After moving to Oakland in January 2018 and observing the landscape of the Bay Area’s beer scene, Founder Youngwon Lee was inspired to create Dokkaebier in July 2019.
"I just felt like we had a chance to add some spice to the local brewery culture. 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." - Founder Youngwon Lee
And in February of 2020, Dokkaebier opened its doors as a pop-up, serving Korean-inspired tapas and brews.
Youngwon, 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 people to step outside of their comfort zones. To assist him in this endeavor, he brought veteran chef (and unapologetic New Yorker) Danny Wright on board.
“I absolutely love Korean food and Korean flavors. [Korean chefs] tend to 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.” - Head Chef Danny Wright
Danny Wright (left) and Youngwon Lee (right)
In addition to launching the pop-up, Youngwon hopes to find a permanent home for Dokkaebier in San Francisco.
“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.”- Founder Youngwon Lee
Youngwon Lee - Founder & CEO
A native of South Korea, Youngwon has more than a decade of operations, finance, sales, and brand management experience in the food & beverage industry. He moved to Eureka, California in 2017 to serve as Head of U.S. Operations for The Booth Brewing Company and spearhead the brand’s expansion into the American market. Youngwon was inspired to create Dokkaebier after moving to Oakland and seeing an opportunity to add something unique to the local brewery scene. He’s excited to be building a unique, Asian-influenced brand and looks forward to creating a fun space where people can come to eat, drink, and be happy.
Daniel Wright - Executive Chef
Danny was born and raised in New York City and earned his culinary chops working under such celebrated chefs as Christian Delouvrier, Eric Ripert, and Michael Mina. A veteran of the NYC, Miami, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. dining scenes, Danny is inspired by the bold flavors and fresh ingredients of Korean cooking. Having spent a majority of his career in French-style kitchens, he is eager to explore new techniques while applying what he already knows to create dishes that are simple, approachable, and absolutely delicious.
Ethan (Seunghyun) Min - Executive Sous Chef
Ethan Min grew up in Cheonan, South Korea and picked up cooking at an early age. Some family struggles led him to picking a career path early, and he decided to become a chef in High School. His interest in cooking sparked from watching his mom cook throughout his childhood. He began to pick up cooking certifications in High school, then moved on to a 4-year University to major in Culinary Arts. After graduating he would work as a CDP at a 3-star Michelin restaurant in Korea, then moving on to become a CDP at Saison. Ethan’s goal is to start a traditional and authentic Korean restaurant that goes beyond the mainstream Korean foods and dishes known to people here in the US. He hopes to create a menu that is not influenced by other cuisines or techniques that results in a Michelin star.
Aaron Weshnak - Head Brewer
Aaron hails from New Jersey, about 30 minutes away from where founder YoungWon Lee grew up. His beer experience began when he worked at a beer store and beer retail and started home brewing for fun. From there, Aaron realized that he wanted to become a brewmaster for a career and applied to the Brewing Program at UC-Davis. Once he was finished he honed his craft among some of the Northern California breweries in Lost Coast, Russian River and Susnet Reservoir Brewing. Aaron’s goal was to become a head brewer, writing his own recipes while pushing the envelope of brewing with unique flavors and ingredients. All of which he says he is accomplishing with Dokkaebier.