R&B Brewing Co. is located in the heart of East Vancouver and was founded in 1997 by craft beer pioneers Rick Dellow and Barry Benson (‘R’ & ‘B’, respectively). Their vision back then was to create a brand of hand crafted ales and lagers that would stand in opposition to the big, corporate beer giants that we’re all quite familiar with. Since then and especially in recent years, the craft beer movement in B.C. has really taken off in a big way with dozens of local micro craft breweries opening up to the consumer market.
As a big craft beer fan, I was thrilled to attend the launch of R&B Brewing’s Chef Series at Upstairs at Campagnolo last week. It is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between head brewer Todd Graham and a select group of some of Vancouver’s most acclaimed and celebrated chefs. In partnership, they have created a series of great beers and paired dishes with complementary flavours.
Left to right: Brian Skinner (The Acorn), Robert Belcham (Campagnolo), Todd Graham (R&B Brewing head brewer), Andrea Carlson (Burdock & Co.), and Chris Whittaker (Forage). Not shown is Owen Lightly (Butter on the Endive), who unfortunately succumbed to cancer and passed away this past week. Our hearts are heavy and our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his loved ones.
The first beer in this series to be released is the Nettle, Mint & Ginger, by chef Chris Whittaker (Forage). It is a light summer ale made from locally harvested nettle, organic mint, and fresh ginger root. As someone who is quite fond of ginger beer, I found this one to be quite enjoyable. The hint of ginger was sufficient, but not overpowering.
This beer is sold by the case of 12 for $6.15 per 650 ml bottles, and is now available for a limited time at the following private liquor stores and restaurants:
Left: Brian Skinner (The Acorn) talks about his Spruce Tip Ale and his inspiration behind this summery pale ale. Right: Skinner paired his beer with deep-fried cauliflower balls served with juniper aioli. In my opinion, you can never go wrong pairing beers with deep fried foods.
Left: Chef Carlson paired her Burdock and Sunchoke Saison with this salad (Hazelnut gomae, fiddleheads, pea tips, kale tips and hop shoots). The beer is made from organic burdock root and sunchokes, which gave it a very unique and earthy taste. Right: This dish was Chef Lightly’s recipe, but it was prepared by Campagnolo. Delicious sablefish croquettes with yuzu mayo and seaweed foraged from Gabriola Island. Although we didn’t get to sample Lightly’s beer, we’ve been told that it is still scheduled to be released (date TBA).
I really enjoyed Chef Belcham’s Burnt Orange Bitter. It is a black ESB (extra strong bitter) beer with a smooth smoky finish with a hint of charcoal flavour. I think this makes for a perfect BBQ beer, and its arrival is quite timely with summer just around the corner.
All of these beers will be released one at a time approximately 6 weeks apart. For more information on this chef series, release dates, and the brewery, please visit their website.