“Doing Good” is more than just a phrase, it’s a mindset that the beer community, and the world, needs now more than ever. In this article series, we’re seeking out the charitable fundraising, the positive movements, and the communal giving back that’s going on in our local Los Angeles beer community.
This week, we’re looking at our homebrewing friends at the Maltose Falcons, who have taken some of this downtime during quarantine and launched a weekly Zoom happy hour to raise funds to support our local LA breweries.
The “Falcons are your Friend” happy hour series started up in the early days of the COVID-19 shutdown when Maltose Falcons publicity director, Mike Resar and some of his fellow club board members became concerned about the financial impact on local Los Angeles breweries.
“The last thing we wanted to see was any of our beloved breweries close,” recalled Resar. So, they put the power of their club and its collective love of craft beer to work, organizing a curated virtual beer tasting series to drive some attention and much-needed funds to the breweries that make up our local beer community.
The virtual happy hours are held every Friday from 5-7 pm and consist of a guided tasting of several beers curated between the brewery and the Maltose Falcons team, purchased in bulk, and then distributed to attendees before the event. The live tasting is then led by the brewery’s owner and/or brewer over a Zoom video call with the Maltose Falcons club members, in addition to members from other homebrew clubs and even non-homebrewing beer enthusiasts from around the country. To date, they’ve had participants tune in from San Diego to Oregon as well as St. Louis and Florida.
The first event in the series featured beers from Five Threads Brewing in Westlake Village, where owner Tim Kazules is himself a former homebrewer and a longstanding member of the Maltose Falcons. Since then, they’ve gone on to feature other local breweries such as Enegren in Moorpark, Eagle Rock Brewery in Glassell Park, MacLeod Ale in Van Nuys, Los Angeles Ale Works in Hawthorne, and several more.
In a given week, the club purchases about 45 curated 4-packs from the featured brewery on behalf of its members, with many of them adding additional beers to their order. These bulk beer purchases generate about $700 per event for the featured brewery, with a recent tasting of Cellador’s barrel-fermented wild ales bringing in up to $1,200.
While organizing such a complex weekly program is no small task, Resar remarked that all in all, the happy hours have worked out amazing for both the club and the breweries. “In the end, this is all about supporting our community,” he said.
In fact, according to Resar, the events have gone so well that the club is considering making the virtual happy hour program a permanent part of the club’s programming, even after the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Some of their planned breweries for upcoming events include 8one8 Brewing in Canoga Park, Santa Monica Brew Works, Long Beach Beer Lab, and more.
Want to participate in the next “Falcons are your Friend” virtual happy hour event? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get more details on joining an upcoming event.
More about the Maltose Falcons Homebrew Club:
The club was founded in 1974, making them the oldest homebrew club in the country. Several of their members have gone on to start commercial breweries, including most notably Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada, who is still a member and makes an appearance from time to time. Other local breweries with Maltose Falcons members include Five Threads, Los Angeles Ale Works, Golden Road, MacLeod, Pedals & Pints, Ladyface, and several others. Learn more about becoming a member here.
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And my laptop has a starring role! (Seriously though this has been a lot of fun and made quarantine more bearable)