WWII Museum Brews Beer in Honolulu

World War Brew: History and beer mix at Home of the Brave Museum.

Glen Tomlinson revs into a brewing business to honor the military.

photos: david croxford, martha cheng

Buried within Kakaako, the building used to be a horse barn, with an okolehau factory as a neighbor. Now, surrounded by auto body shops, it’s Home of the Brave, a World War II museum, housing a 1945 Ford Jeep used in the movie Pearl Harbor; a 1942 Army issue Harley Davidson motorcycle; Japanese and American flight suits. And pictures, tons of pictures, plastered floor to ceiling, which tell the stories of veterans, of Pearl Harbor survivors, of reunions, up to 60 years after the war.

It’s “Grandpa’s attic on steroids,” Glen Tomlinson, the owner, says. “It’s a touchy feely museum. We want the kids to hop in the Jeep, put the helmets on.”

 This collection of military memorabilia has been Tomlinson’s project since 1991, expanding from a single room to two, and then to the upstairs, as his collection continues to grow with donations by veterans.

Now, he’s moving beyond the museum walls, with beer. His son, an avid homebrewer, sold him on the idea of “introducing to the military a great craft beer because a lot of them are still drinking Miller Lite and Bud Light,” Tomlinson says. At the moment, Home of the Brave has two beers out on the Hawaii market: the Pilot Pale Ale and Remember Pearl Harbor Dark Lager, released on the 70th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor bombing.

All beer taps are made by hand, mounted with WWII aircraft, and bottle caps are stamped with aircraft and ship silhouettes on the underside like spotter cards used during the war; the identification decoder key is on Home of the Brave’s website.

“We’re a family-run business for 20 years honoring the military,” Tomlinson says.  “Now we want to get into the craft business to do the same with beer.”

The museum is the last stop on Home of the Brave’s military base tours (HomeoftheBraveTours.com). For more information on the beer, visit HotBBC.com.

Remember Pearl Harbor Dark Lager

Smooth and slightly sweet. Available bottled at Whole Foods, The Wine Stop and Navy Exchange.

Pilot Pale Ale

Light, faintly citrusy. Available on tap at The Hard Rock Café and military clubs on Oahu.