The second half of the BeerGraphs meetup in Brooklyn (you can read about the first half here) took us to Other Half Brewing Company. This is, of course, after quick stop at Tørst, the bar co-founded by Evil Twin Brewing's Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø's. It was at Tørst that BeerGraphs contributor Matt Murphy returned from the bar with a small loaf of rye bread. He was adamant that everyone try a piece.
Don't talk, try the bread, he said. It was a side of Matt I had not seen before – the all-to-common New York City street thug bread pusher. But beyond all the crazy hand motions and switchblade hot potato theatrics, Murphy was right. The bread was amazing. No one had to die.
Shortly thereafter Murphy departed from the group, hopping down from the subway platform and walking straight in to the tunnel like a crime fighting vigilante or an underground mole person. If you thought he walked fast above ground, on the sidewalks, then you should have seen him move toward the darkness of that tunnel.
Or perhaps Murphy simply got off the train at a different stop than us. Maybe he's not a vigilante or a mole person. But he is a bread pusher. I stand by that claim.
He did, however, share a can of Other Half's All Green Everything with us earlier in the day. A triple IPA that comes in at 10.5% ABV, others thought it was a bit heavy and too much – I thought it was delicious hop juice that actually drank kind of light compared to other Triple IPA's I've had. But then again, I'm the guy that recently heard from a medical professional that my itchy sphincter is most likely caused by too much hoppy beer (in combination with a slight hop allergy).
Most of what I've read about Other Half Brewing, specifically the actual physical space, is that it is across the street from a McDonalds, the building is unassuming, the entrance can be difficult to find, and perhaps the door is tricky to open. I agree with the McDonalds and the unassuming building. I disagree with the difficult entrance. But I had been drinking at an accelerated rate that day, so it's possible I just don't remember walking back and forth with fellow BeeerGraphers T-Bone and Michael Donato, looking for a door.
It's also possible that I am an expert at finding entrances into places. I specialize in doors. Specifically, front doors with a sub-specialization in side doors.
Inside, the place was small and the crowd was considerable. I said excuse me to someone about 17 times, trying to get by them to use the restroom, and they either couldn't hear me or they hated me. Getting a beer wasn't a problem though and I started with All The Hip Hops, an imperial IPA with Azacca, Citra, Mosiac, Lemondrop, and Motueka hops. So many hops!
To be honest, while I was there nothing blew me away, at least not like the All Green Everything from earlier in the day. But that being said, I was pretty sure that my palate was shot so I resigned to getting my growlers filled and giving Other Half another shot the next day in comforts of my living room. I went with Forever Ever, a session IPA with Azacca, Jarrylo, and Mosiac hops, and It's Not You It's Me (w/lychee), which was an IPA collaboration with 7venth Sun Brewing. Spoiler Alert: I am very, very glad I got those growlers – the It's Not You It's Me was pretty special.
After a quick stop at the hotel to drop the growlers in the fridge, we headed to Threes Brewing. The walk from the hotel was short, which was good because I was very hungry, which is code for I was starting to feel the beer. Which means I mostly remember that we started with an oat saison by Threes, Positive Selection, because I wrote it down. I wrote down that it was a hazy golden orange color with a nice amount of bright white head. I wrote that the smell was yeasty, herbal, and fruity. The taste was herbal spice and bright citrus backed up with some funk. The feel was slick. And then my writing stops.
I remember the staff was very attentive and that we had a great time eating and drinking and admiring the cool space and wishing we had gotten there early enough to get seats in the backyard outdoor seating area. All the beers were good but the real winner was the last one of the night – Just Add Water, a pale ale collaboration between Threes and Industrial Arts. I didn't write down anything about it but it left a lasting memory, which is impressive considering my state, of bright tropical citrus and a subtle dry tartness. I may have been hiccuping by this point in the night.
And so after three or so hours at Threes, we were on our way. We said our goodbyes to Michael Donato, who had to catch a train (you can read his take on the Brooklyn meetup right here), and the four of us that remained headed toward our hotel.
Coincidentally, across the street from our hotel was the Canal Bar. We stared across the street. I wobbled. I hiccuped. Someone in our party pronounced it the “See Anal” Bar, which prompted T-Bone to ask if we should go. Based on the idea that the bar was the “See Anal” Bar and that one would most likely have to pay to see such a thing, the same person that came up with alternate pronunciation declared that there would most likely be a cover for entrance into such an establishment.
“Well, I'll run over and ask how much,” said T-Bone, oblivious to the joke at hand.
“Where is he going?” I asked, unaware of all the talking because I was focused on doing a thing I call slow drunk kung-fu hands.
“He's going to see if that bar has a cover.”
“Why would that bar have a cover?” I asked.
“It wouldn't, but I had said...”
Before my friend could finish, T-Bone's head popped out of the Canal Bar's door, “Guys, there's no cover! C'mon over, it's cool!”
So the rest of us crossed the street, chuckling, to meet T-Bone inside the Canal Bar (For the record, at this moment I had no idea why we were laughing – I thought maybe we were laughing because we were jogging across the street and jogging is silly). We sat down next to Bone and ordered some beers – they had Anchor California Lager on draft. Also, the bartender brought me some bitters and a lemon slice to help with my hiccups.
After she walked away, T-Bone leaned in and said, “You know when I came in,” he paused to look back over his shoulder, “and I asked that bartender how much the cover was, she just looked around like she forgot where she was, and then she laughed in my face.”
It's Not You It's Me (w/ Lychee), Other Half & 7venth Sun Collaboration
Appearance = 3.75/5
Pale, golden yellow. A layer of white head after the pour. Hazy, with soft, tiny bubbles working towards the top
Smell = 4.5/5
Strong aroma of tropical fruit juice, some lemon rind and some grass. The aroma really pops.
Taste = 4.5/5
Oooooh – nice combination of citrus, tropical fruit juice, and grass. The bitterness has a nice rind quality to it, with even a hint of herbal hop spice in there, too. The finish brings on some earthiness and grass with some hints of lemon. Overall, less tropical fruit than in the aroma but a great combo of the best elements of each of these three hops (Azacca, Citra, and Galaxy) with an almost sugary lemon candy hint rounding it out – I'm assuming that's the lychee based on what Donato told me about the fruit – that all works really well together.
Feel = 4.25/5
Soft suds feel great on the lips – never noticed something like that in another beer. Medium feel up front but pretty smooth and then crisp on the back end.
Overall = 4.5/5
Darn good. Love the combo of the hop flavors coming together and the feel. Reminds me of Victory's Hop Ranch meets Pipeworks' Galaxy Unicorn.
Follow JR Shirt on Twitter and Untappd @beeronmyshirt. Listen to the latest episode of the Drinking With Shirt podcast, hosted by T-Bone and I, right here at BeerGraphs or on iTunes.