Brewhouse at Whistler – Family friendly and great beer? It’s true

You guys know that I’m a regular at Big Ridge Brewing Company in Surrey. They have amazing beer, great food and have been very supportive of my charitable efforts over the past year or so. Their sister restaurant in Whistler, the Brewhouse, is everything that I love about Big Ridge surrounded by one of my all time favourite places, Whistler Village.

Located just a few steps from the Olympic Plaza the Brewhouse offers craft beer brewed on site, a kids menu with lots to chose from, a pretty imaginative cocktail list, great food and very friendly staff (possibly too friendly…lol, that’s a story for another day). I’ve been to the Brewhouse many many times but this is the first time I’ve written anything about it. I went 3 times over the last week, once with my daughter, once by myself and once with my daughter and a hot date. The third visit was awkward, not for me though, for…reasons.

5 Rings IPA
5 Rings IPA

I had their award winning 5 Rings IPA, voted best IPA in BC in 2012 and it is definitely worthy of the hype. Well hopped with a solid malt backbone, this beer captures the true essence of a west coast style IPA.

One can not survive on water, hops and barley alone so I decided to order the Ale braised Angus beef cottage pie. Now to me cottage pie and shepherd’s pie are the same thing. Ya ya there’s a “definition” of what each one is traditionally made with but I really don’t care, they’re both ok with me. This particular cottage pie had Angus beef braised in house brewed Grizzly Brown Ale, button mushrooms, carrots and onions topped with mashed potatoes. It’s then baked in a cast iron pan and served with greens.

Cottage Pie
Cottage Pie

Overall this pie was outstanding. Rich, flavourful, well seasoned and piping hot. I would absolutely order this dish again except for one small issue. $19.99 is an awful lot to pay for humble peasant food. Sure you can dress it up with “Angus Beef” but at the end of the day cottage pie is simple fair based on food that the poor used to have to eat out of necessity. I understand that most things in Whistler are a little pricier than things in the Lower Mainland but come one, this should be $13-14.99 tops.

Will it stop me from going back? Not a chance. Like I said, most things in Whistler are more expensive than they are here, if something’s good then I’ll probably order it again. The beer is outstanding and the staff, like I said, are VERY friendly 😉

Twitter – @BREWHOUSEatWHIS

Facebook – The Brewhouse Whistler

Interwebz – themarkjamesgroup.com/brewhouse

Scott.

 

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Booze Reviews, Oktoberfest Beers!!!

Ah October, Thanksgiving turkey dinners, food coma’s and Oktoberfest. Beer is a wonderful thing and having a 16-18 day festival to honor it sounds good to me. I’m going to introduce you to 2 beers today, one made specifically for Oktoberfest and another that is a Czech style pilsner.

First up is Surrey’s own Russell Brewing Company with another solid entry in their Brewmaster series, Russell Marzen. Marzen is a tradition Oktoberfest beer that’s been brewed since the 16th century in Bavaria. Russell’s take on this classic has all of the usual traits of a good “Dunkles Märzenwhich is amber to dark in color (amber in this case) with a rich malt flavor and a clean finish. The only major difference is this Canadian interpretation is decidedly more hop filled than the German marzen, which isn’t a bad thing. Once again the Russell Brewmaster series hits a home run. One minor quibble is the only size available is a 650ml bottle which makes it hard to get it in to restaurants that aren’t willing to put it on tap. This is an issue I have with the Brewmaster Series in its entirety, a missed opportunity.

Next up is the clean and refreshing Pilsner from Gordon Biersch in San Jose, California. an area know more for Silicon Valley than beer. This isn’t a typical west coast craft beer, there’s hops but not a lot and it is very easy to drink. It’s a great summer beer that can also hold its own on a cold fall night. You’ll notice in the picture that I picked up a five pack…ya ya someone was thirsty before picture time. This beer gets bonus points for being distributed locally by my pals at Beerthirst, you should check out the great stuff they’re doing for the local  beer scene.

Stop drinking crappy beer!!!! You have no excuse.

Scott.

Abigail’s Party

Have you ever gone somewhere, walked in the door and said to yourself “If I owned a restaurant it would be just like this.”? Abigail’s Party oozes cool, it’s small and intimate and has great atmosphere and the food holds up against its visual appeal. Located at 1685 Yew street in Kits, right across the street from the (in)famous Kingshead Pub this little section of Yew street is as cool a block as you will find anywhere in Vancouver.

Being Jersey Shore fans Lyndsey and I had to try the Deep Fried Pickles served with paprika aioli which were as good as Snooki promised they would be. We also tried the Tuna Tartare which was cured in grapefruit and served with avocado and cucumber with sesame wonton crisps. Very light and fresh, I could have eaten a lot more of this dish. Apologies for the picture quality in this post, it’s time for an iPhone, sorry Blackberry, we had a good run.

For our mains we shared the Aged Cheddar Mac and Cheese which was so good I’ve had dreams about it. The aged cheddar was very sharp and kicked what is normally a sad letdown at restaurants in to a winner. Lyndsey had the Herb Crusted Halibut with asparagus, clams and fingerling potatoes in a curry cream sauce. The fish was great judging from the small bite I had. The herb crust was made up of almond, basil, italian parsley, chervil and tarragon.

I had the Steak Frites, a staple of French Cuisine in North America. It consisted of a medium rare flat iron steak from Pemberton Meadows served sliced over triple fried Kennebec fries with an arugula salad. Everything about this dish was great, the steak, the fries, the peppery arugula salad, everything.

I’ve been told that I can be too positive in my reviews, I will say this once, I give praise where praise is due and I’m not in the business of going to eat at restaurants where I have heard others had poor service or bad food. I will always tell you straight up if I enjoyed my experience or if there were areas that needed improvement. Abigail’s Party is the real deal, go there and find out for yourself. Follow them on twitter too, they’re good times.

Scott.

Booze Reviews, Jura Superstition Scotch Whisky

Jura Superstition is a blend, there I said it, I am drinking blended Scotch. Usually I am a huge snob when it comes to Scotch Whisky, single malt only and nothing less than 12 years old unless it’s Ardbeg or Strathisla. Jura Superstition is my one and only exception to my own rules. Jura is a Scottish island located to the north east of the more famous island know as Islay. Islay and Jura are roughly the same size but Jura’s population is a mere 200. The Isle of Jura Distillery is the only one on the island and produces its own unique single malt whisky line ranging from 10 to 40 years old. Superstition is a blend of both old and new single malts which gives it a unique marriage of peat, smoke, sweet and spice that is unlike anything else I’ve had.

On the nose the peat is quite mild joined by mild smoke and a hint of orange zest. In the mouth the peat and smoke continue their mild ways and are joined by citrus notes and a distinct tobacco flavor that is very similar to a good Cuban cigar. The finish is long with more tobacco and smoke flavors. This is the ultimate pairing with a good cigar. The color is a rich amber.

All told this is a great blend for anyone looking to step away from the mild highland whisky’s and move up to something more sophisticated. It’s not a huge leap like a Lagavulin or Ardbeg would be for the casual Scotch drinker. Jura Superstition will make a nice addition to your  collection.

Cheers!

Scott.

Vancouver food bloggers, throwing stones and naming names.

Oh my goodness what a childish mess. For those of you who don’t already know there was recently a very “aggressive” post on a local food blog calling out all of the big players in the Vancouver food blogging community. It’s a long winded post but read the whole thing, it’s shockingly detailed with the writers opinions of other peoples blogs, their motives etc. Thankfully I was not a part of it seeing as I don’t blog for Urbanspoon and I really don’t give a rats ass how many people read my blog. That’s the real issue here, blogs as a business.

I write because I want people to have a laugh and find some good places to eat, not because I get free food (which does happen from time to time) or because I make money from my blog. I could put ads on my blog and to be honest I might at some point in the future but my main reasons for blogging have stayed the same since day one, I like to eat good food and want to share it with others. To name each and every person who you don’t think is “qualified” to write about food is very immature. The fact is that every single person on this planet likes to eat different things and to say someone shouldn’t be writing about food because they don’t like something is ridiculous.

As far as Urbanspoon goes I’m not interested in my ranking, it seems like a popularity contest, so I have decided that Urbanspoon isn’t for me. It works for some and that’s great but don’t criticize others because you don’t think they should be ranked higher than you. People read blogs because they are interested in their content and if they enjoy the content they will keep coming back for more. A blogs popularity means that people like it and to tell the readers that they’re wrong and shouldn’t like it because you say so is offensive. Free speech is a basic human right and I applaud Kim for having the courage to say what he was feeling but at the end of the day he looks like a spoiled little baby who can’t handle someone getting more attention then him.

I am a huge fan of EVERY Vancouver food blog and as a blogging community we offer the people of this city something truly special and I can’t wait to see future posts about great restaurants from great people. So to Richard, Raul, Melody, Sherman, Mijune, Erin, Diana, Mary, Ben, Suanne, and everyone else who writes about food in Vancouver, whether it’s for a blog, a website, a magazine or a news paper keep up the good work, haters are going to hate but the world keeps on eating.

Scott.

30 days of booze free living

I have decided to lock away the alcohol for the month of April. Why, you ask? I DON’T KNOW!!!!!!!!! Whoa sorry about that, it’s getting to me already. Someone we know is doing a 30 day challenge and has challenged her friends to do the same. She’s doing a raw food diet and asked everyone else to pick something that was achievable and would make a difference to their health.

Now we wait and see if, a: I can actually go a whole month booze free and b: whether or not I will see any health benefits from doing so. I secretly hope that I don’t feel better…I like alcohol.

Wish me luck.

Scott.

Bowmore 12 year old Islay single malt Scotch whisky – Booze Reviews

My review of Molson M seems to be quite popular so I thought why not review more booze? I don’t think it’s a secret that here at WFLBC we like to drink (by we I mean I…) and I’m not your typical rum and coke drinker. Sure there are days when “what’s on special” can be heard coming out of my mouth but those days are few and far between. So without further adieu I give you the first official installment of WFLBC’s Booze Reviews.

Scotch is an acquired taste to say the least and Scotch from the island of Islay (pronounced “eye-la”) is not for the first time Scotch drinker. Bowmore Distillery is the oldest on the island and is named after its largest city. Bowmore has been in operation since 1779 and currently produces a core range of 5 whiskey’s varying in age up to 25 years old.  They also offer limited editions and a ridiculous 40 year old single malt.

My choice for this review is the 12 year old single malt, a typical age for fine Scotch whisky. The age represents the number of years the whisky ages in oak casks before being bottled. The nose is very heavy with peaty smoke notes typical of Bowmore. The smokiness is carried over into the mouth and is joined by chocolate, citrus and a subtle sweetness followed by a long finish that lingers longer than expected. It took me over a year to drink my first bottle of Bowmore because I found it too smoky having only tried Highland Scotch previously. My second bottle lasted 2 weeks, taste acquired.

I have a bottle of their 15 year old Sherry cask aged single malt just waiting for this one to be empty.

Cheers!!

Scott.

Bob’s BBQ, Whistler Creekside

Stop number four on the WFLBC BBQ challenge is Bob’s BBQ, aka Roland’s Creekside Pub, located at 2129 Lake Placid Road, Creekside, Whistler next door to Nita Lake Lodge. A little off the beaten path for most visitors to Whistler, Bob’s/Roland’s is (according to their website) a favorite for locals and is known for its hospitality.

My weapon of choice for this round of the BBQ Challenge was the K K “Pocket Kings” sandwich. Named after a poker hand, as all menu items at Bob’s, it is a Texas style beef brisket sandwich on a toasted roll with mayo and crispy onions. I opted for onion rings as a side because you can never have too much deep-fried onion. Just to clarify something before I continue, if you go to Bob’s before 4pm during the week you will find locked doors but don’t panic as their whole menu is available at Roland’s.

The presentation of the sandwich was impressive with crispy onion straws piled high atop tender beef. The chopped brisket was good, tender and juicy with a nice rub on the outside and a rich smoky BBQ sauce covering it but to be honest the meat was a little lost under the onions. The onions were great but they really overpowered the taste and texture of the whole sandwich, I had to take a piece of beef out of the sandwich to get a good taste of it. The bun was nice and fresh and perfectly toasted. The onion rings were good but were very obviously fried in day old oil, which is very common as most restaurants use fresh oil for fries only and deep fry everything else in day old oil. This oil was perhaps a little older than recommended though.

Over all I was a little underwhelmed by Bob’s BBQ, although they are a couple of easy tweaks away from making a really good sandwich. Round four in the books, as Jay-Z would say it’s on to the next one.

Scott

2 Man Pub Crawl = Good Times

I went out last night with my buddy Mark who I haven’t seen in a while and did a little pub crawl through the streets of Vancouver. What a great way to see the city! I took the Skytrain downtown and met Mark at his place and we headed for stop number one, The Lennox on the corner of Robson and Granville. Mark and I used to build elevators together and one of our favorite jobs was at the Payless Shoes next door to the Lennox a couple of summers ago. We would end up at the Lennox most afternoons and it brought back memories of the good old days! I started with a couple of Caesars and then a Killkenny, strange combo but it worked. We also ate at the Lennox, I had a “New York style” corned beef sandwich with fries. It was good other than the rye bread being a little burnt.

Stop number two was The New Oxford at 1144 Homer Street in Yaletown. One of the newest members of the Donnelly Group. It’s a cool room, but feels a little cramped. We only stayed there for one drink because the service wasn’t that great, even though we were sitting at the bar! I guess my boobs aren’t big enough for the bartenders to serve me…they did have Anchor Steam beer for $5 a bottle but I only had one and we moved on.

Stop number three was a personal favorite, Glowbal Grill at 1079 Mainland Street in Yaletown. We grabbed a spot in Afterglow, the lounge at the back of the restaurant. I had a couple of Glenfiddich’s on the rocks and General Manager and all around cool guy Brandon talked us in to some tequila…That’s where the night started to get a little fuzzy. The great thing about a walking pub crawl is the fresh air you get between venues, it gives you a chance to gauge your level of intoxication better than staying in one spot and falling over when you go to leave.

After getting the royal treatment from Brandon it was off to stop number four, The Keg at 1011 Mainland street in Yaletown. We took the elevator up to the rooftop patio, easily the best patio in the city. It was recommended that we try Molson’s new beer Molson M, so we did. It’s a micro carbonated beer which means it has small bubbles. It was pretty good for Molson who’s beer is the equivalent of Wonderbread to me. We also had some bacon wrapped scallops that really hit the spot.

After that we hopped on the Canada Line and headed for Gastown, The Lamplighter, Chill Winston and The Charles Bar all had long lines and Rogue Wetbar was closed for a private function so we made a quick stop, number five, at La Casita at 101 West Cordova street. I had a Negra Modelo, we could tell things were winding down so we headed out but I will be back for lunch soon, the menu looks great!

Stop number six was a random find, The Greedy Pig at 307 West Cordova street in Gastown. I’ve never heard of this place but it was pretty cool, friendly staff, good atmosphere and a guy who claimed to be Canadian that kept ordering Bloody Marys. Even the guy from Latvia knew the difference between a Caesar and a Bloody Mary, you weren’t fooling us pal! If you’re from Saskatchewan you’ll love this place, lots of Riders memorabilia and most of the staff hails from Saskatoon or Regina.

After that I headed for the Skytrain for a long trip back to the burbs followed by a cab ride to home sweet home! Great night with a good friend, can’t wait to do it again!

Scott.

What’s For Lunch BC BBQ Challenge 2011 – Update

Hello all, just wanted to give a quick rundown of where we stand on the BBQ Challenge schedule. Well to be honest there isn’t one, I’m just trying to go as often as my schedule allows. So far I have been to The Campfire Grill…Smokin’ BBQ, The Re-up BBQ and Embers BBQ house.

There are still many more to go, I will try to list them all for you and free to let me know if I’m missing any.

And people wonder why I do all this work for free!! Looking forward to traveling all over town in the search for great BBQ. Stay Tuned!

Scott.