The 10 best breweries in Fort Worth truly put the craft in craft beer
The 2023 CultureMap Fort Worth Tastemaker Awards is fast approaching, when we celebrate the best in food and drink in Fort Worth.
In a special editorial series, we've been spotlighting bars, restaurants, and chefs who've been nominated for awards in categories such as Bar of the Year, Neighborhood Restaurant, and Rising Star Chef.
The winners will be revealed at a party on April 27 at The 4 Eleven at 411 S. Main St., hosted by Fort Worth chef Jon Bonnell, with sips and bites from nominees and sponsors, all benefitting the nonprofit Cuisine for Healing. Get your tickets here before they sell out.
In this chapter, we pay tribute to Fort Worth breweries, which rank as some of the best in Texas. Here are our top 10 nominees:
While the original is in Rowlett, the Fort Worth rendition of this brewpub (located on University Drive) always seems to surprise first-timers: In addition to the craft beer brewed on-site, there’s a full bar and an expansive chef-driven menu. Bankhead delights with uber-elevated bar food; think lobster risotto, cognac braised brisket poutine, and specials like herb-crusted rack of lamb and roasted branzino. Nearly 20 taps feature lagers, IPAs, sours, pilsners, bocks, blondes, and even hard seltzers that appeal to every beer drinker’s tastes. If not, there’s a cocktail menu of ranch waters, martinis, bourbon drinks, and more. Don’t miss the live music or when the garage-style doors are open on nice weather days.
Cowtown Brewing Company
Cold beer and barbecue go hand-in-hand, which is why this downtown brewery decided to serve meats smoked right on site. The 5,000-square-foot taproom offers a spacious, covered outdoor deck, where access to the barbecue trailer is easy. The menu features ribs, sausages, turkey, brisket, pulled pork, and smoked bologna, along with wings, burgers, tacos, patty melts, bacon-wrapped jalapenos, hot dogs, and baked potatoes. Inside, a large projection screen and multiple TVs provide for any watch party. There are 16 beers on tap here, but don’t miss the Cold Fort Worth Beer, a lager named for George Strait’s famous song lyrics and a medal winner in the 2021 and 2022 U.S. Open Beer Championship. There’s also a satellite Cowtown Brewing location in Southlake.
Veteran business owners and twins Will Churchill and Corrie Watson breathed life into a dull industrial district with the opening of Fort Brewery in 2021. Located on Tillar Street in an overhauled warehouse space, the indoor-outdoor brewery and tap house is laid-back and family-friendly, popular for its live music and easy breezy atmosphere. Traditional and fancy pizzas make up the bulk of the menu, along with salads, sandwiches, hamburgers, and starters like pretzels and beer cheese. Speaking of beer, there are nearly 20 on tap, as well as cider and malt-based cocktails. Pup parents should note there’s a Mutt Menu just for dogs.
Funky Picnic Brewery & Café
This South Fort Worth brewpub opened in 2019, back when serving chef-driven food at a brewery was a novel concept for Cowtown. Today Funky Picnic has expanded its menu, added cocktails, wine, and cider, and even took over a neighboring space to open a chichi 21-and-up lounge. What remains the same is the quality craft beer, brewed on-site with amusing (and lengthy) names like We Should All Respect Darius Rucker Hazy IPA and Bubba Tell You Whut American Light Lager. Don’t miss La Raza, and Mexican lager that’s a Funky Picnic original. Pair it with Caribbean rum wings and pretzel bites with fondue.
While not technically a brewery, Locust Cider does fall into the taproom category for its array of hard ciders fermented on-site and served on tap. Just like beer, the alcoholic fruit juice is served by the pint glass, in a tasting flight, or a pack of cans. Flavors range from Dark Cherry and Honey Pear to Cold Brew Coffee and Bourbon Barrel Aged Peach Spice. Also like many breweries, there are themed events like trivia, bingo, and food truck night. Founded in 2015 and based in Washington, Locust Cider opened its Fort Worth location in 2018. It’s the only Locust Cider in Texas and is Fort Worth's first and only hard cider company.
Maple Branch Craft Brewery
With a 7,000 square-foot outdoor patio and another 7,000 square feet inside, this Foundry District brewery and biergarten provides plenty of room to spread out. Owned by husband-and-wife duo and TCU grads Stuart and Alyssa Maples, the craft beer haven offers 28 selections on tap, ranging from the award-winning Raspberry Fields blonde ale to The Seventh Hill smoked porter. Save room for barroom bites like wood-fired pizzas and Bavarian pretzels, and also note that Maple Branch just recently expanded its hours to open for lunch.
Martin House Brewing Company
The creative minds at this tenured Fort Worth brewery, which just celebrated a decade in business, go wild with imaginative (and sometimes really “out there”) limited edition beer flavors like ice cream with pistachios, barbecue sauce, and soon, mayonnaise beer, set to be launched with a party on Cinco de Mayo. But silly savors aside, Martin House is one of Fort Worth’s most esteemed breweries for its longstanding, easy-drinking favorites like The Salty Lady Gose and Toadies Texas Bock; its weekend, festival-style parties right on the Trinity River; and the friendly nature of its staff. Don’t sleep on Martin House’s Best Maid Pickle Beer, now a staple in Fort Worth.
Panther Island Brewing Co.
Another longtime Fort Worth brewery, Panther Island opened just north of downtown in 2014 in a dilapidated district with not much around it. Now folks visit in droves for core selections like the Tailgater blonde ale, Allergeez wheat ale, and the self-explanatory IPf’nA. The spacious warehouse-style taproom is also popular for tis themed events including fitness classes, cooking class, music bingo, and open mic night – all come paired with a frosty pint.
Rahr & Sons Brewing Co.
The OG of local craft breweries, Rahr & Sons Brewing Co. debuted way back in 2004 when Fort Worth was “very much a Miller-Coors town,” says founder Fritz Rahr. Nearly 20 years later, Rahr still gains massive respect both from consumers and other breweries – some might call it a godfather of sorts. Longtime beers like Rahr’s Blonde, Winter Warmer, and Texas Red are still fan-favorites along with newer selections Adios Pantalones session beer. Rahr has survived a recession, a snowstorm that destroyed its building, and the COVID-19 pandemic, and thrives despite lots more craft competition today. They also throw a really fun Oktoberfest 5K every year.
Turning Point Beer
Bedford got its very own brewery when Turning Point Beer opened in 2018, bringing with it a staggering list of impressive selections brewed on-site. Taproom pours range from more than a dozen IPAs to several sours, stouts, ales, bocks, and more. The spacious, family-friendly, indoor-outdoor venue has contributed to the brewery’s success as a neighborhood hot spot. Food trucks visit regularly, and the place is also popular for private events. Regulars also return for the friendly service.