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Craft beer taproom set to open in Atwater

The new Blaker Brewing taproom is expected to open in October at Castle.
The new Blaker Brewing taproom is expected to open in October at Castle.

Trying intriguing fresh craft beer with friends and family promises to be enjoyable at Blaker Brewing, which opened its first taproom in Ceres last year, and anticipates opening a taproom in Atwater in October.

“This is our second tap room location, and we saw it as an interesting opportunity with all the development going on at the former Air Force base,” said Tyler Lucas, chief marketing officer for the company, and the son of the owner. “It’s a huge opportunity to educate the communities around here on what craft beer is and how fun it is.”

The brewery will be located in a building near the main entrance to what is now considered the Castle Commerce Center. Longtime residents will remember the place as the old base gas station next to the guard entry booth, just before the circular flag court and main lawn of the command center.

“The building has four roll-up doors and is the perfect vibe for a modern-day industrial tap room,” Lucas said. “People in Atwater don’t have a lot of places to hang out and socialize with others, and it will be a good place to get to know their neighbors better and enjoy some good beer while they do it.”

Lucas explained, “We brew three beers all year around for our taproom, and in cans — Honey Babies Blonde Ale, Plowed Under IPA, and Vanilla Bean Milk Stout. The other 11 tap handles will be made up of a wide array of styles — other IPAs, hazy IPAs, stouts, lagers, and seasonal fruit beers.  When people come here, there will be new beers on the board.”

Lucas continued, “When it comes to those beers, we use ingredients from neighboring farmers if we can do so. My dad noticed the relationship between farming and brewing. All the natural ingredients are grown by farmers, and it made us explore this more. We try to keep this in our brand, to try to use local products to brew our products.”

The Lucas family mainly grows corn, wheat, hops and almonds, but has actually set aside some acreage on their property for stone fruit trees so they can use the fruit in their beers.

The family is a co-op grower for Blue Diamond Almonds and once explored using almonds in their product which they plan to do again, and in the past they also made a beer with lactose from the dairy they owned.

Lucas said, “We brew about three to four times a week, and we’re constantly brewing new recipes.  Based on how well they do in the taproom, we decide what to do with those recipes. Some recipes turn into a seasonal product, and other recipes we can and send out into the world.”

Lucas enjoys being part of a family business and is excited about opening the new taproom.

Describing how the business is developing at Castle, he said, “We just got approved by the county this past week, and we’ve just come onto the property to make renovations on the inside, as well as the exterior. We don’t want to take away what the base has represented since the 1940s and 1950s so we’re going to keep the historic touches from the base, and combine it with our family’s agricultural roots to create a real unique identity.”

Lucas shared, “I work day in and day out with my dad, Tom Lucas, on this business, Blaker Brewing, and everybody in the family is lending a helping hand.  When we first opened, my aunt was down there pouring beer, and the farm has financial backing in this, so it really is like a whole family project.”

Besides Tyler and Tom, those involved in the business are Tom’s wife, Shelly Lucas, and brother-in-law, Don Clark, who helps with innovative engineering and construction and did all the renovations on the Ceres taproom.

When asked about the family’s experience brewing beer, Lucas said, “We opened the taproom in Ceres on Jan. 12, 2018, and by the time we open in Atwater, it will be a year and nine months that we’ve been in business. We started home brewing in 2012. We had four to five years experience brewing locally at non-profit events before deciding to create a place for people to socialize while they drank some beers.”

Blaker Brewing will be hiring Beer Tenders for the new taproom in Atwater.  Those interested can contact Blaker Brewing online at [email protected].

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