This past weekend the Vancouver Brewery Tours team got together to check out of the newest players in the Vancouver beer scene: Big Rock Urban Brewery. Just on the Western edge of Mt Pleasant, Big Rock Urban is the latest to join the Brewery Creek neighbourhood. With an aim to be more experimental in their Vancouver facilities, this is one brewery to keep your eye on this year.
If you’ve travelled around Western Canada in the past couple decades, you’re probably familiar with the Big Rock brand. If you’re a homebody, maybe you’ve seen their Grasshopper Wheat Ale, Saaz Republic Pils, or simply their Traditional Ale pouring off a few taps around town. Maybe you have no idea what I’m talking about.
As a long-time West Coaster and Vancouver beer nut, I wasn’t too familiar with their lineup until last night’s visit either. But now I think the whole team can say we’ve become pretty well acquainted!
Walking through the tasting room, we admired the sparkling new tanks and an abundance of brew toys (hint: they have a super Canadian paddle for stirring their mash – you’ll just have to come on a tour to find out what it is)!
Although we were left to our own devices, we learned that Brewmaster Jody Hammell, who attended the reputable Versuchs und Lehranstalt für Brauerei, has some exciting beers on the go and also that Big Rock is celebrating three decades of brewing this year. The story of the brewery’s name came as no surprise when we learned that it is, in fact, literally named after a massive rock in the middle of the Alberta flatlands.
But no tour is complete without some samples. They had a Mosaic lager, red ale, stout, and rauchbier on offer but the roggenweizen was sold out! As for food, a couple of us went with the server’s suggestion of a smoked duck panini with cabrese salad, which paired nicely with the rauchbier. And a note for all you cask fans out there: I did happen to spot an Angram at the bar on the way out.
Between the adventurous beers on tap and top notch bistro food, it was and a great introduction to what will surely be a summertime hotspot among Vancouver breweries.