Biz Beat

More beer, glorious beer coming as new craft breweries planned in Modesto, Hughson

Craft beer lovers rejoice, not one but two new breweries plan to open in the Valley in coming months.

Callahan’s Brewing Company in Hughson and Contentment Brewing in Modesto have both signed leases for new locations. Once open they will add to the region’s growing and storied craft beer scene.

Ron Callahan hopes to open his titular brew pub in downtown Hughson by early 2019. It will be the town’s first and only brewery. Callahan, who works as the director of engineering for the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento and recently stepped down after 14 years on the Hughson Fire Protection District, began home brewing about five years ago. That hobby grew out of his own love of craft beer has since become a passion.

Plans for his brewhouse and restaurant began in earnest in April. Since then, he said, the city of Hughson has been nothing but supportive of the project. At the start of August work will begin on the 4,700-square-foot site at Charles Street and Hughson Avenue in the heart of downtown. The location, which has to be fully renovated, used to be a corner market. Callahan plans to brew on site. Once completed the establishment should seat about 120 and have a large outdoor patio.

He has partnered with Hughson native and Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef Mabel Anguiano who will provide a full farm-to-fork menu for the restaurant. Anguiano and her sister have owned and operated the nearby Agave Azul Kitchen & Tequila Bar for the past six years.

“We wanted to do something unique with it. Where we live in California, Hughson, is the bread basket for the world,” Callahan said. “So let’s go crazy and wild with the menu. I want to partner with as many local suppliers as close to Hughson as we can get.”

AA Callahans2
Andy Alfaro

Callahan plans to install a wood-fired pizza oven, which will cook most of the restaurant’s food. The menu will be California bistro and focus on locally sourced and seasonal products. The same goes for the beer. He currently brews about 40 gallons at home per week and styles range from IPA to wheat beers and a lot more.

For those who can’t wait until March, when Callahan hopes to hold the grand opening for his brewpub, you can sample his concoctions every Friday night this summer at Hughson Farmers Market, which happens to start at the corner of Charles and Hughson, in front of the brewery location. Follow Callahan Brewing Company’s progress at

Meanwhile, in Modesto, the city’s second dedicated brewery is in the works. Husband-and-wife brewing team Alejandro Serrato and Abena Darden plan to open Contentment Brewing in a site near the Modesto Junior College East Campus by the end of the year. The unassuming spot is just to the south of the college, along Campus Way in the shadow of the grain silos.

The couple has been working on the brewery for two years and began leasing the space on Campus Way more than a year ago. Since then they’ve been navigating the process of permitting and more to open its brewery and tasting room. In August the brewing equipment will be installed.

Both Serrato and Darden are long-time home brewers, him since 2001 and her for the last 10 years. Once opened they hope to have 10 beers on tap. Serrato said their beer varieties ranges from European to West Coast flavors. While they don’t plan to make their own food in house, he said they will have food trucks on the premises for people can chow down while enjoying their beers.

And about that Contentment Brewing name, it’s a nod to the beer’s Modesto roots.

You know the arch and its ‘Water Wealth Contentment Health?’” Serrato said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

To follow Contentment Brewing’s progress visit

The two upcoming breweries join Turlock’s Dust Bowl Brewing, Modesto’s St. Stan’s Brewery, Ceres’ Blaker Brewing, and Oakdale’s Last Call Brewing in the area. St. Stan’s, which is the region’s oldest brewery, was originally founded in 1984 and was reportedly the seventh oldest microbrewery in the United States before its closure in 2013. It was revived by new owners last summer, who reopened and began brewing again under its label.

Elsewhere on the Business Beat:

The new Jamba Juice has opened in Riverbank’s Crossroads shopping center. The fresh-juice and smoothie chain moved into the space that was abruptly vacated by Krispy Kreme when it closed in May. The new store features all of the company’s signature drinks and bowls, and has a drive-thu for all those who need to get that blended deliciousness on the go.

The Jamba Juice is open 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. every day (closing half an hour early at 10 p.m. Sunday) at 2251 Claribel Road, next to the Wing Stop. For more information call 209-289-8728 or visit

Marijke Rowland: 209-578-2284, @marijkerowland

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