Callow Knife | Half Acre Beer Company

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Callow KnifeCallow Knife

Brewed by:
Half Acre Beer Company
Illinois, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
A lower octane pale ale that leans towards a copper color and gushes Falconer and Citra hops.

Added by emerge077 on 02-18-2011

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Reviews: 29 | Ratings: 90
Photo of corby112
3.39/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Draft at Bainbridge Street Barrel House in Philadelphia, PA.

Pours a hazy dark golden amber color with tangerine edges and a two finger, frothy off-white head that very slowly settles into a lasting cap/ring.  Really good retention with streaks and chunks of soapy lacing left behind.

There's a stronger malt presence in the aroma than expected with lots of caramel sweetness, toffee, rye and biscuit along with subtle earthy and citrus hop notes.  The nose is surprisingly lacking in hop character.  Subtle floral and resinous pine presence but the malt notes overpower.

Full bodied and much more complex/hoppy than the aroma suggests.  Dry bitterness up front with some resinous oils, pine needle and subtle citrus coutered by a strong malt backbone.  Lots of carmael sweetness with toffee, rye, bread and biscuit.  More dry bitterness in the finish.  Not really like a pale ale at all.  Decent hop flavor but not what I was expecting.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.11/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Durty Nellies. Appearance is a medium to dark orange with a light haze, a bit darker than Daisy Cutter. The nose features tropical fruit hops with notes of mango and peach as well as some more citrusy fruits such as grapefruit. Still some of the grassy character that comes through in Daisy Cutter, but it seems to be absent of that nice bready malt character that rounds out daisy cutter so nicely. Taste is citrus forward with some tartness from the hops. Notes of lemon, grapefruit, and grass come through. Less tropical notes on the taste than the nose. A bit one dimensional, the one dimension is however nice. Mouthfeel is light with moderate to high carbonation. Overall, very tasty but not the same magic that Daisy Cutter provides.

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Photo of jegross2
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Reviewing the Callow Knife from Half Acre Brewing Company out of Chicago, Illinois.
Score: 90

32 oz growler filled at the brewery on 01/11/13, served in a Surly Darkness snifter and enjoyed on 01/11/13. Review is from iPhone notes.

Appearance: Pours a murky amber color with a finger of off-white head that settles to a thin bubbly ring around the glass. Excellent lacing and retention. 4.5/5

Smell: Super fresh grapefruit, lemon, orange, mango and peach plus grassy and piney hops. Faint underlying caramel malt backbone. This brew packs a really nice, robust aroma! 4.5/5

Taste: While the nose is robust, the flavors here are "watery"/"watered-down." There are bitter, piney hops upfront followed by sweet tropical citrus. There's initially a "bitter pucker" that mellows out substantially after the citrus kicks in. Grapefruit, peach, apricot and lemon dominate the back end. Subtle caramel malt flavor too. Reminds me of their Daisy Cutter in "how" it tastes (but not in the specific hop/citrus flavors). A mildy sweet malt bill underlies the hops and citrus, and a little bready grain flavor comes through as it warms up. I realize that this is only a regular ol' pale ale with a sessionable ABV, but the watered down aspect cuts down what could have been a stellar beer to something that is merely good. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Light-plus bodied, low carbonation. Watered down on the palate, but dry on the finish. 3/5

Overall: Sessionable, tasty and refreshing. This beer is better than Daisy Cutter, but could have been something much greater and more special if the taste and mouthfeel could have been as robust as the aroma.

Recommendation: Worth trying, not worth going out of your way to seek out.

Pairings: Hot dogs.

Cost: $8 for a 32 oz growler refill or $14 for a 64 oz growler refill.

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Photo of GinaBeerInc
3.72/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a medium brown out with as much off white foamy head as you want. Hop grass aroma. Watery flavor, but hoppy. Feels a bit unfinished, actually. Still a pretty good beer,though. My wife says, "I wouldn’t drink that voluntarily.". Repour from a growler a year later. Very hoppy aroma, sweet and fruity. Flavor is very hoppy as well.
Great tasting beer.

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Photo of CliffBrake
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to immobilisme for the growler!

Pretty red-orange color, slightly hazy, with a medium head and fair lacing.

Prominent hoppy aroma - pine and grapefruit. Similar hop flavors dominate the taste. This was billed as the malt equivalent to daisy cutter, but it is still all about the hops.

Medium-light body with good carbonation.

Well-worth trying. A hop heads delight.

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Photo of KDawg
3.65/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured from growler into a pint glass. Pours a nice dark orange color with a good head.

very nice hop aromas along with citrus and a touch of florals. Very good depth as well

Medium bodied with a real smooth feel and flavors of hops, spices, and some citrus.

This is lacking a slight bit in the flavors. it's also very similar to daisy cutter, but a bit lighter. Sadly, it's not as good as daisy cutter, but still a very nice beer

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Photo of jdhende
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep Copper orange color.

S: This is a fantastic smelling beer. Hops, citrus and pine are all present in this one. I also get some herbal/dank notes.

T: Nice hoppy bitterness with citrus and fruit flavors just like in the nose. I was slightly let down as the smell is better than the taste on this one.

M: Light and refreshing. Very easy to drink.

D: A very refreshing and tasty brew. I personally prefer Daisy Cutter to this, but not by much. Half Acre is really stepping their game up with these new beers.

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Photo of kevanb
3.78/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

32oz growler poured into a Half Acre 12oz glass.

The beer pours a nice dark copper color with fairly cloudy complexion, light amber with hues of orange and a nice 2 finger white head, very soapy and frothy that has nice retention and leaves behind a great network of sticky lacing. The aroma is pleasant, light tangy citrus with a bit of earthy pine but a significant amount of pale cereal grains, the hops don't really shine like I anticipated they would and the malt is fairly dominant which comes as a surprise given the hop forward nature of Daisy Cutter. The flavors follow suit with nice flavorful citrus, bitter earthy pine, dank grassy flavors that sweep into sweet bready grain. The hops come out a bit more on the tongue but still don't take off or really pop. The body is nice, smooth, medium carbonation helps prop up the flavors with a great dry finish.

Verdict: A solid Pale Ale from Half Acre, but certainly doesn't hold up to many of their of their other hoppy offerings. The flavors come across better than the nose and while this is an enjoyable beer, it didn't quite live of to expectations.

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Photo of kundog18
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Consumed fresh in February. Growler to pint glass. Reviewed from memory on my quest for karma.

Pours a faint orange with hints of copper. One finger ivory head. Excellent lacing.

Very aromatic - loads of fresh citrus on the nose with faint grassy/herbal notes. Smell is fantastic.

Taste - more of the same juicy citrus. More bitter than expected. Finishes very dry. Refreshing and easily drinkable.

Mouthfeel - too thin. Even with the 4.5% abv I was expecting something a little more substantial.

Overall - delicious. Refreshing, easily drinkable. For the love of God, please can this regularly, or at least as a Summer seasonal.

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Photo of abuliarose
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a fluted pint, revealing some decent head which fades to a pleasant lacing over amber brown body. Smells a little nutty and a little hoppy with a touch of burnt caramel. Very nice smells for a lighter beer.

Tastes a little sweet, very nutty and just slightly bitter. Lots of toasted hazelnut on the tongue but otherwise the taste quickly dissipates like water to leave a soft grain and floral aftertaste with a pinch of sour. Mouthfeel is light with gentle carbonation, smooth body. Intensely quaff-able, very session-able.

Overall this beer is entirely drinkable for the nice flavor it has. I imagine it goes well with anything.

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Photo of sisuspeed
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to spycow for the growler!

Poured into a Goose Island pint glass. An almost clear, burnt-orange brown, body supports a big, frothy, white head. Sticky lacing is left all around the glass.

Sweet, grassy, hoppiness on the nose with a bit of meatiness from the citra hops. Burnt caramel and orange wedge.

Nice caramel malt backbone with waves of grassy, lemon/grapefruit infused hops throughout. The citrus caramel mix is quite tasty. Great balance of hops and malt on the tongue.

Mouthfeel has some good weight to it for a 4.5% ABV beer, yet still remains crisp and refreshing. Carbonation is spot on and the lingering bitterness on the finish is great.

Drinkability is very good. Putting back a few pints of this beer would be no problem, and with the low ABV you actually can without paying for it. I really like the hop additions Half Acre gave this beer and would probably prefer a glass of this over their Daisy Cutter. Simply, this is a very well done APA.

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Photo of cetherid
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into a tulip


Beer is a dark coppery orange. About 1 fingers worth of off-white head. Pretty decent lacing going on as well.


Aroma on this beer is pretty damn nice. Definitely some dry hopping going on. This beer smells like either an IPA or a DIPA. When I first smelled this beer it actually conjured up some similarities in my mind to a beer like Pliny. I'm getting some citrus, pine and a little grassy/dank aroma..similar to the "dank" earthy Daisy Cutter. As the beer warms up, you can start to smell a little of the malts.


This basically taste like an IPA. Up front is citrus and pine, then comes some grainy malts in the finish. Bitterness is definitely there after the first initial taste, mellowing out at the end. Beer isn't really sweet at all and leaves a fairly dry finish. If this was a tad more bitter, I would say this is definitely an IPA. It's lacking just a tad something more.Not sure if it's sweetness, more bitterness, or even alcohol??? (4.5%) but it needs a little bit more something to make this a pretty stellar beer.


Beer is kinda thin, but not too bad. Huge carbonation and as said previously, it leaves a little bit of a dry finish in the mouth.


At 4.5, this is pretty damn drinkable. Not really that difficult to get, however this may be a one time beer for Half Acre. There are definitely other beers I'd take over this, but this is pretty impressive from a small brewery and glad I could try it.

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Photo of Jayli
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired from GbvDave so a big THANK YOU goes out to him!
2/25 poured in to a pint glass

A: This beer pours a hazy, copper color. A two finger of rocky, sticky, khaki colored head sits on top. Head recedes at a moderate pace leaving sticky wisps of lacing behind.

S: Nose is piney, floral hops up front with a hearty malt character.

T: Taste starts with a touch of citrus hops and earthiness before lending to a nice malt profile. Finish has piney hops, more earthiness and a hint of caramel malt.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, crisp and clean at first with a slightly oily finish.

D: Goes down very easy, very tasty, not filling, tiny kick, and great representation of style. What Half Acre did is prove that you can create a flavorful beer at a lower ABV. This is just another fabulous beer out of Half Acre!

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Photo of HopHead84
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5


Thanks to Masterski for the growler. Snifter.

A: Pours an unassuming dark copperish orange with a one finger off white head. Lacing is scattered.

S: The hops are bright and expressive, with Citra having a commanding presence. Notes of orange, tangerine, grapefruit, pineapple, peach, apricot, and mango are evident. The fruit is outstanding. There's a sugar cookie malt presence beneath.

T: Lightly sweet with a subtle candied quality to the caramel. Hops provide notes of orange flesh, apricot, grapefruit, and pine. Bitterness is at a moderate level. The finish is dry and fruity, with evident orange pith notes. As I continue drinking this, I notice a slightly grainy malt quality.

M: Lower moderate carbonation and upper light to lower medium in body. The mouthfeel is sticky, oily, smooth, and a little thin.

Overall: A great hoppy pale ale. Very easy to drink and very enjoyable. I'm plowing through this growler.

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Photo of Florida9
4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Sort of an amber-hued brown in color, though still fairly translucent and quite clear. Form a half inch of whitish head that has little retention and quickly reduces to a patchy surface coating. Some light lacing.

S: Lots of tropical fruit, some citrus, and a blend of pine and a distinctive hop spiciness.

T: There is a mildly sweet biscuit malt on the front end that lends some toastiness to the beer. Then comes on with a strong grapefruit ad pine flavor before yielding to a moderate bitterness and some more of the spicy hop character.

M: Lighter side of medium in weight with appropriate carbonation. Finishes with a mild dryness.

D: A pretty damn good APA, packed with hop flavor, but still gives the impression of being balanced. Easily drinkable.

*I would note, that despite what is listed above (and on HA's blog), this one is not a "malt twin" to DC. Not that this should take anything away from the beer, but, in the end, the malt bill for DC and Callow Knife are not identical.

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Photo of Vonerichs
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear rusty-orange color with a nice white and fluffy head.

Wow, what a beautiful smell. Loads of tropical fruit with a touch of pine.

The taste is centered around those same tropical fruits, pine, and even some grassy notes. There's a solid presence of bready malt, but the hops dominate.

Mouthfeel is thin, but smooth.

This is about as drinkable as it gets. It has a low abv and light body, yet is loaded with flavor. Half Acre, keep 'em coming!

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Photo of weatherdog
4.37/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I split a growler with some friends during a weekday tasting. Poured into a Bells tulip glass.

It pours a crystal clear medium amber with a 2 finger off white head. Head retention is medium with minimal lacing on the side of the glass.

The nose is just great. I'm such a sucker for citra hops that I had been looking forward to this beer for a while. I'm unfamiliar with Falconer, but from what I've been reading it sounds like a great compliment to citra. The nose is huge pineapple and grapefruit, with some off setting pine to prevent it from being a total fruit bomb. Not much malt aroma in the nose.

The flavor keeps that same punch of tropical hop flavor paired with medium bitterness. The sweeter biscuit type malt is more present than in the nose but still not in the forefront of this beer at all. It's pretty much a showcase for great hop flavor packed into a modest beer.

My only ding on this ber is the mouthfeel is a little thin for me. Carbonation is fine and the finish is medium dry as well. Drinkability is great, such a large amount of hop flavor packed into a beer which is so inviting.

Overall a great APA. As previously stated I'm in love with citra hops and this one is up there with Cenotaph released a few months ago by FFF. I can really see these types of hops being used in modest ABV APAs as they add a ton of great smooth hop flavor without needing to up the malt bill to balance it out.

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Photo of thetomG
3.97/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear amber color with a nice thick layer of tan foamy head. Good amount of lacing left around the glass.

Aroma is excellent - the citra hops really shine through here (and to a lesser degree the Falconer) and I have to say the aroma is clearly my favorite aspect of this beer.

Flavor has some mild bitterness, along with some grapefruit/citrus aspects.

Body is a bit lighter than I'd prefer, but helps to make this beer extremely drinkable.

I think I'd give Daisy Cutter the slight nod due to its bigger body and more intense bitterness, but this is a tasty varietal and something I'd recommend checking out.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler thanks to Chris, drank from a Cigar City snifter... Pours a dark orange, hint of brown, clear. A light off white head rises about a finger, ok cap, no lacing... The aroma has a ton of citra and a hint of pine, light malt backbone... The taste is pretty good, but something that can get lost amount other beers, now wow factor. A lot of the citra hops are gone, what you get is more tropical fruits, some toffee and a light pint of finish. Doesn't have the dry feel or taste I was expecting. Drinkable but just blah.

I must admit that I was very excited to get to the Hoppy Birthday so I just blew right through this. Good, not great, not in the league of HB or Daisy Cutter, however I'd drink it again on tap.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler filled on Friday at Half Acre. Served in a Night of the Living Ales taster glass.

A - Pours with a finger-plus of white foam that settles to a thick ring and partial cap, but not much in the way of lace. Transparent bronze body with a few stray bubbles visible.

S - An insane amount of Citra and Falconer hops, along with a nice dough and sugar cookie malt backdrop. There's a bit of pine in there as well.

T - The taste is more on the balanced side, but it's incredibly flavorful for the low ABV. A nice mix of toffee and sugar malt with ripe oranges and tropical fruit goodness. Very low bitterness here.

M - Carbonation is active but pleasant, texture is a bit grainy and watery which isn't a total surprise considering the ABV. Ends a little oily and resinous from the hops.

D - This is really good, and quite drinkable. It just had the misfortune of being followed up by the "so good it'll make you retarded" Hoppy Birthday which blew pretty much every beer out of the water today. Still - recommended for lovers of hoppy session beers. It's a like a slightly heftier Shut The Hell Up!

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Half Acre shaker pint glass.

Thanks to taiyed (and his mule, VDubb86) for sharing his growler!

Ooh, they called it callow. And it seems as though it thought it was the one complimentary thing from that conversation. Tee-hee. It pours a clear russet-ish-amber topped by a half-finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises honeydew, watermelon, orange peel, kiwi, strawberry, ruby red grapefruit, and a touch of sweet caramel. It's like a fruit salad, and everyone's invited! The taste hits harder and faster with the hops, which kinda leaves out a lot of the different characters that made the original such a classic. Still there's plenty going on: orange peel, lemon zest, strict pine, greens, flowers, and a rather light spritz of caramel in the background. The body is a sorta hefty light, with a light moderate carbonation and a fairly dry finish. Overall, a delightful little ale. I think I may sorta prefer this one over its malt twin (but just by a hair).

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Photo of Vdubb86
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Sam Adam's Perfect Pint Glass

This beer is pours a nice amber malt color, but with a nice white foam on the top. The aroma is nice and hoppy, some citrus but mostly pine. This beer has a really nice aroma to it overall. The taste is a really super nice balance of malts and hops. This is one of the better tasting APAs that are on the market. There is a nice mouthfeel to this beer, but there is a lot of hop bitterness in this beer. I could polish off a whole growler of this beer by myself. I must say this is one of the more highly drinkable beers I've had the luck to enjoy.

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Photo of LacquerHead
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I picked this up in a growler yesterday.

It poured a real nice amber color with a light haze.

Smell: This was chalked full of hoppy aromas. It had a dry citrus hop smell with some maltiness in the background. There was also hint of lemon grass.

Taste: Wow, did this taste fresh! I first sampled this at the brewery's tasting room, and orange citrus was the first flavor that caught my attention. When I poured a full glass the flavor really came out. It had a host of citrus hop flavors, such as grapefruit and some lemon peel. Towards the end of the glass the malt started to come through keeping things interesting.

M/F: it had micro carbonation bite to it, sort of like an Italian soda. At times it had a dry texture on the palate, but as the beer warmed it began to taste a little sweeter and softer.

Drinkability: I could drink an entire growler by myself, so I did!

Conclusion: A great beer full of flavor. I wish this was available all the time.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
4.54/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance -- Pours a gently hazed amber hue with gold and rose highlighgts and a cap of sudsy creme head. Wide swaths of lacing appear as the liquid line sinks further into the glass.

Smell -- Fantastic! Big juicy citrus, tropical fruits, pine, and prairie grasses jump out. As with Daisy Cutter, the nose reveals a malt character of golden toast and husky grain.

Taste -- Bright tropical fruit and tangerine notes as in the nose, but with much more pine and grassy character. As in Daisy Cutter, the malt base is gently toasted, slightly husky, and quite dry. There's a hint of malt sweetness in the finish breaking through the pine forest. Lingering flavor of grapefruit pith, dry grass, and husky malt.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with medium cabonation - active, but not harsh. It walks the line well.

Drinkability -- There's definitely a lot of Daisy Cutter in this beer, but with more juicy tropical fruitiness and more depth of hop note overall. One thing I really appreciated was that this avoided the pitfall of lacking a bittering compliment to the juicy fruit character that most Citra APA/IPA's seem to fall into.

This was a fun diversion from Daisy Cutter and I hope this is the beginning of a line of future Cutter variants. Thanks for keeping things interesting, Half Acre!

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Photo of Sean9689
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Chris for the growler.

A - Pours a copper reddish/orange, off-white colored head, a thin ring around the glass after the initial pour.

S - Light crisp hops, touch of malts, citrus.

T - Similar to the nose, nice hoppy bitterness, citrus, touch of malts. Daisy Cutter-esk....which is a good thing!

M - Light, crisp, easy to drink.

D - So easy to drink and very solid. This is one of my favorites that Half Acre has released as of late. Recommend.

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Callow Knife from Half Acre Beer Company
4.16 out of 5 based on 90 ratings.
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