Cask festivals are awesome. One of a kind handmade beers not available anywhere else. South Fraser Beer Club is bringing you a doozy, The Casks of March at our favourite local brewpub, Big Ridge Brewing in Surrey, on Saturday March 15th.
7 casks from some of the best breweries in town. 4 casks from the Mark James Group, Big Ridge, Red Truck, Yaletown Brewing, and Brewhouse at Whistler. Casks from Award winning Powell Street Brewing as well as casks from 2 new breweries, Surlie Brewing and Bomber Brewing.
The casks will be tapped at 4pm and as always you can catch a ride to and from Big Ridge on their complimentary shuttle. They’ll even make trips to King George Station if you ask really nice. Call Rico at 778.938.7433 to get picked up! Always cask-fest responsibly!
Well, Epic split Belgian Strong Ale is tapped out, if you didn’t see the video that South Fraser Beer Club made for it you can check it out here. The next seasonal at Big Ridge Brewing Co. in Surrey launches this Monday (Feb 17, 2014), Good Vibrations West Coast Pale Ale!. Check out Brewmaster Nick Bolton and South Fraser Beer Club’s Rob Wheeler as they hit the surf in celebration of great beer!
This video was made by the super awesome Bryce Pugh, you should ask him about the Kessel Run – brycepugh.ca
It’s been awhile since I’ve been to a beer dinner so when my Beer Club Bro Don called and invited me to one, I couldn’t say no! The last Joseph Richard Group beer dinner I went to was fantastic, check it out here, so when I heard this one was at Townhall Langley I was giddy like a tiny antelope. This was a 5 course affair paired with Parallel 49 brews. Let’s begin.
Course 1, Tortilla Soup paired with Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale. The soup was a little spicy which paired very well with the hoppy nature of Gypsy Tears. I believe the soup was a roasted red pepper base but to be honest I forgot to take notes for the first course. Worst blogger ever. Either way it was quite good.
The 2nd course was a Glass Noddle Salad with prawns (prawn) and an Asian inspired slaw paired with Happarazzi IPL. The veggies were almost like bibimbap but not quite as tangy. I could’ve used more than one prawn but beggars can’t be choosers. The pairing begged for more spice but still worked.
The 3rd course was Beef Tenderloin with mushroom reduction, broccolini and horseradish. It was paired with Old Boy Classic Ale. One word, perfect. The tenderloin was perfectly mid-rare, the mushroom reduction was perfectly rich and seasoned, the horseradish cream was punch you in the sinuses fantastic. So good. The pairing was a no brainer, nailed it.
Course number 4 was Cedar Planked Salmon with sweet potato purée and roasted cauliflower paired with Craft Lager. The salmon was good, I’m not sure that “cedar planking” really does anything for me though… The purée was sweet and rich and roasted cauliflower is always a winner. The pairing was sweet paired with sweet, not really a big risk but good none the less.
The 5th course was absolutely brilliant, tiny ice cream sandwiches paired with Ugly Sweater Milk Stout. 3 ice cream sandwiches made with chocolate chip cookies. One with mint chocolate chip ice cream, one with coffee chocolate chip ice cream, and one with some kind of peanut brittle (maybe honey roasted peanuts) ice cream. Wow, just…wow. The Milk Stout was just right with this dessert.
Thanks to JRG and Townhall Langley for having Don and I as guests! Our dinners were on the house but we left a fat tip.
Check out Joseph Richard Group and their many establishments for the next delicious beer dinner and follow South Fraser Beer Club ( Twitter – @SF_BC, Facebook – SouthFraserBeerClub) for all of your craft beer needs.
It dawned on me today that I’ve never written about Big Ridge Brewing Co. in Surrey. I hold events there, I’ve raised thousands of dollars for charity there but I’ve never REALLY written about their food or their house made beer. I wrote about some crazy hot chicken wings I had there once but they weren’t on the menu and you can’t get them any more. There was also another post I wrote 3 years ago about a pizza that’s no longer on the menu. Long story short it’s time for a new post.
So, it turns out I eat there a lot so I have lots of food to tell you about, hang in there, we’ll get through this together. First up is the Wok Fried Garlic Squid. Battered squid tossed in jalapeños, shallots, and lots of garlic. This is a favourite of mine and most of my friends.
The pizzas are great too. There’s 8 to choose from and on Sunday they’re only $9 and they’re pretty big. My favourites are the Meat Lovers (shocking, I know) and the Beef Taco pizza. Yum.
The Short Ribs are a new thing for me but they’ve been on the menu for awhile. They’re grilled in a Korean inspired steak sauce and the texture is just right. I’d definitely order them again.
The Onion Rings are some of the best in town. Thick cut, beer battered with a black pepper Parmesan dip.
The Steak Sandwich is my go to meal for lunch with my daughter. A 6oz Flat Iron steak that’s ALWAYS cooked to perfection (mid rare for me) that’s marinated for 24 hours. It’s served open face on a garlic buttered baguette with 3 onion rings and fries of salad.
The Meatloaf is HUGE! It comes smothered in a rich mushroom gravy with mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. The meatloaf itself is seasoned well and has a great meaty texture that isn’t too soft.
The Beer poached sausage is a favourite when I’ve been drinking a lot of their delicious in house craft beers. Beer poached Toulouse sausage grilled and served in a rustic baguette, deli mustard, beer braised onions. It’s rich and delicious and pairs well with many beers.
The Kung Pow is arguably the best dish in the Asian Kitchen section of the menu (although their Butter Chicken is also good and pretty legit, I would know, I grew up in Newton). Water chestnuts, baby corn, carrots, celery, bell peppers, onion & roasted peanuts, wok tossed with dark vinegar & spicy chilies, served with steamed jasmine rice. It’s got a little heat too which is fine by me. You can order it with chicken, shrimp, or as a vegetarian dish.
The last dish I have a picture of is the Mac and Cheese. Baked three cheese macaroni with a crisp panko shell. I get mine with chorizo sausage because it’s the right thing to do.
The best part about Big Ridge? The beer! Brewed on site by Brewmaster Nicholas Bolton, the beer is always super fresh and very consistent. It’s also a really good deal with 20oz pints selling for 25 cents an ounce! That’s $5 for those of you who don’t like math. On Sunday pints are $4. So good.
The Clover Ale is a classic west coast American style IPA and is my beer of choice. There’s always a seasonal beer on tap and every Friday is cask night. You can only get their beer on tap but they have something for everyone from a lager all they way to a porter. You can also fill you growler at Big Ridge no matter where it’s from. Don’t have a growler? That’s ok, you can buy one of theirs!
It’s hard to find a place where craft beer fans with kids can go that isn’t a huge chain. The kids menu is great and my daughter and I have made Sunday lunches at Big Ridge a weekly tradition.
Big Ridge Brewing Company is a haven in the Fraser Valley for lovers of craft beer and good food. If you’ve never been you’re missing out. They also have a free shuttle (Tips are recommended, by me…)from 8pm to close Thursday to Saturday that will pick you up and take you home so you don’t have to worry about alcohol and driving. That’s awesome.
Karma stuff – Every now and then the boss man floats me a free beer of food item but I’ve probably spent more money at Big Ridge over the last 3 years than all other restaurants and bars combined. The opinions of the food and beer are mine and mine alone. Big Ridge is great.
Ah New Years Eve, the one night of the year when married people with kids leave the house and get totally hammered. Thankfully the married people I know aren’t as lame as the stereotype suggests. So what’s happening on this side of the Fraser River for NYE? Here’s some of our recommendations.
Uli’s Restaurant in White Rock is doing a 5 course menu for $69 per person. Check out the menu HERE. You can add wine pairings for $25. Uli’s is always great and White Rock Beach is a beautiful place to ring in the new year. For those of you who don’t want to stay up late there’s an early seating with reservations from 4-6:45 for $40. Call 604-538-9373 to make a reservation.
Tap Restaurant in South Surrey is doing an 8 course dinner from 7pm-10pm. The idea is that people will go to their party afterwards as they will be closed by 11pm. Space is extremely limited so they are encouraging people to book asap. When you make your reservation, you should mention if there are any allergies or food limitations. The 8 course tasting menu (check it out here) is $125 per person and there will be suggested wine pairings. Contact Tap Restaurant at 604-536-1954 for reservations.
The Pumphouse Pub in Richmond is doing a 5 course dinner paired with your choice of wine or craft beer for $50. It includes party favours and champagne at midnight. Contact the Pumphouse at 604-274-7424 for details and reservations.
The Joseph Richard Group is having all kinds of NYE events all over town. There are beer pairing dinners, canapés, champagne and more at all of their locations throughout the South Fraser region and in Coquitlam. Check out their blog for details and reservation info.
Mandalay Lounge in Steveston Is going all out with 2 NYE seatings. The early one, from 6:30-8:30, is a 3 course dinner for $49 and it gets you home in time to watch the ball drop in Times Square at 9pm in case you wanted to pretend you lived in New York. The second seating is from 8:30-1:30 and features a 4 course dinner with party favours and a champagne toast at midnight for $89. Check out the details HERE.
Big Ridge Brewing in Surrey is doing a 3 course dinner for $35 with a champagne toast and party favours at midnight. I hear there’s an awesome new seasonal on the way that should still be around for NYE. You guys are going to love it! Call 604-574-BREW for reservations!
One of my personal favourites, Hog Shack Cook House in Steveston, is keeping it simple but there are some NYE specials to compliment their amazing BBQ menu. $12 appetizer crab cakes, Smoked prime rib dinner with potatoes and vegetables for $23, and a skillet chocolate chip cookie with vanilla ice cream for $8. Add their amazing craft beer line up and it’s hard to say no! Call 604-272-7264 for reservations.
Central City Pub in Downtown Surrey is doing something although we aren’t sure what yet… When we hear what it is we’ll update this post. You could always hit up the new brewery for a growler fill before 5pm on NYE and party safely at home!
O’Hare’s Gastro Pub in Richmond is doing a “Celtic New Year”. They celebrate New Year’s at 4pm on the 31st when the clock strikes midnight in Ireland. Live band 3-8pm, Irish Dancers @ 5pm, great food and drink features and then they close at 10pm so you can spend New Years at home with your loved ones.
If you hear of any other South Fraser NYE parties that you think we’d like feel free to share them in the comments!
Delta’s Four Winds Brewing is quickly making a name for itself around town as a major player in the local craft beer scene. Every new release is seemingly better than the last and I haven’t found a Four Winds beer that wasn’t outstanding. My latest beer dinner adventure took place at Sharkey’s in Ladner where Chef Brent Fahl put together a 4 course dinner, each course paired with one of Four Wind’s delightful beers.
The first course was a punchy bold move by Chef Fahl. A Pear and Blue Cheese Salad, grilled romaine hearts, poached BC pears, lots of crumbled blue cheese, red onions, and a sundried tomato vinaigrette. If you’re not a blue cheese fan, but really why wouldn’t you be, this salad probably would’ve haunted your dreams for weeks. I, however, love blue cheese in all of its forms and this salad had the right punch and balance to make the copious amounts of cheese work. It was paired with Four Winds Wet Hopped ESB. This beer is incredible, the fresh hops are on full display here and the ESB’s malty nature gives them a counterpoint which a lot of “fresh hopped” beers seem to lack. The pairing worked very well too matching the strong flavours of the salad with heavy handed hops and malt, but not in a bad way.
Course 2 was Chipotle Braised Pork Belly. Beer brined oven braised pork belly, chipotle BBQ sauce, garlic beer fries and roasted butternut squash. The pork belly was tender and juicy with a great crust around the edge. The BBQ sauce was smoky with minimal heat. The fries were great, garlic and salt is something that is hard to mess up. The squash was also tasty but 2 starches was a heavy choice. This dish could’ve used something lighter like coleslaw or pickle slices. It was paired with Four Winds IPA. IPA’s are a perfect pairing for anything smoky or spicy and Four Winds makes a great IPA.
The 3rd course was Crab Cakes. Crispy fried panko breading with a cucumber and wasabi sauce, basmati rice and fresh pea shoots. The crab cakes were a nice size and texture,. They had the right balance of savoury seasoning to accent the sweetness of the crab meat. The cucumber and wasabi sauce could’ve used a little more wasabi and the rice needed a little seasoning but the crab cakes themselves were very good. The Four Winds Saison paired well here. I wish it had been the recently released Saison Brett but the standard saison is equally as amazing.
The 4th and final course was a rich Molasses Sponge Cake with vanilla ice cream and candied lemon zest. The cake was great, it had a gingerbread like taste from the molasses and it was super fresh and moist. The candied lemon zest was outstanding, I wish there was more! This rich dessert was paired with Four Winds Malted Oat Porter. This was my first time trying their porter and it’s fairly full bodied for a dark beer that tips the scales at 5.5% abv. The chocolate notes pair well with the molasses. 4 courses, 4 great pairings. Nicely done Sharkey’s!
Craft beer? Fancy snacks? A free tour?? That’s the sort of thing that gets this blogger out of the house on a weekday! The shiny new Central City Brewers and Distillers production facility has been open for awhile but the Grand Opening is this coming Friday from 3pm-7pm. In advance of the Grand Opening I was invited to preview the brewery ahead of the crowd. I’ve been to the new space quite a few times already for growler fills and beer sampling but this was an opportunity to have the place to myself (along with the other guests) and go for a tour with Brewmaster Gary Lohin.
In a nutshell the new facility gives Central City the ability to produce 10 times the amount of beer it could produce at it’s original facility. It is a greener, more efficient production cycle that uses state of the art equipment which brings a modern day consistency to a time honoured craft. Thanks to Yvonne Chiang for the invite, Gary for the tour and Tim Barnes, VP of Sales and Marketing, for the great chat about the new facility and the new Seraph line of craft spirits. Central City has made a big investment in the city of Surrey and has cemented itself as a leader in the rapidly growing BC craft beer industry.
Here are a few more pictures of the event, the tasty tapas, and the great new facility in my home town of Surrey BC.
I get invited to a lot of beer pairing/brewmasters dinners, probably 2-3 a month. Someone recently told me that my blog wasn’t “Craft Beer Focused” and I can’t say I agree. Pubs/Restaurants/Breweries seem to value my opinion so when duty calls I do my best to tell the world about great beer and food. My latest beer pairing dinner adventure came courtesy of Edith and Arthur, a Joseph Richard Group pub located in Surrey’s Fleetwood neighbourhood roughly 4 blocks from my house. People living downtown might think that’s normal but in the Fraser Valley it is fairly uncommon to be able to walk somewhere without using a car to get close enough to do so. They teamed up with Surrey’s Award winning Central City Brewers and Distillers to create a 5 course tasting menu, each dish paired with a Red Racer beer meant to compliment its flavours. Spoiler alert, it was very good.
First things first, when you go to a 5 course beer pairing dinner you expect to try 5 beers. We tried 6 as we were welcomed with Red Racer’s delightfully sessionable Pilsner.
Course number 1 was Crab and Roast Pepper Bisque paired with Red Racer ESB. The bisque was rich and packed full of roast pepper flavour. The crab was almost like a de-constructed crab cake. It was delicate and sweet/savoury and was a perfect companion to the bisque. Red Racer ESB is one of my all time favourite BC craft beers and its caramel malts and medium bitterness accented the richness of this dish very nicely.
Course 2 was Grilled Pair Bruschetta with Chili Poached Prawns. The buschetta was simple and elegant with greens, tomatoes and goats cheese all accenting the slightly grilled pear slices on some toasted bread. The chili prawns had some heat but they weren’t overpowering. The heat was a nice addition to an otherwise light and fresh dish. It was paired with Red Racer Pale Ale, a classic and well executed American style pale ale with a malty backbone and a more subtle hop profile that an IPA or an ESB. Normally I’d prefer an IPA with something spicy like the prawns but this beer was a good compromise between the two sides of this dish. Pairing a beer with a dish that has 2 distinct and different flavours is tough and they nailed it.
Course number 3 worried me a little, actually a lot. My disdain for pumpkin “flavoured” things is well documented . There are a few exceptions but usually pumpkin and I aren’t friends. House made Pumpkin Squash Ravioli with brown butter and pomegranate seeds. The fresh pasta was amazing, the pumpkin filling was rich and only slightly “pumpkiny”, it was more like a butternut squash ravioli with hints of cinnamon/all spice/nutmeg that are usually overpowering. There was a generous curl of Parmigiano-Reggiano laid on top that added some salty goodness. It was accompanied by Red Racer Pumpkin Ale which is equally as subtle in the pumpkin department. An obvious pairing executed perfectly and present beautifully.
The 4th course was craft beer twist on Coq Au Vin. Traditionally made with wine (Coq Au Vin translates to Rooster with Wine) this one was made using Red Racer Red Ale, which I’m fairly certain is the Rad Racer/Flying Monkey’s collaboration Imperial Red Ale, in place of wine. The broth was seasoned well and the red ale flavour was evident but not intrusive. The chicken was tender and juicy and everything took on the flavour of being cooked in the Red Ale sauce. It was paired with…you guessed it…the Imperial Red Ale! You can’t really go wrong making a dish with the same beer you’re pairing it with and this one worked well. The Imperial Red Ale is a 9.5 abv monster which is better sipped than chugged.
The 5th and final course was dessert, an Imperial Brownie with Chocolate Mousse. Think of a one bite brownie, the kind you buy in those little paper bags, topped with a dollop of rich chocolate mousse. It’s impossible for that to be bad. The pairing is what worried me here. You may have noticed that we haven’t had any award winning Red Racer IPA yet, believe me I noticed that too. An IPA with a rich chocolate dessert? Yep, it’s crazy and I like crazy. It’s actually not that crazy, chocolate is naturally quite bitter and the sweetness added to it transforms the hoppy, bitter IPA into something completely different when paired this way. A ballsy move to be certain but you know what they say, not guts no glory.
Thanks to Jeremy, Jessica, and Corey for inviting me and my South Fraser Beer Club Co-pilot Rob out to this well executed beer pairing dinner, well done!
Honest blogger stuff – My dinner, as well as Rob’s, were provided at no charge for review purposes by Edith and Arthur.
The Joseph Richard Group are really starting to establish themselves as a company that wants to be known for craft beer. Case in point the upcoming brewmasters dinner at Edith and Arthur in Fleetwood featuring Surrey’s own Central City Brewing on Wednesday November 20th at 6pm. 5 courses, each paired with one of Central City’s amazing local beers plus a welcome beer for $35. You can purchase tickets at Edith and Arthur starting Friday November 8th. This event is proudly supported by the South Fraser Beer Club.