Big Hugs Release

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This year marks 10 years of Big Hugs Imperial Coffee Stout.

Every year we’ve brewed this beer looking to strike the cushy spot between strong and comfortable, an Imperial Drinking Stout, built for true

The label provides a journey through all the friends and foes our fair kitten has met through the years, do you recognize them all? We look forward to celebrating with all of those who have traversed this trail with us.


  • we’re hosting Big Hugs at our Balmoral brewery.
    It’s a big day, and we have a big space, so come fill it up.

  • we canned the variants
    Vanilla in 4packs, Bourbon Barrel Aged in 2 packs, more info below.

There will be merch for your outsides, food and drink for your insides, Dark Matter Coffee, good feels and snacks. We look forward to this event every year, and hope you feel the same.


  • release day: 12/02/17 at 11am

  • location: Balmoral Avenue brewery, 2050 W. Balmoral


    • 4pk 16oz cans: $19.99

    • limit 3 per person

    • no growler / howlers 

    • 10oz pour $6

      This year we chose a single coffee variety - Santa Petrona, bourbon, washed. It's from El Salvador. Dark Matter extracted it multiple ways - espresso shots (a coordinated effort across all of their locations to simultaneously pull enough shots at each location to fill a 1/6 bbl with espresso), french press, pour-over, and more. The coffee is brewed at super concentrated levels so the beer dilution is minimal upon its addition. We added the liquid at a total volume of 3% by volume of beer. Then, for the first time, we infused the beer on whole roasted beans of the same variety in our infuser.

      All in, this batch of Big Hugs is a bully reborn. 10% ABV and easy, balanced drinking ~ it's the imperial stout your pint glass fights for, with notes of dark fruit, smooth roast, and cocoa.



    • 4pk 16oz cans: $21.99

    • limit 3 per person

    • no growler / howlers 

    • 10oz pour $6

      Vanilla Big Hugs is brewed for those with the sweet lean. The same base beer as original Big Hugs, the liquid coffee added was brewed in the style of Dark Matter's "Vanilla Suburbs" iced coffee, which has vanilla and cocoa added with the coffee grounds when it is extracted. We then conditioned the beer on madagascar vanilla beans. The woody-sweet of vanilla presents itself upon the cracking of the can, while the drinking experience is well integrated and smooth.


    • 2pk 16oz cans: $19.99

    • limit 3 per person

    • no growler / howlers 

    • 10oz pour $11

      Bourbon Barrel Aged Big Hugs, is in our opinion, in its finest form here in year three. The Big Hugs base recipe is tweaked to stand up to its time in wood, richer overall, with bigger mouthfeel and body, it's Hugs at its core and something altogether different at the same time. Aged 9 months in freshly emptied Willett bourbon barrels, we then added liquid coffee and infused the beer with whole bean coffee. For the liquid coffee Dark Matter conditioned green coffee beans in barrel-aged Hugs after it came out of the barrels. Then they roasted the coffee and extracted it into liquid that we added BACK into the beer. Cyclical ouroboros extraction theory.



The Whole Enchilada, the presale option for Big Hugs and its variants, is back. On Wednesday, November 28th at 11am we will make a set amount of Big Hugs available online. For $190 (tax inclusive, ticket site fee NOT included) you can guarantee yourself:

  • 2 x 4 packs of Big Hugs Imperial Coffee Stout 

  • 2 x 4 packs of Vanilla Big Hugs Imperial Coffee Stout

  • 3 x 2 packs of Bourbon Barrel Aged Big Hugs Imperial Coffee Stout 

  • 1 x 14oz. specialty Big Hugs teku   

All packed up in a Half Acre Build CO custom split fountain screen printed box.

Link to ticket page here.

You will be invited to pick up your full allotment on release day (12/2) from our shop on Lincoln, between the hours of 11am-10pm. 

If you do not pick up your allotment on 12/2, you can get it from our shop on Lincoln 11am-10pm 12/4-12/9. Do not try to get them on Monday 12/3, we'll be closed.  

If you do not pick up your allotment by 3pm on December 9th you will forfeit it to the hungry beasts that make our science cheese. 

There will be no refunds and no exceptions. Please read all of the fine print on the ticket website before your purchase.  This is for pre-sale only, if you want a beanie, a tee shirt, or anything not included in the pre-sale, you may have to wait in a line at Balmoral on release day. While you can drink Big Hugs and its variants on draft, there will not be any additional packaged (to-go) Big Hugs (or variants, or merch) located at Lincoln on 12/2.

PROXIES ARE NOT PERMITTED. By PROXIES, we mean you cannot pay and have someone else pick up for you. You must personally pick up and show a valid ID at time of pick up to verify age & identity. 

We have a great time with you at the Big Hugs release, and being at Balmoral this year we hope it’s more comfortable and joyous than ever, but we realize that not everyone feels the same way. If you elect to acquire your lot via The Whole Enchilada, please consider dropping by anyway, for a sample of a one-off beer, or complimentary sweet treat.

Thank you, 

Far & Away

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On October 13th, we’re hosting a crushing invitational beer festival atop the Harris Theater in Millennium Park.

Featuring a deep list of today’s most prized out-of-state brewers from around the US and beyond, many of which don’t sell beer in Chicago, a few winemakers, too.

Tickets get you a 10oz glass and all the experience you can pack inside of it. Whether you’re buried in the beer scene, just dabble or simply want to spend an afternoon in an awesome location drinking incredible liquids from the finest producers — it’s just a few weeks away and this experience is not to miss.

Get your tickets.

The World Cup


This year we're showing every World Cup game that starts at or after 8am in our tap room on Balmoral. We'll play the games with the sound on and serve coffee and pastries until our kitchen opens (on days that our kitchen opens). 

Plus, if you email ( your bracket to us before the opening ceremony on Thursday, we'll buy you a pint when you watch your first game with us. When it's all over, we'll draw 3 brackets with the highest points to win specialty Half Acre swag. 

Find all the games we're showing here. Let's get into this. 

Brackets available below if you don't have one. 

Bracket Point System

  • 5 points for each winner of round 16
  • 10 points for each quarter final winner
  • 20 points for each semi final winner
  • 50 points for champion 

We'll tally total points and award 3 prizes, in the case of a tie, we'll draw from a hat. 

Please note, if you are not able to pick up your raffle winnings we can ship it to you at the cost of shipping. 

Hang Time


The beer industry has long been layered in the party business. Here at Half Acre, making and selling beer has always been about the properties of experience good beer elevates. 

And while we know you're out there curating your own stellar time, every once in a while we like to roll out the carpet and invite you into our version. 

Now there are mountains of beer events year round that gorge themselves in the summer and pop all over your free time. We thought we'd briefly outline for you what we have coming down the line, with more details to come as they creep closer. 


To be honest, pretty much every week is craft beer week for us, and we're guessing it is for you too, but that doesn't mean we can't choose collectively to really cram it in there. 

May 17th & 18th

First, a beer week welcome at Sleeping Village

Together with pals from Hopewell and On Tour, we invite you to Trek to the Waterfall.

Then on Friday, at both our breweries, you'll find a double beer release, wyld tap takeover, and $1 off all our available core beers. We'll also have the garage door open at Lincoln Avenue with snacks and the beer garden ready for you at Balmoral, with a Dakota full of cans. 

Saturday, August 18th

Our third annual The Big North. This party is about showing all of those who support us the widest view of our landscape. We concoct a bunch of new beers, pull favorites from the cooler, book bands we like to dance to, and expand our weirdest edges to fold you in. Held at our facility on Balmoral, year one was about showing you the production space, in year two we unveiled the tap room, and this year we'll share how it all works together in the pursuit of our duality. 

Saturday, October 13th 

In October of this year, we'll be hosting an invitational creative gathering downtown. Inspired by our own travels and festival experience, we've invited brewers (and a handful of wine makers) who are located outside of Illinois to come experience the abundant energy and vibrant humans Chicago has to offer.


We appreciate the time you spend with us, whether it be in our tap rooms on a Thursday or at a blowout event, and hope to see you this summer. 


Daisy Capra

This year we decided to pursue a different iteration of Daisy Cutter.... Daisy Capra.  

All Daisy forms are a pulpit for hop evangelism, but it’s the malt profile that places Daisy.  In an era of increasing malt transparency, the presence of barley impact, and specifically Daisy’s, gives it its tie back to the time and place of its origin. 

But while the grist remains eternal, we pursued a totally new hop blend, based around the grigio-esque, raspberry and cantaloupe of Enigma. Citra, Ekuanot, Centennial and CTZ cut the rest of its tones, a dense and tropical edible arrangement.

Daisy Capra will be released at our brewery locations on Friday, March 2nd in 4packs of 16oz cans. It will see full distribution the following week, hitting trusted beer vendors throughout Illinois, New York City, Philadelphia, and portions of Wisconsin.

Benthic 2017


Friday, 11/10, Benthic Bourbon Barrel Aged Coffee Coconut Imperial Stout, rises from the deep. 


  • when: 11/10 at 11am 
  • where: our shop on Lincoln, 4257 N. Lincoln Ave. 
  • 22oz bomber: $24.99 (limit 3 per person, 145 cases available) 
  • 10oz pour: $13 (find it on draft in both tap rooms) 
  • no distribution on bombers 
  • no growler/howler fills 

Big Hugs 2017

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Big Hugs Imperial Coffee Stout is back.  Life in the dark channels.

This year our Imperial Drinking Stout is set in the sea. The Kitten, Hugs, Pulled down below, where the deepest, strangest creatures live. 

For the first time we decided to put original Hugs in 16oz cans. As in year’s past, you’ll still find variants in bombers. 

There will be merch to outfit you, food and drink, Dark Matter Coffee, positive reverberations, something about hot dogs. We look forward to this event every year, and hope to see you out there. 

Finally, The Whole Enchilada will be returning ~ more information on that here.


  • release day: 12/03/17 at 11am
  • location: Lincoln Avenue brewery, 4257 N. Lincoln Ave 
  • all prices include tax
    • 4pk 16oz cans: $22 / limit 4 per person
    • no growler / howlers 
    • 10oz tap room pour: $6
    • 22oz bottle: $14 / limit 4 per person
    • no growler / howlers 
    • 10oz tap room pour: $6
    • 22oz bottle: $22 / limit 4 per person 
    • no growler / howlers 
    • 10oz tap room pour: $11 


Pony Pilsner Design Update


Today, a new Pony Pilsner can begins hitting shelves.

A few months back we decided that the design on Pony didn't fit our enthusiasm for the pils inside. So we tweaked it. Same beer, new visual enthusiasm. 

Balmoral Tap Room & Garden

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At Half Acre we refer to our breweries as Lincoln & Balmoral.  A basic and trusted way to delineate between our two homes. On September 9th we’ll open our Balmoral Tap Room & Garden.

Opening our Balmoral brewery to guests is a giant moment for our brewery. Without a destination where people could come to experience this brewery, it never would’ve felt complete.
The vision for this tap room stems from our experience at Lincoln.  We appreciate all the elements that make that space feel full on a daily basis.

For Balmoral, we hope to share something different, but similar. While Lincoln is more intimate, we hope Balmoral to be more accommodating to larger groups, families, and experiential flexibility.  We’ll be doing another post on the food and beer program, but we’re taking the opportunity to treat this menu as a unique offering. 

The Garden, while just a corner in our parking lot, is a place all of us at Half Acre already gravitate towards when sinking beers.  Like Lincoln, Balmoral will highlight our aesthetic interests and investment in the practice of hospitality.  The majority of its architectural elements were built right here in our woodshop, we commissioned the artwork, and generally made it feel like Half Acre.  We look forward to having you and further colliding our collective universe..

Big North 2017 Beer List



Daisy Cutter
Pale Ale

India Pale Ale 

Extra Pale Ale

India Pale Ale


Deep Space

Double Daisy Cutter

La Looks
IPA brewed with coconut butter

Gentle Gentle
Dark Cherry Wyld Ale

Life on Land
Wyld Table Beer

Experimental Kentucky Common

Cherry Wyld Ale

Traditional Black Raspberry Berliner Weisse

Baltic Porter

Battle of Trenton
Kentucky Common brewed with peach tea + mint

Volume II

Blonde Wyld Ale

2017 Benthic
Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout with coconut + coffee

2017 Benthic Variants

Skippet / Amargosa
Blend I

Skippet / Mythic
Blend II

Dry Hopped Life on Land
Wyld Table Beer

Tomorrow People

The Big North
Lacto Pulsed Pale Ale with peaches

Traditional Pilsner

Johnny's One Ton
Triple IPA

Daisy Toronado
Experimental Pale Ale

2016 Orin
Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Ale

Pale Ale

Coconut Pale Ale


Top Notch
Hoppy Lager

Akari Mist
American Wheat with lemon + lime zest

2016 Vanilla Hugs
Imperial Coffee Stout with vanilla bean

Wooden Teeth

White Noise
English Mild

Pony Pilsner
with lime juice

2016 BA Hugs
Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Coffee Stout


Tickets for this event are sold out.

3 Day Hold for Micro

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At Half Acre we’re making a small but meaningful change in how beer leaves our brewery.  
We’ve always, and continue to, place freshness as a pivotal gatekeeper to positive experience.
Our clean recipes — ones intentionally free of wild yeast and bacteria — are built to celebrate beer in its youth. Our lab team works hard to ensure that those beers are microbiologically sound by testing them throughout their lifecycle at our brewery.

We’ve increased the complexity of that program to now include a three-day hold on all beer leaving our brewery.  That time allows for additional assurance that once you’ve invested your resources in our beer, we’re delivering you pure, sound brewing outcome. So, if you’re tracking pack dates — understand that it stayed under our optimal (bone cold) supervision for a touch longer.

All the best ~ Half Acre

Magick Is Purple

We've experimented with bacteria and wild yeast since the early days, but it wasn't until we opened our second brewery two years ago that we were able to begin the kind of wild program we wanted for Half Acre.

The second facility allowed us to decrease brewing at our original brewery and transform the room that used to house our canning line into the Wyld Cove, an isolated area with temperature control, dedicated equipment and time spent.

The aim for this program is to be very selective and work without the functional constraints placed on the rest of our brewing volume - to methodically allow creative themes to naturally develop over time.

On April 28th, the first beer from this program will be available in our shop and tap room.

Magick is Purple was initially brewed into stainless steel in February of 2016. It was then passed into oak red wine barrels and inoculated with a blend of wild yeasts and bacteria. In November of that year, selected barrels were blended to balance overall acidity and yeast character. In February of 2017 it was bottled for a final conditioning process.
It's copper in color and carries notes of bread, hay, berry and cherry.

About a quarter of the bottles being released have labels that were hand painted by Gabriel, one of Half Acre's co-creators. You can expect the first 500+ bottles to be treated this way.  

These beers represent an additional space for the creative minds in our brewery. Allowing us to continually engage the process of making beer.


  • release date: 4/28 at 11am
  • $18.99 / 750ml bottle 
  • limit 6 per person 
  • available at the brewery only

Wisconsin Launch Events

Wisconsin ~ we're here to party. 

Head to any one (or all) of the following joints to get acquainted with Half Acre Beer in a new place. 

January 31st

- Uncle Mike's in Kenosha / featuring Daisy Cutter Pale Ale, GoneAway IPA, Chocolate Camaro Chocolate Milk Stout, Deep Space Double IPA 

- Champp's in Brookfield / featuring Daisy Cutter Pale Ale, GoneAway IPA, Big Hugs Imperial Coffee Stout, Chocolate Camaro Chocolate Milk Stout, Navaja DIPA, Benthic Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout with Coconut and Coffee, Pony Pilsner, Deep Space DIPA 

- Jordan's Big Ten in Madison / featuring Daisy Cutter, Deep Space DIPA, Chocolate Camaro Chocolate Milk Stout, Pony Pilsner 

February 1st

- Brass Tap in Greenfield / featuring Daisy Cutter Pale Ale, GoneAway DIPA, Deep Space DIPA, Chocolate Camaro Chocolate Milk Stout 

- The Palm Tavern in Milwaukee / featuring Daisy Cutter Pale Ale, Chocolate Camaro Chocolate Milk Stout, Orin Bourbon Barrel Aged Strong Ale, Big Hugs Imperial Coffee Stout 

- Sugar Maple in Milwaukee / Daisy Cutter Pale Ale, GoneAway IPA, Gin Barrel Aged Pony Pilsner, Navaja DIPA, Benthic Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout with Coffee and Coconut, Pony Pilsner, Deep Space DIPA 

- Glass Nickel in Madison East / featuring Daisy Cutter Pale Ale, GoneAway IPA, Big Hugs Imperial Coffee Stout, Chocolate Camaro Chocolate Milk Stout, Navaja DIPA, Pony Pilsner 

- 8th Street Ale House in Sheboygan / featuring Daisy Cutter Pale Ale, GoneAway IPA, Orin Bourbon Barrel Aged Strong Ale, Deep Space DIPA, Chocolate Camaro Chocolate Milk Stout, Pony Pilsner 

February 2nd 

- ABV Social in Wauwatosa / featuring Daisy Cutter Pale Ale, GoneAway IPA, Big Hugs Imperial Coffee Stout, Chocolate Camaro Chocolate Milk Stout, Bourbon Barrel Aged Big Hugs Imperial Coffee Stout, Deep Space DIPA, Pony Pilsner 

- The Coopers Tavern in Madison / featuring Daisy Cutter Pale Ale, GoneAway IPA, Chocolate Camaro Chocolate Milk Stout, Vanilla Big Hugs Imperial Coffee Stout, Gin Barrel Aged Pony Pilsner, Pony Pilsner 

- Mr. Brews Taphouse in Appleton / featuring Daisy Cutter Pale Ale, GoneAway IPA, Navaja DIPA, Chocolate Camaro Chocolate Milk Stout 

- Brickhouse Craft Burgers and Brews in De Pere / featuring Daisy Cutter Pale Ale, GoneAway IPA, Big Hugs Imperial Coffee Stout, Chocolate Camaro Chocolate Milk Stout, Salted Espresso Big Hugs Imperial Coffee Stout, Deep Space DIPA 

Shrub Tundra

The role of coffee throughout our brewery is rivaled only by our dedication to the creation of technically raw and ripping beers. In Shrub Tundra, we celebrate the compatibility of these two life bloods. 

An English brown ale base beer, touched by the creative influence of Dark Matter. 
This year the final beverage is 3.5% coffee, extracted from Faro and Sarchimor, both grown at Finca San Jeronimo Miramar in Guatemala. 
You can read about the farm here, on Dark Matter's blog

Shrub Tundra comes out this Friday. Come drink it and give thanks to the elements in this life that elevate and deflate, as needed. 


  • release date: 2/3/17 
  • 6.3% ABV 
  • 22oz bomber: $8.99
  • 32oz howler refill: $9
  • 64oz growler refill: $17
  • 16oz pour: $7

Domestic Buckets

Domestic Buckets, a 6% abv Buckwheat Bock, was brewed with our good friend Davin and his brother Kellan, co-hosts of Memphis' Wise Acre Brewing. While no popcorn was stuffed in the mash, we finally downshifted into decoction mode on our German engineered brewhouse on Balmoral, for that authentic full flavored taste. A sturdy A-Frame of traditional German malts, combined with toasted buckwheat berries and bags of German noble hops, make this table bock ideal for any iced down happy hour session. It will probably sneak into an import bucket deal or two at the bar with beach volleyball courts too, it's that good. 


  • release date: 1/27

  • 22oz bomber: $8.99

  • 32oz howler refill: $9

  • 64oz growler refill: $17 

  • 16oz pour: $7

Hello Wisconsin.


In a few weeks, a truck of Half Acre beer will cross the border into Wisconsin, beginning a new era of consistent but limited distribution. You'll be able to find it in the following counties: 

  • Kenosha
  • Racine
  • Walworth
  • Waukesha
  • Milwaukee
  • Ozaukee
  • Washington
  • Dodge
  • Green Lake
  • Fond Du Lac
  • Sheboygan
  • Manitowoc
  • Calumet
  • Winnebago
  • Outagamie
  • Brown
  • Shawano
  • Oconto
  • Marinette
  • Door
  • Grant
  • Lafayette
  • Green
  • Rock
  • Jefferson
  • Dane
  • Iowa
  • Richland
  • Sauk
  • Adams
  • Columbia
  • Kewaunee

We've had a handful of opportunities to hoist our beer in our neighbor state and it's always felt like a good place for it. We're stoked to offer our lineup to additional ease seekers. We're going to do some events, we'll announce when they're set. 





Chocolate Camaro

The calendar flips and Chocolate Camaro Chocolate Milk Stout rolls in.

The city's been on ice for a while now and the urge to chip off increases. Chocolate Camaro is an easy warmer ~ dark strength packed with co-co cream qualities.

The Ecuadorian and Dominican nibs that give this beer its power were roasted by Ethereal Confections in Woodstock, IL. 

Crank the heat and climb in back.


  • release date: 1/13
  • 22oz bottle: $8.99
  • 32oz howler refill: $10
  • 64oz growler refill:  $18 

Cliffs of Tephra


Before 2016 is finally called off, we wanted to get in one final release.

We’ve been committed to canning beer for some time now.  We’ve also been committed to 22oz bombers for most of our special release offerings. We first labeled blank cans in 2010, but moved back to 22’s because we’re stubborn humans.  Since then, our filler has only gotten more ancient and the national landscape has shifted to usher traditional bomber practices into the land of Valhalla.  We’ve decided to turn to the sun and again begin to use our canning line for certain special release beers.  Giant liquids and mixed ferm beers will still hit large format glass.  Sub 10% abv rippers that typically lean toward hops will get packed in cans.  You’ll see some in full print wonder and some labeled.  All will course through the hands of our technically savage packaging squad in the canning sanctuary.  

The first of this kind will be Cliffs Of Tephra, an IPA pulling inspiration from the volcanic episodes around the world.  It's being released next Friday, December 16th, more info to come.


  • release: 12/16 at 11am 
  • no distribution 
  • 4pk of 16oz cans: $15.99 (limit 6 per person) 
  • 16oz pour: $8 


On Friday we release Benthic, a Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout brewed with coffee and toasted coconut. A remedy coaxed from the deepest caverns; it's char bound in the systematic sweetness and density only found in the colossal beers of our time.  Expect cohesive flavors & aromas of cherry, brittle, maple, coconut, coffee, brown sugar, burnt chocolate and caramelized sugar. 


  • release date: 11/18 at 11am
  • 22oz bomber: $24.99 (limit 2 per person) 
  • no growler/howler fills