Bootleg Team

Our Team spends every day growing, dreaming about, brewing with, and cleaning up loads of yeast and bacteria that will one day brew you an excellent beer. Take a moment and get to know our team of brewers and yeast wranglers.


Name: Jeff Mello

Title: Founder/Chief Yeast Wrangler

Background: Starting homebrewing in 2010. Caught first Local Yeast in 2013. Politics and history junky. 

Favorite Beer Styles: English cask ale, Lambics.

Favorite Bootleg Strain: The next culture we release, because that one is gonna be PHENOMENAL.

In high school I was sure I’d be: A&R Rep for a record label.

Favorite band in High School: Deftones.



Name: Erin Mello

Title: Founder/Chief Technology & Sustainability Officer

Background: Energy/environmental enginerd and data geek. Shirley’s Mom.

Favorite Beer Styles: Fruited sours in Summer. Porters in Winter. NO HOPS.

Favorite Bootleg Strain: Sour Weapon P. A lot of quick sours are bracingly acidic, but Pedio pentosaceus creates a gentle, rounded acid profile that compliments a subtle malt profile.

In high school I was sure I’d be: Professional sleeper. Fall back plan: Veterinarian.

Favorite band in High School: No one understands me like the Cranberries do.



Name: Isaac Brannon

Title: Lab Manager/Yeast Whisperer

Background: Homebrewing made me want to be a scientist, so here I am.

Favorite Beer Styles: German Pils. Life is all about subtle complexities.

Favorite Bootleg Strain: Saison Parfait. Saisons were a big part of my craft beer epiphany, and the first style I was obsessed with brewing.

In high school I was sure I’d be:  Wearing pajama pants to work every day.

Favorite band in High School: Underoath (year pictured)



Name: Sam Wineka

Title: Bioprospector

Background: Homebrewing since 2008. Former president of the DC Homebrewers. Recovering journalist/flack.

Favorite Beer Styles: Well made IPAs and Negra Modelo Fanboi.

Favorite Bootleg Strain: S. Arlingtonesis. It’s a super versatile strain, able to ferment at both ale and lager temps. It’s become my go-to strain for anything clean.

In high school I was sure I’d be: Playing guitar before hoards of adoring fans by now.

Favorite band in High School: DMB….yeah, I know.