Originally Told: June 8 2017
Our friends Ted and Raf have been regular travel partners for years. Ted and I met in business school and have been friends ever since. Although not beer fanatics like me, they do enjoy beer so I can usually drag them along to a bar or brewery whenever we do a #mrkt weekend (Maybeth - Raf - Kristen - Ted). Although we often meet at a destination, we also do “stay-cation” trips. Ted and Raf live in Brooklyn, and for (Not My) President’s Day weekend this year, we decided to make the 4 hour drive from Boston to the NYC area.
Other Half Brewing, located in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY, started in 2014. Known for their IPAs and Pale Ales, before this trip I had only tried 2 of their beers. On many trips to Brooklyn I had wanted to stop in, but this particular trip seemed like the perfect opportunity, given that it was a long weekend.
Like Tired Hands and Monkish, Other Half is notorious for long lines during their can releases, and given the forecasted 65 degree February weather, I knew it was going to be packed. As much as I wanted to take home some cans (and get some spares to share), I was also cognizent of ensuring the rest of the group enjoyed the experience. Sure enough, that Saturday as we were heading to NYC, Other Half announced on Instagram the release of their Nummy Nug Nug Imperial IPA and Citra + Motueka Imperial IPA at 10am. By 3:50pm, they were sold out so a late afternoon arrival time appeared to be a safe bet.
Like many breweries, Other Half is located in a more industrial, by the side of the highway (literally) location. When we arrive, there is no line, but the limited space inside is tight. Ted and I wait in line for draft pours, while Raf and Maybeth secure a spot to stand.
As you approach the counter, there is a draft list posted on a chalkboard. You can choose a 4oz, 12oz, or 16 oz pour, making it easier to sample all of the beers they have on tap (there were 11 to choose from the day we visited). All of the drafts are also available for 32oz or 64oz growler fills. A tip… Other Half lets you order your growlers then pick them up later when you’re finished visiting. I recommend ordering ahead of time, then grabbing the growlers as you exit.
Ted and I grab 3 different beers and take them into the other room where Maybeth and Raf are stationed. The space is laid out almost identically to the space at Monkish. A small room for grabbing samples and purchasing beer, with an adjoining make-shift space (essentially a quarantined section of the brewery) for standing and drinking. A fold up table separates the steel tanks and the area where you can sip and socialize. We do 3 rounds, trying almost everything on tap. We grab as many growlers and cans as we can carry around Brooklyn (they had a few cases of Forever Ever Session IPA left), and head out.
My first introduction to Tørst came from a Christmas gift, “Food and Beer” by brewer Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø (of Evil Twin Brewing) and chef Daniel Burns (of Michelin-starred restaurant Luksus), both owners of Tørst. Since then, it’s been on the list for a Brooklyn visit.
Located in Greenpoint, on the border with Williamsburg, Tørst offers a frequently rotating selection of approximately 20 drafts, and a bottle list of approximately 300 options, sure to impress any beer fanatic.
We arrive right around 2pm and grab seats at one of the communal tables. Each table has a geometric pattern of varying wood stains, giving it the feel of a beer hall. There is no table service, but food and beer menus (updated daily due to the frequency of the changing draft rotation) are everywhere, making it easy to make a selection. The bar also dons a glass backdrop, with each of the draft beers written in white paint for easy viewing by its patrons, and easy modification as kegs kick and are replaced.
Having looked at the menu online before, the draft options tend to rotate in groupings from certain breweries. Today, there are 4 selections from Tired Hands in Ardmore, PA. We make our selections, then Ted and I make our way to the bar to order.
Tørst’s eye for detail and design is everywhere, including the glassware. The glasses all have triangles on them, in varying colors to make it easier to separate whose glass is whose. When you get your first pour, you quickly realize that the bottom of each triangle level indicates the options for pour sizes: 5 ounces, 8 ounces, and 12 ounces. This is one of my favorite trends with beer bars and breweries that offer samples (like Other Half). The 5 ounce pour allows you to sample multiple beers in one sitting (even throwing in a few high ABV beers), while reducing the risk of stumbling out of the bar incoherent mid-afternoon.
Another unseasonably warm day means the doors and windows are open. With the sun and air streaming in, we pull out a deck of cards and spend the next 2 hours playing Rummy and tasting amazing beer.
We depart at 4pm, a little buzzed, and head to dinner at Emmy Squared (the best pizza in Brooklyn!).
We’re on our way out of town, but stop back at Other Half to grab a few more growlers. Other Half is open on Monday for the holiday (they are normally closed on Mondays), so we arrive at 11:55am. I am the only one in line waiting outside the door. While waiting, I peak into the building next door, which appears to be under construction. There are wood planks stacked on the floor, various construction items, and an old coffee cup holder sitting on a long bar decorated with blue tile.
When they open, I have the entire place to myself. I order my growlers, then chat with Andrea (who served me the day before) about the brewery’s expansion plans in the space I saw. In and out in 15 minutes, we head back to Boston. The place is empty as we depart. The Brooklyn beer crowd is sleeping off two straight days of beautiful, drinking weather while we drive the 4 hours home to Boston.
Trillium, Double Dry Hopped Congress Street