We found an excuse to drive up the Sea to Sky highway and visit Squamish, thanks to my duties as this year’s Vancouver Foodster #ChickenWingsChallengeYVR judge.
From June 8th to July 3rd, my judge-ly duties has me visiting local restaurants and trying their chicken wings, in order to find the best amongst them all. Earning points based on Taste, Presentation, and Creativity. And today that stop was Back Country Brewing.
This local brewery is a hub for locals and visitors alike, offering their popular beer by the can or by the pint. We came early enough to be able to grab one of their tables and enjoy the buzz of the room. We were seated at one of their two tops, with a map of Alaska and the North West Territories as its backdrop. Just in front of their cabin facade feature with wooden shingles and siding. It added well to their outdoor theme, as part of Canada’s outdoor capital.
We started off with the task at hand, judging their Maple glazed wings, available all year round. These are brined chicken wings with Quebec maple syrup, white onion, crushed fresh ginger, green onion, and sesame. They tasted exactly as they looked, a salty and sweet pub-style wing that you eat with one hand, as you hold your beer stein in the another. You don’t get any ginger in this though, had I, it might have set it apart. Instead it was sticky syrup, a classic that felt familiar.
Since we were here, we had to try a few of their beers on tap, by way of flight. The following were chosen for their quirky names.The Bite your thumb at us sir lager, the Throw me a frickin bone pale ale, Cheap sunglasses IPA, and I Drink and I know things double IPA.
Fun to taste and try as a flight, but one of the features I appreciate most about Back Country is their can designs. As you can imagine, if the name of their beers are this whimsical, their can covers should and do match.
The newest one to catch my eye is the Everything is coming up Milhouse. A cartoon cover that mimicked the style of the iconic Simpsons, with a matching poster too boot. What a great souvenir for the travelling through crowd.
Backcountry is also known for their pizzas, so we had to try one. Having recently foraged some mushrooms in Squamish to turn into soup, I wanted to have more in their Forager pizza. A baked thin crust pizza with roasted crimini and oyster mushrooms, parmesan, mozzarella, truffled cream, and fresh kale. I appreciated the ability to make out and enjoy each chew of all the thick slices of various mushroom; it left you not missing meat. I just wished it had a lot more pronounced truffle flavour to volley off of. I also couldn’t make out any of the cream, which would have been nice to inject some moisture into the otherwise dryer pizza. Not to mention a little extra to dip all the excess crust into.
The Let There Be Carnage sounded exciting as a slightly spicy Chicken sandwich with Butter milk marinated Fried Chicken breast layered between two cheesy Bacon waffles;,2857 house made ranch, pickles, and a drizzle of Serrano caramel. Served with a side of thin and fries fries for nibbling.
This is an impressive looking sandwich, but hard to get a grip on with all the excess sauces being quick to pool and soak in. I also didn’t get much flavour out of the waffle, but there was plenty going on between the two slices that you didn’t notice. The small chicken patty was thick and juicy despite it being all white meat. I like all the flavours of this together, but could have use more acidity and tang. More pickles on the side woulf have done well.
I had to try their Mac and Cheese because it is made with their Widowmaker IPA. This is an oven baked pasta with three kinds of cheese: Oaxaca, white cheddar, and Danish gruyere. They go into a cheese sauce that also includes cheddar and their said IPA. All together everything is melted and mixed with serpentini noodles, and sprinkled over with a smoked bacon crust. This was pure comfort eating. Saucy spirals that pulled apart with strings of cheese. Plenty of saltiness from all the sharp cheeses, but easy to find more with the bacon bits, which also added a nice crunch to an otherwise mushy dish. Although I would have liked the sauce a little more velvety, to best highlight the tender noodles, instead of the slightly chalky texture they had here.
In short Backcountry is a must stop for anyone passing through Squamish, a great brewery for beer, a great bar for food, and the perfect shop for souvenirs. And if you check them out during the Vancouver Foodster Chicken Wing Challenge, on until July 3rd, be sure to try their creation and vote for your favourite as people’s choice winner with the link below. https://vancouverfoodster.com/chicken-wings-challenge/
405-1201 Commercial Way, Squamish, BC V8B 0R5