"This is the kind of place I think you'd open," said my wife to me upon a recent trip to City Acre Brewing.
Yes, I too have a dream of owning a brewery. It's one of my many dreams (eating at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, traveling to Vietnam, calling game seven of the World Series), and I suppose it's one of the more realistic ones I have, considering I actually make beer now. Walking the homey grass lot at City Acre, which includes a fire pit, a suitable amount of outdoor seating, and cornhole boards, I felt a little closer to that dream.
City Acre also serves killer grub. I feasted on the Urban Cowboy, which stacked shoestring fried onions on a thick patty coated with American cheese and spiced up by a jalapeño ranch dressing. An onion and thyme bun brought the whole thing together. It was great beer food.
And the beer—in this case TXPA—is straightforward, nothing too dank or malty. There's a lingering tropical hop profile to it, plus a grassiness in the finish that cuts it cold. I wanted a little more backbone, but otherwise I felt TXPA was pretty darn sessionable. This was a beer that knew its place (5.3 percent IPA) and delivered its flavor in a clean, simple way.
It seems that's what City Acre does well. Skull Creek Kolsch may have been my favorite offering, a crisp and pilsner-like bite that I could envision drinking throughout a summer day. And H-Town Dark Oat, a brown, had subtle roasted flavor.
At City Acre, it's easy to settle down with a beer and enjoy the cool evening, maybe make a new friend in the process. It's definitely my kind of brewery.
Explanation of ratings: 9.5-10: as good as the best beer in America; 9-9.4: the best beer in Houston; 8-8.9: among the better beers in Houston; 7-7.9: really good beer; 6-6.9: try this beer at least once; 5-5.9: if you’re stuck, this won’t hurt; 3-4.9: among the lowest-quality beers in Houston; 0-2.9: as bad as the worst beer in America