Wild Acre’s Tarantula Hawk Shows Promise.

Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we’ll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers now available in the suddenly crowded North Texas brew scene. The goal here is to look at these area beers without our local goggles on and to wonder aloud, “Is this beer good or do I just like it because it’s local?” Should be a fun experiment, no? Cheers to that!

This week, we sipped on Wild Acre Brewing Company‘s Tarantula Hawk.

Fast Facts on Wild Acre Tarantula Hawk.
Style: Specialty IPA — Red IPA.
ABV: 6.5 percent.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): 75.
Color: Copper.
Availability: Cans.

Fort Worth’s newest brewery to pop up this year is Wild Acre. I say this year because, well, the year is not over year. And there’s more to come. I’m not saying that Fort Worth doesn’t have any breweries, it just seems to be in sort of catch-up mode to Dallas. So there’s still room for breweries in Fort Worth! Wild Acre opened in June 2016 and now I see a keg here available at Craft & Growler less than two months later. I’m glad to see a new brewery’s beer on the scene here in Big D. About a month ago, I reached out to a rep who works for Wild Acre and was sort of ignored. It is festival season, after all, and the brewery has promoting to do and beer to sell. And beer reviews like these aren’t paying the bills for them. So other than bitching about it here for you to read, I’m not going to dwell on it too much longer. OK, I’m done venting. I haven’t ventured out to Fort Worth to visit this brewery yet, but based on what I see on its web site, the place looks legit.

Background on Specialty IPA — Red IPA.
When BJCP released its updated 2015 style guidelines, it forked the IPA style off into several sub-categories. And the Red IPA sub-category is one of them! This is a bitter, hop-forward IPA that is known to use some crystal or dark caramel malts to achieve a toasty or deep fruit malt character. The color should be an immediate identifier of this style: reddish to copper. It is supposed to finish clean like an American IPA, but with just a hint more body, character or toasty action.

Tarantula Hawk pours a medium copper color, on par for the style. The head is decent and sticks around for quite some time. Even as this is a darker than what you’re used to seeing for an IPA, it looks delicious. The clarity on this beer is spot on, too.

The aroma really shines on this beer. The nose is full of new world style hops. As the beer warms, the malt seems to wake up and come to the nose party. Likewise, the hop notes begin to fade a little bit. The aroma department is the star of the sensory show with Tarantula Hawk.

For a 75 IBU beer, the bitterness seems like it’s sort of muted. It’s as if the aroma hop is there, but the hops didn’t quite bind during the brew day. But the hops that are here in the flavor are nice. Don’t get me wrong, this is a bitter beer for sure. But my brain was thinking that this would be way more intense for its stated 75 IBU. The malt notes help this beer along nicely, and there’s a faint bite of something in the malt backbone, almost like a rye sort of flavor. According to its web site, the higher kilned malts in this beer are Victory, Munich, and dark caramel malts. So my brain must be playing tricks on me today! With the aftertaste, I can feel some of the dry hopping notes in this beer, and I like it.

The finish on this beer is super-duper clean. I have to remind myself that this is a 6.5 percent ABV beer, because it drinks a tad on the thin side. The finish is more hop bitterness than malt breadiness, and that’s OK, because it is an IPA after all.

Overall Impression.
I want Wild Acre to be successful, and I think that they’re going to do good things. Tarantula Hawk will also probably get honed a little bit as the brewery grows and gets more dialed in on its equipment. While I think that there is a little room for growth in this beer, it is a pleasure to drink now. What I am wishing for is just a little bit more balance between the hops and the malt here. It’s a fine balance to walk to be sure.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give Wild Acre Tarantula Hawk a 6.

What’s happening in the area brew scene?
• Saturday, August 13. Tip Jar Release Party at Martin House Brewing.
• Sunday, August 14. Cookie & Beer Pairing Flight w/ brews from Wild Acre, Grapevine, Martin House, Franconia at LUCK.
• Sunday, September 4. Labor of Love Homebrew Competition at Deep Ellum Brewing Co.
• Saturday, September 10. Brewfest at Dallas Farmers Market.
• Saturday, October 1. Texas Beer Camp at Long Road Farm.
• Saturday, October 8. BeerFeast at Flying Saucer Fort Worth.
• Saturday, November 12. Untapped: Dallas at Fair Park.

Previous On Tap Reviews:
Revolver’s Sangre y Miel: 10.
Peticolas’ Royal Scandal: 10.
Community’s Mosaic IPA: 10.
Peticolas’ Velvet Hammer: 10.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Legion: 10.
Community’s Legion: 10.
BrainDead’s Fill in the Blancs: 9.5.
Oak Highlands’ Freaky Deaky: 9.5.
Deep Ellum’s Barrel Aged Four Swords: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Saint Dymphna: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Lost Epic: 9.5.
Community’s Ascension Porter: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Temptress: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Goatman: 9.5.
Community’s Public Ale: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Thrilla in Brazilla: 9.5.
On Rotation’s Jalapeno Saison: 9.
Woodcreek’s Bourbon Barrel Bock: 9.
Lakewood’s Wild Manimal: 9.
Revolver’s Blood & Honey: 9.
Martin House’s Imperial Texan: 9.
Community’s Trinity Tripel: 9.
Peticolas’ Irish Goodbye: 9.
Four Corners’ Block Party Porter: 9.
Cedar Creek’s Belgian Dubbel: 9.
Peticolas’ Ghost Of Alfred Brown: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Easy Peasy IPA: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Rock Ryder: 8.5.
Rahr’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Raspberry Temptress: 8.5.
Texas Ale Project’s Payne Pils: 8.
Noble Rey’s Bridesmaid’s Tears: 8.
Collective Brewing’s Urban Funk House: 8.
Lakewood’s On Call: 8.
Oak Highlands’ Golden Mustache: 8.
903 Brewers’ Crackin’ Up: 8.
Deep Ellum’s Play Date: 8.
Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s 11th Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Belgian Tripel: 8.
Noble Rey’s SteamPunk: 8.
903 Brewers’ Citra On Top: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Hissy Fit: 8.
BrainDead’s Gritz: 8.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Inspiration : 8.
Cedar Creek’s Fisticuffs: 8.
Lakewood’s Punkel: 8.
Four Corners’ El Chingon IPA: 8.
Martin House’s Day Break: 8.
Deep Ellum’s GOURDzilla: 8.
Peticolas’ The Duke (Aged 12 Months): 8.
Deep Ellum’s Pale Ale: 8.
Revolver’s Bock: 8.
903 Brewers’ Sasquatch: 8.
Peticolas’ Wintervention: 8.
Armadillo Ale Works’ Brunch Money: 8.
Martin House’s Salsa Verde: 8.
Cedar Creek’s Spinning Mule Robust Porter: 8.
Lakewood’s Holiday Bonus: 8.
Lakewood’s Hop Trapp: 8.
Martin House’s Stars Above: 7.5.
Grapevine’s Prickly Pear Wheat Ale: 7.5.
Bitter Sisters’ Knock Out: 7.5.
Four Corners’ Notorious O.A.T.: 7.5.
Noble Rey Golden Rey With Raspberries and Ginger: 7.5.
On Rotation Saved By The Belma: 7.5.
True Vine’s Unicorn’s Revenge: 7.5.
Deep Ellum’s Hop Seeker: 7.5.
Four Corners’ El Super Bee: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Hopochondria: 7.5.
Three Nations GPA: 7.5.
Martin House’s Rubberneck Red: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Antigoon’s Revenge: 7.5.
Community’s Texas Pils: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Zomer Pils: 7.5.
Cedar Creek’s Dankosaurus: 7.5.
Backcountry’s Double IPA: 7.
Rahr’s Visionary: 7.
Shannon Brewing’s Irish Cream Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Guava Good: 7.
TUPPS Brewery’ Northbound 75: 7.
Rahr & Sons’ Iron Joe: 7.
BrainDead’s I Like Harvey IPA: 7.
Martin House’s Turtle Power: 7.
Collective’s Petite Golden Sour: 7.
Shannon’s Chocolate Stout: 7.
BrainDead’s Red Ale: 7.
Community’s Razzy Raspberry Witbier: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway Blonde Ale: 7.
Bearded Eel’s Purple Unicorn: 7.
Noble Rey’s Off The Leash: 7.
Shannon Brewing Company’s Irish Red: 7.
Texas Ale Project’s Somethin’ Shady: 7.
Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
Cedar Creek’s The Lawn Ranger: 7.
Martin House Brewing Company’s Cellarman’s Reserve IPA (Amarillo).: 7.
Lakewood’s Till & Toil: 7.
903 Brewers’ The Chosen One: 7.
903 Brewers’ Sugar On Top: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway XPA: 7.
Armadillo Ale Work’s Quakertown Stout: 7.
Revolver’s High Brass: 7.
Community’s Pale Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Chump Change: 7.
Martin House’s River House: 7.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Sir William’s Brown Ale: 7.
Community’s Funnel Cake Ale: 7.
Audacity’s Boss Raptor IPA: 7.
Martin House’s The Juice: 6.5.
Collective Brewing Project’s Mom Azacca: 6.5.
Four Corners’ La Lechuza: 6.5.
Revolver’s Ironhead IPA: 6.5.
903 Brewers’ Trot Line: 6.5.
Peticolas’ Operation Collaboration: 6.5.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Nightwatch: 6.5.
Peticolas’ The Duke: 6.5.
Deep Ellum’s Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
Nine Bands’ Cactus Cat: 6.
Martin House’s Kafkaesque: 6.
TUPPS’ Cotton Mill Gold: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Tweedleyum: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Off With Your Red: 6.
Cedar Creek’s Elliott’s Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Lakefire: 6
Armadillo Ale Works’ WunderMelon: 6
Deep Ellum Pale Ale: 6
Lakewood’s Troll Toll: 5.5.
Martin House’s Hell Below: 5.5.
Lakewood’s La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
Martin House’s Mind On My Money: 5.
903 Brewers’ The Land Of Milk And Honey: 5.
Deep Ellum’s Numb Comfort: 5.
Four Bullets’ Black Jack Brown: 4.5.
Four Corners Heart O’ Texas: 4.
Audacity’s Sunset Boulevard: 4.
Shannon Brewing Company’s IPA: 4.
Grapevine’s Monarch: 4.
Twin Peaks’ Dirty Blonde: 3.
Franconia Wheat: 3.
Miller Lite: 1.

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