We’ve established that the local craft beer scene is a thing you should explore, but that can be intimidating for those who can’t tell an IPA from an ESB, much less understand the intricacies of hops varieties as they relate to ABV and IBUs and gravity.
Luckily, there are plenty of resources and points of access to help you get up to speed.
▪ “The Beer Bible” – If you’re doing things old school, there’s Jeff Alworth’s 600-plus-page “Beer Bible.” The book has information about more than 100 beers from across the world, plus quick brewery profiles, style guides and brewing notes.
▪ “The Perfect Pour” podcast – Fresno-produced beer geek podcast with new episodes each week. This is a good way to hear industry news and track which breweries and beers are being released in the area. There also are plenty of tastings and reviews.
▪ Central Valley Craft Beer Drinkers – A Facebook group where craft beer enthusiasts talk craft beer and share information – and pictures – about what’s hitting store shelves. There’s also local beer events and bottle trades, but mostly pictures of what people are drinking. It’s a closed group, so you’ll need to request access.
▪ Untappd – This free social media app lets you “check in” and rate brews and breweries to unlock a variety of badges – think Girl Scout badges, but for drinking. Follow your friends and get recommendations based on what you are drinking and where you are hanging out. It’s perfect for those looking to try something new.
Still, the best way to get a handle on the craft beer scene is getting out of the house and going out to the bars and breweries. If the thought of mingling with craft beer geeks gives you some anxiety, you can always dip your toe into one of these non-traditional, ongoing brew events.
▪ TB&J – Short for tacos, brews and jams. This laid-back event happens the third Thursday of each month at Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Co. and features taco trucks, beer and music. The event is the brainchild of Taco Truck Throwdown co-creator Mike Osegueda.
▪ HOP Pub Quiz – House of Pendragon, at 1345 N. Willow Ave. in Clovis, hosts one of several weekly pub quizzes around town. Games are Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. and the place fills up quickly. There are four categories each week, set in advance with questions shown on a video screen above the bar.
▪ Savage Cinema Club – Full Circle Brewing Co. hosts monthly screenings of the worst movies ever made. It includes drinking games and “Mystery Science Theater 3000”-style commentary. This month, the club screens Vanilla Ice’s 1991 classic “Cool as Ice.” It happens 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25.