Valley Craft Beer

4 fledgling breweries to try at the Clovis Craft Beer Crawl

Two Dudes Brewing to open tap room in Clovis

Two Dudes Brewing is constructing its tap room in Clovis hoping to open by Big Hat Days but the craft beer can be sampled at this year's annual Old Town Clovis Craft Beer Crawl being held March 12.
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Two Dudes Brewing is constructing its tap room in Clovis hoping to open by Big Hat Days but the craft beer can be sampled at this year's annual Old Town Clovis Craft Beer Crawl being held March 12.

A chance to try some of the area’s newest beers and up-and-coming breweries happens Sunday at the Old Town Clovis Craft Beer Crawl.

More than 16 craft beer brewers both big and small will be participating, along with even more home brewers in their own tent.

The event runs from 2 to 5:30 p.m. and is centered around Fourth Street and Pollasky Avenue. You get a map and a glass and stroll from store to store to try different beers. Tickets cost $35 beforehand and $45 the day of. They can be purchased at eventbrite.com.

If you’re on Instagram, follow me at @bethanyclough and @old_town_clovis as I take over their Instagram account and share pictures and videos of the beer I taste and people I meet during the event.

Generally speaking, the brewers will bring brews they’re either trying out or they’re brand new.

Carole Lester, Craft Beer Crawl

The Bee’s new Brew Buzz section has featured lots of stories about the Valley beer scene. Since several up-and-coming breweries will be at the crawl, it seemed like the perfect time to put a spotlight on them.

Some are debuting new brews at the crawl and others are on the verge of opening a brewery that will soon be open to the public. Some don’t have a license to sell their beer at all yet, so this may be your only chance to try them.

If you’re a craft beer geek, you probably know them already, but we’ll get into the details about the beers they plan to bring Sunday, too.

Two Dudes

Two Dudes Brewing – which technically has four dudes brewing its beer – is a name you’re going to be seeing more of soon.

They are brewing at their new location near Tollhouse Road and Sunnyside Avenue in Clovis. They are about to start remodeling the office-like space to turn it into a taproom that’s open to the public.

The red tape is taking a little longer than they expected, but they hope to have the taproom open to the public in June at the 1450 Tollhouse Road location.

It’s always a fun time. People always like the beer there.

Matt Vaught, Fortiter Brewing Co.

Until then, BC’s Pizza & Beer at 1315 Shaw Ave. in Clovis has Two Dudes’ Cold Feet Wheat beer on tap. It’s a hoppy, citrusy wheat beer that they will also be serving at the craft beer crawl.

They hope to be on tap at other restaurants or bars soon too, says brewer Brad Edmunds.

Zack’s

Ever had a beer made with cheese?

You can try one Sunday from Zack’s Brewing Co.

The couple behind Zack’s are still brewing at home, but have formed a limited-liability company and are looking for a location to open a brewery in downtown Fresno.

Steven and Gail Zack will bring at least four beers, including a smoked Gouda porter, a blue cheese IPA, a hazy Northeastern-style IPA and double Citra IPA.

“It actually has smoked Gouda in it that gives it a nice, creamy mouthfeel, texture,” he says of the porter.

The inspiration for the beer came from his wife.

“I call her a mouse because she loves cheese,” he says. “One day I was enjoying one of my IPAs and some blue cheese and I thought, ‘This works really well together.’ 

Zack puts the cheese into the almost-finished beer so it can take on the flavor. He then removes it and filters the beer.

Tactical Ops

You also can go drink beer at probably the most well-known of the up-and-coming breweries,Tactical OPS brewery in Fresno.

At 2985 N. Burl Ave. in Fresno, near Shields and Armstrong avenues, the brewery opens to the public every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night from 6 to 9 or 10 o’clock.

What you’ll be able to taste at the craft beer crawl depends on the weather, says founder Justin Campagne.

If it’s warm, he’ll bring a new IPA made with Mosaic hops and infused with blood oranges that isn’t overly sweet and has a bit of color from the dark red oranges.

“It’s really, really good for summer,” he says.

If it’s chilly, he’ll may bring one of several beers, perhaps a citrus honey blond ale made with citrus from Sanger.

Tactical Ops is also getting ready to debut a location on Railroad Avenue near Clovis and Barstow avenues in Clovis. When it’s ready, it will open as a brewery and taproom and the old place will become a taproom.

The brewery has a four-barrel system, so it doesn’t produce a ton of beer, but you can often find Tac Ops beer on tap at KuniSama Teppan and Sushi restaurant at 6825 N Willow Ave., Rocket Dog Brats & Brew at 88 E. Shaw Ave., and craft beer bar Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen at 1279 N Wishon Ave.

It’s also sold at The Market, the local grocery store at Herndon and West avenues and The Fort, a liquor store selling lots of craft beer at Friant and Fort Washington roads in Fresno.

Some people may know the brewery from its previous name, Black Ops. No, they didn’t get sued by the video game “Call of Duty: Black Ops” and have to change it, Campagne says.

Rather, Brooklyn Brewery on the East Coast has a beer named Brooklyn Black Ops and trademarked the name. Instead of fighting an army of lawyers, Campagne says he decided to change the name.

The brewers family members in the military inspired the military theme. Tactical OPS partner Brandon Broussard’s father was a Seabee, part of a fighting and construction battalion that would repair docks and airstrips, allowing the Navy and Marines to land.

Campagne has several family members in the military, too, and his brother flies an F-15.

The military theme is obvious at the brewery, making it into its beer names and the decor.

Fortiter

Another brewery you may be seeing more of is Fortiter Brewing Co. Still a home brewer at this point, owner and brewer Matt Vaught is raising money to open a brewery.

He’d like to be near Shaw and Brawley avenues, saying there’s not much craft beer activity on the northwest side of town.

“We’re planning on opening up hopefully, by the latest, by October,” he says.

Vaught says he plans to a have a milk stout to taste Sunday, likely an Irish cream milk stout in honor of the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day.

He brews a lot of milk stouts in general, including a chai tea milk stout and a peanut butter milk stout. He brews IPAs, too, and a Cinnamon Toast cream ale that tastes like Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal.

The unusual name Fortiter is a Latin word that means bold and strong, Vaught says.

A couple of other new brewers in this category are not participating in the event, including Pine & Palm Brewing. You can read a profile about Pine & Palm at FresnoBee.com/beer.

Family Artisan Ales will also not be participating because one of the brewers is a CPA who is buried in tax season work.

Bethany Clough: 559-441-6431, @BethanyClough

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