Beer & Hymns unites generations by mixing spiritual songs with sudsy stouts


Photo by Jonathan Boer

Community members join Beer & Hymns event at Last Chance Tavern.

When you think of singing hymns, you probably do not think about drinking beer. Yet, for the fully packed Last Chance Tavern, these two go hand in hand every fourth Tuesday of each month. Beer & Hymns is unique in uniting people of all different ages (starting at 21 of course), from all different denominational backgrounds to sing and worship God together.

But why this combination, anyways? Andy Miller, cajon player and one of the founding members, has the answer. “There are people in this area of Michigan that love traditions — hymns and things, and some that love beer.” That’s about it: Beer & Hymns first exists as an enjoyable combination.

Andy continued on this point: “People that have been split apart by going to different churches come together and worship.”

Photo by Jonathan Boer
Last Chance Tavern, the host of the monthly Beer & Hymns event.

An older gentlemen named Bernard said it best. “This is more intergenerational than any church praise and worship you can find.”

Dan and Carrie Eizinga started Beer & Hymns in Grand Rapids about three and a half years ago. Since its inception, more and more people have come to crowd the bars to sing hymns. A chalkboard shows the list of hymns for the almost two hour set, including intermission. Carrie and friends distribute hymnals to everyone sitting throughout the bar. People sip away at some of GR’s finest craft beers while singing exuberant classics like: “Lead On O King Eternal,” “How Great Thou Art” and “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name.”

The relaxed atmosphere allows people to let loose in their singing. Everyone there belted out each line, although perhaps not understanding them entirely from the cloudiness of drinking beer.

Photo by Jonathan Boer
Hymnal used to join Beer & Hymns event at Last Chance Tavern.

The band gathers in a circle with folksy instruments including guitars, a mandolin and an accordian. They join in on each song with gusto; cajon rolls, quick guitar strums and boisterous harmonies enrich the music. Throughout the evening, worshipers raised hands, closed eyes in reflection and lifted glasses to the Lord.

The motivation of the musicians is not only to pass on an intriguing worship style, but to fundamentally show the love of Christ.

Andy exclaimed, “We have no agenda and we do not collect money. We don’t need to preach the love of Christ to be the love of Christ.”

Catch the next Beer & Hymns at Last Chance or the Knickerbocker next month and visit their Facebook page for details.