Mad Duck Brewing NW Fresno: Fresnan Review

A quickass review of Mad Duck Craft Brewing Co’s new brewpub in NW Fresno: It’s cool.

There. There’s a quickass review.

Alright, a little more reviewing…

So, there are many areas of Fresno that are underserved, most certainly. Sometimes it feels like Fresno is only River Park, Downtown, Fig Garden Village, Tower, and Fashion Fair. If a place isn’t in one of those areas then it doesn’t exist. Small city ways.

NW Fresno has been begging for a place like Mad Duck, even if it didn’t know it. The new location is at the NE corner of Herndon & Marks (across from Taco Bell, behind the Starbucks and new Ampersand Ice Cream.

They picked a good spot.

It’s small, or at least feels small, in comparison to the Campus Point location. Before I saw it I was bummed that it was small. Small means more waiting for tables, in my eyes. While that may be true, I like the vibe the small gives. It feels more social and neighborhood than Campus Point.

The combination of the North West Fresno crowd and the Mad Duck brewpub atmosphere, if I could pick one band that could describe the vibe it would be Fleetwood Mac.

I can take or leave Fleetwood Mac but that feeling you get when you’re in a good mood, just starting to relax and forget life, you have a couple of beers in ya and the perfect part of a song comes on and you’re like “Yeah, man, this.” That is Mad Duck NW Fresno. Classic rock in new packaging.

The patio is big enough and cool but it’s not shaded properly. I don’t understand, in Fresno, if you have the budget to build a patio but don’t shade it properly, it makes zero sense. There were two people on the patio, huddled against the wall trying to bleed any full shade they could from the building and the only reason they were out there at all was the fact that they had a dog with them. So, hey, I guess they allow dogs on the patio if you were wondering.

Shade your patios properly, Fresno. In case you have not noticed, the sun is a bastard around here.

So the food seems to be the same as the Campus Point location, along with the beer. Since this location also has brewing equipment, I hope that each location will have its own beer. Meaning, one you can only get at THAT location. That would be cool for us beer geeks.

Mad Duck beer selection

If you’re wondering what the best beer they make is, I say it’s the Citra. And The NW Fresno location’s is very solid, so far. The almond brown and the “Dog Daze” are too bad either. Hope the guest taps start getting more interesting.

Overall, solid fun neighborhood place. Fresno needs more neighborhood spots, like ALL Fresno neighborhoods, and hopefully, this proves this part of NW Fresno deserves more. See ya there.

Surviving A Fresno Summer With A Swamp Cooler

My AC unit went out this Summer. The first string of hot days revealed that the compressor in my 25-year-old beast died. It was not going to be worth it to replace it.

I need a new air conditioner. But it’s not always that simple.

Paying for things like a ‘crane fee’ and taking on a loan, was not something we are into this Summer. Beer Slushies at Tioga? Sure. $15,000 central air units? No.

So, we are going to have to get through a Fresno Summer without traditional air. With only a swamp cooler. Ol Swampy (pictured above). Pray for us.

Never thought I would be glad to have a swamp cooler as a backup

We are lucky to have Swampy. The previous owners had both units hooked into the vents. Use the Swamp when things are in the 80s, switch to the Central AC when things start getting ripe.

Those with evaporative cooler experience know, when the triple digits hit, swamp sucks.

Luckily, Fresno does have a good base condition that swamp coolers like: dry heat.

Joke about it all ya damn want but dry heat is hella better than humid heat, for many reasons. One of them is you can tweak your cooler for max coolness:

The best tip from that video? Starting the cooler early!

Blowing swamp when it was already warm was my biggest mistake. It is too much of a struggle for Ole Swampy to cool things down once the house is warm. Starting the cooler at 8 am as opposed to 2 pm makes a big difference.

Yeah, you have the cooler running all day and that can be an expense. But it’s still much cheaper than running an old AC unit.

The frozen bottles and soaking the pads make a small difference but not really worth it for me since my unit is up on the roof.

But what about at night?

Right? Sleeping in a hot room is the worst. I want it cold enough to need a blanket. Being warm during the day is one thing. Trying to sleep when it’s super hot feels like trying to sleep on top of Blackstone asphalt.

That’s why I broke down and bought one of these bad boys for the room:

If you love ‘hotel style’ AC, this is something to look into. It won’t work for the house, but it will keep one bedroom cool and it’s damn nice.

Go turn your swamper on now!

Keeping the cooler in good order and turning it on in the morning, that’s all ya really need to know. Ad the room unit and everything is chill.

Of course… I have not been through August yet. Check back later. In the meantime, I’m feeling like heading Downtown for a Beer Slush:

Setting Fresno Goals: 2018 Edition

There is still time to set your goals for the year. There is always time. As corny as it sounds, I am definitely the kind of person that needs to write goals down or they will not happen, and dammit, I have goals I need to write down.

In this case, goals to post on the Internet. Fresno and creative goals.

GOAL: GO TO ARTHOP AGAIN!

Very sad to say but I did not go to one damn ArtHop last year. Thought about it all the time. Every month I’d say “I gotta go to ArtHop this month!” and never did. I even have a 9-year-old that is a budding young artist that needs to see all the talent we have in Fresno (and hang out at the Culture Arts District Park, pictured above [stolen from here]) and I still didn’t go.
PROBABILITY OF HAPPENING: 80%.

GOAL: SEE MORE LOCAL MUSIC!

I think I went to two, maybe three, local music shows last year and that was mainly because of Tioga Beer Garden and Goldstiens. I know I saw, Farooq, Light Thieves, Cockamamie Jamie and some other people. I used to go to shows all the damn time. Weak effort on my part. Hopefully, the old Club Fred/Audie’s Olympic location will manage to open this year and motivate me to see more shows.
PROBABILITY OF HAPPENING: 72%

GOAL: SEE A FRESNO STATE BASKETBALL GAME!

Certainly, I have gone to these games in the past but I have not been for the past couple seasons. Save Mart Center is such an annoying place to sit and watch things. But the team is good this year and worth our attention, this needs to happen.
PROBABiLITY OF HAPPENING: 65%

GOAL: EAT LESS AT CHAINS!

You know, it feels like I go to more local places than the average Fresnan. But necessity calls for the occasional chain.

Hey, you try to keep a finicky 9-year-old happy by not using Red Robin and Chilli’s and then talk to me about chains, brah! I think if I just cut back on Taco Bell, I will be fine.
PROBABILITY OF HAPPENING: 90%.

GOAL: POST MORE & SEND A NEWSLETTER!

There are a lot of creative projects I have going on.  But the most important of all is trying my best to be a good Husband, Dad, Son, Brother, Friend and employee at my day job. So finding the time to create posts here (something I fucking love doing) and sending out my newsletter, don’t get the attention I would like.

Plus, currently running in the background, I am trying to train myself/figure out how to become a professional freelance blogger, in case one day my day job decides it no longer needs my services. So there is that.

If I get better at time managing, this will become doable.
PROBABILITY OF HAPPENING: 88%

Well, now that I have sent these goals to the Internet, they are more likely to happen, RIGHT!? Keep me accountable this year!

If you have Fresno or creative goals for 2018, I would love to read them in the comment section!

Cheers!



 

How Are We Going To Make Fresno “Cool”, Yo?

We have a problem here. A problem I bounce around in a post from time to time but never take on directly.

What will it take for Fresno to be considered a cool city?

If you’re thinking “Hey, but wait, I already think it’s cool!” I don’t disagree with you, but we both have to acknowledge that we are in the minority, chief.

How do we make Fresno appear cool to an outsider? This is what I’m talking about. To a Fresno State grad, we lost to brain drain? What can we do to win that person back? It’s a question that Fresno creatives have been wrestling with for many years.

First. The Immovable Object.

We are land locked, no getting around that. Except that we are not as landlocked as Denver, or Boise, or Dallas, or Every City Not On The Ocean. We can go to the beach for a morning surf session and be back in town for a late lunch.

So while this is tough, we have workarounds, it could be a lot worse.

The air sucks. It does. But, the past couple years, it feeeeels like it has gotten better?  And if California can (continue?) to lead in clean air…stuff and things? Maybe I’m being naive but I feel like future technology and regulations will make the terrible air a thing of the past. But we definitely need to be a lead-city on clean air initiatives.

Booze May Be An Answer.

Here might be a cool city suggestion we can work on:

Rooftop whiskey bars, eh? I definitely like the idea of rooftop things – like the pic at the top of the post from a Phoenix rooftop bar. And adding a niche element like whiskey is the kind of thing that pushes something from being “Oh that, you can find that in every city.” To “Oh that is rad, I wish we had one of those in our city.”

That unique, “can’t put my finger on it why it’s cool but I just know it’s cool” thing is really what we need to get at here in Fresno.

Touting our agriculture backbone. Being sunny almost every damn day. Embracing our sports, like the soccer community that gets bigger every year:

We’re just spitballing here.

The Cool Roots Are Taking Hold.

We have things already going for us. Not many cities can boast that they are a “basecamp city” to three National Parks. One of which, Yosemite, is considered by many to hold the most beautiful place in the world, Yosemite Valley – and I am in complete agreement with that.

There are other signs of coolness brewing as well. Bitwise pushing Fresno into the tech and startup scene is a big one. The rising craft beer and coffee scene. Branding ourselves as the Capitol of Tacos. These are the kind of things to ride into the cool town sunset.

So let’s tally up some of the cool stuff we got and the stuff we can do more of:

  • Agriculture.
  • Craft Beer – even more breweries.
  • Bitwise and tech.
  • Tacos.
  • Sports – including soccer.
  • Diversity.
  • Leader In Clean Air.
  • Outdoor city – more trails, parks, and owning the Sierra Nevada closeness.

This is but a humble start of a list by a blogger that only went as far as Fresno City College – a great community college, btw. I know only bits and pieces of things. So I choose you to comment and help.

What are some of your suggestions? Leave a comment! On the August episode of Flowing With Famous, myself and Joshua Tehee will parse them out and talk about them on the podcast.

Cool? Cool.

 

It’s Time To Let Northeast Fresno and Fresno Proper Go Their Separate Ways


First, they felt it necessary to uselessly and embarrassingly insert God into the Fresno Council Chambers. Now, Northeast Fresno has managed to stop California law and the will of the rest of Fresno (well, most of) by getting spineless Fresno City Councilmen to vote no on legal pot.

It’s time we let NE Fresno go, guys.

They don’t really like Fresno and the rest of Fresno doesn’t really like them. It’s like we’re in a relationship that neither wants to be in but both of us are too nice to dump one another. I’ll be the asshole here. “Sorry, Northeast Fresno, it’s not us, it’s you. Can you please find a place to stay tonight?”

Go away, NE. You have way too much power for a bunch of track houses and strip malls.

We don’t need ya and you don’t like going into the Tower District or Downtown anyway. Plus, you don’t even know where Sunnyside is anymore, nor do you even know what we’re up to over in NW Fresno because I see you taking Avenue 9 to go out to Highway 99 and not taking Herndon like you used to.

It’s cool. Just take your stuff and leave.

You can have River Park and Yosemite Ranch. That one Vons. The boring Sequoia’s. The shitty Wassabi’s. We’re good. Except you can NOT have Woodward Park, that has to stay neutral territory.

But What Should We Name NE Fresno?

If you’re no longer going to carry the Fresno name, we have to think up something new for you.

Wishingitwasthefiftiesville? Mostlywhite? Oldpine? Texas?

No, those are terrible. THINK, Fresnan, think…

Ohhhhhh. I know. It’s been hiding there all along: Clovis West. The prominent high school in the area is already named it. It’s all Clovis School District. You all wish you were in Clovis anyway. Let’s do it, it has been decided. The town of Clovis West.

So, take care of yourself, Clovis West. I’m sure we can still be friends. Just don’t stalk us on Instagram, ok?

This Is Not A Local Music Blog

I miss Audie’s Olympic. Barely seen a band in Fresno since the place begrudgingly closed. I blame Audie’s closing on my lack of seeing local bands play lately, but that is a copout. Still, I miss it.

Yes. Strummer’s is there and still scheduling bands. So is Fulton 55. Frank’s Place does a thing or two, I think. Cool, cool.

There are new local venue things too. Tioga Sequoia Beer Garden has a lot of music. Goldstein’s has music. These are places that were not much of a factor musically when Audie’s was still operating.

And none of these places match up to the true rock club vibe of Audie’s. Nor can they regularly bring to town the kind of shows that Audie’s brought in. Not the touring, fresh, rock bands or mid-level local kind of shows anyway.

What the Fresno Grizzlies are to a professional baseball player, trying to get into the major league’s, Audie’s was to rising touring or local bands.

And, you could just hang out in Audie’s – as long as the style of music was not too grading to you, that is. Just hang and have a beer, sit on a stool, occasionally stop and look to the stage to enjoy a nice set. Didn’t even need to be there with anybody.

NOT THAT THERE IS ANYTHING WRONG WITH A LOCAL MUSIC BLOG

I hesitate to write this post because it personally concerns me. I don’t want to do what I did before and turn the Fresnan into a music blog that is not supposed to be a music blog.

That is what it was when I previously put this blog on ice. Just posts about local shows. Which is fine if you brand yourself a music blog. The Fresnan was not branded as a music blog. I got lazy and complacent.

If you want a local music blog, check out Spanspek or read Joshua Tehee stuff. Do it.

SPEAKING OF LOCAL MUSIC

So Josh Tehee and I just posted a new Flowing With Famous podcast and in it we picked out favorite Fresno music acts of 2016. My pick was The Light Thieves:

Josh picked two. Beastmaker

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=2053127571 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small]

…and Sagey. Now Sagey was a new one to me. Josh talked about how these guys have the local buzz right now and I think I get why:

[bandcamp width=350 height=470 album=2308178429 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false track=2325772286]

I will keep listening to what Josh has to say about the Fresno music scene because he will find out first when (or maybe if) Audie’s opens again as a new music club.

I might finally be motivated to get back into the local music scene. Maybe see a Sagey show. Sit on a stool.

*I am finally starting up a newsletter. It will augment what you see on The Fresnan with a bent toward local life in general. Sign up below!: