Two thousand twenty will doubtlessly go down in history as a year to remember – or try to forget – and for most of us who lived through it, possibly the worst year of our lives. Still, as we draw near the end of this disaster, let us turn our attention to one shining bright spot that emerged amidst of the wreckage of 2020: the Maltose Falcons virtual happy hours.
Started in mid-April, shortly after the COVID-19 quarantine began, the Happy Hours (or Hoppy Hours, or Happy Quarantine Hours) were envisioned as a way for the club to connect and do what we do best, socialize and talk (drink) beer, while we couldn't physically be close together, and thanks to another ubiquitous meme of the year, Zoom, we were able to bring the dream to life. Just as important as helping us to virtually bridge the physical distance, we saw this as a way to help out our beloved local breweries that have been struggling financially as their business has been cut dramatically by quarantines, curfews, and increased health and safety regulations. Thus, the plan was for us to work with local breweries to facilitate a group beer order for club members and invite the brewers themselves to join us for a tasting session where we could get to know them and learn about their processes and recipes.
Through extraordinary efforts put in by our members and board, including significant time spent to coordinate with breweries, navigate payment processes, pick up and distribute beer to members across disparate parts of the greater LA area, and organize and moderate virtual Zoom sessions, the plan was put into great effect, and to this date we have hosted tasting sessions with over 30 breweries, served up more than 1400 packs of beer, and contributed over $22,000 to local breweries. While the good that this has had on our community and local breweries is reward enough for the effort, we've also received attention and accolades from Hopped LA and the LA Brewers Guild for our Happy Hour initiative, who thanked us for supporting these businesses in their time of need.
Besides being a great learning experience, we’ve also gotten to know a lot of local brewers personally, and they in turn have engendered enormous goodwill by geeking out with us online. Our members will certainly be beating a path to some new tap room doors once this pandemic is over.
And for that, let us celebrate all of us Maltose Falcons – first-class homebrewers, expert judges, expert drinkers, and a committed and hard-working board of directors – along with the many caring and dedicated brewers who have taken time to connect with our community and share their craft with us. None of this would have been possible without you, and 2020 would have been a little bit darker.
Three cheers for the Happy Hour crew! And Happy Holidays from the Maltose Falcons!
A special thank you to the following participants: