Big Ridge Brewing Company – I finally review their food!

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.

Big Ridge Brewing Co.
Big Ridge Brewing Co.

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.

Wok Fried Garlic Squid
Wok Fried Garlic Squid

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.

Beef Taco Pizza
Beef Taco Pizza
Meat Lovers Pizza
Meat Lovers Pizza

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.

Grilled Short Ribs
Grilled Short Ribs

The Onion Rings are some of the best in town. Thick cut, beer battered with a black pepper Parmesan dip.

Beer Battered Onion Rings (and Robs hand)
Beer Battered Onion Rings (and Robs hand)

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.

Steak Sandwich with Caesar Salad
Steak Sandwich with Caesar Salad
The 6oz Flat Iron steak is always just right.
The 6oz Flat Iron steak is always just right.

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.

Meatloaf
Meatloaf

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.

Beer Poached Sausage.
Beer Poached Sausage.

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.

Kung Pow.
Kung Pow.

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.

Mac and Cheese with Chorizo.
Mac and Cheese with Chorizo.

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.

Brewmaster Nick pouring me a taste of an upcoming seasonal.
Brewmaster Nick pouring me a taste of an upcoming seasonal.

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!

Clover Ale (IPA)
Clover Ale (IPA)
The Epic Split Belgian Strong Ale, one of the seasonal beers you'll find on tap.
The Epic Split Belgian Strong Ale, one of the seasonal beers you’ll find on tap. Click on the picture for a little surprise.

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.

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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.

Scott.

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.

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Four Winds Brewing dinner at Sharkey’s Seafood Bar and Grille

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.

Four Winds ESB
Four Winds ESB

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.

Pear and Blue Cheese Salad
Pear and Blue Cheese Salad

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.

Chipotle Braised Pork Belly
Chipotle Braised Pork Belly

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.

Crab cakes
Crab cakes

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!

Molasses Sponge Cake
Molasses Sponge Cake

Follow Sahrkey’s on Twitter @sharkeyladner or on Facebook at Sharkeys-Seafood-Bar-Grille and Four Winds is @FourWindsBrewCo and FourWindsBrewingCo.

Sharkey’s and Four Winds are both South Fraser Beer Club approved!

Scott.

Beer Pairing Dinner at Edith and Arthur featuring Central City Brewers and Distillers

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.

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Pilsnerific

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.

Crab and Roast Pepper Bisque.
Crab and Roast Pepper Bisque.

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.

Grilled Pear Bruschetta with Chili Poached Prawns
Grilled Pear Bruschetta with Chili Poached Prawns

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.

Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter.
Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter.

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.

Coq Au Vin
Coq Au Vin

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.

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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!

Scott.

Honest blogger stuff – My dinner, as well as Rob’s, were provided at no charge for review purposes by Edith and Arthur.