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Half Acre Big Hugs

January 10, 2010

Brewery: Half Acre Beer Company
Big Hugs, 22 oz. bottle
Imperial Stout
Half Acre brewery store, 4257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago

Since Thursdays are my Fridays, I took a few minutes yesterday to take the short bus ride up Lincoln Avenue to the North Center neighborhood to visit Half Acre Beer Company. These here are some good folks! Even in the middle of the day, there were always people in and out of their small store. Immediately greeted by a lovely young lady, I opted first to taste The Empty Sea, an Orange Chicory Rye beer. (Yeah, I know, right? Sounds weird, but surprisingly good.) It’s probably not going to get them any kind of notoriety anytime soon, in the way that folks like Stone and Dogfish Head are consistently making huge beers or overtly creative love-it-or-hate-it special brews, but it seems that subtlety is the name of the game at Half Acre. Picked up a bottle of the Big Hugs stout that I’ve been meaning to try. It was also cool to see some other breweries represented in their store fridge; Lagunitas, Dogfish Head, and another brewery that I have a vendetta against, just off the top of my head. Also got a chance to quickly chat with Gabriel, the founder of Half Acre Beer Company.

Poured into my Stone pint glass while watching the Jets vs. Bengals playoff game and playing with my Chad Ochocinco iPhone app. (“Child please!”)

So I like this beer. It pours an oily black with a really thin, dark tan head that dissipates quickly. Not a lot of lacing here, which is surprising. The taste is pretty spot on as far as what Half Acre says. It’s got that coffee flavor, courtesy of the Dark Matter coffee beans all up in there. But again, it’s very subtle. In coffee terms, think breakfast blend vs. French roast.

For the second pour, I decided to do one of my favorite things with beer – dark chocolate with a stout. The semi-sweet dark chocolate really brings out the bitterness in this beer, something that I didn’t really expect. The coffee flavor remains very slight, as the biggest flavor that I’m getting is more of a wet bitterness in the finish. Not what I was expecting – but this is a good beer. I’d love to have it on draft, and I know they’ve got it at Small Bar on Division. Hopefully the much closer Fullerton location will have it when they open next week.

So Gabriel, if you’re reading this…hey. You’re a cool guy that makes some good brews. Let’s hang out.

Final verdict: I’d definitely buy it again.

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