Richard speaks with Lyn Holland of 3 Stars Brewing Company and Bryan Van Den Oever of Red Bear Brewing Company about the concept of breweries and brewpubs as community centers.

Before prohibition, pubs and salons were popular community meeting places. Since the 1920s, however, most of these establishments lost their “community center” characteristics. But now, things are beginning to change. Over the past several years, breweries and brewpubs around the country (and especially in DC) are again becoming focal points of their communities. Families and groups of all ages are welcome, with breweries holding events from weddings to bingo nights to “plant swaps.”

Lyn Holland of 3 Stars Brewing Company talks about creating community at breweries.
Lyn Holland of 3 Stars Brewing Company

Plant and Yarn Swaps at 3 Stars


Moving forward, Lyn plans to partner with Cultivate the City to hold another plant swap on March 29, 2020 and another yarn swap soon (TBD). She is also working with a local library to try to host the first “puzzle swap.” Stay tuned!

Events for the LGBT, Deaf, and Boardgamer Communities

Coming up on its one-year anniversary on March 7, Red Bear has already made a huge impact on the local community. The three main groups to rally around Red Bear are the LGBTQ, deaf, and boardgamer communities.

As a 100% gay-owned bar, Red Bear (Bryan and his fellow co-founders Simon Bee and Cameron Raspet) have done a lot to make their brewery a popular gathering place for the LGBTQ

Bryan Van Den Oever talks about creating community at breweries.
Bryan Van Den Oever of Red Bear Brewing Company

community. They hold a number of drag events each month, including drag bingo (on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month), a “Slay Them!” drag competition for drag newcomers (on the first Friday of each month), and a traditional drag show once a month. They also hold “Bear Bust” nights for the community that feature bottomless craft beer for one set price. 

Red Bear is located near Gallaudet University, a federally chartered private university for the education of the deaf and hard of hearing. Red Bear makes sure to welcome the deaf community requiring every bartender to know basic American Sign Language (ASL) (some staffers are even fluent in ASL!) They also hire ASL interpreters for trivia nights and host ASL Queer Nights.

Cameron is a MAJOR board gamer, with over 400 unique board games in his personal collection. He brought his passion to Red Bear, which boasts 200 unique board games. Some of the games are so new/exclusive that they’re not yet out for retail. Cameron, Simon, and Bryan are also trying to educate their staffers (and customers) about board games by hosting periodic staff board game nights.

Other Upcoming Brewery Events in the DC Area

Every DC brewery and brewpub is hosting events to foster community engagement. Some recent/upcoming brewery events in the DC area include:

Stay updated by following the DC Beer calendar!

And, as always, you can catch up on all the DC Beer Show episodes here, and subscribe to our weekly newsletter, the DC Beer Weekly Pour.