Beard buffs keep Lebanon groomed

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local
There are some things that bring people together: music, sports, video games or even family reunions. But sometimes all it takes is a little facial hair.
There are plenty of people in Lebanon and the surrounding area who sport chin curtains, and the Northwest Bearded Brothers club is here to support them.
The only requirement to be a voting club member is to have facial hair – even if it’s just “bum fluff” – and pay $10 a year with a chance to earn a free beer at each meeting.
“We’re just here to get together, enjoy company and support facial hair care in our community,” club founder John Mance said.
Mance started the club in 2019 to promote his beard oil, Byzantine Beard, and kicked off the event with a beard contest.
“Enthusiasm was high,” member Bill Antons said about that first contest.
The club hosts a contest at least once a year in October, with the next one fast approaching at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, at Barsideous Brewing, 644 S. Main St. A $5 entry fee lets contestants compete for best mustache, under and over six-inch beards, partial beard, best of show and beard with costume.
“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Mance said. “People will really dig it.”
Antons was one of the first to join the club. He initially joined for grooming tips, but it turned into more than just that.
“Mainly it’s just the social aspect of having a beer, having a picnic,” he said.
Antons sports a full, Bandholz-style beard and grooms it daily with beard oil.
“I know it doesn’t look like it, but taking care of one of these is a little work,” he said. “The gray hair, when you get the gray it’s very wiry. You need to get that oil in there to make it a little manageable. Otherwise, it just stands out everywhere.”

Justin Nelson, of Albany, uses his drinking horn during a meeting with his bearded buds.

According to ByzantineBeard.com, Mance’s beard oil and balm products were produced following a conversation with Abbot Father Damian at the Holy Transfiguration Monastery in California about a “vision of men everywhere having properly moisturized and well-groomed beards.”
Reportedly, since the Byzantine Empire, pious monks have never cut their hair – especially not their beards.
Mance’s products pay tribute to that tradition by seeking to remedy “the dry, unkempt beards” of the world.
Some members of the NW Bearded Brothers have been known to recruit new members by approaching them in public.
That’s how Justin Nelson came into the fold. He said he was at the grocery store when Mance approached him with a comment about his beard. After some short talk about beards, Nelson was invited to the next meeting.
“He’s got style and a good look,” Mance said.
From soul patch to Bandholz and bristly to fleecy-type manes, the NW Bearded Brothers welcome all hirsute gents. The bewhiskered men meet at 7 p.m. every second Thursday at Barsideous. They discuss club matters, drink beer and occasionally talk about maintenance issues.
The guys also attend area beard contests and brewfests, and even get together for barbecues now and then.
“Occasionally (the talk) gets into beard maintenance and stuff, but not too often,” Antons said.