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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Meet Tariq Khan: Brewer at Big Ridge Brewing Co., Surrey, BC

Khan in San Francisco
Meet Tariq Khan, brewer at the Big Ridge Brewing Co. in Surrey, BC.

"Drink Fresh Beer" - Big Ridge is owned and operated by the Mark James Group who were established in 1976 and now has several other restaurant and brewery venues like Yaletown Brewing Co., Taylor's Crossing Restaurant & Brewery and the Brewhouse High Mountain Brewing Co. A native of Montreal, Khan has been the brewer at Big Ridge since 2008 after spending years working for breweries in the U.K., where he obtained his brewing education at the University of Sunderland.

Khan produces a number of styles for the regular line-up, including  rotating seasonals, one of which is named after him (Wrath of Khan Imperial Stout) and he is currently working on some new recipes that customers can soon try.

Meet Tariq Khan!

Where is the Big Ridge situated and what beers do you currently produce?
Big Ridge is situated in Surrey, B.C. Our present beer line-up is: Harvest Lager, Rodeo Red (pronounced Ro-dayo), Chimney Hill Wheat, Clover IPA, Old Sullivan Porter, and a seasonal which is currently "Wrath of Khan Imperial Stout".

Describe the history behind the brewery.
The Big Ridge Brewing Co. was opened in late 1999. We have recently re-located to a new location, (actually across the street in Spring 2010).

What is your best selling beer?
Our best selling beer is: Harvest Lager, however sales of IPA, Porter, and Seasonal have been steadily increasing over the years. We are developing our own beer scene here in the 'burbs', which is growing !

What's new at the brewery?
We currently have a new seasonal on tap - Wrath of Khan Imperial Stout (9%ABV). We also host a Brewmasters dinner every 2 months and a cask night every Friday at 4pm. This year Big Ridge won People's choice award at CAMRA Vancouver’s Fest of Ale – Spring Sessional on April 16th 2011 for it's "Pale Bitter" ale (3.6 %ABV)

Why did you get into the brewing industry and describe your passion for it.
I received, as a gift, a beer appreciation course that was taught at the University of Montreal. I had always been a fan of beer but at that time I was exploring the world of beer in much greater depth. I also got bitten by the homebrewing bug and soon developed a desire to go into professional brewing. I later (along with my girlfriend Trudy) packed up and moved to Sunderland, U.K. where I studied Brewing at Brewlab at the University of Sunderland. I spent another 5 1/2 years working for various breweries in the U.K. before deciding to move to B.C. and accepting the job as brewer for Big Ridge. My passion is an appreciation of the brewers art and a love of all beer styles.

What is the best aspect of working in the Canadian craft brewery industry?
The scene is constantly changing here in Canada and progressing. More and more people are getting into Craft beer. It's an exciting time to be a Canadian Craft brewer.

Where can someone find your products?
Big Ridge beer is mainly available at our brewpub on draft and cask. The only other location you can find our beer is The Alibi Room in the Gastown area in Vancouver.

Tell us something about Big Ridge that not a lot of people know about.
Big Ridge hosts a Brewmaster's dinner every 2nd month with a regular and Vegan menu. Big Ridge beers are unfiltered and vegan friendly(even cask)

What advantages do smaller breweries have over the big guys?
We have closer contact with the consumer especially in a brewpub, and we have more creativity especially when doing seasonals. Everyday there's something different to do in the brewery as well which keeps things interesting.

What is the highlight of your brewing career - to date?
Highlight: Coming up with new seasonals such as Belgian IPA and getting a great response from the beer/brewer community.

Name your favourite non Big Ridge produced beer?
Dieu Du Ciel "Corne Du Diable" (Horn of the Devil) IPA. Classic!

Best time for a pint?
Friday cask night after the brew day is over!

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