Contentment Brewing Company
Beers and music make for a contended vibe at this Modesto brewery
By Joe Cortez
Contentment Brewing Company sits on the tree-lined corner of Campus Way and Coyado Avenue, an oasis in a southwest Modesto industrial complex.
Behind the trees that guard the building like sentries, the facade of the brewery is painted in bright primary colors, making it obvious to anybody searching for CBC that they’re in the right place.
The brewery takes its name from the arched sign — “water, wealth, contentment, health” — that welcomes visitors to downtown Modesto, choosing to single out the third word of that slogan.
Naturally, CBC offers a wide array of beers, and frequently has a food truck parked outside on Coyado Avenue. On this particular evening, the East Meats West food truck is serving a mix of Asian and American fare. Also, making stops are Tailgaters Food Truck and Paul’s Rustic Oven, serving wood-fired pizzas.
Inside, it’s part brewery, complete with stainless steel brewing tanks, and part saloon, with a long wooden bar and shuffleboard table.
Three nights a week, a makeshift stage is set up as CBC plays host to local bands.
Modesto-based group The Vibes are visiting with patrons and enjoying a few cold ones before they begin their set, which lasts about three hours.
The seven-member band — Joe Berretta and Gary Nelson on guitars, Steve Ashman on bass, Justin Black on keyboard, Dave Rogers on drums, and sisters Claudia and Shelly Streeter handling vocals — plays everything from the Beatles to Motown to blues to original compositions.
“We’re open Wednesday through Sunday and we usually feature live music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday,” said Alyssa Splitstone, a bartender at CBC who handles scheduling the musical acts. “We have bands, solo artists, DJs … all different kinds of acts. It just kind of depends what’s going on in the area. We just try to find out what Modesto has to offer and bring that to the people.”
Singer-songwriter Kayla Just has also appeared at Contentment Brewing Company.
There is no cover charge at CBC.
“Nope, no cover charge,” said Splitstone. “Just drop on by and enjoy the vibe.”
By Christopher Correa
The former Castle Air Force Base in Atwater has seen a revival thanks to a popular Stanislaus County brewery.
In December of 2019, Blaker Brewing of Ceres expanded their operations to Merced County with the opening of The Tarmac, a unique taproom and food truck park.
Located at 1930 Airdrome Entry off of Santa Fe Drive, the taproom takes up over 3,000 square-feet of land with an indoor seating area that includes a bar, a patio area and a large event venue that includes a stage, with the Castle Air Water Tower serving as a backdrop. The space doesn’t include the parking lot, better known as The Landing Zone, where 12 food trucks are parked.
The concept of The Tarmac is simple. Every day of the week, at least five of the food trucks are open for most of the day. Meanwhile, the taproom is open in the afternoons and into the night every Wednesday through Sunday. There is a limited food menu in the taproom so that visitors can explore the flavors offered by the local food trucks, which include La Cruda Tacos y Mariscos, Phantom’s, La Patrona Taqueria, Nancy’s, The Hot Spot Wings, Nali Chinese, Rei Teppanyaki Japanese, Carmelita’s Authentic Mexican, Tacos El Sunador, Vidas, Serranos Mexican and Torres Tacos.
The Tramac’s event venue is the only spot on the property where outside food isn’t allowed, as there is a large brick oven for pizzas and grills for barbecuing. The venue is complemented with live music every Friday night through the “Backyard Beats” series. The series features local artists of various genres to entertain the guests as they enjoy the food and beverages of Blaker Brewing. Blaker serves a selection of craft beer, cider, wine and even craft cocktails on certain nights.
But Fridays aren’t the only times you can enjoy live music at The Tarmac. This summer, the taproom has hosted multiple festivals and events, such as the Jacked Up Country Music Festival, Deja Brew DJ festival, their annual 4th of July and St. Patrick’s Day parties, and the Summer Smash BBQ.
The Tarmac is open Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Fridays from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m., Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 12 a.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Food trucks open as early as 10 a.m. daily.
For view upcoming events, the Tarmac menu, food truck hours or to book the event venue, head towww.blakerbrewing.com/taprooms/the-tarmac.
Dying Breed Brewing
By Theresa Hammond
What was once just a vision with a mission has turned into a popular local music spot for music lovers throughout the 209.
Located at the south end of Oakdale, Dying Breed Brewing has become known for more than its locally brewed beer selection.
First opened in April of 2020, the local brewery located at 963 Shepard Court Suite B, Oakdale is now home to weekly music almost year round.
“Almost all of our Saturdays are kind of our larger shows or shows when people have free time to come out and listen,” said co-owner and business partner Josh Malcom.
The owner team of Josh Malcom, Dan Wood and Robin Aldridge share more than a love of beer, but a love for good music and community as well.
“The world has opened back up and things have opened up everywhere,” Malcom stated. “Everyone’s schedules are booked out a year to year and a half now.”
Booking out talent looks a lot different when the Brewery first opened. Malcom shared that while a stage and music was a part of the brewery concept from day one, the talent began as a more homegrown effort. Reaching out to close friends or close friends of friends to share their talents. Currently the brewery hosts artists each Wednesday and Saturday, modifying the main stage schedule in the winter months to accommodate weather.
The stage in and of itself is just as unique as the brewery’s hometown feel. Constructed of two metal containers with the company logo as a back drop it is no doubt the center piece of the outdoor area.
“That was Dan’s vision from Day 1, wanting two containers,” Malcom shared. “My thing was we have to have a stage, but Dan is the design person. Dan is amazing in his design and sometimes you have to go with the process.”
A second, smaller stage has been placed in the tasting room for the more intimate Wednesday night shows.
“We have a few months that’s more of the singer/ song writer or singer of covers and there’s some really good local people coming in,” Malcom said of the late winter months.
“We do have the occasional Friday night shows, that will follow line dancing, if it’s a line dancing type band,” he continued. “Or if it’s a Six Strings for freedom show and Friday nights the only night that can work.”
Artists like Tyler Braden, Jackson Dean, Sadie Bass from “The Voice” and Flying Blind are just a few well-known names that have played the Oakdale venue.
As luck and good timing would have it, country artist Braden graced the Dying Breed stage the very night the artist went number one as an XM radio country.
“That’s been a really fun crowd,” Malcom recalled.
“In the last year, there’s a lot more contemporary country bands,” he shared. “We’ve partnered with Six Strings for Freedom. They’re a non-profit that typically work out of Fresno and Nashville. They bring a lot of Nashville artists that are on tours and supports a lot of first responders.”
Due to venue space and demand, most shows at the brewery are ticketed events. Tickets can be purchased on their website www.dyingbreedbrewing.com
“In the music world, we’re a small venue. We may be big for a brewery but we are a very small music venue,” Malcom acknowledged. “But we bring a crowd and I think when you have the intimate setting and so many people who are into music…. especially with the larger places they play. They really seem to miss that intimate setting. If we’re able to combine the buy in up front with our space. The buy in of our community and the intimacy of all that, sometimes it’s magic. Then you have people who want to come back here time after time.”
In addition to live music and beverages, the brewery hosts food trucks for customers to enjoy a bite to eat while listening to music.
“The people who are working here care about this place,” Malcom said. Noting his extreme gratitude for what the business has become. “The people who are visiting care about this place. The people entertaining care about this place. When you’ve got all those things going on there’s just these little magic moments.”
“Sometimes when you sit back and look at it… when you’re in the middle of any type of career sometimes it’s the Ground Hog Day, doing the same thing, doing the same thing. There’s a definite grind to this,” Malcom summarized. “But when we do community events and people are able to express what this place means to them and that happens frequent enough that it leaves you with a really good feeling.”
Murpheys Irish Pub
By Kristina Hacker
Anthony Delaney has been a regular musician at Murphys Irish Pub for the past five years. Three years ago, he and his wife Jessica purchased the pub and have since been working to make it the go-to place for live music in the area.
“We try to focus on the music, on having great food, a great community and creating a great vibe. We’re a public house; we’re a pub; we’re here for the people,” said Delaney.
Murphys Irish Pub has live music every night they are open — Wednesday through Sunday.
Every Wednesday is Open Mic Night and it is open to musicians of all kinds.
“There’s such great talent here in the area, and we just get such good people coming to Open Mics. It’s become really a great popular night,” he said.
Thursdays are called the Weekend Warmup and feature more local bands, including Delaney’s own bands Side Hustle Ministry or Murphys Jazz Allstars. Fridays are a mix of popular local bands and touring artists. Saturdays are primarily touring bands, which not only draw in locals but also the large number of tourists that frequent the Calaveras County town of Murphys every weekend.
Sundays are using also local bands and the music gets started earlier, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
There are tickets or cover charges on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
There is a minimal cover charge on Fridays and Saturdays.
“The money goes literally just to the bands. And I think that part of what that does is create a more intentional space for music. Because the people who are in there are paying money to come in. So the band doesn’t get turned into background music… It helps elevate things a little bit. And I think that’s why bands have great shows here because people care,” said Delaney.
What kind of music can be found at Murphys Irish Pub?
“A mix of everything,” said Delaney. “We do Rock. We do Indie music, blues; a lot of blues, lot of jazz, from straight jazz to like fusion. We do country. We do a lot of bluegrass. I’ve become a big bluegrass fan. I book all the bands so I’ve been getting into a lot of things. Now. I’ve been getting into country bluegrass since I’ve moved to the foothills. We’ve got some reggae.
“The only thing We don’t generally have any rap or hip hop,” he continued also stating that because the pub is a smaller venue, they also stay away from the harder, more aggressive and loud music.
They also have quite a few regular bands and/or artists, along with Delaney. Graham Richards is the pub’s resident pianist and plays on Friday and Saturday afternoons, either solo piano or piano and vocals. Local band US4Love is also a regular, as well as part of the Pub is Dead band — a Grateful Dead tribute band that plays at the pub on every fifth Sunday.
A few of the artists coming the Murphys Irish Pub in October include:
Oct. 6 — Brad Parsons, country singer-songwriter
Oct. 14 — Big Sticky Mess, an original funk festival band
Oct. 15 — Cole Hinkle, a local alt-country band
Oct. 20 — The Neighborhood Sound, a local rock band
Oct. 21 — Sweet N’ Juicy, a unique and fruity rock band from Portland
Oct. 22 — Chris Baron, a singer-songwriter out of Portland
Oct. 27 — Jimbo Scott and Yesterday’s Biscuits, a fusion of bluegrass, country, rock and soul
For more information on upcoming music events, visit goirishinmurphys.com.