Road Trip

By Glenn DeLuca

For BeerNexus.com


Vince, the Beernexus guru and fellow Draught Board 15 member, sends a few of us
a note about an upcoming event at The Ambulance Brew House (ABH) in Nanuet, NY.
I’ve heard some great things about ABH, but to this point have never gotten there so
already I’m excited. And it’s a twenty tap takeover of The Other Half, so does that
mean we only got half and there are twenty other lines somewhere else?? No, The
Other Half is a renowned craft brewery in Brooklyn and yes I have to admit, this is the
first time I heard of it. Yes I get out to tap takeovers and read the Ale Street News
and some online publications/blogs but with well over 4,000 breweries I can’t know
them all…but then again this one’s in Brooklyn not Dorothy’s Kansas, so guess I
take the hit on that one.

The Other Half Brewing was opened by Sam Richardson and Matt Monahan in 2014,
so they’re a very young brewery. They think local so brew mainly for draft
consumption, i.e. fresh, but they also do some limited bottles and cans. There’s not
a whole lot on their website; guess they’re busy brewing, so I go to other sources to
get more info. BeerAdvocate lists 135 current beers and 57 archived…wait they
opened in 2014; do they sleep? Scanning the current list you see right away they like
their hops; lots of IPA and Double/Imperial IPAs along with, more than I’d expect,
saison/farmhouse ales, stouts and a few other different types.  ABVs do range but as
you would expect there are quite a few 6+, 7+, 8+and a handful in the 10-12 range.
I do a quick count and there are close to 10,000 reviews with the vast majority being
4+. A handful <4 are an American Pale @ 3.77, American IPA @ 3.9, English Pale
Ale @ 3.4, American Wild Ale @ 3.85 and some other lesser known styles such as
Wheatwine and Biere de Garde; so yes it’s true that we hopheads typically rate our
hoppy pales and IPAs higher…we just like our hops. I take a look at RateBeer; they
have 159 entries with 2,500 ratings, most ratings in 3+. A lot less ratings for more
beers, would be interesting to dig into the differences of BeerAdvocate and
RateBeer, but that’s for another time. I did note an Imperial IPA collaboration beer
with Trillium of Massachusetts fame, so they do appear to flying in the high brewing
circles.

Wow, this is going to be exciting. Everyone else wimps out so it’s Vince and I. We
meet at the Marriott and after being presented with a new long sleeved version
Beernexus shirt; we hop into his mobile and begin the cruise up Rt 287. Nanuet is
only 5.4 square miles with a population about 18,000 in Rockland County only two
miles north of the NJ border. I’ve passed through it a million times crossing the
Tappan Zee heading up to and back from my New England journeys. Besides my
travels my only other association is the Nanuet Mall, which opened in 1969, but as of
2013 is now called The Shops at Nanuet, which, no I’ve never been to, just heard of
it. And yes they have another claim to fame; they’ve been listed in the Best 100
Places to Live by two different organizations in the last ten years; they must have
something going.

ABH is on Main Street. Vince has been there before so clues me in it’s a two lane
road with parking on either side so we may have to search for street parking. As we
head down Main Street there’s a big shopping plaza less than a mile away so we pull
in there. It’s a 60 degree day, not a long walk and the walk back will do us good. We
park next to an old Cadillac in great shape.

We head down Main Street and it’s a mixture of quaint and basic type shops. Vince
finds a men’s store with a sport jacket he thinks will go great at his next event (so who
knew he was working the comedy clubs) but we can’t waste any time now. Here’s
Jacquelyn’s Wine on Main, a wine bar and tapas, which looks like a very interesting
place, but again we’re on a different mission. On the other side of the street I see
The Whistle Stop. I look at Vince and tell him “I bet that’s the Ringside of Nanuet” to
which he begins laughing as we have hit the Ringside a few times after a tasting at
the Cloverleaf. Sure enough I look it up when I get home and it’s described as a
“loveable dive bar”; I nailed it.

At last there it is on the other side of the street, the Ambulance Brew House, so we
cross and are entering at 12:04. For being open four minutes the bar is already full
and a few tables taken; we grab a two seater by the door and begin to peruse the
menu. Wow nine IPAs, six Farmhouse ales, four stouts and a wheatwine; there are no
flights or growler fills, just 12 oz pours so we’ll need a strategy. I start with the Mosaic
IPA and Vince the Space Diamonds, imperial IPA w/Galaxy hops. Here come two
beautifully cloudy glasses and we have just entered beer heaven; both are amazingly
good. Vince looks closer at the menu and they are doing 7 oz pours also, so we’ll be
able to taste more. There is a small outdoor patio in the front of the building with
some tables, but it appears the Brew House uses only one of the ambulance spots;
the second ambulance door is a hair salon. Strolling through, there are old pictures
of the staff and place when it was an ambulance house. There is also a rear patio
with a few tables and a huge big screen.

Sitting by the door we see the flow of people in but all of a sudden what doth appear,
but a huge red ambulance with its lights on, parking in front of the place. It’s the
owner in a 1968 Caddy, beautifully restored! I and quite a few others go out to check
it out. I’m told it was on display somewhere, but could only be sold back to the
Ambulance House. If not one of their originals it was the same style they had. And
best of all the logo on the back door window; “Craft Beer to the Rescue”…perfect!

Back inside, I grab my phone so I can start logging in the beers on Untapped and
sure enough the app opens but won’t pull up any beers for me to log them in. I can
see what others have tried and decide the Double Dry Hopped All Citra Everything is
next and I go for another 12 oz as everyone is saying it’s great. Back to the phone I
look at the Settings and see I’m on Optimum Wi-Fi with no Internet connection WHAT!
I haven’t even had one beer so what the heck is a Wi-Fi connection w/o Internet
(something like a beer glass w/o beer?) and what good does that do, wow thanks for
automatically connecting to that. As I continue to fart around trying to get a
connection, Vince, with a grin, pulls out his trusty notepad and begins jotting down
his notes. You see Vince still has a flip phone so doesn’t deal with any of this; he’s
very happy to continue to use pen and paper, which as I grovel and ask for a sheet
and pen he points out that he never has a malfunction in his documentation process.
Vince decides to order Like Whoa (the Trillium collaboration) and Passiflora, a
fermented farmhouse ale, both 7 oz. All are again excellent. I’m ready to give both
the Mosaic and the DDH All Citra 4.75s!

We need some sustenance, other than beer, so check out the food menu and order
a Mediterranean flatbread, which is very good.  I had noticed at the four seat tables
on the other side there was a white box with a white cord hanging from it with a sign
above “Pull White Cord for Beer or Emergency.” Don’t know if they were really
connected but definitely part of the ambiance. I ask our server why we don’t have
one at our table and w/o missing a beat and a straight face she replies “because we
knew you would pull it.” Ouch, I just stepped into that one, we both know it and I have
no comeback, so I gave her a fist bump.

We’re on to round three and go with three 7 oz pours; Southernhopalistic, IPA with
Wakatu, Topaz and Nelson Sauvin hops, Mylar Bags, an imperial IPA w/Galaxy, Citra,
Amarillo and El Dorado hops and a 2015 Smoke Screens & Oil Slick, an 11% imperial
stout, since we need to try at least one of those.

We haven’t tried them all, as we would have needed a room above The Whistle Stop,
but all were excellent and really one of the better beer events I’ve been too.  ABH has
only been open 2+ years, but has a great reputation. As Vince points out they only
have beer and wine, no hard stuff and good food based on our initial selection.
It’s midafternoon, time to move on, so we pay our bill and there’s a discount coupon
for the hair salon next door in the folio; seriously two folliclely challenged guys like us
need hair, not a discount. We head outside and stop to chat with the owner who
explains to us they also own the salon so there’s a method to their madness. Now I’ll
drive forty five minutes to drink beer, but not to get a haircut, even if they rub my
head like he promised.

As we walk to the car we both expounding on what great beer Other Half Brewing
makes. I sum it by saying “you can’t get enough of it, especially if you can’t find it.”
Vince looks at me and tells me “that’s brilliant” as if I’ve just come up with the next
catchphrase, maybe I’ll trademark it.

Vince wants to hit the Growler & Gill, a nearby beer emporium, with a great selection
of bottles as well as taps and food. We look it up and I punch the address into the
navigation and we proceed to drive up and down Rt 59 for ten minutes or so not
being able to find it. I look a little closer and see the address is 148, not 149 and
since there is no 149 we’ve been trying to find a non-existent building. We’ll chalk
that up to operator error. We finally arrive and it’s a small non-descript storefront but
it’s long so much larger than it appears. They do have a great selection of bottled
and canned beers which we check out before heading to the taps, at which point I’m
blown away. They have a really good selection of drafts I’ve never seen. I order a
flight of 3 IPAs I’ve never had and a Cigar City Jai Alai, which I’ve never seen on tap;
I assume the benefit of being in NY and not NJ. I then realize they have the Dogfish
Red and White, which I quick substitute for one of the IPAs and he throws it in…like
winning the lottery! We grab a table and order a plate of nachos to split and both
really enjoy the beers and food. A great way to end the day.

As we head back down Rt 287 into the Garden State, we reminisce about the places,
the weather, but mostly the great beers and how lucky we are to be experiencing this.
At this point I suggest you go back to the main page and read
Vince’s article since he
wrote about the same trip, just to see if you think we actually took the same trip or
not…



Glenn DeLuca writes about beer and culture of drinking. He may
be reached by writing thebigG@beernexus.com.

***   ***   ***
Glenn DeLuca
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