As many craft beer fans know all too well, temperatures and ABV have an inverse relationship. Summer is the time for light beers that won’t dehydrate you — i.e., low-calorie and low-alcohol content. The real fun starts around Oktoberfest, when Märzens and other complex ales start elbowing out those G-rated brews in favor of boozier, bolder delights.
By winter, it’s full-on party season as beers with 10% ABV and higher start hitting the shelves. Fortifying these bold suds are ridiculous amounts of barley, malt, and other grains that make them both delicious and filling. Fort Worth is home to some of the best damn winter brews in the county, and we hope you’ll safely hoist a few of these lovely selections this holiday season.
Rahr & Sons’ Winter Warmer
Rahr’s Winter Warmer is bold yet accessible. The rich brew has mild burnt notes and lively spices. With a medium body, delicious profile, and 8% ABV (twice that of most macrobrews), you’ll want to pace yourself. This beer is deceptively easy to down.
HopFusion AleWorks’ Zombie Crack
Heavy beers come naturally to this Near Southside brewpub. While they’re probably best known for their imperial milk stout Fur Slipper (dark chocolate, nuts, and candy), they will definitely develop a reputation via Zombie Crack (9% ABV). It’s like Fur Slipper plus bourbon-soaked oak staves and honey-roasted pecans. Be warned: This stuff is addictive.
Panther Island Brewing’s Sweet Fang
This heavy hitter tastes like the holidays, and you can enjoy a nostalgic joyride of eating peanut butter cups while getting buzzed. Panther Island Brewing’s Sweet Fang (5% ABV) is a sweet, nutty treat that lingers on the lips, thanks to generous amounts of lactose.
Wild Acre’s Snap’d Gingerbread Strong Ale
Gingerbread spices speak to the holidays, and one local brewery had the foresight to capture those flavors in a Christmas-y beer. Snap’d Gingerbread Strong Ale is strong in several ways. There are the forward notes of cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and other seasonal spices, and then there are the fragrant scents and a solid 8% booze factor. The effect is balanced while being bold.
Wintery Brews Roundup
In South Main Village, Funky Picnic Brewery & Cafe is pouring the imperial Berliner Weisse Courage and Pillars with blueberries and cardamom spice, inspired by Denton-based folk-rockers Midlake. … Just north of West 7th Street, Bankhead Brewing offers a deep menu and many winter-friendly brews. Rodger’s Anomaly is a stout that’s brewed with a potent blend of star anise, cocoa nibs, and concentrated cold brew coffee. … The Foundry District’s Maple Branch Craft Brewery has a heavyweight beer that boasts primo spirits from nearby Blackland Distillery. Breakfast at Blackland is a boozed-up Russian stout made with maple syrup, brown sugar, and Maple Pecan Bourbon from Blackland Distillery. … Stockyards newcomer Second Rodeo features live music pretty much year-round, a retractable roof, creative takes on pub fare, and exceptional craft beers. The Belgium dark ale is brewed with three types of malts — Munich, caramel, and chocolate roasted — for a flavor explosion of dark, fruity notes and hints of chocolate. … Neutral Ground Brewing Company is bringing delicious brews to Northeast Fort Worth. Ode to Excess oatmeal stout (6.6% ABV) is a roasty, chocolatey delight.