Something is Definitely Hoppin' in Central California
May 17, 2017

Something is Definitely Hoppin' in Central California

By: Amy Fuentes,
Fresno Food Expo Manager

In Honor of American Craft Beer Week, May 15 - 21, 2017
Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed the growing craft beer scene happening here in the beautiful Central California region? Every time I scroll through my social media feeds, I see a new brewery opening their doors, or another “brewfest” waiting to occupy my weekend, and I love it!

From the north to the south valley, let’s take a look at a few of the new and established breweries coloring the Valley's brew scene.

In 2006 Brett Tate and Dan Oliver, winner of the 2006 Samuel Adams Longshot Homebrew competition, officially joined forces and in 2009 produced their first beer, Hops of Wrath IPA. In 2011, they opened their first tap room in downtown Turlock, and in 2016 opened their second location complete with a restaurant, beer garden and even life-size games, right off the 99.

Some of their popular beers served year-round include the Taco Truck Lager, the Hobo Pilsner and the Therapist Imperial IPA. Not from Turlock? No need to fret, their beers can be found in plenty of Save Mart’s in and around the Fresno area, Spokeasy Public House, Gazebo Gardens, Goldsteins Mortuary & Delicatessen and The Annex Kitchen to name a few.

VALLEY BREW – Stockton, CA
This local hot spot is actually the Valley’s oldest brewery. Its roots go back to the 1950’s when it was the El Dorado Brewing Company and was known for serving up beer for the locals. Sadly, it closed during the prohibition period, leaving the area without a local brewery.

In 1994 its door reopened, and is currently being run by Co-Owner’s Kellie Craig, the General Manager and Eric Davis, the Executive Chef, who as a native to the San Joaquin Valley, stays busy incorporating local and seasonal products into their upscale dining menu. In addition to serving up their own brews on tap, they also feature other local favorites including, Altamont Beer Works, Track Seven Brewing Co. and Lagunitas Brewing Company.

We’ve been a huge fan of Riley’s Brewing since they came onto the scene back in 2011 and first exhibited with us in 2013. Since then we have watched their company grow from a small start-up brewery in Dan Riley’s garage, to a 20 barrel brewery. They can now be found in most of your major retailers including Save Mart and BevMo, in large part because of their participation with the Fresno Food Expo.

This start-up brewery even caught the attention of Mr. Fred Ruiz, Co-Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Ruiz Food Products, as a final runner up for the Fred Ruiz Entrepreneurial Award during last year’s Expo. Kudos to you Dan Riley!!

If the name Riley’s is sounding familiar outside of your alcohol aisle, perhaps you’ve already been to Riley’s Brew Pub, a restaurant and brewpub that opened in Clovis in 2016 by 3rd generation Brewmaster Dan Riley and 2nd  generation restauranteur Michael Shirinian, owner of the Elbow Room. Casual attire, kid friendly AND outdoor seating. This place is a must see!

This longtime Fresno brewery originally opened in 2,000 by Brewmaster Kenny Young, who used the space for an eclectic mix of performers and patrons over the years. In early 2016 the brewery was on the verge of closing before Cassidy Jakovickas and Arthur Moye stepped in to take it over.

Since then the new owners have expanded on some of the breweries original recipes, and their goal is to be in taps around town and in bottles and cans on store shelves in the coming months. We’re excited to welcome them as a first time exhibitor to the 2017 Fresno Food Expo this year, and are looking forward to helping them expand their business.

Owner and Brewer, Tommy Caprelian made his first batch of homebrew in 2006, and after investing in 1 barrel and building his own cold rooms, House of Pendragon (HoP) officially brewed its first professional beer in 2013, Coco Crusader. Shortly thereafter, Coco Crusader, Lancelot and Guinevere made their way into pubs and restaurants across the Fresno and Visalia area.

HoP is now officially open to the public in two locations including their Clovis Tasting Room on the northeast corner of Willow and Herndon, and the Brewery Tasting Room, AKA The Dragon’s Lair in Sanger, which is open to the public Fridays – Sundays.

Downtown Fresno, are you the next stop for House of Pendragon Brewing Co.? Be sure to stop by their booth at this year’s Fresno Food Expo and find out.

Home to Visalia’s original beer garden in 1936, Brewbakers opened its location on Main Street in Visalia in 1999. While Sequoia Red is their flagship beer, their brewers are continuously changing their beer menu to offer a wide variety of flavors for every beer lover’s pallet.

On Tap right now you can find Raspberry Apple, Apple and their E.P.A., not to be confused with an I.P.A., this is an Extreme Pale Ale with a medium body and tons of hops. And if you’re not feeling like a craft brew during your visit, Brewbakers also offers up a variety of hand-crafted sodas including Rootbeer, Wopple and Orange Cream.

Travel a little further south and you will stumble across Lenghwise Brewing. In fact, with three different locations including The Pub, The Brewery and Lengthwise at the Marketplace, chances are you cannot make it through Bakersfield without running into it.

Lengthwise officially opened in 2002, with one location and a small selection of their craft beers. In 2011 and 2012 they added two additional restaurant locations, and in 2014 they began bottling their beers, which was followed by the distribution of their bottles and kegs outside of Kern County. Their new 15,000 sq. ft. facility that opened in 2016 marks their most recent expansion; and something tells us they’re not slowing down yet.

Did we mention they roast their own coffee on site?

This is not to say we saved the best for last, but let’s just say if we believed in soulmates, which we do, Tioga Sequoia Brewing Company would be ours. Not because they brew some seriously good tasting craft beers, all of which reflects the greatness of our region, or their super cool beer garden that is the epitome of all things local, or even because of their recent expansion announcement, but because in 2011 when we launched the Fresno Food Expo and they were a brand new brewery with a minimal marketing budget and a staff of two, they invested in the vision of the Expo.

They understood that the Expo was only going to be as good as who showed up to exhibit, and they chose to be part of the movement that we were building. In fact, in our most recent video they tell the story about how the Fresno Food Expo launched their business into major retail stores after exhibiting that first year, and it still gives me chills.

Thank you Tioga Sequoia Brewing Company for believing in what the Expo could do for your business, for using our platform year after year to launch new craft beer flavors, and last, but certainly not least, for hosting the Expo’s official after-party, Flambé.


Still thirsty? Be sure to check out these breweries across the Valley:
411 Ales & Spirits
Dionysus Brewing
559 Beer
Temblor Brewing Company
Kern River Brewing Company
Pine & Palm Brewing
Tactical Ops Brewing

Craft Beer Festivals & More
With all of these great craft beers within reach, it’s no surprise craft beer festivals have also become increasingly popular. Be sure to put these annual events on your calendar:

Lodi Beer Fest
Visalia Craft Beer Fest
Bakersfield Craft Beer Festival
Lodi Craft Beer Festival
Old Town Clovis Craft Beer Crawl

Bottoms up my friends!


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