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Inside Half Acre Brewery’s Long-Awaited North Side Taproom & Beer Garden

The highly-anticipated expansion opens Saturday with roasted meats and brews

Half Acre Brewing Co.’s taproom.
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Most breweries dream of opening a single taproom, and now Half Acre Brewing Co. has a pair in Chicago. On Saturday, at its Bowmanville beer-making facility, the uber-popular local brewer opens a sparkling new taproom and kitchen, along with a massive beer garden. The new facility joins the taproom/kitchen in North Center. However, Half Acre chef Nick LaCasse said Bowmanville will have a much different feel.

“It’s totally different food — it’s a totally different concept,” LaCasse said. “No tortillas are allowed in this building.”

LaCasse’s old menu in North Center — which debuted in 2016 — featured a variety of cheffy burritos, and the infamous “science cheese” nachos. He won’t serve burritos in Bowmanville, as he’s going for more of a European feel. Staff will offer roasted meats and fresh-baked breads for sandwiches. It’s a full-service restaurant and Half Acre is describing the menu as having a professional culinary staff with high-tech equipment prepare food that customers make in their own kitchen.

“Everything is made entirely here,” said Maurizio Fiori, a Half Acre partner and hospitality manager.

There’s room for 160 indoors and 100 outdoors. The Half Acre team designed the space themselves, but Fiori wanted to spotlight the efforts of in-house wood shop worker Sean Mcdougall, who spent countless hours on the project. There’s also a private event space for 50 — they got the stadium seats from a planetarium. Fiori wants to eventually hold Premiership soccer lunches on the weekends, showing matches and serving fans foods. They’ll also eventually add brunch.

Customers entering from the back door can see the kitchen from a small window. There’s picnic benches outside so beer lovers can drink their Daisy Cutters al fresco. It’s only canned beer for now, and guests won’t be able to eat outside this year, said Fiori. But they’re hopeful of allowing food outdoors next year while adding an outdoor bar.

The bar features 22 taps. Some of those taps will pour experimental brews like the Big North “lacto-pulsed” ale that debuted last month at a Half Acre beer festival. The larger taproom joins the original in North Center, as Half Acre grew ambitious after moving the majority of beer production in 2015 from North Center to Bowmanville.

Check out the photos below. Half Acre’s new taproom opens on Saturday. And it’ll have free WiFi.

Half Acre Brewery Taproom, 2050 W. Balmoral Ave., open 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Thursday; 11 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.

Inside Half Acre’s production facility.
The rear entrance to the beer garden.
The door from the beer garden leads to the taproom.
There are plenty of picnic tables outside.
These tables are against the brewery’s wall.
A peek through the brewery.
This counter is outside the kitchen.
Here’s a close-up of the wall that’s behind the bar.
Plenty of pint glasses.
Grab a stool at the bar.
Many of the taps will pour experimental beer.
A glimpse of the opening day menu.
Chicago has been waiting three years for this.
Hopefully, it will be easier to get a table here compared to North Center.

There’s plenty of standing room, too.
A view facing north.
The longview of the taproom.
This room features stadium seating.
The only TV in the place.
The corner nook.

Half Acre Bowmanville

2050 W Balmoral Ave, Chicago, IL 60625 Visit Website