If you follow Beer of Tomorrow on Twitter (you follow us on Twitter, right?) it is no secret that Beer Belly in Korea Town is one of our favorite spots to grab a beer and hang-out. Now Beer Belly is starting to get noticed by people outside the craft beer world as one of our city’s best spots for great beer and awesome food.
The K-town spot is quick to be mentioned by beer-geeks and industry insiders as an example of a craft beer bar done right, and it is the combination proprietor Jimmy Han’s dedication to the beer community, Chef Wes Lieberher’s over-the-top comfort food, and the focused and never overwhelming tap-list that makes Beer Belly so special.
Last week the bar got a couple of nods from the press, as well as a visit from the clown-prince of Flavortown himself!
First was Thrillist’s list of their Favorite 5 Beer Bars in Los Angeles. Han’s modern joint with a neighborhood-feel gets the mention along with LA’s craft beer powerhouses Tony Yanow’s Mohawk Bend and Ryan Sweeney’s The Surly Goat. That’s some big-time company to be in for the year-old Beer Belly.
The next day, LA Weekly’s Squid Ink blog published the hotly anticipated list of their 100 Favorite Dishes from restaurants across the county. Coming in in the 44th spot is Beer Belly’s infamous Jidori Chicken Hot Wings. Starting with Jidori chickens (kinda like the kobe beef of poultry Jidori denotes a brand of ultra-fresh, cage free, happy chicken) Chef Wes fries them until perfectly crisp and then douses them in a variety of sauces – from the classic buffalo-style (our favorite) to the mind-meltingly spicy Volcano Chipotle (which makes Ye Rustic Inn’s Suicide Wings seem like milquetoast).
— Wes Lieberher (@WesAMC) December 14, 2012
Say what you will about Guy’s personal style, chain of restaurants, and the cult-of-personality that his corporate overlords work so hard to push, but Guy knows his food, especially unique and delicious comfort foods served up at even more unique spots across the country.
The long-running Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives has showcased some really great locations in its many seasons (The Nickel Diner, The Oinkster, and Mambo’s Cafe are just a few of the 20+ other LA restaurants that have been on the show), and Beer Belly fits the mould for a “Triple D Hotspot” perfectly: classic dishes prepared in a novel and exciting way by people who are in the food business to make people happy.
That last point seems to be the most important unifying feature of all the places that Guy highlights; he loves to feature restaurants run by people who just love what they do and who love to make awesome food for people. There is no pretense or ego with the chefs and owners featured on the show, and Jimmy and his crew are exemplary examples of that ethos. We are really excited to see the Beer Belly episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives in a couple of months!
Update 3/12/13: Last night the episode of DDD featuring Beer Belly aired! The episode is called “Unlikely Partners,” and it is sure to be re-run many times, so check your local listings if you missed it.
If you’ve never been to Beer Belly you may want to make some time for a visit this Wednesday, December 19th when Stone Brewing Co takes over the taps for the bar’s first-ever One Night Stand featuring a brewery outside of Los Angeles!
Jimmy has been wanting to host a Stone night since he opened his doors in 2011, but he felt it was important to give all the LA Breweries their own tap take-over before turning the taps over to a San Diego brewery! It is this kind of dedication to the LA craft beer scene that makes Beer Belly one of our favorite spots in town!
We hope to see you on Wednesday!