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Half Acre
Photograph: Tristan Zeier

Hop Butcher is taking over Half Acre’s Lincoln Avenue brewery

The transition will happen later this year, with Half Acre moving its entire operation of its Balmoral brewery.

By
Zach Long
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Since 2008, a building on Lincoln Avenue has been the home of Half Acre Beer Co., a business that arguably helped kick off the explosion of craft breweries in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. When Half Acre opened its Balmoral brewery in 2015, it kept the original Lincoln Avenue taproom, bottle shop and brewing facility intact, providing customers with two places to snag cans of fresh Daisy Cutter and Pony Pils. But later this year, Half Acre will consolidate its operations in its much larger Balmoral facility, selling its original home to a rapidly-expanding upstart brewery.

Known for its weekly cadence of new can releases that typically revolve around extra-hoppy hazy IPAs, Hop Butcher For the World will be the new occupant of 4257 N Lincoln Ave—according to the Chicago Tribune, the deal is expected to close in October. Hop Butcher founders Jude La Rose and Jeremiah Zimmer are currently brewing their creations at Miskatonic in suburban Darien, Illinois, but the move to Lincoln Avenue will give the brand a physical presence in Chicago as well as increased production capacity.

"Lincoln Ave is a place where people have come to enjoy good beer and connect under the umbrella of shared interest for many years. It has significance beyond being Half Acre, it’s a piece of Chicago culture. It was our responsibility to place it in hands that would carry that torch," reads a post on Half Acre's Instagram account. La Rose's status as a regular at Half Acre Lincoln helped seal the deal, giving Half Acre's founders confidence that the space would continue to crank out interesting beers.

Hop Butcher hasn't revealed its plans for the space yet, but it seems likely that the taproom and adjacent bottle shop will stick around in some form under the new owners. In the coming months, Half Acre is planning a fitting send-off for its tenure in the building, collaborating with Hop Butcher on a series of beers that meld the styles of the distinctive brewers. And if capacity restrictions are lifted and Chicago is fully reopened by July 4, perhaps the public will be able to gather inside the brewery and raise a glass before the building changes hands this fall.

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