Welcome to Thirsty Thursday, a weekly column where we pick a beer from our fridge and review it, because in a world where two new breweries launch every single week, sometimes we need some help sifting through all of the hops.
Earlier this year, I visited Chicago to see a Cubs game at Wrigley Field and take in all of the sights, sounds and tastes the city has to offer. In a quest to always at least try and keep my beer drinking local, I consumed much of the suds Chicago and the neighboring suburbs brew, though there was one beer I kept seeing all over the city – from The Loop, to Streeterville, to Wrigleyville. While it was a beer I had briefly tasted in the past, thanks to a friend of a friend who happens to work at Half Acre Beer Company, I hadn’t really had the chance to dive into this beer until that trip. And from that point on, Half Acre’s Daisy Cutter Pale Ale was a beer I knew would always be a solid choice.
With two breweries now located in walking distance of each other, Half Acre was founded by Gabriel Magliaro back in 2006, setting up its offices in Chicago but brewing the beer at Sand Creek Brewery in Wisconsin. The following year, the company put out it’s first beer and within two years, Half Acre was building its own brewery in the northern part of Chicago. Today, Half Acre brews over 43,000 barrels every year and features seven beers in its year-round arsenal. It’s currently one of the city’s fastest growing breweries, with distribution throughout much of the country – and Half Acre was recently ranked the city’s third best brewery by a local CBS affiliate. Plus, apparently, their food is pretty killer.
Tonight and tomorrow at our Balmoral Taproom, Roman style pizzas include ▪️Pepperoni ▪️ Roasted poblano, pepper jack and kohlrabi ▪️Bacon-caramelized onion, spinach and mozz ▪️Fennel, sundried tomato bechamel and Parmesan. If you’ve been marketing with us, the stalls are winding down. For the remainder of August we’ll have fresh produce, flowers and focaccia, but no meat or eggs. Thanks for coming out.
Daisy Cutter comes in 16-ounce “pounder” cans, which I certainly don’t mind, and features an aluminum look with a whole bunch of daisies. There’s no description listed on this 5.2 percent alcohol by volume, product, which kinds of gives it a mysterious vibe – though maybe a little updated can with a quick description would be beneficial. According to Half Acre’s website, this beer is one of the first it brewed and was originally only available as a “special release bomber beer.” Upon its release, there weren’t a ton of dry, dank pale ales that had a west coast style like Daisy Cutter, which might just explain why it holds a special place in Chicago’s heart and is often readily available.
The smell of Daisy Cutter is basically quintessential to a pale ale – it’s what you want it to smell like, with a light floral scent that features a hint of something on the fruitier side. Pouring this medium-bodied beer was simple, however, I found to the head to be a little underwhelming even though it had pretty good retention, which basically means it hung around for a while during consumption. As far as the taste goes, I noticed a real malt flavor that kind of overshadowed the piney and earthy hops, which provide the bitterness at the end. Per usual, I wasn’t wowed by the first sip but the more I drank it the more it once again grew on me. Keep in mind, I hadn’t had this beer in about four or five months, so it’d been a while. It’s easy to drink, perfect for a marathon day of drinking – perhaps for a Cubbies doubleheader? And the carbonation was an awesome added bonus, providing a little umph of bubbles after each sip, more than other similar beers.
It’s a pretty classic pale ale taste, though I like a little more complexity, to be honest. But considering it’s on the cheaper end of things – it was $10 for a four pack at my beer store – it’s a good value. When I looked up the rating on BeerAdvocate, I was a little surprised that Daisy Cutter scored a 4.16 (out of 5) since that seemed maybe just a little high to me, as I would score it a 7.1 (out of 10). Daisy Cutter is, perhaps, just a little too simple for my taste buds these days, given the double IPAs I typically enjoy, but I can definitely understand why it’s become a staple of the Chicago beer scene.
Stay tuned for next week, because I might just try something from your favorite brewery.