Best New Breweries, No. 1: Black Acre Brewing Company
In a market crowded with pedigreed brewers, a place founded by three law-school students and their friends with a little homebrewing experience sounds like a recipe for Imperial Disaster. (Not actually an esoteric beer name. Yet.) But the owners of Black Acre Brewing Company in Irvington have had their day in court, and we’re ruling in their favor. No newcomer in the city makes better beer. Of the 10 house brews on draught at any given time, the Saucy Intruder occurs most regularly. That rye India pale ale delivers what a flagship should—balanced, hoppy, copper-colored refreshment with just the right kick (7.2 percent ABV). All other beers rotate seasonally, but on a recent visit, not a single one disappointed—the only local brewery at which we could make this claim. Thirsty Reasons (a Kolsch) and Vertical Sun (a Belgian Witbier), both effervescent with carbonation like most of the suds here and with a hint of citrus, tasted like summer.
For those who will be turned away by the hordes waiting outside the 75-seat taproom on Friday and Saturday nights, a brief description: reclaimed wood, growlers repurposed as lighting fixtures, scarcity of space. Black Acre will complete a larger (15-barrel) brewing facility at the corner of Bonna and Ritter avenues in December, at which time the owners will determine if they’re producing enough to distribute to local bars and have a taproom there. Until then, they’re limited to the three-barrel outfit in back. Which has been just enough to supply Irvingtonians with a few pints as they munch from a menu (available Wednesday through Saturday) of small plates and paninis. With meat from Smoking Goose and ciabatta from Roll With It Bakery, the hot ham-and-cheese stands out along with the sweet-potato fries.
Oh, and about the brewery name. It’s a placeholder legal term for property. If the Black Acre owners keep producing the kind of beer they have for the last two years, they’re going to have a lot more of it.
5632 E. Washington St., 317-207-6266, blackacrebrewing.com