2014 Washington, D.C. Area Rising Star Brewers Dave Coleman and Mike McGarvey of 3 Stars Brewing Company
Dave Coleman and Mike McGarvey are brewers on a mission: to make the District of Columbia a world-class craft beer destination.
The two beer lovers got their start home brewing in 2007, devoting countless hours to research and recipe development to create beers that met their own high standards but that also would have broad appeal. They quickly realized their passion extended beyond home brewing, and in 2009 they began making plans for 3 Stars Brewing Company. Before the brewery ever became a brick-and-mortar, they began launching their beers by collaborating with more established breweries like Evolution Craft Brewing Company and Oliver Ales, which helped them to gain exposure and affect local palates.
In 2012, 3 Stars Brewing Company officially opened, with re-purposing dairy equipment in the brewhouse. In 2014, they celebrated two-plus years of consistent growth, and while the two still work closely together, they now spend their days with McGarvey churning out their handcrafted ales, and Coleman developing the brewery experience, sales, and branding. As leaders in the D.C.’s craft beer scene, they’ve extended their holistic approach to philanthropy, developing 3 Stars’s spent grain program, which provides farmers and charities with spent grain for making baked goods.
The duo has released more than 40 different styles of beer during the 27 months they’ve been in the market and have been known for their commitment to creativity and detail-oriented experimentation.
Interview with Washington, D.C. Area Rising Star Artisans Dave Coleman and Mike McGarvey of 3 Stars Brewing Company
Meha Desai: What is your favorite brewing tool?
Dave Coleman and Mike McGarvey: Our favorite tools would have to be our barrels. We have a variety—wine, whiskey, rum, and a few other spirits. They allow us to age and condition our beer in a way that imparts unique, delicious flavors. Second would definitely be the auger that loads grain into our mashtun at the beginning the brewing process.
MD: What tool do you wish you had?
DC & MM: A coolship. It’s a tool used to expose cooling wort to wild bacteria from the local environment that will later ferment and sour the beer.
MD: What’s your favorite beer book?
DC & MM: Designing Great Beers: The Ultimate Guide to Brewing Classic Beer Styles by Ray Daniel. This was an early text for us and let us pursue our creativity in creating what became our portfolio of beers.
MD: And your favorite brew resource?
DC & MM: A local brewer named Steve Jones. We’ve collaborated with Steve many times through our BW (Baltimore/Washington) Rye series, where we’ve experimented with Rye as an ingredient across many styles. Whenever we get into a situation where we’d like an opinion or advice, he’s the first person we call.
MD: What’s your most important brewing rule?
DC & MM: Always be innovative, constant creativity is what this brewery was founded on, and it will continue to be our inspiration as we grow and develop.
MD: What’s your favorite beer you’ve ever made?
DC & MM: It would have to be the Pandemic Three Way, which was our first Illuminati Release for 2014. It was a blend of 3 different versions of Pandemic Porter. We took fresh Pandemic and blended it with Pandemic that had aged in a rye whiskey barrel, and blended that with Pandemic that aged in a Catoctin Creek whiskey barrel that held maple syrup in the interim. This was a big, rich, robust, and complex ale that we released to our private Illuminati Reserve Society.