Chicagoist's Beer of the Week: Half Acre's Heyoka

By Jason Baldacci in Food on Jan 17, 2014 9:40PM

2014_1_17_heyoka.jpgThis year will give birth to even more new breweries here in the Chicago area but this week we're taking a look at a new offering from a brewery that's become an old standby over the past few years.

Heyoka is an India Pale Ale from Half Acre Beer Co that definitely had the brewers thinking of the West Coast when they made it. The beer pours a cloudy, copper-gold in the glass and we caught a strong whiff of coconut pulp, lemongrass and citrus pith on the nose. The palate is incredibly hoppy but not overwhelmingly so. We picked up prominent notes of tangy grapefruit and pineapple with a burst of floral pine on the backend. The malt profile is just slightly bready but juicy in texture and lends just enough richness to balance the hops. At 7 percent alcohol content, Heyoka is jam-packed with enough flavor to satisfy any hop lover and just might make a convert out of someone who isn't usually a fan of something this bitter.

Does the world of American craft brewing really need another IPA? Probably not but we'll drink Heyoka anyway. Despite the gigantic selection of styles available to beer drinkers today, most breweries who brew an IPA will tell you that this style is one of their top selling beers and most bar managers who run craft-focused programs will tell you that whatever IPA they put on tends to be one of their fastest movers. A more bitter beer isn't necessarily a better beer, but American drinkers seem to be charging forward with their fascination of all things hoppy as we move into 2014. While we have seen a rise in popularity of more easy-drinking, sessionable styles, as well as certain Belgian styles like Saison, we predict that we'll continue to see brewers putting a lot of focus on their IPAs for some time yet.

Heyoka is available on draft and in 16-ounce cans, check beermenus.com to find some near you.