City Acre Brewing: Houston's Homegrown Brewpub

The hearts of beer-loving Houstonians were aflutter when it was announced last year that popular San Antonio brewpub Freetail Brewing Co. would be opening a Bayou City location in the heart of downtown. After all, for a city that loves its beer, we are sadly bereft of any proper brewpubs. (I love the "pizookie" at BJ's, too, but it just doesn't count.)

However, expansion plans for Freetail fizzled almost as quickly as they were announced, leaving Houston brewpub-less once again. But instead of waiting around for another city to throw us its brewpub scraps, Houstonian Matt Schlabach and his wife Meredith Borders stepped up to create a brewpub of our own: City Acre Brewing, which is gearing up to open this October.

City Acre hosted its second-to-last beer tasting this past Saturday, an invitation-only event (to get around the TABC's outdated beer laws) that featured lighter brews like a citrusy Fermette de Saison and a Prost! Toasty Munich Helles that will be perfect for the humid Houston summers, as well as some darker options: Choctopus Stout (and a strawberry version of the same) and three different variations on a Chai Porter.

It was these darker beers that showed the more intrepid and creative side of City Acre, as well as its willingness to collaborate with other start-up brewers in town: One of the Chai Porters was made by Buffalo Bayou Brewing, and guests on Saturday were asked to choose which Chai Porter they liked best. Schlabach and Buffalo Bayou founder Rassul Zarinfar plan to create a blend based on the best components of all three porters, which featured varying notes of cardamom, cloves and ginger along with the darkly nutty notes of a good, strong porter.

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Katharine Shilcutt