Restaurants / Bars

New Fort Worth Brewery Opens as Planned, Bringing To-Go Beers and Fancy Curbside Sandwiches to Ridglea Hills

Your Exclusive First Look at Wild Acre Brewing's Nic Cage Charm

BY // 03.24.20

This is not quite the way John Pritchett, founder of Wild Acre Brewing Company, envisioned opening his long-awaited second location in Fort Worth’s Ridglea Hills neighborhood.

Thanks to tight restrictions imposed by the city in the midst of an unprecedented coronavirus pandemic, he won’t be fully throwing open the doors to this new Wild Acre on opening day today. Instead it will be curbside service only for the foreseeable future. But, that’s not stopping him.

The project, after all, has been more than a year in the making. Starting today, Wild Acre will be serving the Fort Worth neighborhood Tuesdays through Sundays from 11 am to 7 pm.

The co-owner of Wild Acre Brewing Company Bruce Conti owns the building at 6479 Camp Bowie Boulevard that houses the brewery’s second location. It sits on the corner of Camp Bowie Boulevard and Clayton Road in Ridglea Hills. The majority of a long vacant Kroger grocery store, a vast 57,000 square foot building, has been subdivided into office and retail space, with about half of that becoming a co-working space.

Work Space Connect opened in the building recently, as did upstart coffeehouse Lazy Daisy Coffee.

“The co-working space actually wraps around the brewery,” John Pritchett tells PaperCity Fort Worth. “This is clearly not the environment we could have ever envisioned opening within.

“That said, we are embracing it as a unique opportunity to play a role and connect with the people at a time when the community as a whole is paying more attention than ever to what is going on around them.”

His partner Conti also owns the former Ranch Style Beans Plant, on Fort Worth’s near east side, where the duo repurposed a portion of that iconic building nearly four years ago. They opened Wild Acre there in June of 2016, turning it into one of the city’s largest and most successful commercial breweries. Today Wild Acre is one of the three largest breweries in  Fort Worth, along with Rahr & Sons and Martin House.

PaperCity got a sneak peek at what’s in store for this new Wild Acre when the newly imposed stay-at-home-orders are lifted. Fort Worth just revealed those additional social distancing measures Tuesday morning.

The 3,000 square foot brewery sits on the left hand side of the now brick-clad building. Its enclosed beer garden was getting a few finishing touches Monday (by three workmen, who were conscientiously social distancing from one another).

Wild Acre – Camp Bowie location now brewing
Shiny new equipment is already brewing. (Photo by Courtney Dabney).

The space is bright with red brick floors, which are a nod to its Camp Bowie location. Although this section of Camp Bowie, which is the one of the city’s most travelled corridors, has never been bricked, like the stretches that run between Arlington Heights and the Cultural District ― the street is often referred to simply as “the bricks,” so it’s fitting.

To your left, you can view the shiny new brewing equipment through glass. And the copper-backed tap wall and bar rests to your right ― decorated with stacks of Wild Acre beer cans above. The bar and tabletops are made from rustic wood. Pops of sky blue walls and crisp white subway tiles finish the space.

The brewery went for a big, bold and quirky mural for added impact. Nicolas Cage greets visitors from his Raising Arizona days. Cage’s 10-gallon cowboy hat reads “Greetings from the West.”

“Nick Cage is a cult classic figure,” Pritchett says. “I just love that movie. It’s more than a taproom, it’s a working brewery. . . and we are already brewing our beers at this location. We’ll be producing our core lineup here, along with some that will be exclusively for the Camp Bowie location.”

Wild Acre’s core lineup includes the easy drinking Texas Blonde, their Ranch Style Pils, T-Hawk IPA, the cold-lagered Billy Jenkins Bock and the citrus-forward Agave Americana.

This new Wild Acre location will be serving a sandwich driven menu created by chef David Hollister as well. And, although he likes to call them “samiches” they are crafty little numbers. Until Wild Acre can officially open its seating areas to the public, the plan is to offer two different sandwiches every day for curbside pickup only like the New Orleans style Muffaletta and a Black Forest Ham, which are today’s offerings.

Wild Acre – Black Forest Ham sandwich on marble rye
Chef David Hollister will be crafting two sandwiches each day for curbside pick up, like this Black Forest Ham on marble rye.

Hollister’s Muffuletta includes his house-made mortadella, genoa salami, black forest ham, smoked provolone and olive salad. Second is a new sandwich that Chef Hollister whipped up for the occasion ― a black forest ham sandwich. It’s made with stone ground mustard, lettuce, caramelized onions, black forest ham and provolone cheese, served on marble rye bread.

The scratch-delicatessen menu will ultimately include a sandwich dubbed the Carne Folk. That is a Banh Mi style sandwich filled with pork carnitas, ham spread, teewurst (a spreadable German sausage), chicharrones, carrot slaw, fresh jalapenos, Magi sauce and cilantro on a hoagie roll. Hollister also will be serving a steak sandwich, a chicken salad, a pressed Cuban, a French Dip and a cheesesteak as well.

So far the menu has about 17 sandwiches to choose from. Three are vegetarian options such as the Jack Fruit Cuban, which will be a mojo-braised Jackfruit and vegan cheese with banana pepper mustard and a kosher dill pickle on a butter-free Cuban roll.

Salads will include the Luther Lake (the lake itself is blocks away, tucked into the Ridglea Hills neighborhood, just down Clayton Road). This is a cobb style salad with romaine lettuce, chicken, bacon, egg, tomato and a green goddess dressing. Soups will include the Ranch Style Beer Cheese Soup, featuring Wild Acre’s house-brewed beer, flavored with bacon, goat cheese, thyme and mustard seed.

Check out Wild Acre’s social media accounts to find out which two sandwiches you can enjoy each day. Of course, you can also take home a selection of their beer-to-go to wash it all down. As an added service to the community in these coronavirus times, the new location will also make a selection of staples available in its curbside pickup, like a pound of butter, a dozen eggs, a gallon of milk and even toilet paper as it becomes available.

“There is a palpable spirit present of giving and support,” Pritchett says. “People care, and you can really feel it. A fresh and renewed community spirit will be the story when we all get through this.

“The virus will be a footnote. That’s the lens I choose to look through.”

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