Food

It All Started with a Sausage. Well, a Truck Full of Them Actually

Housemade Beer & Cheese Brat

If you were to walk into Beer Belly right now, sit down with a glass of [insert name of one of BB's ever-rotating beers here], and look at the menu, you’d see a couple new additions. A Beer and Cheddar Brat and a Duck Sausage have just burst onto our repertoire, and we can’t think of a more appropriate summer meal than a good sausage. But what you might not know is just why this dish is the perfect homage to the way BB owner Jimmy Han first connected with Chef Wes Lieberher.

Jimmy first became intrigued with Wes' cooking at the chef's former Hollywood shop, Grindhaus, where the homemade gourmet sausages were sold uncooked. Due to Jimmy’s self-professed lack of grill skills, he became even more infatuated with the already prepared creations of exotic sausages and crazy sauces at the Grindhaus food truck, where Jimmy quickly became the foursquare mayor—an unsurprising fact for so many reasons. When Jimmy decided to open up Beer Belly, he approached Wes about carrying his sausages at the bar. With only a staff of line cooks and no head chef, Jimmy knew Wes’ culinary prowess could add a unique component to his craft beer bar (who doesn’t want a gourmet sausage with their IPA?), and the two began to collaborate on a special sausage exclusively for Beer Belly.

From there, the stars aligned. When the line cooks didn’t show up for Jimmy’s soft opening party, Jimmy found himself pushing his limited cooking skills in the kitchen to prepare food for sixty people. As fate would have it, Wes happened to drop by unannounced that day, and after questioning why the owner with no professional kitchen background was preparing the food, graciously offered his assistance for the event, and ultimately to helm the kitchen full-time. “For me that was a godsend,” says Jimmy. “I knew his caliber and for me, I really liked his knowledge of flavors. Almost everything I had from Grindhaus was very nostalgic to me and it struck the right chord with my taste buds and my soul. So when Wes offered, it was a no-brainer.”

And the rest is history. Since 2011, Jimmy and Wes have teamed up to combine a passion for craft beer with an appreciation for innovative and satisfying food. “Beer Belly is all about craft and Chef Wes personifies that with his continuous creativity. He creates new dishes as much as I rotate the new beers. He must have done 300 dishes in the 2 years we've been open. Sausages were just a throw back to our history together so it's only natural.”

Duck Sausage - Stuffed with semi-sweet chocolate and dried cherries served over shiitake mushrooms and edamame with spicy mint coconut milk

Housemade Duck Sausage

Chef Wes utilizes his signature ingredient in yet another outstanding dish. If the Duck French Dip or Death By Duck have whet your appetite for anything that used to “quack,” this is the sausage for you.

Beer and Cheese Brat - Stuffed with cheddar and rosemary served on an Amoroso roll with house-made beer onion mustard and house pickled red cabbage.

Chef Wes on creating the Beer and Cheese Brat: “I wanted to put as much beer in that dish as possible.” (Clearly, he knows his clientele). Every component of the Brat is made in-house, except the roll, which he brings in from Amoroso in Philly. High standards = better Brat.

Pork-icane: Bacon Fat Fries

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Forget Sharknado, Pork-icane is headed straight to Koreatown! If you are a part of the 99.9% of carnivorous Americans who loves bacon, then you need to get yourself an order of these fries, stat. It’s a shame we don’t have a picture menu, cuz one look at these babies and you’re already drooling. Go ahead, we’ll wait for you to get a napkin. Back? Where were we? Oh yeah, the fries. Fried in bacon fat and topped with crispy bacon bits, this just takes French fries to a whole new level. The wild arugula adds some…nutritional value (not that that’s our first priority, but it sure is tasty), while the chili morita—a dark chipotle pepper—gives each bite a smoky heat. What’s that? Your mouth is tingling? Don’t worry, some maple vinegar dipping sauce should help balance that out.

We found an actual (totally not fake) Ruth Bourdain tweet about our new Bacon Fat Fries: “Smoky. Flossing my molars with strands of bacon fat. Maple vinegar dip dripping down my chin. Wash it down with cold craft beer. Swallow.” We’d call that a glowing review.

Bacon Fat Fries ($8)

Bacon fat, fried bacon bits, wild arugula, chili morita, maple vinegar dip

 

Written by Skyler Okey

Beer Belly Episode VI: Return of the Short Rib

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For all you Beer Belly brethren who have been with us since the beginning, you may recognize this next menu addition. We’re bringing this old favorite from the Beer Belly vault because…well, because it’s just so freakin’ tasty.

It’s no secret that we love cooking with beer, and this short rib is no exception. We chose Eagle Rock Solidarity because even though it’s a dark beer, it’s fairly week (busting the myth that dark beers are stronger), but it’s just swimming with flavor—hints of chocolate and smoke are a perfect complement to the short rib. The meat is braised in mirepoix* with the bones for extra meaty flavor and that melt-in-your-mouth texture and moistness. If that wasn’t enough, a cheddar puff pastry serves as the starch for this decadent dish, and because we just get you, we spread a little sriracha sauce along the plate for convenient dippage.

*French cooking lesson of the day: Mirepoix is a mixture of celery, carrots and onions, used as a base for sauces, stocks and soups. Bon Apetit!

 Beer and Chipotle Braised Short Rib ($15)

Short rib braised in Eagle Rock Solidarity, cheddar puff pastry, roasted short rib jus

Inspired by this ultimate comeback, we’ll be revisiting some old dishes and some classic standby’s this week…

 

Written by Skyler Okey