Just a few weeks ago, if you happened to visit one of a handful of special breweries in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, you might have discovered a unique merger of books and beer that sets this particular beer and book nerd’s heart aflutter.
It’s called the Beers N Fears Brewery Tour and was born out of a combination of the love of craft beer and locally crafted books. (And not just books, but books from writers of dark and eerie fiction)
Three years ago, horror author Armand Rosamilia had been on a wedding anniversary trip with his wife back to New Jersey, where he is originally from, when he thought he’d take advantage of the travel by booking in a book signing or two for a new book called Belford Stories.
Always looking to do something unique and interesting rather than always follow the traditional route, he looked at doing a book signing at Belford Brewing Company which was owned by Kevin, an old high school friend who had played in Armand’s punk rock band all those years ago.
During one signing, Armand ended up selling 150 copies of the book in about an hour and a half.
So, eager to follow success with larger successes, Armand planned on doing it again. The next time, a couple of Armand’s author friends, Chuck Buda, Frank Edler and Tim Meyer (who were also beer aficionados) joined in.
And from that, the Beers N Fears Brewery Tour was born. The first main tour was in 2017.
This year, five breweries were part of the tour and a number of additional authors joined in.
Springhouse Brewing Co. (Lancaster, PA)
Angry Erik Brewing (Lafayette, NJ)
Spellbound Brewing (Mt Holly, NJ)
Belford Brewing Co. (Belford, NJ)
Jughandle Brewing Co. (Tinton Falls, NJ)
I managed to have a brief chat with Armand while he was in the midst of the tour and just before this year’s tour ended so I could learn more about it. My own travel schedule prevented me from making a visit to any of this year’s tour locations. But I will be watching out for the 2019 Beers N Fears Brewery Tour to see if I can take a special trip up to one of the PA or NJ events (it is a relatively reasonable drive from where I am in Waterloo, Ontario).
I adore the idea of combining great locally crafted beer (and we all know how much Liz and I love the amazing spirit of beer culture), with writerly folks (especially those of us who enjoy exploring the darker elements of fiction or even real-life ghostly tales). I mean, what’s not to love about that?
I’ll also be looking at trying to do something similar in my own neck of the woods. And I have started. The relatively new Hamilton Brewery Grain & Grit (which I will be writing about in detail on another post here soon, because their story and their beer are unique and delicious) is starting a Community Market on Saturdays this summer starting June 23rd through September 22nd where they will host 8 vendors in their parking lot area for local goodies and handmade crafts. Given that I have some local interest books, like Haunted Hamilton, as well as a few other books that are set in Hamilton, Toronto and nearby areas, my table would count as part of that “local author” flavor) have applied to be a drop-in vendor for a number of Saturdays over the summer.
So long as I’m able to secure a few dates over the summer, you can be assured that Barnaby and I, who have done author tables at various comic cons and other fests, will be hanging out on a number of Saturdays at Grain & Grit. You’ll likely recognize us as either the table to avoid because it’s just too creepy looking, or be immediately drawn to the spookiness. Because Barnaby does love having his picture taken with folks, even if they are not in costumes.