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Hundreds turn out for St. Paddy's fest
Beer lovers, brewers come from all across California
More than 800 people had a terrific time at the seventh annual Porterville St. Patrick’s Day Brewfest Saturday at the Veterans Memorial Building.
It was a gloriously beautiful day, and people were taking advantage of the fine weather to enjoy themselves at the Porterville Breakfast Lions Club’s biggest fundraiser for the year.
Visitors took in booths featuring different varieties of beer and clear liquor, as well as a cigar booth, food booths and even a popcorn booth surrounded a large open grassy area with tables arranged under awnings and offering a view of the grandstand.
Local restaurants like Don Vino’s, the Pizza Factory, and El Nuevo Mexicali had booths, as well as local bars such as Charlie’s Pizza Kitchen, Harley’s Tavern and the Orange Bar from Lindsay.
Likewise, Brewbakers Brewery from Visalia, Firestone Walker Brewery from Paso Robles and the Tulare County Homebrewers and Vintners Organization were at the festival.
“We had an enthusiastic bunch this year,” said Kerry Koskela, a homebrewer from Springville, talking about their booth, where four brewers had 16 different types of home brews, including ale, beer and mead made of honey and fruit.
“It’s always nice to see how people like your brews.” Koskela said they’ve done a bang up business, and people were still lined up in droves to sample their brews.
“I’m having the Arrogant Bastard Ale by Stonebrew,” said Jim Fleischauer, “I tried the 805 from Firestone Walker – it’s light and refreshing. But, my favorite is anything from Stonebrew. It is really bold and has a lot of flavor. It’s an acquired taste.”
At the Lions Club booth, manned by Myron Sharp, Larry Lindgren and John Buckton, they were serving Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, which was a light summer beer with lemon brewed in Wisconsin.
Buckton said, “We’re grateful for everyone who came out and supported the Lion’s Club. All the proceeds go back to the community for scholarships and youth activities.” Buckton explained that the
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Club also helps children and adults with vision care and eye surgery.
Tilly Contreras, her husband, Paul, and Matt Reed were enjoying the day and had sampled a good variety of beers. Reed, who is from Humboldt County, said, “I’ve been to 100 brew fests, and I’m surprised at how good this one is. It has put Porterville officially on the map.”
The Contrerases, who are from Lindsay, said this was their first brew fest.
“I really loved the Fat Boy Booth,” said Paul, “The 805 beer, the Fat Boy Ale and the Pomegranate Mead. I enjoyed them and really enjoyed this event.”
“You have to love the home brewers,” said Reed, “That’s America.”
Leon Dyer, owner of Brewbakers Brewery in Visalia, said, “We’re already out of the Irish Swamp Water,” which is their Blonde Ale.
Dyer said there were three brew fests in Hanford, Visalia and Porterville on March 16, and Brewbakers was at all of them.
Don Vino’s Restaurant served Pacific Ridge Pale Ale and outstanding bourbon-glazed pork chops.
“We have never run out of beer before,” said Mireya Guzman, so they were offering pork chops to event attendees. “This is our fifth year at the brew fest.”
Rene Emilio entertained during the fundraiser and sang, “This is Ladies Night,” and other songs, besides playing his saxophone and keyboards.
For St. Patrick’s Day, Emilio and Master of Ceremonies John Doyle sang “Oh Danny Boy,” accompanying a wonderful older recording of the famous Irish song.
Wes Maas of Springville, Diego Monterrubio and Eric Wingfield were enthusiastic about the four beers at the Firestone booth. Maas said they all appreciated the knowledgeable explanation by Doug Dresser, Firestone area manager, about the brewing process and the beer selection.
“I really enjoyed the Firestone beer, but also enjoy that they are so close, and near the coast.”