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Nothing Soft About This Launch: Fort Worth's Wild Acre Brewing Enters Market with Guns Blazing

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The folks behind Fort Worth's newest brewery, Wild Acre Brewing Co., aren't screwing around.

It's true, they might be the seventh brewing operation in a three-mile radius centered roughly on the Sundance Square area, but Wild Acre is coming in hot, already having built up a cache of cans of their initial four-beer year-round lineup, not to mention an all-star lineup of brewing business figures beginning with founder and CEO John Pritchett, formerly of Ben E. Keith. 

Wild Acre is skipping the small phase many breweries have to go through by flooding first Fort Worth then DFW with beer from its home in the old Ranch Style Beans factory building just south of downtown. After launch events last weekend at Fort Worth's Flying Saucer and Woodshed Smokehouse, it's clear their beers will be a big player in the local beer scene almost immediately, though cans will start appearing in stores in August.

The Soul Pleasure Southern Stout is a plain enough proposition even in the first summer heat. A solid stout with just a hint of sweetness, Soul Pleasure is one of the more approachable stouts in the area at around 6 percent ABV.

Accessibility continues to be the name of the game with Wild Acre's Moonlight Shine Wheat Ale, which Pritchett has called a typical German Hefeweizen.

"It's dry hopped with a little vanilla in the boil," Pritchett says. 

The most interesting of the initial troika is clearly the Tarantula Hawk India Red Ale. It's made by head brewer Mike Kraft, formerly of Lagunitas, to satisfy the demands of IPA lovers, but it's not an IPA.

The Tarantula Hawk is redder with malt than IPAs come but still packs a good hoppy punch in each gulp and finishes with more of a balanced taste than many, especially the most bitter IPAs.

Wild Acre's "session bock," dubbed Billy Jenkins in honor of Army general and Fort Worth's namesake William Jenkins Worth, is the only brew of the initial four that will not be immediately available, as it is a lager instead of an ale, which means it takes slightly longer to ferment.

These are all swaths of the market already being serviced by other brands, but Pritchett sings a familiar refrain about the brew scene in this city that may seem to be bursting at the seams. On the other hand, "this metroplex is still way under indexed," he says, and robust competition in the area is not the biggest concern upon launch.

"In a market where all the breweries are listed and considered somewhat the same type of organization, we're really not starting out small in the same way a lot of organizations do," Pritchett says.

No, they sure aren't. Wild Acre is coming out guns blazing. 

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