Cold Brews Of Cowtown: A Guide to the Fort Worth Beer Trail

With 4 breweries within 5 blocks of each other, Fort Worth's Southside neighborhood rivals Portland and Denver in brewery density.EXPAND
With 4 breweries within 5 blocks of each other, Fort Worth's Southside neighborhood rivals Portland and Denver in brewery density.
Lance Higdon

There's been a lot of attention toward Tarrant County beer in the wake of MillerCoors' move to acquire a majority interest in Granbury's Revolver Brewing. Whatever your feelings about the macro giant’s incursion into North Texas craft beer, the sale provides a good pretext to look at our sister city’s profound proliferation of award-winning, boundary-pushing breweries.

“Fort Worth has a lot more of a laid-back attitude, [which] is what I think a lot of people don’t see about it,” says James Herrington, a brewer at Collective Brewing Project. “People are like, ‘Have you been to this place out in Dallas?’ and I’m like, ‘No. Do you ever come out to Fort Worth?’ And they’re like ‘No. What’s there in Fort Worth?’ and I’m like ‘You have no idea what’s in Fort Worth? There’s five breweries within five blocks.’”

Indeed, six craft breweries operate within a 5-mile radius in Fort Worth; four of them are situated no more than 2 miles apart in the Southside/Near Southside neighborhood. That’s a Denver-level concentration of ale outposts, all located along a pedestrian/pedal-friendly network. Herrington's comment got us thinking about how best to take advantage of such a beer-soaked ZIP code, and so after some consultation with Google Maps we came up with a road map to the fermenters of Funky Town.

In 10.2 miles and an hour and some change of ride time, you can hit half a dozen of the best breweries in the state. Pump up the tires on that one-speed Huffy and follow Cowtown's craft brew bike trail.

Wild Acre are the newest kids on the block — and, like many of their fellow breweries, that block is located in Fort Worth's Southside district.
Wild Acre are the newest kids on the block — and, like many of their fellow breweries, that block is located in Fort Worth's Southside district.
via @WildAcreBrewing

Wild Acre Brewing Co. 
1734 East El Paso St., Fort Worth
(2.2 miles/13-minute bike ride from Martin House)
Wild Acre is the newest kid on the block — the brewery started pouring brews in their digs at the former Ranch Style Beans factory on the Near Southside this past Fourth of July, but they’re no newbies. Founder John Pritchett used to work for craft beer distributor Ben E. Keith. As such, it makes sense that the brewery is focusing on a core quad of beers, each of which reflects Fort Worth’s status as the last port of call before travelers enter West Texas.

The Tarantula Hawk is our particular favorite. It’s a red IPA, favoring the malts while retaining a respectable hop sting. If you prefer the stouter stuff, try the Soul Pleasure Southern Stout. It counts seven separate malts on its grain bill, pushing forward the coffee and chocolate dimensions of its recipe.

Rahr recipes tend toward the Teutonic, as with the Bucking Bock.EXPAND
Rahr recipes tend toward the Teutonic, as with the Bucking Bock.
Lance Higdon

Rahr & Sons Brewing 
701 Galveston Ave., Fort Worth
(1.7 miles/13-minute bike ride from Wild Acre)
Once you’ve wet your whistle at Wild Acre, it’s time for a leisurely ride on to Rahr & Sons. Established by Fritz Rahr in 2004, they’re the oldest continuously operating brewery in DFW and a paternal figure among Fort Worth breweries. Rahr’s styles are more in-bounds than the whippersnappers down on the Near Southside, but you’ll do well to respect your elders.

Rahr brought home twin gold medals from the Great American Beer Fest last year for The Regulator doppelbock and Oktoberfest, two styles that place a premium on fundamentals. The Bucking Bock flexes that finesse especially well this time of year, taming a 7 percent ABV mustang kick with an effervescent body and plainspoken bock taste. 

Like the mythical monster for which it's named, Chimera combines several entities into one: brewery, restaurant and punk rock clubhouse.EXPAND
Like the mythical monster for which it's named, Chimera combines several entities into one: brewery, restaurant and punk rock clubhouse.
Lance Higdon

Chimera Brewery 
1001 West Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth
(0.9 miles/5-minute bike ride from Rahr & Sons)
Chimera Brewing Co. sits the furthest south on this joyride. Like its namesake, Chimera is several beasts at once: brewery, restaurant and cozy punk rock hangout. Rock and roll is an overt feature of many Fort Worth fermentaria, but we can’t imagine a more metalsome beer name than Chimera’s Black Sabbath saison, Dream of the Witches’ Sabbath. Pouring the murky brown of Texas-strength iced tea, this beer smells like it was brewed in a cauldron of oregano, rosemary and dead pigs (prosciutto, to be precise) and tastes like those things too, along with 6.66 percent ABV of alcohol heat and dark (lord) chocolate. Less intense brews include the Good Riddance Gose, Roman Empire ESB and the Smoke Wheat Every Day, the latter of which resurrects the Polish smoked ale grodziskie.

Chimera only sells its beers on-site. They sell some pretty gnarly growlers, which are sturdy enough to survive knocking around in your bike basket. Grab a slice of pizza before you hit the trail — the pizzas come care of Italian native Carlo Galotto, who roasts the pies in a stone oven and ensures the tomini al verde is manually pulverized by mortar and pestle. 



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