Wild Acre Brewing Company, 1734 E El Paso St, FW. 817-271-1659. 11am-8pm Sun, 11am-10pm Mon-Sat.
Passing through the dark beer garden on my way to the entrance of Wild Acre, I noticed new additions to the sprawling outdoor space, including a looming playground tower. Inside, the brewery was brightly lit with holiday lights and decor.
Aside from a handful of Christmas trees, the interior has not changed drastically since Dallas-based Bishop Cider purchased the brewery in May. There are basically three tap walls: one for popular Wild Acre classics like Texas Blonde and Billy Jenkins Bock, another for rare brews and one-offs, and yet another for seltzers and alcohol-free drinks.
The Lemon Blonde hit my nose with a whiff of citrus similar to a Lemon Drop candy. Every sip was zesty yet similar to the Texas Blonde base beer famed for being smooth yet pleasantly hopped. The Sundance Wit, a wheat ale, was clean and refreshing with subtle notes of coriander and lemon peel. The boldest beer I tried that evening, the Mango Hatch Chile IPA, was a smoky delight with a little lingering heat and a peachy profile.
Two apps, the salted pretzels and the mac ’n’ cheese, didn’t disappoint. Three large golden breadsticks dusted with rock salt came with a tangy brown mustard. The buttered-up pretzels were dense and perfectly baked. The soft elbow pasta smothered in mild American cheese didn’t reinvent the classic comfort food or detract from what makes mac ’n’ cheese universally popular.
My first burger, The Fancy, was a meat lover’s delight. Every bite of dense and lean (but not overly flavorful) bison patty benefited from accoutrements like sweet and smoky bacon jam, sharp cheddar, and house-made ranch dressing. Mildly sweet, hefty, and filling, the brioche bun held the sammy together commendably.
Unfortunately, the Mighty Duck flopped. While not lacking in bold and creative toppings like kimchi and spicy aioli, the texture of the ground duck just didn’t work. The patty was mushy.
The Not Your Boar-ing Burger restored my hopes. The dark, lean boar was rich and not porky like I expected. Complementing the patty were cuts of sweet apple, bits of mildly bitter arugula, and a dense aioli sauce. The pretzel buns added pleasant salty accents.
True to its name, the Cowtown had all the flavors of Fort Worth. The centerpiece was a slab of thickly cut brisket that was juicy and bursting with beefy goodness. The jalapeño mayo pleasantly singed my lips while the tangy coleslaw balanced out the savory and somewhat greasy ensemble. Two buttered pieces of Texas toast offered a nice break from the brioche buns in most of my orders that day.
The closer was a delightful regional take on the classic grilled chicken sandwich. The Southwest Chicky featured a plump, juicy patty grilled to maximum deliciousness. Thick slices of bacon produced a smoky profile that was further gussied up by spicy aioli, piquant guacamole, and hatch chiles.
Wild Acre still offers great customer service, beer to-go, and quality craft suds that range from juicy IPAs to muscular stouts. The biggest change under the new ownership is the revamped menu. With the nearby Wild Acre Live stage, a sprawling beer garden, and a new playground, Wild Acre offers a fuller picture of what a complete brewery experience can look — and taste — like.