Lamb, Tenderloin and Beer "Pie"

Celebrating the Bru-Year with Big Rock Urban Brewery’s Brewmaster’s Dinner

Big Rock Urban Brewery Vancouver

Beer and Food are Better Together at Big Rock Urban’s Brewmaster’s Dinner

The success of a brewmaster’s dinner is dependent on three things. It is the food, the beer and the interaction between the two. In interaction is where the magic truly happens and only comes when the chef understands beer through and through. The Big Rock Urban Brewery’s Head Chef Alex Newton, earned the nickname “Beer Belly” for a reason. Not only does he love food but his love of beer and cooking with alcohol supersedes all else. Alex’s passion for cooking with beer is joined by the brewery creations of ‘BRU’master Jody Hammell to create something exquisite.

Beer Me BC welcomed the 2016 New Year with a beer pairing dinner at Vancouver’s Big Rock Urban Brewery. We wanted to experience how how this beer-crazed pair comes together in flavour and a love for food and beer. Advertised as a four course meal the expectations were high and one may expect the portions to be rather small to spread the load throughout the evening. Well, we were mistaken.

Kim Chi Dish

Rauchbier Amaretto CocktailFirst off, sitting down prior to the first course a beer cocktail consisting of a Habanero-Rauchbier cask mixed with locally distilled Sons Of Vancouver Amaretto was served while live music played in the background. This deliciously warming, spiced cocktail was matched with a series of h’ordeurves circling through the room. From a spicy, Kim Chi to a Venison topped potato patty and smoked meat cheese and pineapple skewers the 0th course got things started in a big way.

Little did we know that this was only the beginning. A procession of dishes like no other were on their way.

Smoked Duck Salad

Frankincense, Myrrh and Gold AleFrankincense, Myrrh and Gold AleWith the palate well warmed up the first course arrived as a Duck Salad. Here a side of smoked duck was served with walnuts, apple, foie gras, croutons and frisee. The creamy delicacy of foie gras contrast with the slight acidity of the salad and built up to the delicious smoked duck. It is one thing to be served foie gras, but along side smoked duck is something else.

The Duck Salad was paired with a beer that too is very unique. Only available at the brewery, Jody took a biblical reference for this holiday brew. Inspired by the three wise men we were presented with the gift of a Frankincense & Myrrh Ale on nitro and topped with gold flake stars.  The Frankincense and Myrrh are both aromatic in nature and give a unique and slightly woody and citrus note to a very smooth beer. Here the beer acted as a complimentary cleanser for the massive flavour of the duck dish.

Indian Spice Risotto

Big Rock Urban Hollow Tree NitroCourse number two was an Indian twist on a traditional risotto. Dubbed as the “Risotto alla Bengala” saffron, fenugreek, shishito chili, red kuri squash and a mix of Indian spices made for a slight curry-twisted flavour. The creamy, traditional flaovurs of Risotto made their way to the surface but the infusion added an additional layer and slight spice to the dish.

Paired with the Big Rock Hollow Tree Red Ale, the beer’s bitterness added contrast to the spice and creamy nature of the dish. This was no ordinary Hollow Tree though. Also on Nitro the mouth feel was transformed into a creamy and very smooth experience that paralleled that of the Risotto. Another fantastic dish, but more importantly a well thought through food pairing.

Lamb, Tenderloin and Beer "Pie"

As our stomachs began to swell and heads begin to cloud, the third dish arrived before us. The premier dish was a deconstructed Steak, Lamb and Ale “Pie”. Here beef tenderloin and lamb shank were served atop a parsnip puree and along side BC wild mushrooms and puff pastry napoleon. To top things off, the dish was dusted in fresh, white truffle demi-glace. The white truffles were air freighted from the other side of the world just for this dish.

The richness and slight sweetness of the Steak, Lame and Ale “Pie” was paired with the Midnight Rhapsody Dark Ale. In this beer a slight currant-fruit sweetness and big malt characteristic worked along side the demi-glace and rich meat flavours to heighten the overall flavour experience. The currant was a surprisingly pleasant addition to the fatty, lightly sweet nature of the dish.

Stout Chocolate Torte

Big Rock Urban EntertainmentIn a food coma-like state, the dinner rolled on to the final course dessert. Here the concluding dish was a Stout Chocolate Torte. A rich chocolate made with a Stout was topped with a raspberry glaze again featuring the Midnight Rhapsody. This delectable treat was served along side a Citradelic IPA passion fruit curd and a Stout chocolate ganache.

The sweetness of the chocolate worked with a light sour tone from the curd and glaze while being paired with the St. Adam’s Holiday Ale – another one off creation by Hammell. Here the St Adam’s is a Belgian Strong Ale. Big malted body, Belgian yeast tones and a kick of booziness work to cut down the sweetness in the chocolate and give a grand finally to the dish and procession of great beers.

Big Rock Urban New Years Brewmaster's Dinner

Food and beer are good on their own but they are great together. Sitting down for dinner with Big Rock Urban Brewery shows the evolution that beer pairings have taken over the past few years. Years back, beer pairings were more like an awkward high school relationship where the pairing was a matter of convenience. Today they are diligently planned and methodically executed pieces of art that are crafted to exemplify the best traits of both the beer and the food. Together, when well paired, beer and food can be much greater than the sum of their parts.

To learn more about upcoming events at Big Rock Urban Brewery visit

About Author

Dustan Sept

Dustan Sept is the founder of Beer Me BC. His passion for craft beer drove the creation of in 2012. To learn more about the editorial team visit

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