For a long time, Rahr & Sons Brewing was Fort Worth’s only craft brewery and way ahead of the craft-beer curve in the rest of North Texas.
But with the opening of the new Wild Acre Brewing Co., a half-dozen places now brew their own beers within a short drive of one another (not that we recommend driving to all of them, sampling their wares, in one trip).
Another brewery is, figuratively and almost literally, around the corner.
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1. Panther Island Brewing Co.: Just across downtown’s Trinity River bridge on North Main Street, Panther Island was founded in 2014. “I started with a Mr. Beer kit,” co-founder Ryan McWhorter told the Star-Telegram in 2014. “You know, the kind you get from Wal-Mart. I worked my way up and thought, ‘Let’s do this for a living.’ ” The duo’s Wahoo brewing eventually evolved into Panther Island. Its popular Allergeez, an American wheat ale with a hit of honey and spices, won best brewery at the inaugural Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival’s Burgers, Brews & Blues event — and that was before the brewery even opened. 501 N. Main St., Fort Worth, pantherislandbrewing.com
2. Chimera Brewing Co.: Formerly Zio Carlo Magnolia Brew Pub, this Magnolia Avenue hangout evolved in spring 2015 to Chimera, reflecting the departure of a former Zio Carlo partner and the growth of its brew operations. Co-owner/“Head Unicorn” Adam T. Gonzales told DFW.com in 2015 that it was important for the owners to see “our identity as a brewery because that is the foundation of who we are and the foundation of what the bar and kitchen rest on.” The brewpub has more than a half-dozen brews on tap with more to come, even more in barrels, and a rotating list of “guest beers.” It also serves food, including pizza that some pronounce better than that at more vaunted pizza palaces. 1001 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth, www.chimerabrew.com
3. The Collective Brewing Project: If you’re an adventurous beer drinker, this cool brewry/taproom, founded in 2014 by Mike Goldfuss and Ryan Deyo, is a must-stop. “Many refer to Fort Worth colloquially as Funkytown, and Collective has taken that to heart,” DFW.com’s Texas Brew Review columnist Scooter Hendon wrote for the taproom’s first anniversary in October 2015. “The near-south-side brewery has made a point of gearing its beer offerings to the sour, tart and, of course, funky side.” If you’re not into sour, don’t worry: The ever-inventive menu has plenty of other varieties. Belly up to the often-crowded bar, study the chalkboard and dive in. 112 St. Louis Ave., Fort Worth, http://www.collectivebrew.com
4. Rahr & Sons Brewing: At nearly 12 years old, Rahr is pretty young to be the granddaddy of the North Texas brew scene. Founder Frederick “Fritz” Rahr told DFW.com in 2013 that business started so slowly that more than once, the brewery came close to shutting down, but something always changed to keep it moving forward — and then the North Texas craft-brew scene started going around 2011, and Rahr has not looked back. Now it hosts twice-weekly tours and tastings that are usually packed, its beers are on area restaurant and bar taps, in bottles and cans on grocery shelves, and it has expanded distribution. 701 Galveston Ave., Fort Worth, rahrbrewing.com
5. Hop Fusion Ale Works: Due to open this summer, this will be an 8,500-square-foot brewery and art gallery in the former Texaco Building on the near south side. Co-owner Macy Moore said the gallery will feature local artists (Moore told the Star-Telegram in 2015 that he and his wife are artists and live in nearby Fairmount). That artistry shows in the graphics on such signature-series beer cans as the Feisty Blonde (a honey vanilla blonde ale), Hairpin (session ale), Steampipe (black rye IPA) and Fur Slipper (imperial milk stout). 200 E. Broadway Ave., Fort Worth, hopfusionaleworks.com
6. Martin House Brewing Co.: This place is in a building in the back of an anonymous-looking strip at the northwest corner of Sylvania Avenue and Pittsburg Place — hard to find but it’s worth the effort, especially for its Thursday and Saturday open houses (trivia note: HopFusion’s Macy Moore painted the giant bird mural at Martin House). The brewery has a long-running association with Fort Worth band Toadies, who will perform at a June 26 launch party for the newest brews, Hell Below and Stars Above, named for their 2001 album. 220 S. Sylvania Ave. No. 209, martinhousebrewing.com
7. Wild Acre Brewing Co.: The subject of our cover story this week, Wild Acre is the brainchild of John Pritchett, whose business acument gives this new brewery in the old Ranch Style Beans complex a jump on most brewery startups. 1734 E. El Paso St., No. 190, Fort Worth, wildacrebrewing.com