As part of Fresno’s Downtown Academy Class 6, I was able to visit all five of the breweries slated to be on the Downtown Fresno Ale Trail- including two that aren’t yet open to the public!
At HoP PK, we met with Chafic Dada, the owner of Pita Kabob. Back in 2015, he and House of Pendragon owner Tommy Caprelian partnered up to create a business plan for a new Gastropub to bring great food and great beer together. The two went on to win the grand prize in the Downtown Fresno Create Here Business Plan Competition, receiving a prize package of business-related services valued around $100,000. Chafic stated that when they first formed the business plan they weren’t thinking of a downtown location, but when they heard of the competition and began looking at potential locations, they quickly fell in love.
HoP PK’s Meditteranean menu is a big hit (the shawarma fries are a top seller), and the beer selection highlights not only House of Pendragon’s own brews but selections from other craft brewers around the state. The range is vast, everything from fruity sours to ultra-hoppy IPAs, so no matter your beer preference there’s bound to be something you’ll enjoy.
In the past, many were quick to say that Downtown Fresno is a ghost town in the evening and that it would impossible for a business to hold late hours. However, the popularity and success of HoP PK has quickly shown that if you build it, they will come.
While the physical location for Zack’s Brewing is still undergoing renovations and is not yet open to the public, we were able to get a sneak peek at the blueprints and plans, as well as a sample of one of their brews. Steven and Gail Zack, the couple behind Zack’s Brewing, initially began homebrewing to save money. They love the concept of Fresno’s Ale Trail, as it is the exact sort of thing they look for when they travel, as they love trying everything. Since the two have different preferences for beer (he loves hops, she doesn’t), they plan to offer a bit of everything. Want to give them a try before their location opens? Follow their Facebook page, as they often set up a booth at local events and festivals.
Tioga Sequoia is already well known in the area- in fact, they’re the largest regional brewery in Central California. Their beer garden is a hot spot due to its great location near Chukchansi Stadium, and they frequently host pre-game parties and pub quiz nights.
Currently, they are working on increasing their production. Through the purchase of the neighboring Amvet building, they’ve increased their floor space 300%. This is where they will move all of their packing and storage, making room for more brewing equipment in their original space. Their aim is to reach 300 thousand gallons this year. As far as expanding distribution, however, they are not currently interested. They want to keep things local and to stay within California.
Another newcomer to Fresno’s beer scene, 411 Broadway plans to distinguish themselves from other local craft beer breweries by focussing their lineup on sour beers. They also aim to become the area’s first craft distillery, starting out with spirits such as vodka and gin.
Their location is still not yet open to the public.
Full Circle, located near Fresno’s Chinatown, has recently multiplied their production and distribution capabilities thanks to a crowdfunding equity campaign that raised over $800,000. They want to stay true to their name and give back to their community, and it shows when you visit. They frequently host various events, from family-friendly craft nights, open night mics, live music, and more. Also worth noting- ‘Family Friendly’ includes both kids and four-legged family members. Be sure to check their website for a calendar of upcoming events: https://fullcirclebrewing.com.