First of all, let me say that my wife and I deciding to drive up the Coquihalla on a short camping trip was one of the best decisions we made all summer. It was so nice and relaxing to pitch a tent, turn the phones off, and drink some beer and recharge! It’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of life, but often all we need is 24 or 48 hours away to really get ourselves energized again – but I digress. On our way back down from our camping trip we realized we would be going right by Mission Springs Brewing Company
, Ridge Brewing Company
, and Maple Meadows Brewing Company
. I must say, I am very happy with the stops we made!
First, Mission Springs. We weren’t sure what to expect but as we approached the building, we realized we were looking more at a brewpub than a tasting room. We had our dogs in the car, so we weren’t totally sure we were going to get a chance to go inside. (It was summer, so we couldn’t leave them in the car for obvious reasons!) So, I quickly popped in to check it out. To my surprise, they said I could bring the dogs out back and tie them up in the Volleyball Court – uh, the what? I heard right, around back there is a large volleyball court open for people to play in! Awesome! So, we settled down for a few beers, the servers brought a big bowl of water for the dogs and we were set. When I opened the menu, much to my surprise, I found not only Mission Springs’ lengthy tap-list available, but also beers from breweries like Canuck Empire amongst others. Honestly, if a brewpub is going to showcase other breweries beers, I am instantly a fan! The beer selection was awesome, the staff was friendly and knowledgable; in fact the staff even wore a CAMRA crest on their sleeves! Just an awesome experience all around.
After we left there, and collected the dogs, we stopped in at Maple Meadows. This is a small, subdued environment. If you are a fan of an intimate tasting room where the person that brews the beer is also the one pouring it and running the register, this is the place for you. Carlo Barrocio, the owner and brewer of Maple Meadows has done a great job of carving out a nice personal niche in the beer market. When I asked him who else worked there, he looked at me with a sly smile and said “just me!” You could see in his face he takes great care in his work – and it especially shows in his IPA, that was a sensational beer!
As we were getting ready to head out, we saw a sign across the street that said “Craft Beer.” Naturally, we drove over to check it out and found that a second brewery was in the same strip – Ridge Brewing Company. I must admit, before this trip I had never heard of Ridge. But by the time we left, I knew all about it, and I was loving it. We had the chance to sit down and chat with owner Carlos de Ibarrola. He is a very outgoing man, who loves beer, community and building an amazing experience for visitors. I asked Carlos what his goal for Ridge is, and he told me: “I wish to provide the best customer service possible and offer a unique experience to each customer that visits our brewery. For me it’s all about the beer, but first and foremost it’s about the people.” That philosophy shined through! He has surrounded himself with friendly and knowledgeable staff. They are encouraged to joke around, be themselves and really give a personalized customer experience!
After a while, sadly, it was time to go. As we were driving back to Vancouver, I thought to myself: I would never get out to these breweries under usual circumstances. Then it dawned on me, we could do a CAMRA members trip out here and that’s exactly what we are going to do! We are going to be bringing a bus out to the Mission/Maple Ridge area on September 27th
to visit these three breweries. Stopping in at Maple Meadows, Ridge and finally finishing up at Mission Springs. If you are a CAMRA Vancouver member, and are interested in joining our little day trip keep your eyes on your email inbox as we are going to be sending out a Members Only invite shortly! Not a member, but don’t want to miss out on the fun? Join up today by clicking here
. I look forward to seeing someone of you out with us as we hit up some good beer and some great times in the Valley!
CAMRA BC – Vancouver Branch President