Remember Pearl Harbor with a Brewski

Dec 7, 2017

Glen Tomlinson and his wife, Janet, are the founders of the Home of the Brave Museum and Brewseum, a craft brewery in Kakaako that preserves artifacts and memories of WWII. The Remember Honor Salute foundation has begun a GoFundMe campaign to help keep the museum going.
Credit noe tanigawa

This day, December 7th, began with Japanese bombs and flames at Pearl Harbor in 1941, it was a pivotal event that prompted America’s entry into WWII.  Today, seventy six years later, people commemorate the fateful day in various ways.  As part of er series on local craft brewing, HPR’s Noe Tanigawa takes us to a small pub, the Brewseum, in Kaka‘ako where people sip home brews and marvel at unique WWII memorabilia.

Credit noe tanigawa

It’s Battleship Bingo night (12/7/17) at the Brewseum, and Pearl Harbor veterans are gathering, so expect special events at Home of the Brave Museum too.  Find more HPR coverage of the bombing of Pearl Harbor here.

There’s not a whole lot of traffic here on Waimanu Street, Ewa of Ward, but a gaggle of trivia players has collected outside a funky wooden clubhouse.  It’s the Brewseum.

“It’s a wonderful place.  We come here for trivia every Wednesday night.  We play but we’re not serious.  We’re in friendly competition. ”

Keith Callway and his family are amongst the throng.

Credit noe tanigawa

"The museum is over there.  It’s a WWII museum.  They have all kinds of things there.  You can get beer or wine.  So it’s just a fun place to be.”

The Brewseum is a craft brew pub/clubhouse and Diamond Head of that, in an old 1920’s horse barn, is the Home of the Brave Museum.   Janet Tomlinson and her husband, Glen, are the founders of the Home of the Brave Museum.  Their son, Duke, came up with the Brewseum to help raise funds to support the museum.  Both remain a project of the Tomlinson family.

Janet Tomlinson:  There’s a Harley behind, there’s a beautiful print that we just recently had signed by the Pearl Harbor survivors who were here for the 75th anniversary of the attack on the island.  They signed the print where they thought they were during the time of the attack so it’s really special to us.”

Films capture a facet of it, maybe your parents or grandparents have shared memories, but feeling the reality of WWII is tough to do.  Here, at Home of the Brave, family photos, personal firearms, flags and medals, clothing, bulletins, all have been donated by Pearl Harbor survivors.  The memorabilia is lovingly displayed, living room style, and that brings it home all the more.  

Credit noe tanigawa

How do you go to the speakeasy?

Janet Tomlinson:  Go to the back to where the stairs are that say Remember Pearl Harbor and go up to the top of the stairs.  Knock three times on the door, then once, then “V” for victory will get you in.  I think you can do it.  Have fun up there!

There’s a cozy bar upstairs and a lanai where they’re showing a film!  I caught the founder of this complex, Glen Tomlinson, by phone.  He and his family have kept the Brewseum and museum going since 1991

Glen Tomlinson:  Our museum is more stories.  It’s the stories of the regular GI’s, the soldier, sailor, airman, marine who came back after the war.  Someone called our collection Grampa’s attic on steroids. We have so much stuff.   

It’s the clear eyed look in the photo of a recent recruit, it's the letters from home, the German propaganda gathered by a father and son in the ruins after the war, all are vivid bits of history.

The Brewseum is a working micro brewery.
Credit noe tanigawa

Glen Tomlinson:  It’s the stories now mostly from families because most of these fellows have passed away.  Our goal, our mission is to keep these stories alive because when they’re gone, their stories go with them.

The Tomlinsons used to run a tour of Pearl Harbor that ended with sharing personal stories at the museum.  Many were moved to donate their treasures after that tour.  The tour, however, became impossible last year, and the pub and museum have been on the ropes since.

Glen Tomlinson:  It’s a cool place.  Our biggest problem is no one knows about it.  And lack of parking.

A fundraiser last month netted enough to keep the Brewseum and museum open six months.  A non-profit, the Remember Honor, Salute Foundation, started a GoFundMe effort that has been drawing small donations from friends and family across the country. 

Credit noe tanigawa

Glen Tomlinson:  I joke that we don’t like to use the “f” word in the museum, the “f” word is fun.  Because we want to be very respectful to the guys who gave so much for the freedoms, the liberties we have.  But you have to make it fun, engaging, hands on history, so we allow the kids to hop in the jeep, put the helmets on, sit on the ’42 Harley Davidson motorcycle, and really kind of get a full feel for the 1940’s. 

At Home of the Brave, words and images recall the sentiment of a less divided time, like this quote, from Ronald Reagan

“Time will not dim the glory of their deeds.” 

People in Hawai‘i have had their own memories of the bombing of Pearl Harbor--- first hand accounts are becoming rare.  At the Home of the Brave Museum and Brewseum, their words, faces, and experiences will not be forgotten.   The non-profit Remember, Honor, Salute Foundation is raising funds to keep the museum going.

Credit noe tanigawa