Owners Dave Coleman and Mike McGarvey offer eight beers on tap as well as beer by the bottle and growlers for take-away. Studio3877 architect David Shove-Brown worked with materials like reclaimed wood, corrugated metal and industrial light fixtures to design a space with three separate areas: a brewery, located in the warehouse, with full-scale beer-making equipment; the tasting room, an open space decorated with local artwork and murals that can be reserved for special events, and an outdoor space with picnic tables where food trucks can park and round out the dining experience.
The brewery is one of just a handful in the D.C. area, where long-held legislation and permit challenges have prevented more breweries from cropping up. That has changed in the last year or so now where many local, craft breweries have transformed industrial warehouses to tasting rooms thanks to some collaboration with local government.
At 3 Stars, "the challenge was separating the super hot equipment in the brewery from the tasting room that could be open to the general public and private events like weddings and other social gatherings on the weekends," says Shove-Brown." Special air conditioning systems had to be installed to keep the indoor climate comfortable amidst beer being served on tap and food brought in by caterers.
In addition, garage doors with clear windowpanes can be pulled down to block off the brewery while still providing a glimpse into the beer making process. The door can also roll up halfway to expose more of the brewery behind the tasting room "bar" counter. Separate pedestrian doors allow guests to move in and out of the space without walking through the brewery, which can impact natural yeast production and risk injuries because of the moving parts of the canning and bottling equipment.
To create the urban farmhouse look, "we sloped the roofs to recreate a barn-like ceiling and played off the industrial look of the fermentation tanks," says Shove-Brown, who also used light blonde woods throughout to create a natural feel. Empty beer growlers fitted with LED lights offer stylistic lighting to the space, while framed, enlarged labels from past brews and a D.C. flag mural pays homage to the pride of the city and the area's craft brew culture. The tasting room "bar" was built atop original wood barrels from the brewery. Wooden high-top and low-top tables can be moved around as needed to fit the nature of the event.