After Michael Seitz and Lester Koga won a few homebrewing competitions, they realized they were on to something. "In all these competitions we'd enter, typically the medal-winning beers were incredible. We also noticed a lot of innovation or some new technique that was totally radical and really improved beer,” Seitz told Eater. “So we got the idea that wouldn't it be interesting if we used that same competitive process to create our beers?”
Thus Barebottle Brew Co. was born, and five years later, it’s becoming a brewery in Bernal Heights. Seitz and Koga teamed up with fellow Cornell business school classmate Ben Sterling, and the three men formed the concept behind Barebottle: that homebrewers would compete for their beer to be featured at the brewery. In the years since, they raised the money, found a space and brought on master brewer Cortlandt Toczylowski (Drake’s, E.J. Phair) to oversee the brewing. Each month, the team will decide on a theme — the first is Muir Woods IPA, the second a San Francisco sourdough wheat beer and the third a Yerba Buena mint-infused English pale ale — and challenge local homebrewers to create the best beer that fits into that style. Toczylowski will then brew the winning beer to be featured in the brewery, and the winning homebrewer will get to drink for free. There will also be a West Coast pale ale, sweet stout, session porter and imperial stout on tap to start, based on recipes that Toczylowski , Seitz and Koga created to win homebrewing competitions.
The 17,000-square-foot space will serve as a brewery, taphouse and educational facility, with homebrewing classes, beer lectures, tours and other activities. “People will be able to come in, grab a beer, sit down and get some food from food trucks that we’ll have parked out front,” Seitz said. No word yet on what those food trucks will be, but the team is working on having some delivery food options, too. The south part of the city is quickly become a beer drinker’s Mecca between Harmonic, Magnolia and Triple Voodoo in Dogpatch, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers in Bayview and Laughing Monk’s imminent Bayview arrival. Barebottle plans to add to the scene in March; stay tuned for more details closer to the opening.