The community surrounding and supporting the craft beer movement is amazing. A group of true advocates for better beer, community members are always happy to share their knowledge and appreciation for beer, as well as the beer itself. The sharing spirit was in full force on March 5 at Brick Store Pub in Decatur, Georgia for a meeting of local BeerAdvocate.com members called the Holy Mother of Gatherings. The idea is simple: come to hang out with some fellow craft beer lovers and share some bottles from your own collection. I heard stories of the event’s humble beginnings, but HMoG (as it’s called by the BA hipsters) has become a throwdown of massive proportions. Packing out Brick Store Pub’s Belgian beer bar (located “upstairs and to the left”), the event is complete with a raffle for beer-related door prizes, a silent auction, and lots and lots of bottles of the world’s best beer.
Some of the benefits of pooling everyone’s beer stashes are obvious: we were all able to try beers we may not have otherwise been able to track down. I was able to sample some beers from breweries that don’t currently distribute to Georgia, including New Glarus, Odell, Three Floyds, Russian River, Goose Island, and many more. There were also some beers that aren’t just tough to get in Georgia, but are sold only in limited quantities from their respective breweries, making them difficult to come by even in their home state. Despite being rare, limited, or just unbelievably delicious, the people who brought them freely shared a pour from the bottles with anyone interested, or even just standing within an arm’s reach for too long. Attendees also had the chance to go on a tour of the Brick Store’s cellar, which is housed in a bank vault beneath the pub.
Aside from seeing and tasting some of the best beer from around the world, the Holy Mother of Gatherings was a wonderful opportunity to discuss and exchange beer stories. The tales of cross-country trips that some of the bottles, and even some of the people, made to appear in Decatur that Saturday made each sip even more enjoyable. Although the attendees weren’t brewery reps (for the most part), the passion each guest shared for the beer they had brought as an offering to the group would have persuaded even the staunchest macro-brew loyalist to give craft beer a shot.
Online communities like BeerAdvocate were conceived as hubs for beer lovers to share their knowledge and interest with each other. The Holy Mother of Gatherings is a physical manifestation of the same goals. Instead of just reading someone’s review of a beer, however, they’ll gladly pour you a bit and share some details about how it’s brewed or the people that made it. There is no date set yet for next year’s installment of HMoG, but you can expect that it will probably be even bigger and better than this year’s (a panoramic camera may be necessary for the above picture). Keep an eye on the threads at BeerAdvocate in early 2012 and plan to come out for a great day of sharing among the craft beer community!