By W Bro Neil Thomas Allen

It was like creating a door that was already open. Many Freemasons enjoy a drink together before, during and after a festive board; but when Freemasonry was suspended, and the country was put into lockdown, that act of fraternal good cheer could no longer happen in person. That was when it became time to create that door.

What would eventually become the Masonic Craft Beer Society had its start in a large Masonic WhatsApp group that was created by Bro Adam Strange, a friend of mine from the Connaught Club. We discussed various subjects around Freemasonry and the Craft, and it soon evolved into discussions on many other topics as well. It wasn’t long before we began bonding over a common love - good beer! As we shared our fondness for different beers from a myriad of breweries and microbreweries from all over the world, a seed had been planted.

A few of us began discussing the idea of creating a community of Freemasons that could introduce, discuss, rate and recommend different beers to each other. After some quick mock-ups of logo ideas from Bro Josh Worley, the Masonic Craft Beer Society was born.

Creating a Facebook group, I uploaded pictures of a New England IPA I had just poured, and wrote a high level review, giving it the famous “hop rating” out of five, hoping that it would set a format for others to follow to create a giant database of beer reviews from trusted Freemasons. After a short period of promotion, the MCBS Facebook group grew massively, attracting over 500 members not only from across the country but across the entire Masonic globe, all of them sharing their latest beer acquisitions, comparing notes, making jokes, and in general taking their minds off of being locked down.

We decided to run a pilot “virtual happy hour” over Zoom one Friday night, and it was a huge success - and it highlighted to the MCBS committee just how amazing this community was building up to be! We had over 50 Masons take part during the night, becoming friends and swapping Lodge details for future visits - once circumstances would allow. We knew then that we had the potential to be a long-term fixture in people’s Masonic enjoyment.

Six months later, we now boast over 2000 members of the MCBS, constantly posting their reviews and asking each other for recommendations, and our now fortnightly Zoom virtual happy hours.

However, we still didn’t appreciate the strength of this community until we introduced our membership pins.

When we knew we wanted to do membership pins, we decided to do an initial run of 100 unique pins, the sale of which would then fund future runs of pins. Demand for these first 100 pins was incredibly high - in fact, 99 of them were purchased within three hours! The 100th, however, was held back as the top prize in our first MCBS raffle. While lockdown and the suspension of Masonry meant that there weren’t people visiting others’ Lodges, and therefore fewer donations to alms collections, we wanted to do our part in contributing to charity. The raffle raised over £1000 in just a week, which we donated to the foodbank charity Fareshare. We were blown away with our members’ generosity. We are now making plans for our society to grow postlockdown, including in-person socials, group Lodge visits, sponsored talks and even our own Corks Lodge, based in London, where we can enjoy craft beer together while raising even more money for charities.

If you’re interested in joining our wonderful community, just search “Masonic Craft Beer Society” on Facebook, follow our Twitter handle @masonicbeer, and visit our website at