DC’s brewing scene expanded once more over the weekend as Red Bear Brewing opened to thirsty and enthusiastic fans who waited in line for the opportunity to try beers from NoMa’s new addition.

Impressively, there were even short lines to get in on Sunday!

The brewery is the brainchild of Simon Bee, Cameron Raspet, and Bryan Van Den Oever, three Seattle transplants who saw an opportunity to move to the right coast to realize their vision. The trio have built early hype for their brewery with an active, energetic social media presence headlined by “Ursula,” their red bear mascot, who “has woken up and…is ready to party.” The Red Bear pulls double duty for the brewery; it represents both the great outdoors (a major theme in the brewery’s aesthetic) and the bear culture in the LGBT community. Red Bear is the first 100 percent gay-owned brewery in the District.


Ten beers graced Red Bear’s opening day tap list, and they included a healthy mix of de rigueur styles like porter, witbier, and IPA and some reaches like a chocolate strawberry bock and an Irish imperial oatmeal stout. The flagships are available in 5, 10, and 16 ounce pours. Notably, this “medium” pour is a trend more breweries are embracing (and should be) given expanding tap lists and consumers’ frequent desire to taste across a portfolio.

You wouldn’t know it from the big fanfare over the weekend, but this was actually a soft opening for Red Bear. They’ll be on a modified schedule for the next few weeks until their official grand opening on March 23. Those hours are here:

The Brew Dads podcast (recently converted to The DC Beer Show!) had a chance to check in with the Red Bear team. To learn more, give the episodes a listen here and here.

For more on Red Bear, you can also check out some of the other preview articles from area media including The Washington Post’s and Eater DC’s.

Congratulations to the Red Bear team and best wishes in the run-up to your grand opening. Welcome to the District!