A North Center brewery space that endeared itself to beer lovers for more than a decade will roar once again. The former Half Acre Beer Co. brewpub has been quiet since October 2021 as its new tenants prepared to take over. That wait is over as Hop Butcher for the World opens its doors on Thursday, November 10 at 4257 N. Lincoln Avenue.
The deal was simple: Half Acre needed to downsize and Hop Butcher, which had been around since 2014, needed a space. There will be 14 beers on tap, plus coffee from Metropolis, and other non-alcoholic options, including sparkling tea.
Half Acre was a pioneering brewpub that found a niche as a neighborhood beer bar. They even had food from an accomplished chef, Nick Lacasse, who created tasty burritos and unique nachos made with “science cheese.” Hop Butcher’s Jeremiah Zimmer writes, via email, that the taproom is only for beer and drinks for now. There’s a chance to bring back food in the future, but nothing concrete.
When Half Acre opened their larger Balmoral Brewpub in 2017, most of their energy shifted north. The space has remained dormant since the March 2020 COVID suspension of indoor service (it opened up sporadically at the end of 2021 to allow customers to say goodbye to Half Acre),
That allowed Hop Butcher to purchase the space and the equipment in April 2021. There aren’t many changes to the bar area. The Tribune notes a new yellow, orange, and black mural that takes up three walls. Dan Grzexa, an artist for Hop Butcher’s cans, painted the mural as a riff on Soar, a Mexican-style lager released two years ago.
Hop Butcher will have a production brewery in suburban Bedford Park. The North Center brewery will serve more experimental brews. Think hazy IPAs, which aren’t dead — despite reports — a Saison, an ESB, an Italian-style Pilsner, and a hefeweizen.
As the bar and restaurant customers attempt to remember what life was like before the pandemic, being able to grab a pint near the corner of Lincoln and Cullom is a start. Carl Sandburg, the poet whose work Hop Butcher’s name borrows from, would approve.
Hop Butcher for the World, 4257 N. Lincoln Avenue, scheduled to open at 11 a.m., Thursday, November 10.