Jimmy Han opened Beer Belly just blocks from his childhood home, and it quickly won the hearts of craft beer fans across Los Angeles with its carefully curated selection of local beers and the creative, "crafty" comfort food from chef Wes Lieberher.
The food is drool-worthy, but it's Han's support of L.A.'s local breweries that has put the bar on the map for craft beer fans. The tap list is always heavily slanted toward the best beers from Southern California breweries. Now, Beer Belly has partnered with Orange County's Bruery to make a Korean-cuisine-inspired brew to mark the bar's anniversary.
Patrick Rue, founder and brewmaster of the Bruery, went shopping with Han at a local Korean market, and the pair gathered a collection of ingredients for the experimental beer. After tasting and deliberating, they settled on black sesame seeds, jujubes and azuki red beans for the beer, which was brewed in the Bruery's new pilot-batch system and then blended with its Oude Tart -- a sour Flanders red ale -- for more complexity. The result was FUBRue -- For Us, by Rue -- a tart and fruity beer that will be tapped Sunday for the official anniversary celebration.
In addition to this collaboration beer, Han has been hoarding kegs of rare brews for the anniversary weekend. He'll start tapping the collection of sours, barrel-aged stouts and hop bombs on Friday evening, and the celebration will culminate with Sunday's block party featuring icons Kogi for lunch and Seoul Sausage for dinner.
In just two years, Beer Belly has become one of Los Angeles' top craft beer destinations, and Han has excelled in his role as an ambassador to those new to craft beer or to his Koreatown neighborhood.
The anniversary celebration is sure to be a memorable showcase of the best beers, breweries and personalities from the Los Angeles craft beer scene.
532 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 387-2337, BeerBellyLA.com.