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Old Town Clovis Craft Beer Crawl

Apr 27, 2016 11:55AM ● By Ronda Alvey

Brew Gets Crafty

By Ben Ralph
May 2016

Today, you walk into a restaurant or a bar, peruse the menu and the list of craft beers appears endless. The panic sets in as the choices begin drowning your ability to choose: Pale. Stout. Porter. Amber. Blonde. Then the acronyms start flying: IPA, DIPA, TIPA. ESB. Finally, the scene goes into full Babel: Belgian Wit, Gueuze. Gose. (Wait, same thing?) Biere de Garde. Kolsch, Pilsner. Hefeweizen. Dunkelweizen. And you haven’t even made it through the legion of brewery names or infinite list of delightful hop puns. 

With no end in sight, the choice appears to be to just walk away or avoid the crisis altogether and stick close to the warm, familiar, non-craft beer waters of Coors Light, Budweiser, Corona or, if you’re a time traveler from 1993, Zima. For the adventurous sort, a third option is to brave the dive-into-the-craft-beer scene and learn how to navigate its treacherous uncharted waters, which, for beer enthusiasts and newbies alike, will be the most excellent choice. 

But what is “craft beer”? Everywhere you look it seems the term “craft beer” is being spouted by shop owners, restaurateurs, best friends, mothers and grandmothers. Craft beer, according to the Brewers Association, indicates that an American craft brewer is any brewer that is small (less than 6 million barrels or less per year), independent (less than 25% of the brewery is owned or controlled by an industry member that is not itself a craft brewer) and traditional (no flavored malt beverages). 

Craft beer is one of the most rapidly expanding markets in the United States. California is one state particularly bullish in the beer scene with many well-known breweries to its name, probably the most familiar to the Valley being Firestone Walker, with other well-known producers including Ballast Point, Stone, Lagunitas, Russian River, Sierra Nevada, and the list goes on.

Though newer to the scene, minus long time enthusiasts and home brewers, the Central Valley has been ripe with its own craft beer composers. Tioga-Sequoia, Brewbakers, Dust Bowl, Kern River, Kaweah and House of Pendragon are among the more familiar names. If these are not familiar names, yet you want to delve into the craft beer scene, you are in luck. Old Town Clovis is hosting the annual Craft Beer Crawl on June 4. 

Beginning at 5 pm, attendees can make their way through the streets of Old Town Clovis and partake of the diverse beer concoctions from local and regional craft brewers. Unique to this event is the stationing of the brewers inside local stores, giving the scene a particularly intimate and communal tone as libations flow and brewers or representatives provide education on their selections. What better way to expand your beer palate than to taste and see that the brew is good, and appears hazy with nutty, spicy tones? 

Breweries from last year included some local favorites and regional power players. Some of the hometown heroes included Tioga-Sequoia, Brewbakers, Kaweah Brewing Co., Sequoia Brewing Co., The Mad Duck and House of Pendragon. Hailing from the Central Coast were the all too familiar Firestone-Walker and BarrelHouse Brewing Company. The list of last year’s attending breweries goes on (and yes, Kern River Brewing Co. was not mentioned, until now, so just chill) and though the lineup for this year is still being finalized, another Central Coast brewery has confirmed: Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. So yes, expect some Hoppy Poppy IPA, Davy Brown Ale, Lizard’s Mouth Imperial Double IPA  (you may need to Google it, there’s no shame) and others to be available for tasting and discussing.  

However, in a tribute to the roots of craft beer in the Valley, the Business Organization of Old Town Clovis is partnering with the San Joaquin Worthogs, a local home brewers’ club. “Homebrew” is beer that, of course, is made from home, and the club will have its own station to provide tastings of local homebrews. Lester also noted that the partnership plans to hold a Home Brew Contest in August 2016. This contest was held a day prior to the 2015 Craft Beer Crawl and was so popular it attracted more beer submittals than the Fresno Fair, yet another sign that craft beer is on the rise in the Valley. 

If you want to attend the Crawl, get your tickets quickly, because only 1,500 are available. Last year’s event sold out and it is expected this year will be no different. In addition to the flowing suds, there will be music and local food trucks. In order to navigate the scene, attendees get a commemorative tasting glass, a map with the breweries listed and which businesses they’re stationed. After the event, the party continues with tap takeovers at some of the nearby restaurants. After that, however, your map won’t help you but an Uber might.

Craft Beer Crawl June 4 at 5 pm

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