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Hip and Hidden: Exploring Other Half Brewing

by Seanan Forbes on Mar 23, 2015 in Beer
Hip and Hidden: Exploring Other Half Brewing

The greatest danger surrounding Other Half Brewing is that you might easily walk right by it. The unmarked building looks disarmingly like an abandoned factory. There are hints in the graffiti – a painted growler is all but begging to be lifted from the wall – but you could easily lose that to the dumpsters and the rust and the unlikelihood of excellent craft beer being behind that wall.
 
Give it thirty seconds, though, and you’ll see one local after another striding purposefully through that unlabeled, weathered door.

Crossing the threshold won’t bring you into Wonderland, but it will get you into a small space with an upbeat atmosphere buzzing with happy servers and drinkers and a deliciously gritty feel of pre-gentrification Brooklyn.

The room is tiny. There’s one communal table with bench seating. It can fit six strangers, eight newly discovered brew-buddies or ten long-term, shoulder-to-shoulder friends. There’s a wooden counter for standing, leaning and drinking purposes. Apart from the bar, that’s the solid whole of the tasting room.

That vintage air isn’t contrived. If Other Half’s esthetic is anything, it’s practical. Also cheerful: the coat hooks come from a school, the time-worn tap is part of an old still and the crates behind the bar are from an old munitions factory.

If you get the feeling that everything is put to good use here, and that all energy is spent to a purpose, then your instincts will be proven right as soon as you get a beer. There are usually twelve available for small pours, large pours and growlers.

Note that “usually”. The tasting room is open on Thursdays and Fridays from 5 to 10 PM, Saturdays from noon to 10 PM and Sundays from noon to 6 PM. Go on a Sunday, and that list of twelve may have dwindled to six. Be not dismayed; that half-dozen will be excellent. Fancy something smoky? Will hoppy notes fill you with beer and happiness? Do you like a little guidance before you choose your local brew? Other Half has it.

Pours come in four-, twelve- and sixteen-ounces. The bartenders know their brews and are rightly proud of them – not in any snotty way, but simply in a joy of sharing. Locals queue and chat or ponder the brightly chalked beer list. Anybody in the house will tell you that Other Half is the best brewery in New York City, if not farther afield. They’ll also encourage you to try a beer or two and decide for yourself. The proof is in the brewing. 

The Laatste Ronde is an elegantly smoky saison. Hop Showers delivers precisely what the name promises. The Double IPA is as crisp as linen in a Masterpiece Theatre drama. The aged stout could stand in for a meal, as stouts are meant to do. There are wine-, rum- and whisky-aged beers. Sate your curiosity, and return often enough to taste them all. Other Half is a three-minute stroll from the Smith-9th Street station (the F/G line), so getting there is anything but a hardship.

If you’re bouncing through Carroll Gardens for a quick, four-ounce drink, then bring cash. There’s a $10 minimum for plastic. It would take a great deal of willpower to stay under double digits, though. Local loyalists are right; Other Half is that good.

Other Half Brewing; 195 Centre St., Brooklyn; 347-987-3527

Graffiti and Taproom photos by Seanan Forbes, Glassware photo via Other Half Brewing 

 


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