Valley Craft Beer

What happens when you combine craft beer and horse racing? A good time, apparently

Fairgoers find horse racing and beer mix at Craft Brew Fest

The first Craft Brew Fest on the infield at The Big Fresno Fair's horse racing track showcased local breweries and also featured food and lawn games Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017.
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The first Craft Brew Fest on the infield at The Big Fresno Fair's horse racing track showcased local breweries and also featured food and lawn games Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017.

Beer lovers and horse race bettors joined as one Saturday at The Big Fresno Fair’s first-ever Craft Brew Fest in the middle of the horse track infield.

More than two dozen craft beer and food trucks lined up to serve a couple hundred beer connoisseurs and horse racing fans.

Brianna Lewis, 23, of Kingsburg got lucky. She placed a $5 bet on a race and won $261.30. “Honestly, this is so much fun. I didn’t know what to expect when I came here,” she said.

Mike Griffin, regional sales manager for Firestone Walker Brewing Company, said the location of the festival was unlike any other he’s attended. “The venue is incredible. You’ve got the sunshine, nice 90-degree weather (and) a lot of beer out here.”

Besides the horse racing, attendees were entertained by giant games of beer pong and a DJ. Some kept cool under a large tarp set up for the day.

Lisa Kincaid of Selma placed a bet on “All Star Parade,” the No. 1 horse in the seventh race, then talked about the winning event: “It’s been better than I expected for first annual. I love the vibe, I love the huge games we have going on, it’s wonderful.”

Benjamin Mendoza, 30, of Fresno, came for the beer but was entertained by the horse racing. “It’s something to look at while you’re enjoying your beer,” he said, with a triple IPA in hand. His friend, Britiny Dillard, 25, of Fresno, said she planned to bet on a race at some point before the event ended.

Mendoza and Dillard said they recognized a few faces at the event from their usual trips to downtown Fresno breweries. More events like Saturday’s would be ideal, they said.

“I think this is really neat for them to do something like this because craft beer is becoming so popular,” Dillard said. “I think it’ll work.”

Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado: 559-441-6304, @cres_guez

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