Brooklyn’s newest brewery, Other Half Brewing, was launched in late 2013 by Sam Richardson and Matt Monahan in Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens neighborhood. Both formerly worked under Kelly Taylor at Greenpoint Beer Works, Richardson as head brewer. BeerUnion caught up with the duo, who answered some questions about their endeavor, a recent collaboration with Peekskill Brewery, and where Other Half fits in the fabric of NYC beer.
How did you get into brewing?
Sam: I grew up in Portland and when I was in high school craft brewing was already well established. I was interested in all the locally made beers, Portland Brewing, Widmer, Bridgeport, Rogue, Saxer, etc. but then I had a neighbor who was really into craft beer and was willing to buy me beer as long as it wasn’t macro beers. That exposure really sealed the deal for me and I started to get into home brewing. I was only an intermittent home brewer at best because I was also obsessed with racing bicycles and that kills your free time. But, I knew it was what I wanted to do for work so I enrolled at Oregon State.
Matt: Started as a home brewer. I began volunteering at Greenpoint Beer Works in the mornings and cooking at night. Thanks to Kelly Taylor of Kelso, that eventually turned into a full time job. It just so happened that Sam was the head brewer there.
What was the first beer that you brewed?
S: It was a strong ale with figs and maple syrup, I think it was 1996. Strange first choice huh? It actually turned out to be decent.
Does Other Half have a particular focus in certain styles or a philosophy you are looking to bring to your beers?
S: We are pretty predictable, we really like IPAs and sours. We are not rushing in on the sours yet but you will see a lot of IPAs right away and the sours will be coming in the future. We also plan to do other Americanized British styles and subtle Belgian styles. Pretty much anything we get excited about.
What beers are you starting with?
S: First four beers are IPA, Green Diamonds Imperial IPA, Pale Ale, and “Doug” which is a Cascadian Dark Ale. Many more to follow.
How did Other Half and Peekskill team up?
S: Jeff O’Neil and I got to be friends running into each other at beer festivals and events. Jeff is one of the best brewers on the east coast so we definitely wanted to do a beer with Peekskill. We started talking about doing a beer last summer and finally we just decided to go for it. It’s definitely a great way to start out.
What breweries have inspired you?
S: So many. It’s hard to name them all. I’m inspired by new breweries all the time. But if I just name a few that inspired me to get involved in professional brewing in the 90’s I would say Deschutes, Bridgeport, Sierra Nevada and Rogue. Now there are so many, it’s really an exciting time.
M: Russian River, Alesmith, Victory, Sierra Nevada.
What do you see Other Half bringing to the New York beer market?
S: NYC is a pretty unique market. People have high expectations here and there is a lot of access to beers from all over the country and the world, so you really need to be on top of things. We really want to do the best we can to try to keep a high standard. We also bring something that is much needed, another local brewery. Despite the recent growth we still are way behind most parts of the country in terms of beer production. A lot of the new breweries are nano’s so that doesn’t really up our production numbers much and it’s hard to open larger breweries because it’s difficult to navigate the NYC DOB and the cost is high. But that aside, we are going to bring bombastic IPAs and hopefully some awesome sour beer to NYC.
Images courtesy Other Half Brewing