This craft beer crew makes the freshest beer at Guantánamo

It’s a Sunday morning outside the gates of the war on terror Detention Center Zone and, while many on base are bound for the beach or church, five guys are brewing an Oktoberfest beer in Stephen Prestesater’s garage.

“We all as a team come together and brew,” says Prestesater, who discovered the hobby in San Diego before arriving on a Pentagon contract about five years ago.

Today’s team includes an Army sergeant major, three Coast Guard petty officers and Prestesater, who’s declared his garage the Nob Hill Brewery, for the name of the neighborhood of long-term families not far from the rotting remains of Camp X-Ray. It is also Ground Zero for Guantánamo’s Homebrewers Association.

The brewing club is one of the base’s best kept secrets. Their beers are not for sale, although people can get a taste in the neighborhood’s Oktoberfest.

David Smith, a National Guardsman who’s donned a kilt and combat boots for the fun, laments that he didn’t learn about it sooner. He’s brewed a German-style Rauch lager here and is looking forward to carrying on the hobby back home in Arkansas after his 2017 tour of duty ends.

“I had no idea something like this would even exist here, where a community of brewers would come together and just enjoy the love of the craft of brewing beer. I had no idea. I wish I found this place about six months ago,” he says.