Battle and Brews brings in history buffs looking for cold one

Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 4/5/17

Battle of Bound Brook Living History Weekend, an annual event scheduled for April 8 and 9 that explores Bound Brook’s colorful history as a Revolutionary War hotspot, has brought in history buffs since 2001 who are excited by the event’s battle reenactments, historic house tours and special presentations and exhibits.

For the first time, however, the Bound Brook Council and the Bound Brook Revitalization Partnership are ensuring that they also attract millennials and others looking for a cold beer and some good food for Living History Weekend this year — by hosting Battle and Brews, a free pub crawl through Bound Brook that will be held Saturday, April 8 from 1 to 4 p.m.

“Bound Brook is the oldest town in Somerset County and was the host to Battle of Bound Brook, so in a historical sense, the area is very important,” said Abel Gomez, Bound Brook Borough Council president. “In bringing in the brews portion of this, we also wanted to highlight our reinvention of the town and its coming out of a negative connotation. We figured this would be a great way to get out-of-towners in and also spotlight our bars and restaurants.”

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Battle and Brews, which will hopefully have about 35 to 50 pub crawlers, will start in the front of the Brook Arts Theatre at 10 Hamilton St. and will include about a mile of walking. Attendees will receive a wristband that provides them access to unique drink specials and free appetizers at each bar, which includes a $2 drink special at Cheers Sports Bar and a wine tasting at Winemakers of Somerset. They must purchase their own drinks and are highly encouraged to register beforehand by visiting eventbrite.com/e/battle-and-brews-tickets-32695544253.

“Battle and Brews will bring together residents, area college students and visitors to learn about Bound Brook’s history in a fun, creative format,” said Ray Mikell, downtown manager of the Bound Brook Revitalization Partnership. Plus, added Borough Administrator Hector Herrera, Battle and Brews will feature the rich multicultural area that Bound Brook is because of its many Latino, Italian, Columbian, Peruvian and Costa Rican restaurants.

The pub crawl, which will be led by leaders of the borough and the Bound Brook Revitalization Partnership, will also provide attendees with stories about Bound Brook’s lively history and tips for enjoying downtown Bound Brook today, such as information and stops at Cheers Sports Bar, the Hamilton Street Art Gallery, Mama Rosina’s restaurant in the historic Bound Brook Station Building, Winemakers of Somerset, Latin night club Imperial and more.

The Brook Arts Center. ~Courtesy of Emily Manz, EMI Strategy

“You will see some really cool sights such as Mama Rosina’s, a restaurant that is a converted train station,” said Herrera. “The uses have obviously been changed, but they kept all of the features. These are stories that have been forgotten, but they play a part in our country, too, so we want to share them with attendants.”

Bound Brook is riddled with history since the Battle of Bound Brook — a surprise attack conducted by British forces against a Continental Army outpost — was fought in the borough and the area was also deeded from the Lenape Indians to the first settlers. It also eventually became a stronghold where the rebels fought off the British.

During Living History Weekend, many other events are taking place in the borough such as marching, drilling and street battle re-enactments in Bound Brook and South Bound Brook featuring American and British units portraying the soldiers of the American Revolution. Visitors can also walk through an 18th-century soldiers encampment on the grounds of the Abraham Staats House at 17 von Steuben Lane, South Bound Brook, and see what life was like for American and British troops during the time of the American Revolution.

A historic safe at the Bound Brook Trust. ~Courtesy of Emily Manz, EMI Strategy

Plus, there will also be historic house tours of the Abraham Staats House, an original 1740 structure that was home to the Staats family for nearly 200 years and served as the headquarters for George Washington’s “drillmaster,” Baron von Steuben.

To see the full schedule of events, visit staatshouse.org/battleofboundbrook.

Battle and Brews

Where: Meets at the front of the Brook Arts Theatre at 10 Hamilton St., Bound Brook

When: Saturday, April 8, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Cost: Free, but attendants must purchase their own drinks

Register: Visit eventbrite.com/e/battle-and-brews-tickets-32695544253

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