An Expert’s Guide to Enjoying the Perfect Pint of Beer
Peach flavoring, “notes of lychee,” and a “fruity pebbles profile” are just some of the descriptors you’ll see on Other Half Brewing’s distinctive beers. Since its founding in 2014, the Brooklyn-based brewery has carved out a niche creating unserious, tasty, and universally loved craft beer. Now, Other Half has made the move to Manhattan with a newly-opened space at Rockefeller Center.
Featuring a seasonal outdoor beer garden and a 60-seat taproom, the midtown outpost represents a turning point for the popular brewmeisters. “It’s a chance to be part of something historic,” says cofounder and COO Andrew Burman. “It’s cool that we’re in that zeitgeist; it’s such a departure from what we were to what we are.”
And whether you’re a craft brewery connoisseur or beer beginner, Other Half is letting us all in on some tricks of the trade. Read on for Burman’s tips on how to pour (and enjoy) the perfect pint – wherever you are.
Tips for Enjoying the Perfect Pint of Beer
1. Don’t be afraid to branch out
Maybe you’re against fruity beer or think IPAs are too bitter, but keep in mind that Other Half has built its reputation by being unlike any other craft brewery out there. “This isn’t Bud Light,” says Burman with a laugh. They turn what you think you know about beer on its head, so keep an open mind when picking a drink. “If you haven’t been to a place like us and experienced a new school of thought on craft beer – it's not like it was before,” Burman explains. “There’s something for everyone to try.” Other Half offers in-person and virtual tastings, flights of beers, take-home cans, and other ways to dip a toe into the unknown. So go ahead, take a risk.
2. Consider the flavor
While many craft beers are known for being earthy and bitter, Other Half delivers a variety of flavors that you can actually taste. Their beers are strong – with a high percentage of alcohol – and very hoppy, but maintain a universal appeal. “We pride ourselves on making beers that are fruity, and have tropical notes,” says Burman. “They have flavor… whatever we say they are, it hits.” When picking a beer, think about flavors and styles you like in certain foods and let that inform your selection.
3. Foam isn’t the enemy
There are a lot of competing theories on foam and beer. While some people may pride themselves on being able to pull a pint with virtually no foam, they’re missing out in the end. It turns out that foam, also known as the head, is a good thing. When you pour a beer into a glass with a bit of foam, you are releasing the carbonation from the bottle, can, or keg. If there’s no foam, the carbonation will simply release in your stomach, which creates beer bloat. Foam is also important to the drinking experience, as it holds the taste and smell of the beer as you sip. “We try to make sure it has some head on it because that’s where the fragrance comes from,” explains Burman. “Foam makes it more flavorful – a good half-inch on top is nice.”
4. Temperature counts
Just like cookies that have cooled to the perfect temperature, beer has its sweet spot as well. Depending on the style, there are different degrees at which it is best served. “I think our beers are a little bit better when they’re a bit above fridge temperature because you can really taste and smell them better,” says Burman. “It’s really interesting to get that cold beer in the beginning, and as you’re drinking it the flavor develops and settles.” But don’t get carried away. Regardless of the product, it’s best to avoid frosted or chilled glasses, as they take away a beer’s bite. Pick a cold beer and a room-temperature glass for optimal enjoyment.
5. Think about glassware
As it goes with wine, certain beers are best served in specific types of glassware. There are mugs, pints, boots, tall and thin pilsner glasses, short and round tulip glasses, steins, chalices, and many more options at hand. At Other Half, they favor glasses that do justice to the unique flavor profiles of their beers. “Depending on the beer we serve it in different glasses,” says Burman. “Goblet, pint glass, tasting glasses – they’re all sort of bold in a way where you can try to smell the beers and really experience what’s in them.”
6. Make the right food pairing
After you’ve poured the perfect pint, it’s time to find the perfect pairing. Which begs the question: What foods would go well with these fruity, sharp beverages? “I think the beers we have are great with certain meals,” says Burman. “They do well with spicy foods and flavors. I wouldn’t pair them with ice cream, but [they really match well with ] some of the more fragrant and more flavorful food.”
Other Half at Rockefeller Center, located at 600 Fifth Avenue, is open Monday and Tuesday, 12pm to 8pm, Wednesday and Thursday, 12pm to 9pm, Friday from 12pm to 10pm, Saturday from 10am to 10pm, and Sunday from 12pm to 8m.