I love learning! Especially about beer! It has such a beguiling history, and here in BC the culture just gets better every year. I’m always up for a pint, and thrilled to discover pubs that brew their own. Hello Big River Brew Pub in Richmond!
My sister, our friend Haley (visiting from Toronto), and I decided to wander into a part of Richmond I haven’t been to yet, so we drove down picturesque No. 6 Road and ended up at a massive entertainment complex where the road intersects with Steveston Highway. There’s several restaurants, a huge movie theatre, a swim club, an ice rink, and a bowling alley attached to pub. Beer and nachos were on our minds, so we settled in on their patio.
Although it should have been obvious from their name, I didn’t realize when we walked in that the pub has a brewmaster, Michael Stewart, who brews all of their beer. Props! They have this handy writeup on the menu that describes (very basically) their beer brewing process:
This is what hops look like when they’re growing – quite beautiful, aren’t they?
It took me awhile to come around to really hoppy beers, but now I enjoy a strong IPA. I ordered the dark taster rack and Kate ordered the light, so we got a good sampling of all they offer.
Each came with five glasses: mine had a Nut Brown, Seasonal, Pale Ale, Extra Special Bitter, and a Dry Stout, while the light rack had a Blonde Ale, Pale Ale, Pilsner, Vienna Lager, and a Seasonal. I think the seasonal brew on my rack was the Vienna Lager, and the seasonal brew on the other was the Nut Brown, though that confused me a little. Anyways, there was some overlap between the two.
My favourites were the Pale Ale, Pilsner, and Extra Special Bitter. I though the Nut Brown and Vienna were too sweet, and while I enjoyed the Stout, I would have preferred it to be even stronger; I love a stout that’s nearly black. It was nice to compare the beers so easily to one another, and have a look right into the steel-laden room where the brewmaster does his thing.
Being within such a large complex, the pub is wisely in cahoots with its neighbours. On Thursday nights, in conjunction with the Silver City movie theatre next door, you can enjoy dinner and a movie for only $18, which is a pretty sweet deal.
There’s also a bowling alley attached to the pub, so you can also make a night out of beers, burgers, and bowling balls.
Or just come in for some classic pub fare and beer, like we did. We ordered wings to start, choosing honey garlic and teriyaki since none of us are much for raging heat. They were messy and saucy, just as good chicken wings should be.
Our ‘main’ was a big order of nachos, which came with salsa, sour cream, and guacamole. Unfortunately, these were a let-down. Engage me in a conversation about the fine art of nacho-layering, and you’ll be stuck with me for at least a half hour. Nachos were the one thing I craved while living in Italy; I just love them so much.
I’m a stickler for generous amounts of cheese (good cheese), believe no chip should be left un-sprinkled, and desire lots of sour cream, salsa, and guacamole. Unfortunately this was all lacking with the nachos at Big River; there wasn’t enough cheese, what was there was kind of flavourless, and we quickly ran out of condiments. When we asked for more salsa to finish them off, we were charged a dollar for small second portion.
Next time I wouldn’t go with the nachos – I’d head there on a Thursday night for a burger and fries (and an Extra Special Bitter if they’ll include it in the $18 special!) then head over to Silver City to watch a movie. Perhaps Ride Like Hell? It’s all big thrills, fast chases, and the perfect way to convince oneself never to become a bike courier.
And a big reminder as always – whether on a bike or in a car – never drink and drive!
Cash and cards accepted
Vegetarian options available