Why we're here...

Beer culture is coming of age. At any store, restaurant, bar, or friend's house you can now find at least a few good brews. In fact, there seem to be so many new beers, breweries and bars it's difficult to separate the good, the bad, and the mediocre.

If you're going spend $10 on one beer, what should you buy? If you're going to drive 2 hours to check out a brewery, what's worth your time? If you're going to plan a Friday night, what has a good selection and friendly atmosphere? We're here to help you answer these questions.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Dust Bowl Brewing Company

Dust Bowl Brewing Company opened on August 1, 2011 in Turlock at 200 W. Main St. It's located in the downtown area. Coming from Sacramento, take the W. Main street exit all the way into town, until you reach what's obviously a downtown.
During the week Dust Bowl doesn't open until 4pm, but opens at 11am Friday and Saturday and Sundays at 10am. Dust Bowl is definitely an apt name for the location. When I visited, the wind was pushing down the central valley and combined with the Ag work going on around Turlock, the air was full of dust.

The Brew Master at Dust Bowl is Don Oliver who won Sam Adam's Long Shot Homebrew contest in 2006 and in 2008 he completed his UC Davis Master Brewers Program. Don also received the J S Ford Award  from the Institute of Brewing & Distilling. UC Davis must be doing something right, because the last 3 winners have been from there. Either way, it sounds like Don has a lot of potential as a brewmaster.

The space is nice and open, with tall ceilings and plenty of seating. Some of the tables are crafted old tree stumps. There is even a sizable, fenced-in street patio. When I visited, the place was not quit yet open, but they allowed me to grab a growler of their Double IPA. I will be reviewing that shortly.

They have a sizable team of beers and good looking menu. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to grab a beer or food on site as they were not yet open. The staff was very friendly and welcoming and allowed me to sneak in a little early to grab the growler. Before I visited I found their flagship beer, Hops of Wrath (an IPA) at Nugget Market in Davis. This is also the only beer they had in a bottle at the brewery. They also carried some other micro brews and international craft beers. I picked up a growler bottle full of their DIPA for $25, refills are cheaper.

As I noted in my Hops of Wrath review, I was impressed by the flavor and execution of the beer. There's nothing unique about Hops of Wrath, it's just a well-made IPA. This should go a long way to spreading craft beer love around the central valley. There are not many, if any craft brewers in the central valley, beyond maybe a BJ's, but that's not exactly craft beer. It's important for craft beer to break into new markets, but it has to be done right. 

A bad craft brewery in an area with no other craft breweries can ruin and turn off possible new customers. This is not the case with Dust Bowl, they are on their way to indoctrinating a whole new area to good beer. Dust Bowl is young, but has the skills necessary to become another great California brewer.

Next time you pass through Turlock give this place a try. I look forward to seeing their beers pop up in Sacramento.

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