Smell This: A Beers & Fears Brewery Tour Retrospective

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We pulled it off.

People said the idea was “cool” but the facial expressions revealed their real trepidation. Nobody thought we could do it. Or at least, do it successfully. We proved them all wrong. Actually, I proved myself wrong because I was like a frightened kitten from the start.

It began with Armand.

Armand Rosamilia did a book signing at Belford Brewing in, you guessed it, Belford, N.J. last April. The place was jammed full of family, friends and fans. Plus lots of beer drinkers. As a fan, I stood off to the side and watched as patrons struck up conversations with Armand while they sipped their beers. And books went home with new owners by the dozens.

During a casual conversation, Armand opined that it would be cool to do it again someday.

Then I opened my cavernous mouth to two of my author friends (Frank Edler and Tim Meyer) who just happen to be “Beer Aficionados.” They quickly jumped on the idea and a tour was born.

Several months of planning, scheduling, arguing, ball-busting and even more ball-busting…and the Beers & Fears Brewery Tour was on the calendar.

The tour kicked off at our home-away-from-home, Demented Brewing in Middlesex, N.J. The place was packed, even on Good Friday, and we sold books while guzzling lots of beer. Some famous folks dropped by to hang out with us, namely Keith Strunk of The Liars Club Oddcast, and authors Justin A. Mank and Somer Canon. Somer traveled a couple of hours to party with the big boys…which is just another reason why we love her so much.

The next stop on the tour found us back in Armand’s old stomping grounds at Belford Brewing. The newly-renovated sampling room was spectacular and provided a perfect backdrop to the flow of patrons and old friends.

Spellbound Brewing in Mount Holly, N.J. gave the weary band a second wind. A beautiful sampling room full of beer swillers crowded us into a back corner. Another famous author, Todd Keisling, drove from several hours away to see us. I was floored to meet some long-time listeners of The Mando Method Podcast as well as the TOUGHEST man I know. The guy literally ripped the tubes out of his body while in the hospital and rushed over to meet us in person. He had ME at “hello.” Here he is surrounded by the brat pack.

The tour pulled into Angry Erik Brewing in Lafayette, N.J. for the final night. We met some more great folks, including the proprietors, Erik and Heide. The brewery was decked out in Norse style, adding Viking ambiance to their delicious ales. The highlight of the last evening was being joined by author extraordinaire, Dan Padavona. I finally got to meet the man I have spoken with through email and social media for the last two years. Oh, and I got to buy his autographed books to add to my collection.

I know I’m not the only one who enjoyed the opportunity to hang out with great authors. Many people thanked us for coming to their towns and drinking with them. The personal connections were amazing, and something unique to this type of event. Plus, the beer at each establishment was worth the trip regardless of any special appearances. If you are in the area, you owe it to yourself to check out each of the breweries. You just can’t get such rich flavors out of mass-produced factories. Be sure to support your local authors, artists and breweries.

If you came out to play with us, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. And if you missed this tour, there might be a chance to see us again in 2018. Discussions of an expanded tour have begun. I gotta start training for round two. We might come to YOUR town next time. Requests are welcome!

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