PO Box 1395
2732 Dunsmuir Ave
Cumberland, BC V0R 1S0
To continue my promise of a Foodie Friday outside of Gastown, I bring you another location from Vancouver Island. As I mentioned in the last Foodie Friday at The Breakwater at Kingfisher Resort and Spa, we were on Vancouver Island a couple weeks back for a wedding. With limited time to explore, we opted to go to a highly recommended restaurant for brunch, and time permitting, try to get in a brewery visit. Fortunately for us we got to do both. Darren and I carry a copy of The Growler, a craft brewery handbook of British Columbia breweries, so that we always know our local craft brewery options no matter where we are. It turned about that Cumberland Brewing Company was only 15 minutes from brunch and with 2 hours to spare, we headed straight to the brewery.
I just felt that I should really take a moment and express how much we love this little handbook. We got our first copy when we moved here in December 2014 when The Growler came out with their first issue for free. It now cost $2.99 but is well worth every penny. It contains new breweries in every issue as well as updates on up and coming breweries all over the lower mainland and the island. I also love the fact that it has interesting pieces written about breweries, food pairings, and recipes for cooking with the brews. Highly recommend keeping a copy if you love craft beer as much as we do!
I loved everything about where Cumberland Brewing Company was located. It reminded me of a cool, grey, early fall days in the mountains of North Carolina, NC. The small town of Cumberland had mountains all around with houses and front patios, trucks and tailgates, wood fences for farms and yards, old red brick buildings and signs with chipped paint. There was nothing about Cumberland that didn’t remind me of small country mountain towns in NC. The best part of it all was being able to drive up to the brewery and park right outside without having to search for change to put in a parking meter. Oh the luxury!
Walking into the outside patio was like walking into a back yard party- tables lined up with patio furniture filled with groups of people enjoying the outdoors and their brews. I grabbed a seat while Darren got us drinks. Now, had we not just ate a big brunch I likely would have ordered my usual stout or porter but considering I had to put a dress and heels on for a wedding in 2 hrs I should have mentioned to Darren I’ll try anything but a dark beer. Well being a great husband that he is, and I mean this with all sincerity, he ordered me my usual favorite. So here is where I have to make myself clear. Because I have seen Darren brew a couple batches of beer at home, I am only mildly aware of how intense and difficult the job of a brew master at a micro brewery is. Therefore any craft beer will always be better than the mainstream beer. I acknowledge that there is a science to this art and it is not something you can just wake up and decide to put together one day.
I wish I could say that the Dancing Linebacker, an outmeal stout, met my expectations of a bold stout but unfortunately that was not the case. However, it did make it much easier to drink considering the circumstances of having had a big brunch prior to. I began enjoying dark beers when I had my first Guiness. I appreciate the deep flavors and full bodied weight of the beer making it a great leisure drink and many times the meal replacement that it was in college. Yet I felt the Dancing Linebacker was missing just a little something for my taste. That being said, I also started down the train of thought I always wander down when I’m at a microbrewery- what would this beer taste great with and great in. Because it didn’t have a powerful flavor of coffee, chocolate, or smokey malt, I began to wonder how well it would work as the braising liquid for beef short ribs.
Here’s what I think- when short ribs are seared, the maillard reaction creates a beautiful crust that only begins to introduce of all the rich flavors of the meat. This can really compete with and eventually be lost if cooked in a liquid with it’s own list of flavors. Because the Dancing Linebacker stout was on the mellower side of dark beers, I began to think that maybe short ribs would pair nicely with it. A reduced beer has so much complexity that, I believe, cannot be recreated any other way so if a beer has strong flavors of fruit, coffee, or chocolate, it will likely become very over powering. I found that because the stout at Cumberland Brewing Company did not have these strong flavors, it would only complement a seared short rib ready to be braised with aromatics. Just a thought but I think I’m going to have to try.
Although I left not completely impressed with the beer I had, I was really taken back at how amazing the food menu at Cumberland Brewing Company. From the pizza to hummus and the big sandwiches I saw coming out I was beginning to wish we could just stay and keep drinking until we got hungry again. The food looking nothing short of fantastic and the breeze blowing the aroma of the cooking mash around made it harder for us to leave when the time came.
As we headed out, we sampled Blackberry Ale that was on rotation at the time. Darren and I looked at each other and immediately regretted not packing one of our 4 empty growlers at home. So we did what was the only right thing to do…
We are now proud owners of 5 growlers. I think the our collection is now an addiction.