Hidden Beer Gem: Covington’s AmerAsia
A hidden gem Asian restaurant in Covington, long known for their excellent food and beer, is making a major draft upgrade. KungFood Chu’s AmerAsia has retired their inadequate dual-tap kegerator and is installing a new draft system. Ordinarily, this is pretty unremarkable. However, the combination of food, atmosphere, and keg lineup makes this newsworthy.
AmerAsia Isn’t Your Typical Chinese Restaurant
I have long heard tales of the quirky Chinese restaurant in Northern Kentucky with the awesome beer menu so my wife and I dropped in recently to see what the fuss was all about. I’m half expecting death threats or foreign hackers taking down my site upon publishing this post. This is a special place that you want to keep to yourself but I can’t do that in good conscience. All I gotta say is: the hype is real.
It’s essentially a dive bar and restaurant merged into one. It sits in a small storefront on Covington’s resurrecting Madison Avenue. It features an L-shaped bar with an eclectic collection of mismatched bar stools and about 10 tables. It will get crowded quickly so be prepared to wait, opt for take-out, or plan your visit strategically.
Behind the bar are a number of glass-door beer coolers with a beer nerd’s dream bottle list (100+). All high quality regularly produced beers and a rotation of more limited releases. On this night I had the Mikkeller Beer Geek Dessert while my wife opted for the Prairie Birra. We washed down our meals with a bomber of 2012 Upland Infinite Wisdom tripel (delicious!).
Other bottles/cans hanging out that night included Avery Rumpkin and Evil Twin Molotov Lite. Beyond the beer list is an impressive array of proper beer glassware. The bartender even matched the Prairie glass to the beer.
The ambiance included a TV playing Pee Wee’s Playhouse from Netflix and an excellent playlist of mid 1990’s hip hop. There is a wild collection of kung fu posters on the wall and a chalk wall in front of the kitchen with some cool hand-drawn artwork. They even have a private event space upstairs that sometimes hosts video game and beer competitions.
I won’t spend too much time talking about the food, but both dishes we had were AWESOME. The bartender recommended dishes that weren’t even on the menu and they did not disappoint. We also really enjoyed the Dragon’s Breath Wontons. Beware, their spice scale run’s from 1 to 10 but they say their 6 is most place’s 10.
Around the second week of January they are launching a new seven-tap quality draft system from a large cooler just below the bar. While this is admirable, bar manager Matt Wiseman has been amassing an arsenal of fantastic beers. His connections within the industry brings some serious beer firepower to the sleepy little Chinese joint. What’s waiting in the wings? Here’s a small sampling…
- Goose Island – Bourbon Count Brand Barley Wine
- Three Floyds – Zombie Dust
- Three Floyds – Permanent Funeral
- Three Floyds – Dreadnaught
- Evil Twin – Biscotti Break
- Founders – Backwoods Bastard
- Founders – Imperial Stout
- Victory – White Monkey
- Surly/De Proef – Long of Tooth
- Ei8ht Ball – Fight Like a Girl
- Ommegang – Chocolate Indulgence
- Stone – Xocoveza
- Stone – Double Bastard
- Lindemans – Framboise
Getting thirsty? I know I am! Now don’t expect all these on at once, but I highly recommend you do a few things…
- Follow KungFood Chu’s AmerAsia on Facebook
- Head down there to try their food and beer before the tap explosion occurs – make yourself familiar with the space! They are located at 521 Madison Ave, Covington, KY 41011.
- Keep your eyes peeled on my Facebook and Twitter for news about their beer tappings and other events.