Merced County Times Newspaper
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Air Museum To Host Wine, Craft Beer Fest

Tom Frazier
Tom Frazier

I’ve suggested some out-of-town trips at times when you want something to do. I’ve recommended the Madera Wine Trail, wineries to the north, and the Vista Ranch and Cellars on Highway 140 a bit east of town.

It’s always a fun day when you can enjoy the scenery and taste a bit of wine in the process.

We now have a great opportunity to do the opposite!  Stay home and let the wineries come to us.

On Aug. 3, there will be an exciting opportunity at the Castle Air Museum, to do some wine tasting. It will be outdoors among the vintage historic aircraft. You will be able to taste wines from Vista Ranch and Cellars, Delicato Family Vineyards, Quady, the San Joaquin Wine Company, Cru, Tsymbal and probably even more.  
Don’t like wine?  That’s OK because it’s also a Craft Beer Festival.

I can remember when there were probably less than 10 beers total, Bud, Coors, Miller, etc.  But times sure have changed!  If you go to the grocery store or Costco today, I’d guess you could count a few dozen, many of them local and made for specific tastes. There’s tons of India Pale Ale (IPA), Stouts, Lagers, Blonds, and many with different grains or fruits. I had a tangerine-based beer last week and found it delightful.

At the festival, co-sponsored by the Castle Air Museum and the Castle-Atwater Kiwanis Club, you will be able to taste samples from Tactical Ops Brewing, Saint Stanislaus, Tioga-Sequoia, Dustbowl and Blaker Brewing.

Since it was just announced that there will be a new Blaker Brewing facility at Castle, so you can be one of the first to welcome them to our area. According to a state Alcoholic Beverage Control posting, it will be called “Blaker Brewing Taproom, the Tarmac” and will be located just inside the main gate.

As the commercial say, “but wait, there’s more!”

Indigeny Reserve will also be pouring their cider which was a big hit last year.  For alcohol, Atwater’s newest (and only?) distillery will be there to let us sample from their offering of Vodka, Gin, and Bourbon – all made from sweet potatoes. It’s called Corbin Cash and has a new tasting room just south of Atwater on Hull Road.

After all the tasting, you may want a bite to eat. You are covered. There will be four different food trucks on site with food for sale: Tri Tipery, Cheesy Grill, Nancy’s Tacos and a Bratwurst & linguica tent.

As if that’s not enough, the band “Two Hoots and a Holler” will be playing the entire evening (5-9 p.m.) with an area to sit when you’ve seen all the aircraft. Be sure to look for the new additions to the aircraft.

There’s an EC-121 Constellation (with three vertical stabilizers) and a brand-new arrival, a C-130 that was the lead aircraft in the failed rescue mission in Iran in 1980.

The Cost for admission is $30 in advance or $35 at the gate. Admission includes wine, beer, cider and spirit tasting, snacks, cheese, the band, and, of course, admission to the museum grounds. For an additional $10 you can take a guided tour of the VC9 Presidential Air Force 1. Souvenir glasses will also be available for sale.

For more information or to buy tickets contact any member of the Castle-Atwater Kiwanis Club or call the Castle Air Museum Gift Shop at (209) 723-2178.

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