Bethany Clough

New brewery headed to downtown Fresno. The meaning of its name might surprise you

Do you like food and fun? Subscribe to the Food, Drink & Fun in Fresno newsletter here.

Yet another brewery is planning to open in downtown Fresno.

This one, the South of Shaw Beer Co., plans to open in the Peerless Building at Broadway and Amador streets early next year.

The brewery made a splash with its announcement on Facebook recently, with pictures of the recently renovated brick building.

Although many breweries have set their sights on the brewery district, loosely centered around Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co. at the southern end of downtown, South of Shaw’s brewery will be a bit farther north at 1755 Broadway St.

It’s in the same building where The Shop at KLSD recently opened its clothing and home goods store, which is also home to its production center. Built in 1935, the building was formerly home to Peerless Pumps.

The brewery is slated for the 2,500 square-foot space with brick and white walls and tall ceilings on the corner of the building. The space has been used for special events like Art Hop and a pop-up clothing shop in recent months, and still has a few events scheduled.

The brewery owners are shooting for an April 1 opening. Although not technically a done deal, the brewery has the first right of refusal to rent the space — a written agreement that puts them first in line. The owners are starting the process of ordering brewing equipment and getting various permits.

A trio of home brewers are behind the South of Shaw Beer Co. Douglas Dart runs Dart Realty & Property Management, a residential real estate company that recently moved its headquarters to the historic Hotel Virginia building in downtown Fresno.

The other partners, Dana Pellerin and TJ Amaya, are IT professionals at Community Regional Medical Center downtown.

The trio are part of an group of motorcyclists who take “epic” yearly rides (as in 13 days, thousands of miles), Dart said. The men started visiting microbreweries on those trips, then started brewing at home, and hosting tastings with 50 to 70 people.

All of that turned into plans to open their own brewery.

The name

So where did the South of Shaw name come from? Probably not where you would think.

The north of Shaw Avenue/south of Shaw Avenue divide is a topic of many conversations in Fresno, with some residents on each side sticking to their preferred side of town.

Dart could fall into the south of Shaw camp – he wants to see downtown revitalized, he lives downtown and just moved his company to a historic building downtown. But his partners both live north of Shaw.

The brewery’s name actually comes from a Fresno pop/punk band called South of Shaw that was popular decades ago. Pellerin, one of the brewery’s partners, was the drummer in the band. The band is now on the East Coast with the lead singer, but the local connection to the band name stuck, Dart said.

“That is why the rest of us embraced it,” he said of the name.

Expect lots of south of Shaw representation at the brewery, however, like murals or other artwork on the walls. And the partners plan to use local ingredients in their beers whenever possible, Dart said.

“It will be a place of community,” he said. “I want it to be a community where (people) can feel safe here and have a great beer.”

The beer

When the brewery is up and running, it will have a 7-barrel brewing system.

Expect a variety of beers, as the partners all have different tastes. Amaya is an IPA fiend, Dart likes German and Belgian beers, and Pellerin is into old school English ales and similar beers.

South of Shaw will also make IPAs, porters, stouts, maybe some sours and seasonal beers.

“If somebody wants a tutti-frutti cereal beer, I’m sure we’ll find a way to make it,” Dart said.

They already make a stout with Stokeroast Coffee from Friant.

And its Brut IPA, a new style of an Indian Pale Ale, won best of show at a home brew competition hosted by Morgan Territory Brewing.

That brewery, located in Tracy, is now making and selling Brut IPA using South of Shaw’s recipe.

Unlike a traditional IPA, the Brut IPA is brewed to taste like Champagne, usually dry and pale, but no grapes are involved.

The brewery will also serve pizza made in house.

Related stories from Fresno Bee

Bethany Clough covers restaurants and retail for The Fresno Bee. A reporter for 20 years, she now works to answer readers’ questions about business openings, closings and other business news. She has a degree in journalism from Syracuse University and her last name is pronounced Cluff.