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!
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.
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!
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.
Well, I suppose this was an inevitable outcome, Surrey Beer Club has become South Fraser Beer Club. Why does there need to be a group like this? There are tons of reasons but it’s mostly been summed up in the “About” page from SFBC’s website.
The area south of the Fraser River is filled with craft beer drinkers, sellers and producers and they need a place to call their own. “The roots of SFBC grew from the idea that being a fan of small batch, hand crafted beer and spirits shouldn’t be complicated. We support those who support what we love, no bias, no favouritism. Have something you think we should promote? Send it to us via Twitter orFacebook and if it’s something we think everyone should know about we will share it. It’s that easy. Want to become a member or corporate supporter of SFBC? We should have that sorted out in the next few months with discounts at your favourite places.”