Elk Grove taproom

Dust Bowl Brewing Company staff members show off the beers served at their Elk Grove taproom that opened on Dec. 18.

A century-old, brick building that sat vacant for years was revived as a craft beer destination this month. Turlock’s Dust Bowl Brewing Company opened their taproom there on Dec. 18 after six months of renovations.

Their staff created a 6,000-square-foot bar and restaurant space, a patio large enough for nearly 350 people and a live band, and a 60-beer tap system.

Dust Bowl’s beers range from classic beer styles such as Vienna lagers, pilsners, and Russian imperial stouts to unusual and potent concoctions like blueberry smoothie-inspired ales and an India pale ale that’s 15% alcohol by volume. They also carry their best-selling India pale ales Hops of Wrath and Therapist.

The Elk Grove taproom is at 9676 Railroad St. and it neighbors the 4.4-acre Old Town Plaza, which was renovated by the city of Elk Grove this summer. That open-air pavilion has been used for concerts as well as festivals like the recent Old Town Elk Grove Dickens Street Faire.  

“It’s exciting – we’ve been putting a lot of time and effort in here,” Dust Bowl’s co-founder Brett Tate told the Citizen on Dec. 17. “We want to make sure that everybody has a good time and they want to come back.”

In 2014, the city of Elk Grove purchased the Railroad Street building for $420,000 and sold the space four years later to Sacramento developer D&S Development to rehabilitate the building for commercial use.

The structure’s vintage appearance caught the attention of Tate and his business partner, Brett Honore when they toured historic buildings in the Sacramento region.

“Our minds were just drawn back to Elk Grove; this space is hard to come by,” Tate said. “We liked it because it feels like a destination.”

During his interview, he sat in a private meeting room that has a wall painting of beer hops growing on barb wire. Long Edison lights hung down from antique boxes that are attached to the ceiling. Tate described the taproom’s aesthetic of rustic, 1930s-inspired decorations as  “industrial chic.”

Dust Bowl also operates taprooms at Monterey and their 30,000-square-foot headquarters in Turlock. Their beers are brewed at their 2,000-gallon brewing system in Turlock before being shipped to their taprooms outside town. Elk Grove is just an hour-long trip on Highway 99 from Turlock.

“We just drive it right up at the back of the building and say, ‘Hey, let’s go! Keg it!” Tate said. “We try to keep (the beer) as fresh as possible.”

Customers can also have lunch or dinner at the Elk Grove taproom’s restaurant, Wedo’s Kitchen, where gourmet sandwiches and entrees are served.

“We’re going to grow into this space, do business, and see if we need to make any changes,” Tate said about his brewery’s plans for the Elk Grove location. “I think we have a strong foundation to build on.”

Dust Bowl’s new taproom joins five other craft beer destinations that opened shop in Elk Grove over the past five years. They are Dreaming Dog, Flatland, Hungry Pecker, Tilted Mash, and Waterman.

“We just want to become a part of the beer community here and do our part,” Tate said.