Kaweah Brewing spreads its wings to Visalia taproom, restaurant

Kaweah Brewing, Howie and Sons owner Kenny Hildebrand announces new taproom and restaurant opening soon on Demaree in Lowes shopping center

By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN

VISALIA – One of Tulare County’s most esteemed brewers is moving beyond his Tulare brewing space and taproom and moving into some new digs in Visalia.

Kaweah Brewing owner Kenny Hildebrand has put some much needed tender, love and care into his new 3222 N. Demaree taproom and restaurant. Without giving too much detail he said the place needed some work. Bringing the best out of the space was a team experience that involved some blood, sweat and tears.

“It’s been a family effort and team effort. We would brew in the morning and do stuff at night…we we’re hammering away at the tap room and then on the weekends it’s the family out there painting, building tables, sanding and getting it all together,” Hildebrand said

Hildebrand added his son spent the better part of his summer vacation taking out nails and learning how to run an impact drill.

The new location has been in the works since last fall.

“It’s been about a year…looking and deciding that was the avenue we were going to take and then finding a location and dial in exactly where we were going to go…and then get the deal done and getting the project started,” Hildebrand said.

Ultimately, the well known local brewer decided on Demaree because that part of town simply needs some good food and beer.

“The location will be really good, the area is underserved with good food and a local place for people to go hangout at,” Hildebrand said.

Hildebrand noted that neighbors have already come by and deemed the spot the neighborhood “Cheers.” As any good business might, he is taking that angle and running with it.

Customers will also enjoy a warmer, more air-conditioned place to enjoy Kaweah’s beer. Despite the novelty of drinking where the beer is brewed, see examples such as Rocky Hill and Bell Craft, the Valley’s oppressive summer heat or brutal cold is not necessarily for everyone.

“A lot of people don’t like going out to the industrial park with fans and heaters and we only get a couple of perfect days to go hang outside in the valley,” Hildebrand said.

With 16 years of Howie and Son’s Pizza Parlor ownership under his belt, Hildebrand was excited to get started on the new restaurant, even though it was only supposed to be a taproom at first.

“A year ago people were like, ‘what happened to just beer? Now you have an executive chef’,” Hildebrand said.

Hildebrand said when they started hammering away at the new taproom they thought of adding a sandwich. Perhaps even chips. Then they thought about how delicious a barbecue aioli would be with a good burger and fries, so things started to spin from there. He said that if they were going to get into the burger business, then they wanted to make sure they had a worthwhile supplier.

The Kaweah Brewing, and Howie and Son’s, owner has partnered with Harris Ranch. Hildebrand said that he plans to have a featured dish night spotlighting a Harris Ranch steak, or grass fed beef from Under the Oaks Ranch in Tulare or even fresh fish from a supplier on the coast. He might also incorporate Tulare Meat Locker for their sausage and pair it with a Kaweah Brewing beer.

But for the regular menu, customers can expect a selection of well crafted burgers, salads, soups of the day and of course his very own selection of Kaweah beers. Even though Hildebrand has the best-laid plans heading into his new endeavor, he this is new for him.

“I haven’t been in it to this scale where we have a chef and offered some grilled items or offer some huge tomahawk steaks…it’s nice to incorporate some local farms and beef producers,” Hildebrand said.

Hildebrand said that he’ll still be brewing his delectable beer in Tulare and shipping it over to his taproom and restaurant, in addition to everywhere else he sells.

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