A unique local event pairing beer and church hymns will celebrate its five-year anniversary next week when Barley Hopsters hosts its monthly edition of Beer & Hymns on Tuesday, Nov. 15.
The event, which began in November 2017, is described as a standing gathering on the third Tuesday of every month at Barley Hopsters in downtown Delaware, and it features musicians from local churches leading those in attendance in song while enjoying their favorite beverages.
Barley Hopsters features a wide range of beverages, whether it be craft sodas, beer, wine, or water, to offer something for everyone who might wish to participate in the singing. The event will begin at 7 p.m.
Jim Fischer, one of the four co-founders of the event, told The Gazette he can’t recall the event missing a single date since its creation, even when COVID-19 protocols forced the event to be streamed digitally.
Fischer said he was in Nashville, Tennessee, visiting family when he went on a brewery tour, leading to the idea for the event. While he was touring the brewery, he noticed a poster advertising an event called “Beer and Hymns.” After getting more information on the event and its straightforward goal from one of the brewery co-owners, he began to think about hosting a similar event in Delaware.
“I’ve done church music in Delaware County for a long time and met a whole bunch of different people and have some friends who are well-connected in Delaware, in particular,” Fischer said. “So I came back and I sent a message out to some friends to ask if they thought it was a thing we could do in Delaware. It seemed like it would be fun and, quite frankly, I like both of those things.”
One of Fischer’s friends also happened to be friends with Brian Harpster, owner of Barley Hopsters, and after speaking with him and his manager, the event was born in Delaware.
Asked if he ever believed the event would get to a five-year anniversary, Fischer said he never really thought about how the event would take off in the moment. His original thought was just to see whether or not they could pull it off for a few months.
“To say that we set out to accomplish that would be a lie. We just kept going,” Fischer said of hanging around for five years.
The event is not affiliated with any particular church or denomination. At its foundation and what Fischer hopes it comes to represent is a common ground where people of different backgrounds can unite in the common cause of celebrating their faith.
“It’s really just a fun time,” Fischer said. “Sort of the intent is if you’re not a church person, you may have certain perceptions about what church people are like, and so I hope this event helps to dispel some of those perceptions, maybe.
“If you are a church person, you may not feel like you can actually have fun and do these kinds of things in these kinds of spaces and share your faith at the same time, so I’m hoping that people who are inside churches can come to understand that this is a way they can experience their faith in a way they might not have thought of. I’m hoping there’s a little bit of something in it for everybody.”
Through the years, Beer & Hymns has taken donations from attendees to benefit various charitable organizations in the community. During next week’s event, T-shirts commemorating the five-year anniversary of the event will be sold for $20. Proceeds from the sales will benefit Delaware’s Common Ground Free Store.
Next month’s Beer & Hymns event will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 20, and will feature all Christmas music.
For more information on the event, follow the group on Facebook at Facebook.com/BeerandHymnsDelaware.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.