Interview with Washington, D.C. Area Rising Star Artisans Dave Coleman and Mike McGarvey of 3 Stars Brewing Company

by Meha Desai
December 2014

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.