewing, Great South Bay Brewery, Greenport Harbor Brewing Company, Long Ireland Beer Company, Port Jeff Brewing Company, Spider Bite Brewing Company, and Blue Point Brewery. Clare Rose Distributors signed on to pump out the product for the cause as well.
The effort to create a collaborative beer amongst numerous Long Island breweries actually started before Hurricane Sandy hit at the end of October. Long Island-based beer writer Niko Krommydas and photographer Matt Furman wanted to gather a bunch of breweries together for a video project, with the end result being a new beer released by Long Island Craft Beer Week next spring.
But Sandy changed those plans.
"Three weeks later, Sandy happened," said Krommydas. "Barrier basically got destroyed, so this shifted from a creative project we would do in March or April to, 'OK, let's do this now because they are in serious need and temporarily closed.'"
After getting their start in 2009, Barrier Brewing expanded and opened a new facility in mid-May.
"Top to bottom, this was a brand new operation," Frymark said. Now, their Facebook page is littered with photos of the damage, as well as some tongue-in-cheek status updates ("R.I.P grain mill. you really crushed it" ... "We thought our name would be enough protection."). Two delivery trucks were destoryed, as were pumps, motors, forklifts and a grain mill that once crushed it. The brewery's electrical system was shot.
But the dry humor online points to Frymark's realization that Sandy's damage to Barrier is just one of the countless projects that needs help. It's a realization he and co-owner Evan Klien know all too well: following the storm, Klein's Long Beach home suffered significant damage. Thirty one-year-old Klein, his wife, and 11-month old child are now living with Frymark and his wife in Astoria, temporarily dubbed the "Kleinmark residence."
As far as the Surge Protector IPA goes – described as a session IPA with four different hop varieties – Krommydas said it has yet to be decided exactly when or how it will be released. But at least 30 barrels are expected to be out in bars by the end of the year.
Barrier Brewing, meanwhile, hopes to be up and running by January.
"Hopefully we'll be able to come back strong and continue business as usual," Frymark said.