A Local’s Guide to Craft Beer in the Central Valley
The Central Valley is brimming with quality craft beers and ciders that beg for a visit to the source. Whether you choose to stay close to home or venture away for the weekend, you can fill your time with everything from tours and tastings to a good meal. There are plenty of options for beer and cider lovers that are less than two hour’s drive from Visalia. Some of these spots are known to only a few, while others are nationally renowned. Some made their mark years ago, while others opened their doors within the past few months. Regardless of which direction you go, this list will get you started on a beer and cider adventure to experience the best the Central Valley has to offer.
Staying Close to Home
Brewbakers Brewing Company, Visalia
Celebrating their 18th anniversary in February, Brewbakers has been serving craft beer and food to the Visalia community since 1999. Along with their flagship Sequoia Red, you will find traditional German styles such as Doppel Bock, Dunkel Weisen, and Hefewiezen.
BarrelHouse Brewing Co., Visalia
With a large tasting room set to open this spring in downtown Visalia, Paso Robles-based BarrelHouse Brewing is sure to draw beer lovers to downtown. Along with their easy drinking brews like Sunny Daze Citrus Blonde Ale, don’t pass up their barrel aged options. Also keep an eye out for their limited-release Central Coast Wild Ales.
Set Your Sights to the North
Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company, Fresno
A beloved spot for beer fans in downtown Fresno, Tioga-Sequoia turns out well-crafted brews that draw visitors from around the area. Their regulars such as the pleasantly hoppy General Sherman IPA shouldn’t be missed, but be sure to check out their events page for special release days, like Rush Day in December when they release Rush Hour Breakfast Stout brewed in partnership with local coffee roasters.
Pine and Palm Brewing, Fresno
Making its mark on the Central Valley beer scene, Pine and Palm is becoming a local favorite. Not only are they serving high-quality craft, they will get your attention with catchy names like the Fresno Fog IPA with fresh oranges. They are also one of the few breweries in the area selling crowlers, a quick canning method that may soon be taking over the popularity of the traditional growler for beer to-go.
Full Circle Brewing Co., Fresno
Under new ownership as of late 2016, Full Circle Brewing Co. is gaining attention from beer lovers in the Valley. You can stop in for a pint or a growler fill of their regular favorites like the Cluster Fuggle Cream Ale. Stay tuned as their beer offerings are expected to expand even more this year.
Tactical Ops Brewing, Fresno
From homebrew to a small brewery now open to the public in Fresno, Tactical Ops Brewing will soon be opening a larger space in Clovis in a few months. New to the Central Valley craft beer family, the brewery is producing a variety of beers such as the Valor IPA with notes of tropical citrus and Blonde Bomber that uses local orange blossom honey, with many more styles to come.
House of Pendragon Brewing Co., Clovis and Sanger
Whether you swing by the tasting room in Clovis or make your way out for a tasting flight at the brewery in Sanger on a Saturday, House of Pendragon will quickly become a favorite. Known for well-crafted West Coast IPAs, like their Lancelot IPA, you can also find plenty of innovative beers on the rotating tap list, such as Dragon Juice, a saison brewed with smoked malt and jalapeños.
Riley’s Brewing Company, Clovis
This Madera brewery recently opened Riley’s Brew Pub in Clovis, making their beer more accessible to the Central Valley. Along with creative beers like their Cowlifornia Milk Stout, Riley’s also brews a variety of hard sodas like root beer and orange cream that might make it easier to convince non-beer loving friends to come along on your adventure.
South Gate Brewing Company, Oakhurst
A perfect stopping point on your way back from Yosemite, South Gate offers American pub food alongside their craft beers. The brewery has just about any beer you are thirsty for, from Gold Diggin’ Blonde to Glacier Point Pale Ale, that all pair well with their grass-fed beef burgers and brick oven pizzas. They also serve a large selection of seasonal beers like their 1864 Ale, an Oktoberfest beer brewed with wild hops from the Yosemite Valley.
Dust Bowl Brewing Co., Turlock
Boasting a new 30,000 sq.ft. brewery with a restaurant and tasting room located just off Highway 99, Dust Bowl Brewing Company is attracting visitors from all over the state. With an inviting indoor and outdoor dining space with plenty of room for large groups and families to roam, you can try any of their beers served on 18 taps at this location. Their original downtown Turlock location remains open with this expansion, so you have plenty of options to enjoy their food and well-crafted beers.
When You Are Headed West
BarrelHouse Brewing Co., Paso Robles
Even though BarrelHouse Brewing will be open in Visalia soon, don’t pass up the opportunity to visit the beer garden in Paso Robles. With plenty of outdoor seating, enjoying their craft beers is a lovely way to take advantage of a beautiful afternoon. Also check out their special events and outdoor concerts as well as their food truck list.
Earth and Fire Brewing Company, Paso Robles
A cozy, family friendly taproom in downtown Paso Robles, Earth and Fire Brewing Company was founded in 2015. With self-described rustic, unfiltered beer, it’s a nice weekend spot to enjoy an IPA or Chocolate Stout.
Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Paso Robles
Between taking a brewery tour, shopping at the Brewery Emporium, and dining at the Taproom Restaurant, you can spend most of the day at Firestone Walker Brewing Company. Choose a beer from their Lion & Bear series like the Pivo Hoppy Pils, or seek out a rarer selection like a sour from their Barrelworks Wild Ales program. If you aren’t hungry, there are taps in the Emporium for trying a few beers while you shop.
Bristols Cider House, Atascadero
The Central Coast is the place to be for craft cider lovers and a stop should include Bristols Cider House. Their artisan ciders are crafted from local apples and include innovative varieties like the seasonal Merry Hell aged with gin botanicals. Tastings, pints, bottles, and growlers are all available in the tap room.
Tin City Cider Co., Paso Robles
Located next door to BarrelHouse Brewing Co., the new Tin City Cider is serving and bottling creative hard ciders. You will find varieties that are dry hopped and aged in bourbon barrels such as the Templetucky, and those using wort from the neighboring brewery such as the Sour Blonde.
A Quick Trip to the South
Dionysus Brewing, Bakersfield
This brewery is the spot for inventive craft brews. From dry hopped and barrel-aged gose to imperial stout with vanilla, coffee, and cinnamon, you will find a beer that satisfies your creative curiosity. You will also want to check out their Olympus Barrel Society for special bottles and growler fills.
Lengthwise Brewing Company, Bakersfield
Located just down the street from the original brewing facility, visitors to Lengthwise Brewing Company’s brand new brewery and outdoor beer garden can sip beer, eat, and watch some of the brewing process when it is in operation. Well known for the Zeus Imperial Ale, an unfiltered imperial IPA, you can also find a variety of classic styles from stouts and porters, to cream ale and wheat beer.
Temblor Brewing Company, Bakersfield
Temblor Brewing Company offers an inviting space for craft beer lovers. In addition to their beers like the Six Six One Golden Kölsch Style Ale and special projects like the Diamond Dogs Barleywine, there are also a variety of foods on the pub menu and numerous events in the Temblor Concert Hall, from comedy shows to special beer release parties.