The Dust Bowl Brewing Company opened their Turlock Downtown tavern, Dust Bowl Tap Room, on Monday night with a “soft opening” that was virtually unannounced and filled the place to capacity.
The Tap Room, located at 200 W. Main Street at the corner of Main St. and Broadway Ave., filled downtown parking spaces for blocks in all directions, opened 30 minutes early, was serving patrons at capacity for over 3 hours, and closed 1 ½ hours later than expected due to demand.
Former Downtown Director Trina Walley was enjoying the outside seating on Monday night when she said, “This is what Downtown needs.”
Walley had previously stated that the business would bring new life to the Mercantile Building and West Main in general that has suffered the most with vacancies.
The Dust Bowl Brewing facebook page stated hopes of opening in May, then June, then… but the all ages Tap Room decided to put in a full service kitchen which created more construction and permitting process that delayed opening.
Facebook also got a lot of credit for the soft opening success as many patrons were saying that is how they found out about the opening.
Since the Turlock Planning Commission approved a permit for the Dust Bowl Tap Room in November of 2010, people have been waiting for the retail extension of the Turlock brewing company owned by partners Brett Tate and Brett Honoré.
The morning after, Tate summed up the night with one prolonged word out of his mouth, “un-be-liev-able.”
Tate said that the Tap Room has a capacity of 80 people, with inside and outside seating.
“It was full on a little before 6pm and was packed until about 9:30,” Tate explained.
Jerry Powell, a PMZ real estate agent and partner in the approved Ten Pin Fun Center, was at the soft opening on Monday night and said, "Turlock needs a place like this, this is nice. People in Turlock want more to do."
Tate explained that the Monday night opening actually followed a family & friends Friday night opening and a Saturday real soft opening.
The Dust Bowl Brewing Co. currently operates a microbrewery in the industrial area of Turlock on Spengler Way. Microbreweries often draw a following due to the fanatical interest in craft brewing and beers.
Tate explained that craft brewing is a massive industry and it’s growing, with plenty of room for competition.
“This place could draw people that would never, ever come to downtown Turlock… ever,” said Tate. “People plan vacations around this stuff (craft brewing).”
Dust Bowl Brewing Company’s award winning brewmaster, Don Oliver, has only created more of a following for the brewing company.
Oliver was recognized as the Samuel Adams Longshot Homebrew Competition winner in 2006 for Old Ale. Oliver then completed the UC Davis Master Brewers Program in 2008 and was named the John S. Ford Award winner in 2008, recognizing his top score worldwide for the Diploma in Brewing Exams administered by the Institute of Brewing and Distilling.
So while a full service kitchen serves a variety of food such as calamari, sliders, okra, salads, burgers, chocolate fondue, and more; the Dust Bowl Tap Room is still very much about the beer.
The Tap Room has 11 house beers on tap, including their well known Hops of Wrath India Pale Ale, along with other beers, hard cider, and wines. Samplers, growlers, and kegs are also available.
Whether it was facebook or their microbrewery following, Tuesday night didn’t see much less of a crowd. With a full house again, nothing but positives feedback came from those eating, drinking, and having a good time.
“The Bretts did everything right,” said guest Spencer Nylund. “Good food, good people, good beer, and a great time.”
Co-owner Brett Tate said that the company’s branding, centered around the Dust Bowl and Great Depression era, was incorporated into a somewhat “industrial chic” décor. A wall of windows are actually sliding glass doors that can be opened up, connecting the indoor and outdoor seating areas.
The Tap room explains their atmosphere by saying that they’ve put a hip twist on old elements like pipe, metal, and wood to create a relaxed, cool place to hang out.
“It’s a nice place where people can come, relax, and drink beer,” said Tate.
Dust Bowl Brewing Co. Tap Room is located at 200 W. Main Street in Downtown Turlock. The business hours are 4pm – 9pm(ish) Monday through Thursday, 11am – midnight Friday & Saturday, and 11am – 6pm(ish) on Sunday.