It’s Dineout time in Vancouver again. Dineout Vancouver is a local tourism event where restaurants in these parts offer a three course menu at set rates, either $18, $28, or $38 for an appetizer, main, and dessert. I believe it was conceived to promote local dining in the doldrums of January, which I imagine is not a busy time for culinary institutions otherwise. For me, Dineout means heading to one or two of Vancouver’s top restaurants (by top I mean most expensive) for a dinner I couldn’t otherwise justify, affordability wise. This year I set out to make note of the beer on offer by these upper crust restaurants. I’ve often found that wine gets much more fanfare at “fancy” establishments and is often recommended in pairing with the food on offer. Why then does beer, an equally complex and satisfying beverage, not get the same amount of love?
I was very pleased to find that both restaurants I visited this year offered local craft brew on tap. However, the beer selections were dwarfed by the wine lists. The Blue Water Cafe boasts an epic 56 page wine list that requires a solid hour to study in full. We were actually seated in the wine room, which was lined wall to wall with excellent wines of varying varietal and vintage. The beer menu consisted of only:
- R&B Pale Ale (on tap)
- R&B Lager (on tap)
- Innis & Gunn (bottle)
- Asahi (bottle)
- Sleemans Honey Brown Lager (bottle)
- Stella Artois (bottle)
To be honest, it was a better selection than I expected, but only three of the six brews available I would consider craft. It was great that they had local R&B on tap and the excellent Innis & Gunn available in bottles. I just don’t understand how a restaurant that prides itself on the finest cuisine and matching that cuisine with the perfect wine would neglect the art of beer pairing.
I was also able to visit C Restaurant, which, like Blue Water, also boasted a huge wine list, just under thirty pages in length. Their beer offerings included only Lighthosue Lager, IPA, and Race Rocks Amber. I do enjoy Lighthouse beer and I appreciate that it is craft brewed and relatively local. But again, why the huge emphasis on wine, while beer is largely ignored?
I must say that both of the meals I had were delightful and very tasty. I had a great time at both restaurants. Still, it confounds me that restaurants who put such an emphasis on preparing great food made with local ingredients don’t take more of an interest in their beer, especially considering that more of the population drinks beer over wine, not to mention the growing abundance of local craft beer.
Sadly, I’m pretty sure these restaurants focus on wine because of the snobbery associated with viticulture. I mean, what “well regarded” restaurant doesn’t have an excellent wine selection? That being said, I hope that Vancouver’s restaurant scene gets wise to the great beer on offer hereabouts. I really believe they’ll be missing out otherwise.