SELMA – They may have borrowed the idea, but the Central Valley Lioness Lions made it their own. The organizers hosting the very first Brewfest at Pioneer Village say they’ve helped with similar events and decided to see if a brewfest would fly in Selma.

“We’ve been helping other Lions Clubs like in Lemoore do theirs for years and have enjoyed their beer. We thought, why don’t we do one?” local CVLL member Bev Cho said.

Cho touted the shady setting of Pioneer Village, reasonable ticket price and good causes that would share in the profits as good reasons to attend.

Look at this place. Isn’t it gorgeous? It’s a fun project and a good ticket since for $35 you get snack food and all the beers you can sample and the local band, Prestige.”

The event will also benefit the Selma Public Education Foundation and the Selma Police Officers Association, Cho said.

“We want to keep it in the community and we wanted to do something fun for Selma. I know the beers are really good and there are different varieties like root beer and a pineapple mango. That’s more for the ladies.”

Central Valley Lioness Lions Maxine Abe said they had 33 booths staffed by different Lions members and liked how the even turned into a reunion of sorts.

“It’s such a lovely evening and the Pioneer Village is perfect. [Brewfest] certainly brought the community together. I’ve seen people I’ve taught. It’s a safe environment; we’ve got excellent security and everyone’s in a festive mood.”

Brewfest-goers say they enjoyed the atmosphere of the event and hopes it continues as it’s a chance support local causes and sample new beer flavors, some of which are produced locally.

Selma’s Anthony Espinoza came with his girlfriend Denae Montemayor and her friends to the event. Montemayor has friends who are Lion Club members and they came to support the organization.

While Espinoza says he usually just drinks Bud Light, Modelo or Blue Moon, he was eager to try some new suds at the event.

“I’m here tonight to try every single beer. I’m just going down the line,” he said. “I don’t usually like Samuel Adams but so far, I like their Rebel Juice. It was smooth. A lot of these beers are bitter at the beginning or bitter at the end but that one was smooth all the way through.”

Jacklyn Ramirez, of Selma, was with them and said she liked a vanilla root beer she sampled earlier.

Meanwhile, Selma’s Debbie Olson was taking a break from the beer sampling to play a Jenga game with her sisters Jan Sundstrom and Pam Kroeker and her husband, Rick Olson.

“I think there’s a lot of variety and good music. I like both,” Olson said.

Rick Olson had tried 559 Beer’s peach beer and recommended it as they use locally grown Wawona peaches in the product.

“They pride themselves on using products from the Valley.”

Terry Horak, a representative with Clovis-based 559 Beer, said most Brewfest-goers who came back for seconds said they like the light, refreshing flavor of the drink.

“Most beers are robust and hoppy. The peach ale is made with fresh Wawona peaches. This has a little bit of hops to it, but it’s not real heavy. It’s a real light, after dinner or after work beer. It’s light and refreshing and different.”

Cho encourages residents to make plans to attend next year’s event.

“If you missed tonight, you missed a beautiful evening, beautiful weather and some beautiful beers.”

The reporter can be reached at 583-2427 or lbrown@selmaenterprise.com.

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