Bar Beat

First Look at City Acre Taproom in Houston

City Acre, 3418 Topping, has been brewing beer here since 2012, but recently added a kitchen and taproom that could rival those at any restaurant in town. Located on an acre of fertile land, City Acre boasts more than 60 fruit trees, shrubs, plants and vines, a staff that provides excellent customer service, and four interesting beers on tap brewed onsite, along with other local brands

Chef Rick Kelsay and his staff use ingredients from the onsite orchard in the dishes and drinks. There are waist-high bundles of lemongrass, Meyer lemon, lime, grapefruit and persimmon trees, blueberry bushes and grape vines. An urban garden is still in the making, with rows upon rows of herbs to be placed next season in new planter boxes in the yard.

Mandy Jeronimus commands the beer taps and is also responsible for creating the seasonal fruit shrubs or "drinking vinegars." These concoctions are made from herbs and fruit grown in the garden. The Raspberry Malt Vinegar Shrub is full of tiny bits of fruit.

The four beers that City Acre brews onsite are changed seasonally and have distinct flavor profiles. Currently on tap for the summer are the Tischbier, a straightforward lager that is perfect for combating the Texas summer; the Lil' Wulf IPA, a milder version of City Acre's hoppier Bayou Wulf (which isn’t currently offered); the Sneaky Wheat Stout, with not-so-sneaky coffee notes and a deep, full body; and the Hitchcock Blonde, with strutting perfumes of coriander and lemon. Owner Matt Schlabach explained that the "late addition of hops in both the blonde and the Lil' Wulf IPA keeps the beers mellow," thus lightening the standard bitter hop presence. Even non-IPA drinkers who don’t enjoy heavy hopped beers should find LIl' Wulf just lightly bitter and enjoyable.

City Acre's signature dish is a locally sourced Slavocek smoked sausage “split.” Sliced lengthwise in half, the sausage holds scoops of house-made coleslaw, potato salad and pulled pork. It’s slathered with a sweet, savory barbecue sauce and then topped with pickles and a pickled red jalapeño pepper. The barbecue sauce on its own is a bit on the sweet side, but is balanced by the tart, crisp coleslaw. Other can't-miss items on the menu are the deep-fried pretzel and German queso, a perfect combination of swiss and the Hitchcock Blonde beer. Diners who want to add spice should inquire about the house-made hot sauce. 

City Acre hosts game nights on Mondays and Wednesdays and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays starting at 11 a.m. 
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Cuc Lam is a freelance food writer for the Houston Press and local pop-up chef. She enjoys teaching cooking classes and hosting dinner parties when she is not writing.