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Vol.18, no.2
April/May 2015

 

Homebrew and Derring-do 
Story By: Larry Lieberman
Photos By: Olivier Koning 

In 1991, World War II veterans from across America came together in Honolulu to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. “There were over six thousand survivors of the attack in town,” recalls Glen Tomlinson, who at the time was running sales for a local tour company. “I made arrangements to take groups of veterans around the island, revisiting the bases where they’d been stationed on that day of infamy. Their stories were incredible.” Tomlinson was so inspired by the men he met that he decided to start his own military-themed tour company. He also began photographing every WWII veteran on the tour and posting their pictures on the wall of his small headquarters. Then something amazing began to happen.

Veterans and their families began donating personal items from their military pasts to add to the display. Hats, patches, photos and pins soon gave way to uniforms, weapons, vehicles and more. Today, Tomlinson’s Home of the Brave Museum in Kaka‘ako holds one of the largest private collections of American, German and Japanese military memorabilia in the Pacific—thousands of pieces, all donated by service members and their families. The museum is the last stop on Tomlinson’s daily tour of O‘ahu’s historic military sites.

Not content to stop there, Tomlinson added a vintage tiki bar upstairs, an end-of-tour spot for vets to have a cold one and reminisce about the old days. The bar became one of the most popular parts of the tour, so Tomlinson went further, and the result is the newly opened Brewseum, a 1940s-style beer hall that is also packed with WWII military artifacts. Just two doors down from the museum, it’s run by Tomlinson’s children Blake, Bear and Brittany and even features homebrews they’ve created under their Home of the Brave label. While the museum remains open only to tour groups, the Brewseum welcomes all comers Wednesday through Saturday evenings. “At the end of the day, the goal is not to glamorize war or alcohol,” says Tomlinson, “but to provide a place where we can remember, honor and salute the fighting men and women who made this country great.

homeofthebravetours.com

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