Northeast D.C. has become the unofficial hub of local craft breweries over the years, so it’s no surprise that yet another brewery is coming to the quadrant this fall. In October, the likes of Atlas Brew Works, 3 Stars and Hellbender, among others, will welcome the arrival of a new neighbor: Other Half Brewing. Co-founders Andrew Burman, Matt Monahan and Sam Richardson are opening a new taproom and production facility, the famed Brooklyn brewery’s third location, in the former Pappas Tomato Factory building in Ivy City.
The brewers who brought the hazy IPA craze to New York City are ready to bring their highly sought-after brews to the DMV market. Also known as New England-style IPAs, Other Half’s hazy IPAs have a strong cult following. One committed hophead waited outside the brewery for 11 hours one night in order to be first in line for an IPA release the following morning.
Many hardcore lovers of craft beer travel long distances in order to get their hands on an Other Half beer release. Luckily for Washington-area residents, that won’t be a problem. Not only is the 22,000-square-foot production facility and taproom in our backyard now, the brewers have plans to drop releases exclusive to the D.C. location.
District Fray caught up with co-founder Matt Monahan, who grew up in the D.C. area along with co-founder Andrew Burman. Monahan talked about what it’s like to expand the business in the middle of a pandemic, what makes D.C. so special and what Other Half has in store for Washington.
District Fray: What’s it like opening a major production facility and taproom amid a pandemic?
Matt Monahan: So much of the pandemic affects your forward-facing side of the business. You worry about your employees’ safety and our customers’ safety. For us, it’s been making sure the construction crews have been on track, those guys are safe and the site is safe. It’s been pretty crazy. From the time we found out the whole world was shutting down to now, the biggest step we made was to decide to push forward despite what was happening and sort of take the leap. If we were going to go down, we would go down at least trying.
First and foremost, it’s home. I left D.C. in 2006 and haven’t been back yet. To be able to bring back what I’ve been able to do in New York to someplace that’s a special place to me is super exciting. There’s nothing like [D.C.’s] transient market. There’s a constant influx of new and fresh faces. It holds a special place in our hearts, and we’re really attracted to the demographic down there.
Any plans to collaborate with established DMV brewers?
We’ve got a couple in the queue. I can’t really speak to them now because they’re in other people’s facilities, so I’ll let those groups speak to them when they’re ready. This whole market [has] a stellar scene already that we’re really stoked to be a part of.
How will the D.C. location stand out from the New York locations?
What sets D.C. apart is the way it’s laid out. It’s the largest of all our facilities, including our basement cellar space. We have almost 8,000 square feet of outdoor space and a 2,000-square-foot roof deck. All in all, we’ll be able to hold just shy of 900 people on-premise once things get back to normal. We just finished our Q4 schedule and our main goal is to give D.C. its complete own set of releases that don’t get manufactured anywhere else. [It’s] D.C.-specific for the D.C. market because D.C. is special. They’re getting something special that the New York crowd is not getting.
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