Beers I drink, Breweries, road trip

Sequoia Brewing Company

The Sequoia Brewing Company is an old standard of mine in Fresno, CA.  I’m there practically every April on the way to Oakhurst for some much needed R&R.

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We have been to Sequoia Brewing so many times that we are both very familiar with the beers.  Neither of us agreed out loud that we wanted to try something different but it seemed to be the unspoken consensuses.  Thanks to the “Specials” board out in front, we found what we were looking for;  two new brews that we were eager to sample.

I started off with the “So You Like IPA’s” Series #1 because I loved the high 7.4%.  It was delicious.  The taste was more malty than hoppy but the hops did creep up on me.  The bitterness was slight and it went down smooth.  I seem to remember that the IPA’s that Sequoia and Tioga Sequoia offer are not as hoppy as IPA’s available in Southern California.  The Old Man tried the Spring Bock which measured 7.2%.  It was a golden colored lager with a smoky aftertaste.

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In German, “bock” means “goat” and it is used to show a particular beer has a kick to it.  The Spring Bock indeed had a kick.  I tried some of Sean’s and liked it so much I ordered it for beers #2 and #3.  I got Sean’s original choice and he got mine for his second round.  He was as impressed with the IPA as I was.  There are a total of 3 varieties in the “So You Like IPA’s” series and we are excited to come back and try them.

Sequoia Brewing has specials for Happy Hour and we were hungry after our 4 hours just spent on the road.  We’ve had the pizza here before and it leaves something to be desired.  So we opted for the pretzel bites and we were not disappointed.

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The pretzel bites are small pieces of a larger soft pretzel that is deep fried to perfection and then salted and served with a side of stone ground mustard.  We ate that shit up fast! It was such a needed snack that ended up being our dinner.  Sequoia has a limited selection for vegetarians and I really wish they would offer a veggie burger.  They do have a veggie sandwich that sounds appetizing so I commend them for that effort.

Happy hour was coming to an end so we quickly ordered our third and last round.  I stayed with the  Spring Bock and Sean went back to the traditional menu to sample a Garage Sale Rye Pale Ale.  In the past, the Old Man has enjoyed rye IPA’s so he figured the rye pale ale would be just as good.  Coming in at a 6.0%, it was flavorful and crisp.  It had a nice dark red color.

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When it came time to pay the man, we were giggling with delight at the price of our beers.  I had to take a picture of my receipt to show off just how cheap the craft brewed beers are during happy hour.  $3.47!  $3.47?  Hell yeah!

Sequoia Brewing Company could teach other breweries a lesson about pricing.  Lately, I have been paying $6 and $7 for pints at local breweries.  They were no better and no less ABV than the $3.47 beers at Sequoia.  At a brewery, you cut out the middle man.  Where do some of them get off charging more than $5 for a pint?  I guess it’s the greedy American way.  The prices at SBC are refreshing and make me want to go drink and drink some more.

I probably won’t be back to Sequoia Brewing Co. until next Spring break.  If I was a local, I’d drink there more often but it’s just another one of those great stops on a #roadtrip. It’s nice to know I have a place to sit and enjoy some beers and unwind from the long drive.

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Out on the town drunk, road trip

Bakersfield’s Craft Tap House

The 99 freeway is my main evacuation route when I retreat to the serenity of pine trees that is #Oakhurst, California.  I take it through towns like Bakersfield and Delano and Traver all the way to Fresno, where I promptly merge onto the 41 freeway and head north.

But on the way up, I almost always stop in #Bakersfield.  A quick stop to gas up and eat or just to stretch your legs after the Tejon Pass.  Either way, people come and go through here all the time.

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I have been a fan of the Bakersfield #craftbeer scene for a couple of years but I mostly had just heard of Lenghtwise Brewing Co.  I only get to town here about 3 times a year but we always try to check out a brewery.  This time, when I searched, I found a shit ton of newer places that have opened up in the last couple of years or so.  The Craft Tap House was one I had to check out, preferably first.

The Craft Tap House is unique.  I’ve heard of places with similar concepts but this was my first time going to one.  The idea is simple….

When you walk in, you exchange your ID for a swipe card.  You get a chilled glass from the cooler and you get to choose what beer you want and how much to pour.  It took me five or ten minutes to walk around and read all the taps.  If I wasn’t so bedazzled by the sheer amount of taps, I could’ve looked up and read the tap menu that runs on a screen above everyone’s heads.

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You are charged per ounce and the prices are related to the ABV.  Now you’re talking my kind of numbers!  The “cheaper” beers go for around $0.36 and the average ABV is 5%.  The “better” beers will run you about $0.61 an ounce and are in the 7% range and higher.  The highest beer I saw was $0.70 per ounce and it had a 13% ABV.  I like that…a lot!

So I finally decided to have some Tioga Sequoia IPA.  You just put your card on the screen behind the tap and pour.  The card keeps track of how many ounces you pour and how much each ounce costs so you know your total throughout the night.

I started off with half a beer because I wanted to try so many and because  I got over half foam on my pour.

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The foam eventually fizzed down to the 7.8 ounces I paid for.   I get very competitive sometimes and my nature just started coming out at the Craft Tap House.  They have 50 different beers on tap so it’s not an easy job picking your first!

They have some major California breweries represented in the offerings.  Like Stone, Pizza Port,

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Firestone Walker, Bootleggers, Modern Times Beer, and Karl Strauss.  There were also some smaller breweries like Mother Earth and Mad River.  From yellow to black, the beers come in all colors and flavors.

Greasy fried food and meat dishes make up the menu.  Their food is very “California Cuisine.”  The BLT is an ABLT with the A standing for avocado.  They have a pretty extensive menu but didn’t offer a veggie burger so we didn’t get anything to eat.

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The Craft Tap House also sells merchandise.  I only saw that they had Pizza Port from San Clemente in stock but I know the other breweries have shirts that could be sold there too.

There is a “real” bar inside the Craft Tap House that serves mixed drinks.  In case you’re into that sort of thing, there’s a live bartender you can really tip who will pour you your drink.

Sean’s second beer was 4 ounces of foam.  He didn’t expect a comp or anything but he just wanted to tell the supervisor that the keg was tapped out.  So what did the supervisor do?  He gave Sean a free 12 ounce pour of a decent tasting beer to make up for it. We never did get the name of that beer though.  And then, when the keg had been changed, the supervisor bought a 4 ounce pour of the original beer Sean had wanted in the first place to our table.  We were impressed, to say the least.  That kind of customer service brings people back in and you can count on Sean and I going back.

My second beer was this huge, epic thing.  While I was helping the old man down his comped brew, I saw on the menu screen that there was a Stone beer I have only heard about in legend.  It was the Stone Farking Wheaton wOOtstout 2.0

This is a collaboration between Stone Brewery, Wil WheatonAisha Tyler and some Farking guy named Drew Curtis.  I had to try it.  For purely scientific reasons, of course!

Here is a succession of pictures that shows me in the three stages of discovery.  Before, notice the smiling and eager face about to try a new brew.  Then during; drink it up, brewbroad, drink it all up!  And then climaxing with my disgusted face for the after-shot.

It is an Imperial Stout so I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with it.  I don’t generally like Imperial Stouts but I knew what I was getting into.  And it was worse than I expected.  It was thick and sugary sweet.  I couldn’t get any coffee tastes in it and it was a chore to finish it.  All I said was that I had to try it.  I didn’t say I’d have to like it.

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I love the concept of the Craft Tap House.  You pour your own so there is no one to tip at the end of the night.  The selection is outstanding.  All the California brews you can drink, without having to go to the actual brewery.

 

I will be back here next time I’m in Bakersfield for sure!  Pourin my sorrows into a glass!

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Breweries, Stuff i do when i drink

@TiogaSequoia Brewing Company

The spacious Tioga Sequoia Brewing Company’s Beer Garden was my second stop on a #roadtrip up to Oakhurst, California.  Tioga Sequoia is located in #Fresno close to the Chuckchansi Park and in the middle of two freeways.  It’s easy to get to and BIG! There are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the fare!  It’s a relaxed environment, to say the least.

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As evidenced by the populated menu board, you have your choices wide open.  The first beer I went with was the FireFall Red.  It is a 5.5% red that is also available at the other brewery that’s ten minutes away.  Regular readers will remember my review from last week and new readers will just have to catch the fuck up!

The FireFall Red is named after a phenomena in the nearby Yosemite Valley in which Horsetail Falls is lit up by the setting sun in such a way as to make it look like liquid fire is falling down from the mountain.  This event only happens a couple days out of the entire year so if you are ever lucky enough to see it, consider yourself enlightened.  The beer version of FireFall is wonderful.  It has a brick red coloring to it, especially if you hold it up to the light.  It tastes mellow and malty and smooth.  It went down easy and got me ready for my next pint.

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There are two General Sherman IPA’s available and they are both 7.5%.  The difference is that one is double dry-hopped.  According to the Tioga Sequoia website, double dry hopping lends extra flavor and aroma to a beer.  It increases the bitterness also and there is a difference of almost 20 IBU’s between the original and the DDH version.  So I tried both of them, expecting there to be a big taste difference but it was very hard to tell.  The DDH General Sherman is obviously more hoppy tasting than the original but both of them are excellent beers.  Hoppy at it’s bittery best!

I was here on a Friday night and there was no food truck.  I was glad I had eaten at the other place so I could get my drink on with a full belly.  The address is 745 Fulton but the taproom is more off of Inyo St.  You can see Chuckchansi Park right across the street from the outside seating area.

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Here is a crappy picture of the view towards Chuckchansi Park with the sun setting…how inspirational.

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I love this brewery.  I prefer it over other ones because it is spacious enough to where you can sit anywhere you want.  It is more about the beer and gathering experience than about the food.  They’ve got a pub quiz night on Wednesday’s and an events board up to let you know the exciting happs.

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They have a contest going on right now that you can enter on Tioga Sequoia’s website.  It asks you to snap a picture or a video of you and your craft and post it on social media with the hashtag #CraftOutLoud.  Sounds awesome, maybe I will enter…

This was the second time I had been here and I enjoyed it this time better because the weather was fairer.  The big, open warehouse and outside seating area are not good in the extremes of weather that Fresno goes through.  That is really the only complaint I have about visiting Tioga Sequoia Brewing Co. and that’s nothing they have any control over.

I travel up to Oakhurst a couple times a year and I will definitely be back for more beers at @TiogaSequoia.  I ended up polishing off two pints and grabbed some 22 oz. bottles to take home with me and share with my friends.  I can’t wait to go back for more!

 

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