Other Half Brewing

Discussion in 'Mid-Atlantic' started by mikeburd1128, Jun 8, 2014.

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  1. BltByKrmn

    BltByKrmn Defender (632) Jan 16, 2013 New York

    I grew up 15 miles from the brewery. I've lived in the NYC area for 30 years of my life. I have close friends who are close with the owners. My statement still stands.
  2. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (3,010) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    Yes, you got us, we made the whole thing up.

    Same for Plan Bee, made that up too. Next release get there around noon, you 'll be fine.


    Edit- wait a minute, you aren't Bitzy, are you?
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  3. BltByKrmn

    BltByKrmn Defender (632) Jan 16, 2013 New York

    Did I say you made anything up? If it wasn't clear enough, I'll clarify: no one is beating down their door on a regular basis. Yes, they had a few fevered releases, fine. Just like South Hampton had a few fevered releases but no one is beating down their door either.

    That said, nothing CL is producing on a regular basis is highly sought after. Which is exactly why it's not similar to what's going on with OH no less Hill Farmstead which is an outright ridiculous comparison.

    I have no idea what a Bitzy is.
  4. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (3,010) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    Yes, perhaps it is you not getting the point. We are talking about Special Releases, not regular distro, and this is why it is EXACTLY the same situation as we are talking about at OH, and hopefully something that will not occur at OH.

    Captain Lawrence STOPPED doing the hyped up special releases, because they turned into shitshows, and attracted Police attention, and probably insurance agent attention as well.

    They still make great special release beer, such as Rosso, and Cuvee de Castleton, and Flaming Fury, and Barrel Selects, and the mere fact that you don't know anything about them, or don't like them if you have ever tried them, is what it is. Now they choose not to put their customers through a shitshow and release them without hype and, usually, with no prior notice.
  5. Birmy

    Birmy Initiate (0) Jun 18, 2011 Connecticut

    Hopefully the frequency with which they release will keep the large crowds from happening consistently, and the fact that they are releasing the same beers quickly not Dark Lord that people wait for all year. I also think the location like many have pointed out makes it less then ideal to buying a case or two and bringing it home. Driving there can be fine and it can be a nightmare like anywhere in NYC and having that experience one time or a couple might keep a regular from being a regular.

    After speaking to Sam a few different times he seems to be of the mindset that you should not wait in line or pay a premium, they will make more which is certainly true. I also like that they will be releasing on weekdays once in awhile as well to help people who work weekends which will also keep crowds down. I am sure they want to keep it simple and the more people that show up at once the worse it is for them. There are complaints after every release no matter how well they plan and try, so reducing numbers gives more opportunity for service.
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  6. Nmelione

    Nmelione Initiate (0) Dec 28, 2014 New Jersey

    Yes, I have to take a little over an hour subway from the upper east side and there is no way I can buy two cases and get them back to my apartment. I normally get 1 or 2 4-packs of each.
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  7. BltByKrmn

    BltByKrmn Defender (632) Jan 16, 2013 New York

    Is there a reason you're being belligerent? No, we're not talking about special releases. What beer that OH is releasing in cans a special release?
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  8. JimmyGuy

    JimmyGuy Initiate (0) Nov 17, 2014 New York

    How often were those Captain Lawrence releases?

    With Other Half doing a can release every other week it seems more BAU than special
  9. thenamestsam

    thenamestsam Initiate (0) Sep 13, 2012 New York

    Would really prefer to see lower limits. I'm sure these releases are a headache for the people at OH, but by keeping the limits so high, it only contributes to the mindset that these are going to sell out within the first 15 seconds which is driving so much of the headache inducing situation. And nobody needs to be buying that much of IPAs that are falling off after a couple weeks anyway.
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  10. rozzom

    rozzom Meyvn (1,019) Jan 22, 2011 New York

    I think we need to have an academic discussion regarding what constitutes "special" :grinning:

    Seriously, I get where you're both coming from. No - people aren't lining up outside CL for their IPA, but then again it's not really apples to apples as their IPA is widely distributed/available in bottles.

    Maybe the OH hoppy offerings aren't "special" in the barrel-aged/sour/exotic ingredient sense, but in the limited-run, only available at the brewery sense you can argue that there's a basis for comparison
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  11. JimmyGuy

    JimmyGuy Initiate (0) Nov 17, 2014 New York

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  12. rozzom

    rozzom Meyvn (1,019) Jan 22, 2011 New York

    Weird - never saw the notification you responded. Now I see why we're talking about HF haha.

    Like I said - I know up front that it was wishful thinking. And while I see where you're coming from, both OH and HF are inconvenient in very different ways.

    I can only use anecdotal evidence based on my experiences, but just to illustrate this - I only live one mile from Other Half, but my wife has been to Hill Farmstead more times than she's been there. Maybe it's just because we both love the countryside up in northern Vermont, but it's been easier to persuade her to go up there for a weekend, than it has been to get her to spend 15 mins walking to OH haha. I guess my point (which as @jrnyc pointed out was definitely under-estimating the average beer geek, but what can I say - I'm an optimist) is that beyond the beer itself, there's not much to incentivize somebody to go to OH, especially if they're not a beer nerd. With HF, assuming you're not agoraphobic or a total city-slicker, once you commit to the long drive, there's a lot to offer.
    #2572 rozzom, Jun 2, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2015
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  13. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (3,010) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    Every release in cans has been a special release at OH, and they have had advertised releases in bottles as well. They could send the whole run to stores without any announcement. they don't.

    Not trying to be belligerent, it seems you are purposely misunderstanding that we are talking about the lines outside of breweries, and the possibility of them turning in to shit shows. It is a function of demand outstripping supply, and using rarity marketing to whip up hype. Don't mean to seem like I am angry I am not, but I must admit it is frustrating a bit to try and communicate with you, as though you are purposely misunderstanding. My apologies.

    Maybe I am misunderstanding. If so, please point me the right way, and explain if we aren't talking about these advertised releases of beers, like the upcoming one on Sat. at OH, and the shit shows they can turn in to, like they were at Captain Lawrence, than what are we talking about? Thanks.
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  14. SpeedwayJim

    SpeedwayJim Poo-Bah (3,120) Jun 19, 2009 New York

    Genuinely curious... when is the last time CL did a silent release? Maybe I don't check their website enough but nothing's been released at the tasting room since Hops and Roses right? (Besides FF at special event Sour'd)
  15. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (3,010) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    Well some of us expected Flaming Fury and the different barrel selects at last year's Sour'd, but they haven't put any bottles out since then, that I know of at the brewery, or around here (New Paltz) either. Smoke from the Oak kegs have been around, and some really tasty pilot batches show up on the regular. Widely rumored that CdC is gonna release at this year's Sour'd, and that they made a lot.

    I haven't been to the brewery in a while, maybe others can answer better.

    I will say it was a great pleasure to be able to buy Rosso E Marrone bottles for two months after last (silent) release on local bev. store shelves.
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  16. SpeedwayJim

    SpeedwayJim Poo-Bah (3,120) Jun 19, 2009 New York

    Good to hear. I've been under the impression that CL has mostly abandoned their sour barrel-aged beer projects... besides FF, their stance on these beers has mostly been to tell people that they're "coming" but with nothing really in the works. After 2+ years of this, I've pretty much abandoned hope.
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  17. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (3,010) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    I hear ya, but too many brewery employees have commented on how much CdC there is, and sooner or later it has to be ready to go. Hope springs eternal, I guess haha.

    Keep your eye on my friend Derek Dellinger who now is brewmaster at Kent Falls in Connecticut, gonna be some crazy wonderful stuff coming out of that brewery in very near future, speaking of breweries in out of the way places that likely will be overrun with rabid beer geeks seeking BA wilds, saisons, and sours.
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  18. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (3,010) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader


    Anyone on line yet?
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  19. rozzom

    rozzom Meyvn (1,019) Jan 22, 2011 New York

    Yeah there's a guy standing outside and he appears to be using his ipad to access the internet
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  20. MisterBisco

    MisterBisco Initiate (0) Feb 18, 2009 New York

    I'll be the first to openly say it here - I think the visitor's experience at OH down right sucks. Too-cool-for-school bartenders aside, you've got a dinky (and easily overcrowded) 12'x12' space that, up until now, was a hot, steamy mess when there were more than 5 people there. Additionally, when it actually is crowded, the only place to stand becomes the unintentional social space of the brewery loading area which, aside from essentially being a large parking space, usually smells like garbage. As in, really smells like garbage.

    Do I like going for releases? Sure, especially since I'll usually run into one or two folks that I know. That said, I wouldn't even begin to classify it as a destination unto itself, were it not for the always-outstanding-or-better beer on tap and for growler fills. But me? I'm crossing my fingers they open up some kind of more consumer-friendly space sooner than later.
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  21. BoardwalkBock

    BoardwalkBock Zealot (576) Aug 18, 2012 New York

    Couldn't agree more. Atmosphere sucks. Beer is good.
  22. algebeeric_topology

    algebeeric_topology Zealot (519) Dec 30, 2014 New York

    Before I started going to their can releases, I visited and was very happy with OH. Awesome beer, fantastic hop profiling, easy enough to get to via subway.

    I don't know why else you go to bars other than for always-outstanding-or-better beer on tap, and at ~$6 a pint? $money...
  23. MisterBisco

    MisterBisco Initiate (0) Feb 18, 2009 New York

    Because I'd generally rather pay a buck more to have that beer in a place that is an appropriate temperature, I don't feel like there are five dudes waiting to pounce on my seat at the one table as soon as I get up, doesn't smell like garbage, and isn't in the middle of nowhere? If it's a money question, why do you even drink at bars? Why not just fill up growlers and drink them at home?

    As I said, I don't mind going to OH... it's just not a very pleasant place to stay. I'm not saying I want them to have a space as swanky and polished as Three's, for example, but a room and an attitude that's a little less "We threw this space together because it's what we could get so fucking deal with it" would be nice.
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  24. jrnyc

    jrnyc Meyvn (1,161) Mar 21, 2010 New York

    I hear what you are saying, but the thing I love about the place is the less than polished space. Tap room is cool when not crowded and when they open the brewery floor it is even better. Granted, since they have gotten more popular that small place gets crowded.

    I am sure when they opened they never imagined they would get this popular. A small, start-up business was probably happy to get the doors open and get customers, no way they could have planned for or afforded a big space without knowing whether they would be successful or not. My guess would be that investors are beating down their door to partner with them to expand and maybe open a brewpub, but this is just my speculation.

    And don't underestimate the power of scarcity marketing, if those cans were all over the place and they had a huge space, maybe the place would be empty and the cans wouldn't fly off the shelves.
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  25. Kanger

    Kanger Initiate (0) Sep 3, 2013 New York

    I have never gotten that attitude from the crew. If you think they are "too cool for school", then how about start a conversation with them and get to know them? I also initially thought one of the bartenders was kind of cold. Until I really talked to that person and now we're buds.
  26. SasquatchB2

    SasquatchB2 Initiate (0) Jan 12, 2015 Minnesota

    Isn't it fitting though that a New York City brewery is overcrowded, smells like garbage, is uncomfortably hot in the summer, and the staff is "too cool for school"? Sounds like all of NYC...
    #2586 SasquatchB2, Jun 3, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2015
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  27. SasquatchB2

    SasquatchB2 Initiate (0) Jan 12, 2015 Minnesota

    Jokes aside, I love the character of the unpolished taproom as well. I've never felt any attitude from the crew either. Perhaps it's just nostalgia, but I hope that if they ever do open a brewpub, they keep the current taproom open for growler fills.
    #2587 SasquatchB2, Jun 3, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2015
  28. MosaicDrops

    MosaicDrops Initiate (0) Jun 4, 2014 New York

    Nor have I, though I could see where some form that opinion. Many people come for the releases only, where most of the staff is slammed beyond belief. I'm sure the crew would much rather chat with patrons, but filling pints/growlers, taking payment and stacking cases of beer for the masses is extremely time consuming.
  29. Nmelione

    Nmelione Initiate (0) Dec 28, 2014 New Jersey

    I've gone a bunch of times. Can releases and normal days. I've gotten the attitude a few times and other times they are as nice as could be. It is pretty off putting when I do, it makes me feel unwelcome, like i'm bothering them by being there. I try not to take it to heart everyone has bad days, never know what someone else is dealing with that day.
  30. JimmyGuy

    JimmyGuy Initiate (0) Nov 17, 2014 New York

    I got the "too cool for school" vibe from one of the bartenders too. I've also gotten a super cool vibe from another bartender. For people who don't go regularly a single negative interaction sticks with you. If its crowded your never going to have time to talk to them and get to know them... especially if you go once a month or so.

    I'm still laughing at my interaction with the bartender a few weeks ago. It won't prevent me from going back but they couldn't have been more "too cool for school" and less helpful.

    Me: Hi, I'd like to fill this 32oz growler with AGE
    Bartender: We can't fill this growler.... (silence and a blank stare)
    Me: Ok, why exactly? Do you only fill your own glass?
    Bartender: No (silence and blank stare)
    Me: What's the reason?
    Bartender: We have a counter pressure filler (silence and blank stare)
    Me: I don't know what that means but do you have vessel you could sell me so I could bring some beer home with me?
    Bartender: Silence, grabs a growler, fills it, hands it to me
    Me: Thanks (throws a couple bucks into the tip jar)
    Bartender: silence / blank stare and waits for next customer to say something

    I later learned that the opening of my growler was too small for the counterpressure machine and thats the reason. It would have been cool for that bartender to proactively tell me and not make it into pulling teeth to buy some beer.
  31. MisterBisco

    MisterBisco Initiate (0) Feb 18, 2009 New York

    I love less-than-polished... as I said, I'm not that interested in a shiny-and-multi-million-dollar space like Threes. But there IS a middle ground, where you can have rugged but comfortable.

    I totally agree - there is no way they anticipated blowing up so much or so quickly.

    I have gotten to know them, but that doesn't change the initial feeling I got from several bartenders (and the attitude reflected by others here as well). And, alone, at a great bar, I wouldn't see that as such a negative, but it is part of a larger whole.

    I also want to point out - I love Other Half beers. They are my go-to whenever I'm unsure what to order, they balance pushing themselves into non-traditional styles while cranking out outstanding "new standard" IPAs, and they do generally seem invested in their customers. And, I'm still going to make my way to the brewery, because (as stated before), there just isn't anywhere else where you can get 10 different OH beers at one time at a good price. That said, I do believe that the brewery customer experience is the weakest aspect of their business.
  32. timnyc

    timnyc Initiate (58) Dec 28, 2013 New York

    At one of their recent can releases, one of the OH guys gave out delicious Peter Pan donuts. That's good customer service! Hope this happens again on Saturday.
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  33. abkayak

    abkayak Initiate (0) Jan 8, 2013 New York

    the girl behind the counter is a white walker...never have i felt so shitty about tipping someone
  34. rozzom

    rozzom Meyvn (1,019) Jan 22, 2011 New York

    Yeah I'm with you on several points. I've had good service, and I've had iffy moments - but I generally get it - they're busy. At the most recent can release, my friend and I had less than two cases (total) between us and were asked while they put together our order (with no humor and a solid amount of attitude) if we were going to be re-selling them. Understandable I suppose with all of the stuff going on with BFF - still rubbed me the wrong way a little.

    I just see it as a beer destination for beer geeks only (and not even that perhaps, according to your take on it) - with friends who like good beer, but don't consider it a hobby, normally one 95F sweaty session there is enough - it's hard to get them to go back.

    Still - the best brewery overall for me in NYC. And I'm sure they couldn't have anticipated this.
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  35. GreaserGreg

    GreaserGreg Initiate (0) Feb 27, 2015 New York

    Anyone have any issues with the Mosaic cans from the recent release? I bought 3 4-packs, 2 of which were fine, but all 4 cans from the third were throwing huge amounts of sediment and were virtually undrinkable. Must have got the bottom of the barrel.

    On the issue of OH's space, I live in the area and have been going since the 1st weekend they opened. I feel lucky that if I want to stop in, it is not a big commitment to do so. There have been times when I have gone down there and walked out as it was too crowded or too hot. I agree with others that they probably didn't envision outgrowing their space so soon. In my mind it is a spot where I will come and have 2 beers and then most likely leave. I realize for some it is a destination and might be offputting if you hit it at the wrong time, or come with a group and there is nowhere to stand, or even find parking. I feel thankful though that they can at least pour pints as I hit up Tree House frequently and it is a struggle to ask for a sample, in fear that you are slowing down growler fills in the process. Even worse is going to Trillium and not being able to try anything before you buy. Jack's Abby has a better space and is comparable to OH, but I find it kind of sterile there. When you hit OH right, and they have Citra and Nelson on tap, there are 5 other people in there, and Anthony is dropping fire on his ipod, to paraphrase Conan, that is what is good in life.

    The AC is a huge addition as at times it was stifling in there. Here a few things I wish would happen to make it better:
    1. Update beermenus with what is on tap on a regular basis
    2. Open up an additional day of the week
    3. Customers - please don't come in large groups, the space just doesn't work when a group of 6 comes in.
  36. jrnyc

    jrnyc Meyvn (1,161) Mar 21, 2010 New York

    Ahh, the good ole days :slight_smile:!
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  37. Hirshi

    Hirshi Initiate (0) May 1, 2012 New York

    2. In the works
    3. Customers are the worst part of any business
  38. underwater_

    underwater_ Initiate (0) Jan 17, 2014 New York

    Add tourists feeling entitled to the list, as evidenced by this thread
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  39. cavedave

    cavedave Poo-Bah (3,010) Mar 12, 2009 New York
    Society Trader

    Personally I love mix and match rugged taprooms that serve great beer, like at OH.

    As far as the bar staff I have never gotten anything but welcoming vibes from anyone there.

    I hope they don't turn it into an antiseptic cookie cutter type of tap room, even if they make a larger space. Opening more hours will definitely help with all above complaints.
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  40. EnthusedAboutBeer

    EnthusedAboutBeer Zealot (568) May 13, 2013 New Jersey

    Anthony's always been cool and has never given me an attitude...that chick on the other hand is not exactly bright spirited but it's never bothered me much. If I was in a small, stuffy room on the weekends pouring beers for several beer geeks I probably wouldn't be too jolly either but she could definitely lighten up a bit...at least a fake smile or something here and there.
    The space itself may not be aesthetically pleasing but I've yet to find a place around NJ/NYC that serves amazing beers and plays golden era hip hop all day. Every time I'm there the music is on point and so is the beer. People also tend to forget that they've only been open for a year, things should only improve from here on out. Even when they do open a new space I hope they keep their current tap room open. I've had some great memories there over the past year and I hope to make many more in that same space.
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