It’s hard to believe the first Tour de Richmond was a year ago, it feels like it was a lot longer than a year. This year’s event was a beer and sandwich throw down featuring Rogue Brewing from Portland. Each pub/restaurant on the tour was assigned a specific Rogue beer and they had to come up with a sandwich to pair with it. The stops were Hogshack Cookhouse, The Buck and Ear, Sharkey’s (in Lander), O’hare’s and The Pumphouse. I was asked to judge the beer and sandwich pairings along with my pals Dennis Pang and Lynn McIlwee, it’s a tough job but we were up for the task. We all met up at Landsdowne station on the Canada Line, climbed in a big yellow school bus and headed for stop number one, The Hogshack.
The team at Hogshack had Rogue’s Dry Hopped St. Rogue Red Ale, a well hopped red ale that Chef/owner John Lim Hing decided to pair with an Asian inspired slider. Bulgogi marinated beef and bacon patty with kimchi slaw, pickled carrots and spicy mayo on a brioche bun. I was tasty and the judges also got to try the vegetarian option. The veggie patty was made with quinoa and beets so it looked like beef, the texture was obviously not meat but it was damn good, as good if not better than the beef burger. Dennis and I had joked that if anyone made a veggie sandwich we were going to start flipping tables, I would give up meat for this slider, ok no I wouldn’t but it was good. My only criticism is they both needed a little more spice.
So, is a burger a sandwich? As it turns out there was only one place that made an actual “sandwich”. The next stop was The Buck & Ear, a place that I’ve never been to but they’ve recently started carrying some nice craft beer so I’m sure I’ll be back. They were given Rogue’s Captain Sig’s Northwestern Ale, an ode to Sig Hansen of Deadliest Catch fame and his famous crab fishing boat The Northwestern. The Buck made us a Fish Taco (not a sandwich) on a toasted flour tortilla with shrimp, halibut, prawns and fresh salsa. The pairing didn’t really do anything for me, they didn’t oppose each other but they didn’t really compliment each other either. The taco itself was quite messy, maybe a little too much filling for the tortilla and I only found one prawn. It was a pretty standard pub food representation of a fish taco.
It was time to get back on the bus and head to Ladner, the bus seemed a lot more “lively” after stop 2 and it just go louder after each stop, lol. Sharkey’s in Ladner had Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale which is probably their most well known brew. Chef Brent Fahl went way off the map with a doughnut slider (still not really a sandwich). The slider actually worked well, the sweet doughnut with the savoury beef and an acidic tomato to balance them out. If this was a full sized burger I think it wouldn’t have worked as well, to much going on, but as a slider it worked and the pairing worked as well. My only other quibble is that it was kind of hard to eat due to the doughnut being really soft. The side of popcorn was clearly an attempt to get Dennis Pang’s vote as his company is called Popcorn, if they made bacon popcorn Dennis would’ve had no choice but to pick them. Oh so close haha!
Stop number 4 involved the longest drunken bus ride I’ve ever been a part of and it was awesome. From Ladner back to Steveston and O’Hare’s Gastropub. O’Hare’s had Rogue’s Brutal IPA which isn’t as hoppy as you’d expect with a name like “Brutal”. Clocking in at a respectable 59 IBU’s it’s still a worthy IPA. O’Hare’s paired it with chicken filled spring rolls (also not a sandwich). They were tasty, with some sort of cheese and a spicy aioli on the side. The old palate was getting a little weak at this point and the descriptions were getting a little hard to come by but everyone was having such a great time it didn’t really matter. I think their regular menu item “Irish Spring Rolls” are better though, corned beef, Swiss Cheese and sauerkraut, basically a Reuben in spring roll form. The pairing worked, IPA’s always pair well with spice.
The 5th and final stop was The Pumphouse, a short bus ride from O’Hare’s that I don’t totally remember. The Pumphouse has seen me at my very best and my very worst but I always have a great time there. They had Rogue’s Yellow Snow IPA, another hoppy American style IPA. Chef Daniela Iaci actually made a sandwich!!!! And one of my all time favourite sandwich a Vietnamese classic, the Banh Mi. Chicken liver pate, cucumbers, carrots, roasted pork, sriracha aioli in french bread. It was a good representation of a bahn mi made on a large scale. The pairing was nice as well. There was a little too much bread for me, a regular bahn mi is served on it’s own little french loaf where these were made on large loafs and sliced into servable sizes. It was missing something that I can’t quite put my finger on, not enough acidity or something but overall it was good and I was happy someone actually made a sandwich for a beer and sandwich throw down.
Over the last year I’ve had a lot of fun with the gang at Beerthirst and I’d like to thank them for all of the events they’ve invited me to blog about, it’s given me exposure in the craft beer community and introduced me to a lot of great new friends. I think it’s time to pass the torch to another blogger, someone up and coming who could use a few events to hone their blogging skills. There’s a good pool of talented hungry bloggers out there and I’m sure they’ll be up to the task.
If you want to know who won I think it will be announced at Beerthirst .com sometime this week, or maybe on their Twitter account. Or you could just DM me or text me if we’re tight like that, the winner was unanimous. UPDATED – The winner by unanimous decision is Hogshack Cookhouse! Peoples choice goes to The Buck & Ear, well done everyone!
Just to be “That Guy” I’m going to give you my rankings. #1 – Hogshack Cookhouse, #2 – Pumphouse Pub, #3 – Sharkey’s, #4 – O’hare’s, #5 – The Buck & Ear.