Two cans of beer from Barebottle Brewing Company flank a tall, golden glass of beer in Paul's "Pubvilion."

26 – We Expose Best Home Brews and Bare It All

This episode we exposé (no, we expose) award-winning home brews from a hop head on the verge of a foothold in the craft beer industry. Next, we speak with a Bay Area company who partners with innovative beer makers to supersize their recipes and bare it all to the drinking masses. Finally, we taste test two future gladiators, for our Mel Gibson-approved BEER DOME competition. That, and our usual craic, on this episode of Life in 16 oz.

#Lifein16oz    #WhatsinYOURpint    #BeerDome



Skip to Brian Winckel, Award Winning Homebrewer (3:25)

Talks about his trials and tribulations of inadvertently developing what would eventually become his first award-winning homebrew after a couple folks encouraged him to enter it in a competition. Includes a major learning experience associated with filling out those pesky competition entry forms as well as his strategy for when to brew in relation to a contest deadline.

Skip to Brian Winckel (30:46)

Brian talks about Barebottle Brewing Company’s competition.

Skip to Not So Beer Dome – Barebottle Brewing Company (53:21)

Now drinking:  West Coast Splash, West Coast IPA

Skip to Barebottle Brewing Company, Co-Founder Lester Koga and Co-Head Brewer John Montes de Oca (aka “Magic”) (56:46)

Lester and Magic talk about the hops they’re into these days and the non-flagship beers they prefer to brew.

Skip to Lester Koga and John Montes de Oca (aka “Magic”) cont. (1:01:55)

Paul brings earlier interviewee Brian Winckel back into the studio to join in on the fun. They ask Lester and Magic about how they go about brewing new beers on their equipment, how do they upscale homebrew recipes for their production line, and about how they find out about homebrewers like Brian.

Skip to Lester and John (aka Magic) cont. (1:15:08)

Lester and Magic talk about the recipes they and the Barebottle Brewing team create, explain their preference for being a “self-distributed brewery,” and answer Paul’s “stupid questions” (Paul’s words) about freshness, acquiring unique ingredients, and about how San Francisco’s water profile is ideal for their beers.

Skip to Lester and Magic cont. (1:30:14)

Lester and Magic respond to Paul and Brian’s questions about the latest beer trends and about some of Barebottle’s IPA and pale ale recipes that ‘exposes’ the styles as not-as-different-as-you-think. Their relation to hazy IPAs and session IPAs are compared as well. Regional differences are also discussed.

Skip to “The Mexican Lager” (1:36:51)

Brandon and Paul talk Torcido, Barebottle’s award-winning Mexican lager. Brian then tells a story about his two attempts to win over a relative with his homebrewed version of Barebottle’s award-winning Mexican lager. Meanwhile, Lester and Magic remain focused on the number of substitutions Brian made to their recipe. Did the Brian-cido win any awards with the family member or was it just another one-and-done?

Skip to Not So Beer Dome – Barebottle Brewing Company (1:41:04)

Now drinking:  Secret Oasis, Hazy IPA

Skip to Lester and Magic cont. (1:44:29)

Paul and Brandon discuss hops, then Lester and Magic give their perspective on hops and talk about their top selling beer styles to wrap things up.


Keep scrolling for more info and photos related to this episode.



Northern Brewer / Williams Brewing / National Homebrew Competition / Great American Beer Festival / Barebottle Brewing Company


BEER DOME – Barebottle Brewing Company Tastings

West Coast Splash
IPA – West Coast IPA, 7.2% ABV, 68 IBUs
Barebottle Brewing Company, San Francisco, CA

Secret Oasis
IPA – New England Hazy, 7.2% ABV, 53 IBUs
Barebottle Brewing Company, San Francisco, CA



Two cans of beer from Barebottle Brewing Company flank a tall, golden glass of beer in Paul's "Pubvilion."
This episode we try these two beers from San Francisco-based Barebottle Brewing Company. On the left, West Coast Splash, a West Coast IPA coming in at 7.2% ABV, with 68 IBUs. On the right is the very fragrant (per Brandon and Paul), Secret Oasis Hazy IPA, with 7.2% ABV and 53 IBUs. Tune in to this extra juicy episode for loads of insider details about Barebottle Brewing and their unique business model. (Life in 16 oz. photo/Paul Wade)
Brian Winckel and son pose in front of his brewing equipment, which includes a series of old refrigerators for his liquid gold.
Brian Winckel shows off his garage-based brewing operation along with his progeny. Like other homebrewers with a garage brew operation, Brian’s includes the requisite old refrigerators for corralling all the brew he makes. (Courtesy photo/Brian Winckel)
Stickers and bottle caps with a logo for Buddy Brewing Co. The logo features an illustration of a character with a hop-flower head wearing sunglasses and an old school gas station-type uniform.
Award-winning homebrewer Brian Winckel has an idea about what he wants for his beers in the future. But in the meantime, he doesn’t want to get ahead of himself and will continue to build his ‘beer resume’ by perfecting recipes in his garage and entering competitions. Tune in to episode 26 to hear the tale of how Brian salvaged five gallons of flavorless brew by turning that ‘pumpkin’ into eventual ‘gold.’ (Courtesy photo/Brian Winckel)
Light green hops grows upwards along support lines.
Brian Winckel’s crop o’ hops. Hops brines (that’s BRINES, not vines), can grow upwards of 25 feet long in the right conditions, which is, like, everywhere on the West Coast! (Courtesy photo/Brian Winckel)
Lester, Magic, Kelsey lift their glasses for the camera on the production floor at Barebottle Brewing Company in San Francisco.
Brian Winckel, unseen except for his hand at the lower left holds a glass while taking a pic of some of the Barebottle Brewing Company crew. From left to right, Co-Founder Lester Koga, Co-Head Brewer John Montes de Oca, aka “Magic,” and Kelsey who is one of those two on the right–we don’t know which! (Courtesy photo/Brian Winckel)
John Montes de Oca, left, and Lester Koga pose with their beers amid towering beer tanks rising up from the brewing floor.
Barebottle Brewing Company’s Co-Head Brewer John Montes de Oca, aka “Magic,” and Co-Founder Lester Koga, pose for the camera at their San Francisco-based brewery. They maintain taprooms in both San Francisco and Santa Clara. In addition to their own recipes, they also scale up the recipes of selected homebrewers. Tune in to this episode to find out more and to hear from one of those selected homebrewers. (Courtesy photo/Barebottle Brewing Company)