The beer fun continued on Saturday when we went to Other Half Brewing for an afternoon pint. Other Half is located in Redhook (I think..still trying to get the hang of all the BK neighborhoods..), and from the exterior you wouldn’t even know that it’s there. The brewery doesn’t have a sign, and the street is lined with neglected-looking warehouses. Our only hint that we were in the right place was the purple Other Half van parked out front.
We found what we assumed was the entrance and opened the door to a small, crowded, tasting room. The smell of sweet hops found my nose immediately, and I had a feeling I was about to be impressed. We decided to visit Other Half because it had a few beers on Brooklyn Magazine’s list of the best new NYC beers of 2014. Only one of the beers mentioned in the article was on tap, the All Green Everything, their imperial IPA. Ed chose this, and my dad and I went with their classic West Coast-style IPA. I know, I know, quite unlike me, but I was feeling a bit carsick from the drive to Coney Island.
We took our beers out of the tasting room and into the large brewing/storage space. There was a long table and small bar in this room and people were playing games and enjoying their beers with snacks. Dad and I liked our beers, but Ed’s definitely stole the show. I completely understand BKmag’s decision to include it on the 2014 best list. The big, citrusy hops are perfectly balanced by the beer’s malt backbone. It absolutely does not drink like 10.5%, partially because of this balance, but also because of the crisp, light mouthfeel.
We enjoyed our first beers so much that Ed and I had to go back for another (we weren’t drivin’!). This time I chose the Grand Cru and Ed went with the Short, Dark + Handsome, their American stout. I’m NOT exaggerating when I say that both of these beers were phenomenal as well. The Grand Cru was aged in Chardonnay barrels and brewed with brett, a yeast strain often used in sour beers. The Cru was tart, but not overly sour, and I could definitely detect subtle chardonnay flavors; it was completely refreshing. Ed’s stout was full-bodied and chocolatey, and had a luscious dark brown head– an ideal winter beer.
Other Half is obviously very committed to innovative, creative brewing, and to brewing super hoppy beers, a combination that won my heart. I actually already tried another of their beers, the Hop’deded, at lunch yesterday. According to Other Half, they brewed the Hop’deded with more hops than they’ve ever used; it’s like their standard IPA on “steroids.” They are masters of balance, though! The Hop’deded is just as drinkable as the other beers we had this weekend; they added the perfect amount of malt sweetness to balance the hops, and still kept it crisp. Damn, Other Half. Damn.