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Recently, my family gathered for my sister’s birthday at the massive Dust Bowl Brewing Co. Taproom in Turlock. It was a good central location for the folks in Fresno, Sacramento, and the Bay Area to gather at. I had previously been to the Dust Bowl’s other location, the Downtown Taproom, a couple of years ago before a concert and had a good time.
The Downtown Taproom is a nice-sized microbrewery with a pub-type menu and outdoor seating in downtown Turlock, which has a very nice walkable, tree-lined ambiance and a number of restaurants, shops, and local businesses.
When it opened, the Downtown Taproom was a hit, leading to the creation of a second location. The newer facility, which opened in July 2016. is located at 3000 Fulkerth Rd, and is easy to access from Highway 99 at the Fulkerth Road exit—you really can’t miss it. It features indoor and outdoor seating. The inside has tall ceilings, a long bar, and massive windows showing off the brewing equipment and bottling line. The outside features a dog-friendly beer garden, games, and bike racks. They have two 20-tap towers, plus sell beer-to-go in cans, bottles, and growlers.
We sat outside on the patio. Our party of 15 was a tiny fraction of the crowd sitting outside. Really, you have to see this place to appreciate its scale. The fans overhead looked like the ones used by citrus growers to protect their crops from frost. They also have bocce courts to rent for $15/hour.
Many of us had and shared tasters, which allow you to try samples of five of the beers and ciders. The food was good; just what you’d hope for at a brewery restaurant. I had the Cali Burger without cheese, with sweet potato fries (yes, I’m sticking with my whole food, plant-based diet—I subbed a Portobello mushroom for the beef, which is an option at Dust Bowl Brewing). I was very glad to have something delicious at a brewery! When I went to their downtown restaurant a few years ago, I had the 50/50 Burger (half beef, half bacon). How the times and my health have changed!
I’ve been a big fan of Dust Bowl beer for years. We liked to have them on tap at Peeve’s Public House almost all of the time. They have a great, local story, too. The San Joaquin Valley and the dust bowl are intricately linked and both of the taprooms honor this historic connection.