I previously visited Other Half during a visit to NYC during June of 2017 in which I also visited Kane and LIC Beer Company. Since that visit I have had Other Half beer at a few beer festivals. I have been impressed every time both by the incredible triple IPAs and barrel aged stouts. Most recently I enjoyed Other Half’s beers at a festival organized by Horus Aged Ales and Hop Culture. This introduced me to the triple daydream series, which I did not realize at the time meant they added lactose to the beer. It was much more subtle than the usual addition.
I was glad to see that during the time I was going to be in Brooklyn this year Other Half was likely to have cans available of Triple Mosaic Daydream and DDH Citra Daydream. I was not surprised one bit when the tasing room was packed on a Friday night. It seems to be packed most nights but especially around the weekends. Prepared for that, I ordered tasters of two triple daydreams that I did not plan to pick up in cans (Nelson and Citra) and enjoyed those tasters before leaving with my four packs of cans. Though I generally avoid tasters at breweries now, Other Half is one of the few spots where the triple IPAs are priced the same per ounce for tasters as for half pours.
Both Nelson and Citra triple daydreams were incredible and burst with hop flavors that I expect when I hear of those two hops. Triple Nelson Daydream reminded me of some recent Nelson hop beers from Cellarmaker. Triple Citra Daydream was similar with a slightly more citrus forward character. Both beers were thick and creamy with just a hint of sweetness from the lactose. Note: from rumors I have read, it is difficult to tell if the lactose used in beers is from actual cow milk or simply synthetic sweetener. The amount used in these beers is fairly minimal compared to other big stouts that use the same type of lactose. If the addition of any amount of lactose bothers you, then you might want to avoid visiting Other Half.
Though Other Half had a few stouts available, none of them were barrel aged so I stuck to the two daydreams I ordered and left shortly after that to another nearby brewery. I could only stand so much of the boisterous and somewhat claustrophobic atmosphere. Despite the crowds, I was glad to see that the limits of the cans had gone up since my last visit, though I would be unlikely to leave with more than 4 four packs from a spot unless I planned to uber back.
After leaving the brewery, I have enjoyed cans of both of the beers I picked up. I also shared a few cans with friends, including one who resisted the idea of wanting to try a triple IPA. Both beers lived up to my expectations. This is the one brewery whose triple IPAs I crave and jump at the chance to try. The triple mosaic daydream was similar from the can to the other two mentioned above but tended more towards notes of ripe melon.
Other Half remains one of my top 5 hazy IPA breweries in the country years after my previous trip. It is no wonder that their beers are still regularly traded. Their beers deftly highlight the flavors of hops that drew most people into the hazy/juicy IPA style in the first place.
Known for: Come to Other Half if you love hazy IPAs or big pastry stouts. Those are the two styles they excel at the most.
When I first visited Bosque in 2017, they had only one location, which was a dark restaurant with solid beer. In the time since that visit they opened a much larger restaurant in Bernalillo, outside of Albuquerque, that I was told I had to stop by and visit while I was in the area.
I heard about the views at Bosque’s new location making it worth a visit. On the drive over, I started to wonder as I got closer whether I was lied to. Then I realized that the mountains visible before exiting the freeway are visible from their back patio. Despite the chilly time of year, with heaters and a few layers, it was comfortable to sit on the patio and enjoy a few beers. The view made it extra special with the snow on the mountains in the distance.
I started with their house lager, which came highly recommended. It was crisp and clean just as I would expect, making it a perfect beer to enjoy in a full 20oz pour. I then ordered their hazy IPA, which was properly hazy with notes of juicy citrus and light pine. Despite being labeled as 70 IBU, it was nicely balanced and not overly bitter. Though I didn’t try all the beers, they were much improved from my visit two years prior.
While at the brewery, a friend and I shared their vegetarian poutine. Though more accurately I had a few bites while he devoured it. They use a green chili sauce instead of traditional poutine gravy, giving it a great kick. I especially enjoyed the last few bites that were smothered in the sauce.
If you have the time while you are in Albuquerque, make sure to venture out to Bosque’s new restaurant in Bernalillo, a short ride outside of town. It is a lovely spot and worth a visit. They had a great lineup of beers including some delicious hazy IPAs.
Casa Agria is located in Ventura California and depending on traffic it could take you an hour to two hours to get there from Los Angeles area. We made a special trip to visit the brewery from San Diego and stayed the night nearby so we didn’t have to do a huge amount of driving in a single day. The tasting room is fairly mid-sized. Many people were stopping by for growler fills. They have a variety of beers mostly into three categories. Sour and farmhouse ales, hazy IPAs, and stouts.
I started with Strickland Ranch, a mixed fermentation wild ale brewed with honey. The beer was dry and funky with a nice blend of vanilla, mild honey, oak, and white cake notes. I moved on to the fruited sour they had available, a blend of three varieties of stone fruit. It was a bit more acidic and the stone fruit blended nicely with notes of white cake and mild funk. I could have used more fruit with this one but it was still quite good.
I ordered a pint of Tints while I was at the brewery, a hazy pale ale. It was creamy in body with intense tangerine notes and mild vanilla. I left with a growler of their other hazy IPA, Transitions and Interludes. This beer was also thick and creamy but with more notes of tropical fruit. They have really nailed the thick mouthfeel for the style. I also tasted one of their imperial stouts with coffee, trying a few sips from my husband’s beer. It was thick with toasted malts, nutty coffee, and mild sweetness like a candied pecan.
I was overall quite impressed by Casa Agria during my visit. They seem to do all the various styles they brew quite well, making it a great spot for people who live in the area.
Dancing Gnome brews nothing but IPAs. Or at least that seems to be the primary focus. Everything is half pours or full pours with the occasional can release. I tried two beers while I was there and they were quite good though still a step below Brew Gentlemen. The tasting room is a bit smaller but still a good size.
I started with Dakota Line, a 9% triple IPA because that was the one available in cans. It was a bit green so I will revisit the beer in the cans after they have had a chance to mellow out. The beer had notes of tropical fruit and citrus with a good thick body and a lingering hop acidity on the finish. Asteroid, a single IPA had a mix of citrus and earthy hop character with a lingering acidity. This was also properly thick and creamy. I might have tried more at Dancing Gnome but I was already at my limit for hazy IPA for the day.
Dakota Line did mellow out a bit after a week or two and was quite impressive for a triple hazy IPA.
Dancing Gnome doesn’t brew anything but hazy IPA so if you aren’t into that style you might want to go elsewhere.
Insurrection Ale Works
Our last stop for the day was Insurrection, a bit West of town, closer to the airport. I had their Panama Red, red IPA. It had a nice dry finish with onion and light herbal hop notes with a light bitter finish. This was just what I needed after the hazy IPAs and was quite well done. My husband had a taster of their breakfast stout. It was bitter and quite smoky with prominent notes of coffee and burnt toffee. I thought the beer was a bit thin. Though well-done, I would have preferred it without the prominent smoked malts.
Normally I write about breweries over bars but in Pittsburgh the breweries all close on Monday and Tuesday except for one that opened at 5PM. Piper’s Pub came highly recommended and it made for a great spot to have a few pints before catching our flight home on a Monday evening. It has the feel of an English pub with a nice tap list that is a mix of Pennsylvania beers and imports (mostly English, Irish, and German).
Most beers are served in imperial pint glasses for $7.50 a pint. If you aren’t able to make it out to Brew Gentlemen you may get lucky and find one or two of their beers on tap here. After trying one beer from a brewery we didn’t get to visit, I ordered more Brew Gentlemen because they were that good. Thankfully they had Recertified on draft, my favorite hazy double IPA from visiting the Brew Gentlemen.
The main reason I visited Pittsburgh was to visit Brew Gentlemen. I have been seeing their beers rated highly in blind taste tests done by Paste Magazine for the last two years. Mostly this has been their hazy IPAs but occasionally other styles as well. They only serve six and twelve ounce pours at the tasting room plus growlers to go. While you can find their beers at a few bars around town, you will only find the wide variety at the brewery itself. If you already have some 750ml growlers from other breweries, bring them with you to avoid buying new ones.
I started with momo, their hazy pale ale and a mexican coffee stout for my husband. Momo was soft and creamy with a nice thick mouthfeel. The beer had notes of tangerine hops with a low hop acidity and low bitterness. It was one of the more flavorful hazy pales I have had. The mexican coffee stout was soft and nicely balanced with notes of cinnamon, nutty coffee, and mild roast. The mouthfeel reminded me of Tree House’ stouts, which suggests they use similar water to Tree House.
After the first pour, I was so impressed I got six ounce pours for the rest of the beers. I did those two at a time so I could compare different beers. For the first two half pours I compared General Braddock with Kaizen. Both had that lovely pillowy mouthfeel though they had distinctly different varieties of hops and hop flavors. General Braddock was bursting with papaya and light vanilla. Kaizen had a more herbal hop bitterness to it balanced with notes of ripe tropical fruit. I didn’t care for the hop varieties but it was still quite well done. Thankfully as it warmed up, the herbal notes mellowed out.
Next was Recertified Double IPA. This was my favorite of the bunch. The beer was bursting with notes of tropical fruit and could easily be mistaken for a hazy double IPA from Monkish or Tree House. I was quite tempted to fill a growler to bring back but I didn’t want to buy any more glass. Chocomatic Imperial Stout was my final half pour. The beer was roasty with prominent chocolate and a good thick body. Despite the higher alcohol, it was not boozy and avoided getting too sweet or thick. My husband still preferred the Mexican coffee.
Brew Gentlemen lived up to the hype and then some. The hazy IPAs were all excellent and they are making fantastic stouts as well. Though the tasting room is in a shady part of town, once you are inside, it has a nice relaxing, homey feel to it. They don’t serve food but they tend to have a food truck outside. While it was slightly disappointing that they didn’t have cans, I like their choice to limit to-go to growlers and the occasional bottles so that they always have beer at the tasting room.
You can find one or two of their beers on draft at bars around town but if you want to have the full experience, it is worth a visit to the brewery directly.
Mexican Coffee Stout