Houston’s City Acre Brewing has new owner, will not close

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Local solar energy business owner Jimmy Garrett will take over City Acre. A longtime craft beer enthusiast, he discovered the brewery because one of his companies, Green Light Solar, was located nearby. As a start-up, it did not have much meeting space, so the brewery became the team’s de-facto conference room and company-event venue.

Garrett himself has been a regular for years, and when he opened a game and beer shop in 2018, Board & Brew, he always had City Acre beers on tap. “It’s definitely an understatement to say I’m excited about what lies ahead for City Acre,” he said.

Since Matt Schlabach and Meredith Borders opened City Acre in 2016, it had become a relaxed spot to enjoy a beer and some food in a backyard-style outdoor space. Their sessionable brews gained traction, and the food earned just as much acclaim, with Houston Chronicle restaurant critic Alison Cook giving the Urban Cowboy burger an “A” in her Burger Friday review.

Urban Cowboy burger with Belgian fries at City Acre Brewing

Alison Cook

City Acre’s kitchen closed on June 5—it will reopen some time in July—and there will be no interruption in taproom operations.

This development comes at a time when the Houston beer scene is experiencing many shake-ups, often spurred by the economic hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic. Bearded Fox Brewing in Tomball had also planned to close but was bought by a local businessman at the last minute, similar to City Acre’s situation. The owners of Equal Parts bought Brash. Holler and Local Group breweries recently changed hands, and B52 Brewing in Conroe is currently for sale.

Schlabach says that as a customer, Garrett always took interest in how City Acre was run. When the team announced the closure, the businessman reached out about a possible sale. “While we were always open to selling, it is difficult to know what that means for the soul of a business and our employees,” said Schlabach. “Working with Jimmy was a no-brainer. We’ve shared more than a few pints over the years and we can safely say the place is in good hands.”

Garrett says that instead of bringing big changes, he is going to “double down” on what makes City Acre great. The brewery’s charming outdoor space—emulating a grassy backyard complete with vegetable patches, picnic tables and Adirondack chairs—was a huge draw. Garrett is going to add fans, more shade and potentially some misters outdoors, and expand the amount of air-conditioned indoor space, so customers are less at the mercy of Houston’s weather. 

“I’m very interested in enhancing City Acre’s commitment to sustainability,” Garrett said. “We will be adding a solar energy array to provide power for our day-to-day operations.”

He also hopes to bring lawn games, board games and perhaps some arcade games to City Acre, and will work on giving the garden “a fresh facelift” to have more produce to use for the food menu, which he wants to expand.

As for husband-and-wife Schlabach and Borders, they currently don’t have plans to start anything new, but will stay involved in City Acre as indefinite consultants. “You can expect to find us hanging out in the shade with the rest of the customers,” said Schlabach.




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