Although the legend of King Arthur states he existed centuries ago, his powerful story of gallant knights and heroic quests remains vividly alive at House of Pendragon Brewing Company.
With an impressive tap room on Willow and Nees avenues in Clovis, HoP doesn’t steer away from the Arthurian legend.
Shining boldly on an illuminated menu are names of notable Knights of the Round Table: Lancelot, the flagship IPA; Agravain, an American amber ale; and Bors, an American brown ale.
Indeed, as a lover of history, 33-year-old Tommy Caprelian couldn’t stop himself from paying tribute to Uther Pendragon’s son when selecting a name for his brewing company.
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And so, he did.
The Sanger-based brewing company is owned and operated by Caprelian and his wife, Nora. Serving as brewmaster, he studied and perfected his craft for nearly a decade.
In 2006, after he made his first batch of beer at home, his interest piqued. He joined a local club, Worthogs, entered competitions and earned a certificate from Siebel Institute of Technology.
As part of his hands-on internship, he started working at Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company in downtown Fresno. He was the first assistant brewer and quality control manager for 1 1/2 years.
Although he loved his experience of working with an award-winning brewmaster, Kevin Cox, Caprelian knew he was destined to breakout of his shell.
Working with a 1-barrel system and four 1-barrel fermenters, Caprelian launched HoP with Coco Crusader — a sweet stout aged with organic Ecuadorian cocoa.
In March 2013, HoP debuted at the Visalia Irish Fest. Owners of local restaurants, like Howie & Son’s Pizza Parlor and Pita Kabob & Grill, took notice of the long lines of people forming for HoP.
“We were getting great feedback,” Caprelian said.
In fact, Caprelian said, the two Visalia eateries bought kegs on the spot.
And so, Coco Crusader, Lancelot and Guinevere (named after King Arthur’s queen, of course) were the first craft beers to be sold at local pubs and restaurants.
Positive words about HoP spread throughout the Central Valley, which led to an upgrade of a 3-barrel system and six 3-barrel fermenters. Caprelian knew opening a tap room was his next step. In April 2014, HoP planted roots next to Mother Mary’s Italian Kitchen and Pizzeria at 1345 N. Willow Ave, Clovis.
The small, but intimate tap room was constructed with materials — 100-year-old grape trays, chains and wood from an old barn — from his family’s farm in Sanger.
HoP has up to 11 beers, which rotate on a bi-weekly basis, available on tap. Beers with less than 8 percent ABV are served in a 16-ounce glass. Beers with more than 8 percent ABV, like Big Ass Zealous, are served in a 12-ounce glass.
People can also order a flight of four beers, which are served in 5 1/2 -ounce glasses.
To heighten the experience at HoP, beers are poured in tulip-shaped Belgian beer glasses by bartenders who are certified through the Cicerone Certification Program.
“They’re going to walk you through the experience,” Caprelian said.
In an effort to make HoP a social, friendly atmosphere, Caprelian introduced “Pub Quiz” on Tuesday nights. Topics vary from current events to timely topics like the release of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
As of lately, business couldn’t be better for Caprelian.
In late fall, HoP and Pita Kabob & Grill won the 2015 Create Here Business Plan Competition through the Downtown Fresno Partnership. Slated to open in mid 2016, HoP/PK will be a two-story gastropub near Chukchansi Park. It will feature around 30 beers on tap and Mediterranean-style dishes.
For people who are wary about trying craft beer, Caprelian said don’t be intimidated.
After all, Caprelian said, “Life is too short to drink bad beer.”
House of Pendragon Brewing Company Tap room
1345 N. Willow Ave., Clovis