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
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!