SAN FRANCISCO — Ever wonder what beer brewed with whole peppercorns tastes like? Take your tastebuds on a culinary adventure with Dokkaebier! The pop-up taproom emphasizes creativity and exploration in unique Asian inspired ingredients in their brews and food. Founder and Korean native Youngwon Lee was inspired to create Dokkaebier after moving to Oakland and observing the landscape of the Bay Area’s beer scene.
“I just felt like we had a chance to add some spice to the local brewery culture,” Lee explained. “We wanted to build a fun, Asian-influenced brand and felt like there was an opportunity to be more experimental with what we use in terms of ingredients and flavors. We’re brewing beers with bamboo leaves, chili powder, and Korean berries.”
Lee, whose career in the food and beverage industry has spanned more than a decade, is also opting to serve small plates of Korean food instead of the more traditional family-sized portions in order to encourage patrons to step outside of their comfort zones and try something new. To assist him in this endeavor, he’s brought aboard veteran chef (and unapologetic New Yorker) Danny Wright.
Wright earned his culinary chops working under such celebrated chefs as Christian Delouvrier, Eric Ripert, and Michael Mina, and is eager to put his own stamp on the Dokkaebi dining experience. “I absolutely love Korean food and Korean flavors,” enthused Wright, who’s mostly spent his career in French-style kitchens. Praising the simplicity of Korean cooking, Wright continued, “[Korean chefs] tend do very little to the ingredients—and it’s delicious. I’m excited to explore new techniques while applying what I already know to create something incredible.”
The pop-up taproom is open for a limited time until April. In addition to the launch, Lee hopes to find a permanent home for Dokkaebier in San Francisco sometime later this year. When asked about his vision for the new beer and bites brand, he kept his answer short and sweet: “I want it to be a fun place where people come to eat and drink, and by serving high-quality items, I want to make them happy.”