Forget the bands, food trucks and vendors, for the hardcore craft beer fans going out to this year’s FresYes Fest, the only lineup that really matters is what’s on tap.
Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co. has made tradition of creating and releasing several specialty beers just for the festival, which happens Saturday at the downtown brewery’s beer garden. That includes a series of tribute beers, honoring the people and institutions working to create a sense of community within the city, and especially in the downtown area.
Last year, the brewery honored then-Mayor Ashley Swearengin with her own brew; a strawberry blonde ale that was tapped out while people were still waiting to get in the gates. People liked it so much that it was eventually re-released.
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This year, Tioga-Sequoia honors its neighbors – and America’s favorite pastime – with the aptly named “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
It’s a peanut-and-cracker jack brown ale.
“A big part of our success has been the Fresno Grizzlies,” says Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co. president Mike Cruz. The brewery sits across Inyo Street from right-center field of the downtown stadium where the Grizzlies play. Tioga-Sequoia often sees an overflow of fans before and after the games.
“It’s their 20-year anniversary, so we felt like we should honor them and their contributions to downtown. We’d been kicking around the idea for a baseball-themed brew for a couple years, so this seemed like the perfect time to do it,” Cruz says. The team kicks off its 20th season on April 6.
During the festival Tioga-Sequoia is donating $2 from each sale of the beer to help fund baseball in the community. The money splits between the Fresno Grizzlies’ Junior Grizzlies, which is a challenger league that allows kids with disabilities to play baseball, and Sunnyside Little League, which serves central and southeast Fresno. Sunnyside Little League will use the money to buy equipment.
Take Me Out to the Ballgame is one of four brews created specifically for the festival. In all, there will be 16 Tioga-Sequoia brews on tap for the day, including its core lineup of General Sherman IPA, 99 Golden Ale, Half Dome California Wheat (now brewed with local stone fruit), Mt. Whitney XPA and the Rush Hour Breakfast Stout (in three variants).