Half Acre Beer Company
One of Chicago’s newest breweries is Half Acre Beer Company. President, Gabriel Magliaro provided me a personal glimpse into the history of the brewery, starting with incorporation in late 2006 through utilizing a contract brewery in WI to eventually opening up their full production brewery earlier this year. Gabriel used the brewery itself, all of it custom built with equipment purchased mostly from other breweries, such as Ska Brewing Company in Durango, CO, as a backdrop to describe the brewing process along with his personal take on it – from grain to glass. Along the way, we taste five of the craft brews Half Acre produces all on-site:
Half Acre Gossamer:
With lighter alcohol and body than most craft beers (under 5%), this style of beer is known as a ‘session’ or ‘table’ beer. Though lighter than the other beers, it did not skimp on flavor, with a hoppy nose – obtained through ‘dry-hopping’ the beer – and a grainy malt underpinning.
Half Acre Lager:
A ‘Munich-style lager’ with a golden brown yellow color and a clean, light malt/noble hop nose. Its prickly carbonation leads to a pleasantly bitter finish.
Half Acre Over Ale:
Stylistically somewhere between an American Brown Ale and an English Special Bitter, I would simply call it an Amber Ale. The reddish copper Amber colored beer exudes malty esters with a nutty, toffee-like profile finishing with solid hop bitterness. Thought the style can vary (intentionally) batch to batch, the beauty in this beer is the balance between malt flavor and hop bitterness.
Half Acre Daisy Cutter:
Half Acre’s version of American Pale Ale is an eminently pleasing beer with some unique hop characteristics. The evident haze is testament to the dry-hopping and light, if any, filtration this beer undergoes. Also indicating some extra hop addition is the persistent head that remains through to the bottom of the glass. A piney, floral hop nose is reflected in the clean palate with a seamless transition from the nose to the palate and straight through the finish.
Half Acre Big Hugs Imperial Stout:
ChicaGourmets were amongst the first to sample this massive stout. The lifted nose (thanks to about 10%ABV) and palate were swirling with complex roasty/toasty aromas and flavors of toffee, mocha, chocolate and chestnut with slightly smoky notes. The (not so) secret ingredient in the brewing process is the late addition of Dark Matter Coffee. Dark Matter, specialty coffee bean roasters, tasted the fermenting beer and put together a special blend of 7 different beans, using 5 different roasting procedures. Instead of overwhelming the beer, the coffee helps bring out and integrates with the unique aromas and flavors only found the heavily roasted malts used to produce this style of beer.
Stop by at their newly opened tasting room and retail shop to say ‘hi’ to Gabriel and try, as well as purchase, the rotating array of fresh, hand-crafted Half Acre beers – several of which are only available on-site at 4257 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago IL 773.248.4038.
By Lee Schlesinger