On first appearance Big Rig Brewery is a flashy sports bar. It has waitresses wearing short skirts and baseball socks, televisions tuned to non-stop sports and the jersey number of its prime, hockey playing, investor posted on the logo. If you can get over the baseball sock distraction, Big Rig is a functioning brewery fit with shiny brewing equipment, brewing schedule and capable Brew Master.
Big Rig offers five standard beers - Big Rig Gold, Rideau Red, Byward Brown, India Pale Ale and Stud Stout as well as a few seasonals (at the time) - Organic Raspberry Ale and Hefeweizen. Beer is available in several different formats; four 6 oz tasters for those experimenting with different styles, pints if you know what you want and gigantic table side taps if you're hosting a party. Growlers and six packs are also available if you'd like beer to go.
My favourite of the standards is the India Pale Ale (IPA). This golden beer has an aroma of citrus and floral hops and has a refreshing grapefruit taste with a hint of malt and wonderful bitterness. I had the opportunity to try the IPA on cask at the National Capital Craft Beer Week launch party and loved the intense hop flavour and the smoothness. The seasonals have been quite good; I particularly enjoyed the tartness of the Organic Raspberry Ale. I can't wait to see what future seasonals Brew Master Lon Ladell has in store for us - maybe more casks as well?
As much as I love the beer I don't love the food. The menu is a mixed bag offering everything from nachos piled high with pulled chicken to authentic Montreal-style pizza and even Beef Stroganoff. I tried the pizza on two occasions and found it disappointing - arriving burnt one time and soaking in its own juices the next. The Stout Float was a wonderful treat though, but at $6.95 it seems a little expensive for a scoop of ice cream and a short pour of stout.
I look forward to seeing what Big Rig and Brew Master Lon have in store for us. Although I may skip the pizza I will always order a pint.