The Great Leap Forward: Acre Restaurant's Killer Taps

September 04 2011 - 10:40 PM

I've been to Andersonville's Acre Restaurant a handful of times and during each visit it has increasingly grown on me. It's a pleasant space, having taken over the for the former inhabitant, Charlie's Ale House, whose beers were sometimes good but usually lacking.  At Acre, you can stay out on the street until at least 11 on a Friday and still get service there.  (Hello, City of Chicago.)  The food, as I understand it, is sourced from local, sustainable growers.  The pork burger was exceedingly fresh. 

But the heart of the matter here is beer and Acre is nailing it in that department.  The first few times I ventured in there I didn't see a lot of impressive handles.  They featured a lot of the best stuff that you can find at many Lincoln Park sports bars.  Well, that has dramatically changed.  Several weeks ago, Acre held a Stone tap takeover.  While there have been a number of these since Stone's 2010 Chicago arrival, few that I recall have featured such unique beers. 

Acre offered several rare and dynamite Stone offerings.  The bourbon barreled 2008 Imperial Russian Stout was devastatingly delectible; it was a boozier Kentucky Breakfast Stout.  Stone's Japanese Green Tea IPA was a star of the show, with an uber floral hop profile, a slight herbaceousness, a hint of spice, and a mild and juicy hop finish.  Stone's 14 Anniversary Emperial IPA might be the best beer I've ever had from them.  It's body had that classic San Diego IPA leanness to it, with malts interspersing enough to seize the enormous hops. It's light enough in density to be an all-dayer, but as the name suggests, one or two is all you'll enjoy.  The pale straw color is gorgeous. 

Another unusual offering was Stone's cherry chocolate stout – I had never seen before – in which the flavors increasingly melded as it warmed.  Acre also boasted of being the first to offer Stone's 15th Anniversary Escondidian Black IPA on tap, a delicious, grainy malts and hops affair that's like a Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale mixed with a porter.

These offerings are a huge step up for Acre, as it competes with Hopleaf for the far north side's craft beer loving crowd.  It's worth a drive across town or even a train transfer.  They kept up the momentum of  the Stone tasting by putting on a Three Floyds Dreadnaught and promising to soon tap Port's Mongo.  This is a leap forward to which even Chairman Mao would quietly nod. 

–Mark Sheppard

5308 N. Clark