Craft Beer Crawl Showcases Local Breweries

Tactical Ops bartender Melissa Sanders busily pours drinks March 8 at the Craft Beer Crawl in Old Town Clovis. (Ron Camacho/Clovis Roundup)

Nothing brings people together like beer. That much was evident to anyone who was in Old Town Sunday, March 8, during the annual Craft Beer Crawl.

Hundreds of thirsty enthusiasts turned out for the event, refusing to let the dreary weather ruin the opportunity to try some of the best beer local breweries had to offer.

The event, which is put on by the Business Organization of Old Town Clovis, showcased 18 breweries, its highest amount to date.

Breweries ranged from Clovis-based brew masters such as 559 Local and Tactical Ops to Fresno favorites like Full Circle, Sequoia Brewing and Mad Duck.

The breweries set up shop in several locations around Old Town. Attendees were given a map of where the breweries were located and were encouraged to vote for their favorite brew master after trying all 18, if they were not already too tipsy by that point.

The first stop on the map was 559 Local. Set up in the 365 Tavern and Grill on Pollasky, the brewery offered peach and bourbon flavored brews, in addition to Hazy IPA.

“Our peach brew is made with Wawona peaches and it’s a real easy, light, refreshing beer. The Bourbon is an amber ale soaked in bourbon barrels and if you like a little bit of whisky taste without the effect, it’s a good beer,” said Philip Andreas, who served drinks for 559 Local at the event.

Alex Orocco had already tried a few of the breweries when he spoke to the Roundup halfway through the event. He said he enjoyed the selection of stouts and IPA the festival offered.

“I love the flexibility and the ability to be able to walk around and enjoy things at your own pace,” Orocco said. “Not only do you get to walk around and enjoy the beer but you also get a look inside a lot of the stores in Old Town.”

Orocco, who described himself as a fan of the event, met the woman who would become his wife at the 2016 edition of the Beer Crawl. His wife again accompanied him this year, along with their new baby.

“Overall it is a nice way to bring the community together and meet new people and that’s what I like most about it,” Orocco said.

North Fresno-based Fortiter Brewing won the festivals People’s Choice Award for its Peach Cobbler Cream Ale, Chocolate Raspberry Stout and Sensory Deprivation IPA.

This reporter can personally attest that the brewery’s 7.1 % AVB Sensory Deprivation IPA was the best brew he tasted the entire day.

“We are extremely humbled on winning first place for people’s choice, hearing all of the positive feedback from the attendees was very surreal,” a Fortiter representative told the Roundup.

Full Circle Brewery won second place. The brewery offered a selection of ales and IPA, including its sweet and light Strawberry Ale, which was crowd pleaser at the festival.

Tactical Ops Brewing was voted third best brewery. The brewery, whose staff is primarily made of military veterans, parked its camouflaged Humvee outside of its station to broadcast its location. People crowded around their setup to try one of their four featured ales.

Melissa Sanders has worked for Tactical Ops since June of 2019, but has been a die-hard customer for the last five years.

“I like seeing all the regulars come out to support us, that is what is really awesome,” Sanders said as she busily poured drinks behind the bar.

Christopher Gonzalez, a former marine who also works as a bartender for Tactical Ops, said he was happy to serve new faces.

“I like seeing new people come and try our beer for the first time and enjoy it,” Gonzalez said.

Ron Camacho was born and raised in Clovis. He attended Clovis High School and graduated from CSU Fresno in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications and Journalism. Before joining the Roundup, Ron wrote for Pollstar Magazine and the Sanger Herald. He has a deep appreciation for the arts and is a lover of music, cinema and storytelling. When he’s not busy looking for his next story, Ron enjoys taking weekend expeditions to the beach or mountains to practice landscape photography.