By Bro Andrew Bond
The Masonic Craft Beer Society was started at the height of the first Covid-19 lockdown by three friends, all members of Lodge of Simplicity No 7865.
Now boasting a membership of over 2700 (primarily from UGLE, but also from other Masonic jurisdictions across the globe) and about to breathe new life into Horus Lodge No 3155 (as detailed in Arena 44), the MCBS felt that the world was now in a place where we could hold our first-ever in-person social event.
We had been running fortnightly ‘happy hours’ on Zoom for over a year and had held several online tasting events in partnership with different craft breweries across England, but setting up an in-person event proved to be far more involved! The easy option would have been to hire out a pub or bar and ask people to come along, but we felt that the first meeting needed to be something special for our members, to celebrate the end of lockdown, and to commemorate the first time we had the opportunity to share a drink without involving a computer!
We were very fortunate that one of the earliest MCBS members – who had also virtually ‘hosted’ our Burns Night Zoom social back in January – was W Bro Stanley Liu LGR, who is also the Beadle of Wax Chandlers’ Hall manager. Bro Stanley very kindly arranged for this historical and prestigious building to host the first part of the evening.
As mentioned earlier, we have been proud to offer several tasting evenings over the course of the pandemic, where our members (and indeed, any Freemasons or prospective candidates) have been able to purchase a curated box from a partner brewery and then take part in a live tasting with the head brewer. It seemed natural that we would want to do something similar for this event, but we wanted something extra special. We were, once again, fortunate to have the answer within our membership.
Bro Gawain Cox, founder and co-owner of Pinnora Brewing, very kindly offered not only to supply some of his finest beers – but, in fact, to brew three special brand-new beers just for the event. Following a poll of our members as to their preferred beer styles, Bro Gawain soon began brewing ‘9 pm Toast’, an imperial stout named to commemorate the original MCBS meetings, ‘Lesser Light’, a pale ale named in honour of Wax Chandlers’, and ‘Sunken Dreams’, a double New England-style IPA whose name is a cryptic reference to the location of Freemasons Hall according to popular geolocation service ‘What3Words’.
Finally, in the early evening of August 28th, the event began. Sixty Brethren from across the country met at Wax Chandlers’ to share these exclusive beers and finally converse in person before being treated to a tour of the Hall by Bro Stanley! Of course, it couldn’t be a Masonic event without a raffle, and over £500 was raised for the Campaign Against Living Miserably, a men’s mental health charity. Bro Stanley had also arranged for a local pub, The Rising Sun, to be opened exclusively for us, along with a two-course meal, and so, the revelry continued late into the night. More than anything, we felt we gave a preview of what to expect from the festive board of Horus, which is due to be re-established as Metropolitan Grand Lodge’s first craft beer Lodge in May 2022.
If you are interested in the MCBS, visit our website at www.masonicbeer.com, or search for us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. To learn about Horus Lodge, visit www.horus3155.com.
This article is part of the Arena Magazine, Issue 46 October 2021 edition.
Arena Magazine is the official magazine of the London Freemasons - Metropolitan Grand Lodge and Metropolitan Grand Chapter of London.
Read more articles in the Arena Issue 46.