Cracking open a cold one with the home brewers of the Modesto Beer Festival – Modesto Bee

Seems soccer fans like to make beer as much as they like to drink it.

Hot weather and home brew made for perfect partners at the first-ever Modesto Beer Festival Saturday afternoon. The event was a fundraiser for the Modesto Chapter of the non-profit American Outlaws club. The group supports the U.S. National Soccer Team and area youth soccer teams. And, it just so happens, several of its 150-members are home brewers.

The idea for the Modesto Beer Festival grew out of the members’ complementary interests. The event at the Tuolumne River Lodge brought out few hundred folks to sample home concoctions from more than a dozen home brewers as well as a couple professional craft brewers. The offerings included a variety of styles from stouts to lagers and well beyond. Exotic flavorings ranged from chocolate mint to jalapeno, honey to pomegranate.

Small-batch craft brewing has been growing in popularity across the country as the microbew trend continues. While Modesto doesn’t have the flourishing beer scene of a Sacramento, Portland or San Diego — yet — local brewers said they are pleased to see more people branching out locally beyond Budweiser and Coors.

Former American Outlaws Modesto chapter president Matt Ernst has been home brewing for four years. He would bring his creations to games and events, and found others in the group brewed as well.

“Modesto doesn’t have the number of craft brew enthusiasts as other places, but it is growing the community who appreciates craft foods and beers,” he said.

Among the brewers there who are making the jump to commercial craft brewing was Tom Lucas of Blaker Brewing. Lucas is building a brewery and tap room in Ceres which he hopes to open in the early fall.

“I love the fact that what we

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