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.