Strangers find a new harmony in Twin Cities Beer Choir


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The organizers of the Twin Cities Beer Choir say the group is a way to get people to sing without pressure to hit the notes perfectly.

Anyone who comes is given a hymnal filled with drinking songs, or patrons can download it to their smartphones, Minnesota Public Radio reported. Sometimes the sheet music is projected up on a screen behind the accompanist.

Co-founder Paul Wilson said the Twin Cities chapter launched with a gathering at Summit Brewing in St. Paul last January. It went straight from being the newest chapter to the flagship for the national movement.

"That was by far the largest Beer Choir event that had ever happened," he said. "We were hoping that maybe a couple dozen of our friends would show up, and then people just started streaming in the doors."

The breweries don't seem to mind. Summit Brewing spokeswoman Carey Matthews said her company's community space was modeled after a typical German beer hall, so it was perfectly suited to the raucous event.

"It was great," she said. "We were at capacity. Everyone was singing along - it was a perfect fit. ... We'd definitely do it again."

People interested in events can follow the group on Facebook or Twitter. A recent event was held at the taproom of Inbound BrewCo in Minneapolis.

Sitting close to the front of the room was 87-year-old Judy Wehrwein, who came with her neighbors.

"I love it here! I think it's great fun," she said, adding that such community sings also happen in her home country of England.

Adam Reinwald, another leader of the group, said there's something special about seeing people from different backgrounds work together on a song and celebrate mastering it.

"My favorite takeaway from our first event in January was this gentleman who, after the event, came over and talked to us, and said, 'You know, I was dragged here. I don't like choir. I was really not looking forward to this, and I had a great time,'" Reinwald said. "And there he was, 30 minutes after the event finished, still having a beer with his friends, with a big smile on his face."