On a trip down to Nashville to visit her sister, Carly Hubbard, owner of Rough Draft Coffee and Cock­tails, heard about a group that tucks into the back­rooms of local bars to raise their voices together in worship.

Locals and stu­dents sing from hymn books handed out at Beer & Hymns in rough Draft. Haley Talk­ington

The idea of a “pub sing” really appealed to Hubbard.

“I have always been amazed at how, in Irish pubs, they can easily tran­sition from drinking songs to hymns,” Hubbard said.

The Nashville group has been gath­ering since 2013, and Hubbard thought the idea would fit in per­fectly with her vision of what Rough Draft can offer the Hillsdale com­munity.

“Rough Draft has all Michigan craft beer and all the employees love to sing hymns. We thought that people in the com­munity would love to put them together with us,” Hubbard’s business partner Haley Talk­ington said.

The first two Beer & Hymn nights took place on July 27 and Aug. 23, filling the back room of Rough Draft with more than 30 eager singers who enjoyed a dollar off a pint of craft beer during the event.

Sophomore Timothy Green was called upon at the last minute to accompany the singers on piano for the event in August.

“The atmos­phere was easy to play with because everyone was excited and we were all able to get caught in the spirit,” Green said.

Talk­ington and Hubbard pass out song booklets with the lyrics of their favorite hymns which include classics like “Take my Hands and Let Them be,” “How Great Thou Art,” and “Come Thou Font.”

Talk­ington and Hubbard want the event to bring Chris­tians together through singing.

“Beer & Hymns is not a bible study; we are just offering a space to gather in a very ecu­menical way to enjoy worship,” Hubbard said.

Not wanting the event to become ter­ribly “churchy,” Talk­ington said that they chose not to have any preaching so that those who identify with dif­ferent denom­i­na­tions are not dis­couraged from coming and enjoying the event.

Though Hubbard was ini­tially con­cerned with self-con­scious singers, she said the earnest singing at the events has allayed her fears.

“At first I wanted to make a rule that everyone had to drink a pint before we started singing, but that seemed a little forceful,” Hubbard said.

The events have been popular with members of the Hillsdale com­munity.

“People ask to do it more fre­quently, with some­thing like Beer & Hymns, however, we need to limit the number of times we do it,” Talk­ington said. “You don’t want to ruin the uniqueness of the event.”

Inclusion is of primary impor­tance with the event.

“We want to facil­itate the com­munity of Hillsdale, not just the Chris­tians. We want to be sure that we don’t limit the parts of the com­munity that come and enjoy Rough Draft,” Talk­ington said.

Through the event, Talk­ington and Hubbard want to show a dif­ferent side of Christian culture. “A lot of people think Chris­tians can’t drink beer and have a good time,” Talk­ington said.

But Rough Draft asserts in their social media pro­mo­tions for the event that Beer & Hymns is “good for both the body and the soul.”

The next Beer & Hymns event will take place on Sept. 28 at 8pm and Hubbard urges singers of all talents and ages to come and sing.

“The point isn’t to sound good. Just bring to the table whatever you have and come enjoy the expe­rience of wor­shiping through song,” she said.

  • Kenneth Calvert

    Franklin never said, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy,” but whoever wrote that was a

  • Ellsworth_Toohey

    Over a million in tax­payer money sub­si­dizing this.