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Co-owner Steve Lopas of Martinez brews beer at Ale Industries in Concord. The company will be serving its beer during Project Second Chance's fall fundraiser, Booktoberfest, to support the libraryĆ­s adult literacy program.

CONCORD -- In a nondescript area near Costco, music wafted through the air on a Saturday evening in October. The building was the only place that was hopping that night.

Maureen Gibe greeted familiar faces before turning to pour beer from the tap into glasses for the people who gathered at Ale Industries' First Saturdays.

As Gibe, the tap room manager, served the beer, co-owner Steve Lopas was outside brewing the beer. Lopas said First Saturdays aren't just about tasting the beer but also about reaching out to the community by featuring local artists and musicians and inviting local nonprofit organizations such as Contra Costa Library's Project Second Chance to increase awareness about their mission.

"We've definitely been creating a following," said Lopas, a Martinez resident and College Park High School grad. "Since we rely on the community to support us, we'd like to lend our support to the community.

Lopas will be serving Ale Industries beer to the public during the PSC's fall fundraiser, Booktoberfest, on Oct. 26, at the Lafayette Library, to support the library's adult literacy program. It is a cause, Lopas said, he wants to help spread the word about.

"I just think as a community we need to come out and support each other," Lopas said. "You will miss out on life if you don't have reading skills. I wouldn't be standing here today brewing beer if I couldn't read."


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There have been annual fundraisers for PSC in the spring, but the first fall fundraiser last year paired books and wine. So, this year, in the spirit of Octoberfest, PSC thought of holding "Booktoberfest," said Laura Seaholm, PSC project manager.

"Events like these are 'friendraising' events as much as fundraising," Seaholm said. "People can learn what we do if they've never heard of Project Second Chance."

While the nonprofit PSC, Inc. has been supported by the county, the funds cannot support all the program's needs, especially now that PSC has lost its state funding, Seaholm said.

Funds go toward recruiting and training volunteer literacy tutors and buying learning materials, she said.

"We raise funds to maintain the level of staffing and service," she said. "Without events such as this, we would reduce services in the community."

Jill Lorenz, PSC board member, said raising awareness and support through Booktoberfest gives the community time to gather informally while enjoying locally-brewed beer and German food.

Lorenz said a highlight of Booktoberfest will be a talk by notable Bay Area beer writer, Ken Weaver, author of "The Northern California Craft Beer Guide."

While he's honored to be a guest speaker at "Booktoberfest," Weaver said that it's no surprise that local breweries all across the region are supporting the community through events such as beer festivals.

His book aims to be more than just a guide to the best places to taste and buy beer -- it's a volume filled with personal stories about the people behind the beer, Weaver said.

"The Northern California Craft Beer Guide" blends stories Weaver wrote with photos taken by his wife, Ali Schmidt, a Marin County native.

Weaver said events like "Booktoberfest" will likely draw a diverse group of people with a strong sense of community.

"Beer is an accessible beverage," Weaver said. "Many of the breweries truly take nonprofits and donating seriously. It's not just about showcasing a product. It's about how the community comes together."

If you go
What: Booktoberfest benefit for Contra Costa County Library's Project Second Chance to support adult literacy
When: 6-8 p.m. Oct. 26
Where: Lafayette Library and Learning Center, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd.
Cost: $25 admission
Information: Call Project Second Chance at 925-927-3250. Visit www.ccclib.org/psc