The Big River Brewing Company has been around since 1997 but has functioned seemingly in the dark. Being in the depths of Richmond BC the brewery is out of the way and historically did not have a top-tier product to compete with an emerging North West beer market. Things have changed though and this new, 15 year old establishment has something to be proud of.
Big River has hired a new brewmaster and I was invited to an event at their Richmond Brewery to taste the beer and meet the man behind the new flavours. Michael Stewart is the life behind the facelift and he has something to be proud of. With more than a decade devoted to the bottle and several breweries and brewpubs boasting on his resume Michael brings a revitalized passion and excitement to Big River with a beer list to match.
The list of beers on tap now sits at seven consisting of:
Sidewheeler Blonde Ale – 4.7% – 15 IBU
Dragon Dance Pilsner – 5.1% – 25 IBU
Logger Lager – 5.0% – 18 IBU
Fur Trader Pale Ale – 5.0% – 30 IBU
River Pilot ESB – 5.5% – 40 IBU
Saw Mill Alley Brown Ale – 5.0% – 28 IBU
Old Curly Stout – 4.9% – 35 IBU
Tasting through this ‘magnificent 7’ list of beers there were not bad tasting brews in the mix. Each beer played homage to categorical tradition while maintaining a level of uniqueness that differentiate it from other, similarly described beers. Personal favorites were the Logger Lager, The River Pilot ESB and the Old Curly Stout but each could easily wager a battle against its fierce competition. I was able to bring home a few bottles from their off sales home and will do a review on each in the coming weeks. While I heard rumours floating around about an IPA that was on tap I was not able to give that brew a try. Hopefully we will see some seasonal and diversified selection soon from Michael; I do feel guilty saying that though given the full roster already available. Keep an eye out on beermebc.com for ratings and tasting points on these fresh and tasty beers.
If you are looking for Big River Beer, the brewery is located off the Steveston Highway next to the Silver City Theatre, in the southern most reaches of Richmond. The good new though, they also have a full service restaurant in Coquitlam, also next to the Silvercity Theatre. Here too, you can experience the full range of Big River beers. At this second location though there is not on-site brewery and no option of off-sales.
My advice, give Big River Brewing a chance. Head out to the brewpub and try a few different beers. Pick the ones you like best and pick up some bottles to enjoy at home with friends.