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Category: Squamish

Backcountry Brewing, #pizzachallengeyvr

Today the weather was beautiful, the skies were blue and the sun was shining. Ideal conditions for a nice cruise up the Sea to Sky highway. And since we would be driving to it, this was also as good of a time as any to stop at Squamish for lunch. Squamish, home of the town’s only brewery, “Backcountry” and their tasting room with full bar and pizza kitchen. It was also the next stop on my Vancouver Foodster #pizzachallengeyvr tour, with me playing the role of one of the three judges.

And this Easter long weekend the neighbourhood too decided to come out to “Backcountry Brewing” for a pint and a pie. Luckily, we were able to grab the tail end of a share style table, without any wait. You order your drinks and your meal at the bar, the former you take with you back to your seat, the latter gets brought out to you.

But many more visitors came in to purchase beers in bulk. Their full assortment was available for grab and go in refrigerator units, you also had the option to buy a grower and fill it from their taps. And to complete the experience, you can drink your “Backcountry” beer out of one of their branded glasses, while wearing their outdoor lifestyle merch. All also available for purchase.

Naturally, we had to start our meal with said beers. Especially considering this is a brewery, and that you can see the tanks from any seat in their open dining area.

My guest had the “Ridge runner Pilsner” for a nice crisp drink.

I will always opt for a flight, to be able to taste more in one go. I choose the following based on their names. Each more and more fun as I moved along. The “I’ll have what she is having” is a peach, boysenberry, and mango sour that actually isn’t all that sour. The “Dead of night galaxy IPA” uses galaxy hops exclusively, for a lighter and fruiter brew. “Everything is coming up Milhouse” is the West coast version of their popular “Widow Maker” beer, but crisper and lighter. And the “Really really ridiculous looking” is new on tap, a lighter and fruitier lager that ended up being my favourite of the afternoon. Each brew I tasted was just as good as the next, each unique, each delicious. They weren’t overwhelming, but easy to drink.

When it came to food, first came the pizza I was sent here to try. “I pity the falafool”, a vegetarian pizza that catered to Squamish’s plant-based eating. Tahini, feta, falafel, halloumi, yogurt, and mint. This was the only vegetarian entry for this year’s competition. I have never had a pizza like this before, and it lived up to its name and the expectations you had reading it. You absolutely got the promised flavour a falafel. It ate like a whole other meal, making it a great vegetarian offering that didn’t have it feeling like you were missing anything. It was also just as complex as any other meat-happy pies on the menu. It had an all encompassing Mediterranean feel, that I would be happy with the next time I am craving the distinct flavour of a falafel.

We also tried their Margherita pizza, wanting a base pizza flavour that we are familiar, and could use to gauge the quality of the pizzas coming out of their kitchen. The crust was beautifully baked with plenty of air bubbles and crispy blackened bits. It checked off all the boxes. Where it lacked was in the depth of the sauce. It was a little two sweet for my taste, whereas I would have liked more seasoning and a lot more fior di latte cheese. Therefore I suggest getting one of their specialty pizzas that they do so well, instead.

Like the “Wake-N-Bacon 3.0”. Maple garlic cream, roasted potato, guanciale, mozzarella, oven cured tomato, and a sunny side up egg. A delicious assembly altogether, but it was really the maple syrup that made all the difference. This was also the chef’s favourite pizza, and a popular brunch option. Salty, sweet, and savoury all rolled into one. My only critique is I wanted more runny egg to go around, only one slice and one person gets to have egg.

We also tried their new “Galaxy Pastrami Sandwich”. The pastrami is brined in their Galaxy IPA, hence the name. It is stacked between two thick slices of herbed focaccia, along with gruyere cheese and a mustard vinaigrette slaw. Served with a side of regular chips, and their in-house made beer pickles. It was a thick and delicious looking sandwich, but a little too dry for my tastes. I was left craving a creamy sauce, more mayonnaise, or even a gravy dip to dunk the sandwich into for moisture. The sides offered a change of taste and texture and helped in getting this down. I liked the pickles the most, but would have liked them sweeter for a better contrast. I did like the meat as is, they were quality you can taste. Similarly the crispy toasted bread would have been great as is with a slather of salted butter.

For some spice in any of the above, each seating had a bottle of their beer infused “Backcountry Brewing” hot sauce. It is prepared locally using their “Ridge Runner Pilsner”. Like their beers it gives you want you expect, without being overpowering.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
A great spot to stop at when in Squamish great pizzas and beers coming together for a delicious lunch or brunch. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

BACKCOUNTRY
405-1201 Commercial Way, Squamish BC, V8B 0R5
604-567-2739
backcountrybrewing.com

 

 

To learn more about the Vancouver Foodster Pizza Challenge, visit the link. And then try all the competitors to vote for your favourite.

Pizza Challenge

BackCountry Brewing

I was invited on a two day trip to Whistler as part of the “HandleBar” experience. A show and tell of what is just slightly North of us. Hosted by “Handlebar” bar, as they go about on their mission to make #MakeApresGreatAgain. Their goal is to show Vancouverites a more local experience of Whistler; with a tour of a brewery where the locals drink, happy hour at a bar where the locals eat, and a hotel to spend the night in when they need a room in the middle of Whistler Village.

So myself and a handful of other bloggers and influencers got into a bus and headed off on our road trip. To watch the video review of this please visit my YouTube channel: MaggiMei.

 

But for the more detailed account of the event, please continue reading. This recap will be divided into three parts, to give individual highlight to the three stops we visited. “Backcountry”, “Summit Lodge”, and “HandleBar”.

The first stop was at Squamish to visit “Backcountry Brewing”, located in an industrial part of Squamish. I don’t think I would have ever known about this place if not for this tour stop.

The front of house had a nice cabin theme to it. Wood log wallpaper and a mural of the sun setting in shadowy woods made for the perfect backdrop. A backdrop that best showcased “Backcountry’s” line of beer and other branded merchandise.

This theme was consistent from the front desk all the way to their dining area set up with picnic tables. The picnic tables were lined up like a long table, they stood facing a facade of a house with green windows and green shingles. A few of the other tables in front of it were topped with laminated cartography. But before we could sit and enjoy this scene, we were treated to a tour of the brewery back of house operations just behind it.

This tour began with a tasting of the grains that go into naming their beer, noting that Squamish water is pretty well treated so they don’t really have to do anything else to it.

As we crept deeper, their stainless steel equipment grew taller. We visited the “Barley” which was like a large vat of porridge steeping tea. The “Laterton” was used to filter and clarify the beer before its boiling. And there was a perforated screen, were a hose attaches to the bottom, for the beer to be recirculated… It was all very informative, but hard to regurgitate now. Instead, I invite you to visit them for yourself and take the tour, as this was definitely one of the more interactive brewery tours I have been on.

After ending our tour at their bottle and kegging conveyor belt, we were then ushered back to the dining area. Here we gathered as a large group, spread across the picnic tables. And began a light lunch with a flight each, presented on their branded paddle. From right to left: “Rest in peach” is a peach sour made using the same bacteria that is in yogurt for that iconic tart tang at 5.3%. This wasn’t my favourite as I don’t prefer sour brews. The “Ridge runner pilsner” was the one I preferred most. It wasn’t super hoppy, instead super clean and easy to drink at 5%. The “Trail breaker pale ale” was hoppy and fruity without being bitter, it is also listed at 5%. And “Window maker” runs at 6.7%, it is a Boston-style fruit forward beer, described as being “Crushable”.

With it we were given a taste of their “Backcountry” menu. A listing of appies and salads, and over eight different types of thin crust pizza.

The “Anti pasti” platter was an assortment of cured meats, cheese, roasted vegetable; and bread from their neighbours, one shop down at “Tall tree” bakery. The latter was hearty and fragrant with a good gritty chew, making it a great base for the saltier meats, tangy pickles, and herbed pepper.

Their “Squash salad” is a seasonal offering bringing to together tender cubes of perfectly prepared squash, with crisp kale, sharp cheese, and crunchy pumpkin seeds; all tossed together in a lemon vinaigrette for a fresh green salad.

But their pizzas are what has the locals coming in, and is what is recommended that you pair their beers with. Each is prepared by hand in house.

The “Margarita pizza” used fior di latte, fresh basil, and San Marzano tomato sauce for a clean, simple, and delicious pie.

The “Forger pizza” featured roasted crimini and oyster mushroom, kale, parmigiana grana padano, and truffled cream. This was my favourite with all its depth. Earthy mushroom, peppery greens, and that tangy cream.

The “Prosciutto pizza” used San Daniel prosciutto, roasted red pepper, arugula, chilli, and tomato sauce. This is the one for those who like a spicier sauce with more punchier flavours.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
A great stop when in Squamish, and now that I know about it, a unique place I would recommend for a great beer and some uncomplicated food. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

BACKCOUNTRY
405-1201 Commercial Way, Squamish BC, V8B 0V1
604-567-2739
backcountrybrewing.com
Backcountry Brewing Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mag’s 99 Fried Chicken and Mexican Cantina

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Two years since our first visit, and this is still one of my favourite restaurants to recommend. Great food, at a great price, and at a unique destination to boot. One that requires a drive to get to, but the scenic view to is just another perk.

Today we stopped because we usually do when we’re on the sea to sky highway. But today’s visit would be slightly different. They had a new menu that was launched the day before, a fact they proudly advertised on their roadside sign. A surprise I was more than happy to indulge in, and write about in this post. They otherwise typically reserve the sigh post for funny quotes that attracts a smile and a second look. Although their bright yellow building with red awning attracts a lot of attention on its own, and is fairly hard to miss.

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For those looking just to drive by, they also welcome people in with a take out window. It literally welcomes you with some creative blue and white graffiti, in a Mexican twist. Looking at my photos now, I may also like the place for its similarly with my name.

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The interior was the same as it was two years ago, more yellow and red trim and columns. Red tables with white chairs meet yellow walls. They had Mexican paper decorations hung around, giving the place more colour. The strings of them and the cork board collection of skull illustrations and Wu Tang clan symbols, offered some visual interest; a rainbow tapestry for the eyes. The washrooms were as funky, spray and painted with Lucha libre wrestlers and one such mask on a nun.

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You order right as you walk in, a line of weaving metal awaits you. I have never seen them not busy, with at least a couple in line and a few more at the cluster of tables on either ends of the room. It is quite the fast food setting. A very unique format that has a series of booths and counter tops, as an island centring the room, with tables scattered around it.

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But I digress, we were here to check out the figuratively and literal new menu. Not only was the menu redone, but it was redone with new graphics. This one had everything the old one did, but more of it. More possible variations, more entree options. Another filling for the taco, more choices for vegetarians, and even more poutine possibilities. There was even meal size variations and gluten free solutions. And a fully flushed out kids menu. Gluten free masala bowls and pan fried masala cakes, just to name a few of the more exotic add-on’s

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I went for the “pambazo” as it sounded the most unique. My selection was affirmed when the clerk got excited by my request. He assured me that it was “so good”. It is also known as “the drunken sandwich”, a Portuguese bun dunked in a guajillo pepper sauce. Which is then pan fried and stuffed with either chorizo potatoes or Mexican falafel, Jack cheese, and pickled slaw. I went for the meat and potatoes filling. It wasn’t soggy like you’d imagined anything dunked in a watery sauce would be. Having it pan fried allowed it to keep some of its crusty crunch and bready chew. The chorizo gave it some peppery spice and the slaw offered a contrasting tanginess. The bread became a sponge, soaking up the flavour of the tomato based sauce. It and the potatoes were that filling and satisfying starch, that wrap up everything else. As good as the initial bites were, mid way through I wanted something lighter, to change the taste. A side of salsa or some sour cream would have helped. Luckily we ordered a few other things to help break the taste.

I didn’t get the fish tacos I wanted to try, as they were sold out of fish today. But we had more than enough food when my partner got his regular favourites.

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The two piece chicken snack pack with regular fries. There was the option to upgrade it to mexi fries or a poutine, but with all the flavours going on, we were more than happy with the plain fries and ketchup. Through our numerous encounters with this dish, we can say with much certainty that the chicken is inconsistent. Sometimes we get more chicken and larger pieces. One time we got four pieces in a three pack, because one was on the smaller side. And other times, like today, we get a small wing with overlooked meat. Though the thigh piece was delicious. Juicy tender meat with a crispy battered skin. A flavour and texture we have grown to expect from “Mag’s”, and come here to get.

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I turned my partner on to the “chimichanga loco”, and since then it is his must order every time we visit. And since this meal, he has craved it thrice this week. It is a large flour tortilla filled with your choice of meat or vegetable option, Spanish corn rice, pico de gallo, Jack cheese, and Baja sauce in a chipotle cream sauce. He went for red chilli beef which is a dry rubbed inside round, slow cooked in a red pepper and habanero tomato sauce. After one bite, he often declares it “an explosion of flavours”, the classic and delicious Mexican tomato and cream flavour he regularly craves.

Of note, along with the regular taco ground beef, and shredded ancho pork options for this and the burritos; they now also offered rotisserie chicken, and chorizo and potatoes tossed in peppers and onion as your main filling. They also had a Mexican falafel along with the roasted red and green pepper with refried bean option for the vegetarians out there.

They were busy enough that they hired an employee just to bus the tables and keep the dining area tidy. He was great at assisting patron in getting items like take out boxes and napkins, and making everyone feel welcomed. So accommodating that, when we got up to place our used and empty dishes in the designated place, he jumped at the ability to help us with the task.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
We make the drive out here often, if not at least once a month. And now that they have a new menu, that won’t be stopping soon. I mean I have already written about this place three times now, and the second was only during the first month of the year. I will keep trying new things on their menu, and working my way through the lot. And my partner will keep getting his usual order. I look forward to trying the fish tacos, and maybe not eating myself full, so that I can try some of their new homemade ice cream. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

MAG’S 99
1584 Hwy 99, Squamish BC
604-898-9843
Mag's 99 Fried Chicken and Mexican Cantina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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