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Half Acre Lager

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Half Acre
Chicago, IL

Style: Lager

Eddie’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Recommended)

Is there any beer Sand Creek Brewing in Black River Falls, Wisconsin does not brew? They contract brew for what seems like half the Midwest, which is the case with Chicago’s newest beer, Half Acre Lager.

You’d think a city the size of Chicago would have more than just two distributing breweries—Goose Island and now, nominally, at least, Half Acre—but that’s the way beer marketing works: in large markets, the large breweries spend mondo cabbage to make sure the little guys don’t get a foothold. And that’s especially true in Illinois, where the beer and liquor distribution system is just about as crooked as it was during Prohibition. Plus, if you go big market, you better make something that is going to appeal to the lowest common denominator, because that’s where the big margins are. Hence Goose Island’s shitty-ass 312 Urban Wheat and, at first blush, at least, Half Acre’s maiden offering, a “premium” lager.

To me, it’d take a miracle to wow me with such a beer, a member of the most boring style on the planet. But the Half Acre is a noble attempt, and does have a little success setting itself apart.

It pours an orangey copper, distinguishing itself from the get-go from your typical offerings. The head didn’t do itself any favors, though, with a thin fizziness more akin to an Old Style than a craft beer. And just when I think things are going downhill, the nose: fruity, light, and summery, a world away from the dry unpleasantness of its kin. All this preludes an extremely soft, medium body (which is huge for the style). Little-to-no hop profile, which I actually applaud—it would have been an easy way out to just hop the shit out of it and dare people to not call it a craft brew. Despite this—as well as a thread of maltiness in the backwash—Half Acre comes across as a fairly balanced beer.

Although I’d reach for a long list of American wheats before I’d grab a Half Acre on a hot summer day, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a quaffable, refreshing beer.

Reviewed by Eddie Glick on September 25, 2007.
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