Beef 'N Brew in Downtown Red Bluff
By Melissa Mendonca
What's Your Beef?September 2013
By Melissa Mendonca
Photos: Michelle Hickok
There are more beef cattle in Tehama County than there are people. They make not only for a picturesque landscape for people driving by, but are a powerful economic driver of the community.
While Tehama County is steeped in its ranching tradition of rugged, hard work, it’s not all work and no play. In fact, the tenacious group of Tehama County CattleWomen throw one of the biggest parties of the year, the Beef ‘N Brew in downtown Red Bluff.
To be held Saturday, Sept. 20, the fifth annual Beef ‘N Brew will be a stroll through downtown businesses for beef appetizers and craft brews. As tastings come to an end, participants can congregate at the Cone and Kimball Plaza for an evening concert by the Northern Heat Band.
“I really enjoy doing fundraisers for kids and education,” says Cathy Tobin, 66, a CattleWoman and the driving force behind the event. The former National Hereford Woman of the Year has been in the cattle businesses her entire life, having been raised on a commercial cattle ranch and then as proprietor of a Horned Hereford ranch since 1971.
While she stalwartly believes that beef is a Tehama County tradition, she also recognizes that the industry needs to keep a fresh approach to promoting itself. That’s one of the many goals of CattleWomen throughout the nation. “I like to promote it because it is my lifestyle and it is my business,” she says.
In her turn as chair of the Tehama County group, Tobin brought forth the idea of promoting beef through the Beef ‘N Brew gathering. The idea has caught on so well that in 2013 the event raged on despite a downpour of rain. People huddled under awnings, yet made their way from business to business. Rain—whether a little or a lot—won’t keep people from their beef and beer.
Each year the ante is upped in preparation of beef appetizers as local businesses and organizations compete for the coveted People’s Choice award. There's a joke that Chef Hobart of Rolling Hills Casino walks the fine line between appetizer and entree with his elaborate creations. “People definitely get their money’s worth,” says Tobin.
Proceeds of the event are split between the Downtown Red Bluff Business Association and the CattleWomen, who funnel their money to youth projects such as scholarships, price add-ons for students who sell steers at the Tehama District Fair and books for a local after-school program.
Stephen Ferguson runs the Round Up Saloon, where he joyously keeps up on craft brew trends and aspires to support regional breweries as well as downtown Red Bluff. “Some of our closer friends will be there that haven’t been in the past because they weren’t ready yet,” he says of the brewmasters who will have their work represented.
He notes that the smaller breweries such as Lassen Ale Works, Wild Card and Fall River are all excited to be part of Beef ‘N Brew to introduce themselves to a larger audience. Local favorite and perennial major sponsor Sierra Nevada will also be represented.
Ferguson anticipates 75 different styles of beer to be represented by up to 30 breweries. He notes that patrons of the Beef ‘N Brew often drive his draught beer selections in the months to follow by making requests for the brews they preferred. “There are more breweries that want to come than we can actually handle,” he says.
For the cost of admission, patrons can experience beer and appetizer tastings from 5 to 8pm at 42 downtown businesses. From 7 to 10pm, they can dance to the Northern Heat band and enjoy a complimentary tri-tip wrap made by local beef legend Vic Woolery, and a full cup of Sierra Nevada. A souvenir 4 oz. plastic logo cup for tastings is also included.
“You really can’t go wrong with good food and good beer,” says Steve Pluim, a Red Bluff native now living in Chico who plans to come home for the Beef ‘N Brew. Tehama County’s CattleWomen hope others will agree and join them, as well.
Beef 'N Brew
Downtown Red Bluff
September 20, 2014