Here’s a Bay Area food fact: Our region is home to Corey Lee, the first Korean chef in the world to be awarded with three Michelin stars — and also the first San Francisco chef of any background to reach that milestone when Benu, Lee’s flagship restaurant, first took the honor in 2014.
But Lee’s culinary reach doesn’t simply boil down to symbolic gestures, and he does more than serve elevated ingredients on a plate. When he opened San Ho Won — the chef’s first explicitly Korean restaurant — in the Mission District last year, Lee wanted to go beyond the kitchen to accentuate the food’s traditional Korean flavors. That’s the idea behind the restaurant’s latest offering: a fresh Korean lager brewed in collaboration with San Francisco’s Fort Point Beer Company.
Under the direction of day-to-day chef Jeongin Hwang, San Ho Won is known for its upscale, seasonal take on Korean-style charcoal barbecue, with classics like galbi and osam bulgogi (grilled pork belly with spicy squid). Now, the restaurant can also offer a signature Korean beer that reminds Lee of his birthplace in South Korea.
“We wanted a beer that pairs generally well with Korean cuisine and [is] well-suited for Korean drinking customs,” Lee says about his collaboration with Fort Point. “Korean drinking culture is connected to food. We rarely have drinks without food, so we wanted to make a beer that was versatile.”
The result of a six-month process of research, tasting and flavor development, the “SHW” is a 4.6% ABV Korean lager — a style of beer that’s highlighted by its light, crisp body. The beverage will be exclusively available at San Ho Won, as well as Fort Point’s San Francisco locations in the Mission, the Presidio and the Ferry Building.