While Port Moody feels like a satellite of the brewery core in Vancouver, Maple Ridge is completely alien. But it’s not dissimilar to good breweries in less competitive towns, flourishing on a recipe of successful experimentation and laid-back ambiance.
They’ve found winners in their summery beers: the Berliner Weisse Pride Beer and grapefruit IPA driving us to raid their stock. Their other beers are no slouches either, but they’ve been smart (or lucky) to start with a great marque beer that’ll fix them positively in people’s memory (Pride Beer proceeds go to local LGBT charities). They’re not immune from duds, but they can be forgiven when it results from ambitious innovation, and they served enough on tap that was good during our research for us to be confident in their methods.
If you can get out to them (you’ll have to intend to – it’s not convenient unless you have a car in the Valley or live in Maple Ridge), the aggressively nondescript exterior opens to a roomy brewery that’s hospitable if relatively barren.
That being said, it’s easy to feel welcome when the owner turns up the electric keyboard for customers to play. It’s clear they want folks to enjoy their space, even if the design lacks vision. And for better or worse, its tasting room feels most integrated into the production facility than any other brewery: only a minor curb delineates the two portions (an errant hose, for example, would readily soak patrons).
It’s all on display at the unpretentious Ridge, which lends to the character: an earnestness that’s reflected in the beer.
Quality: 14.4/20 (15th)
Standout: 3.2/5 (22nd)
Diversity: 5.9/10 (21st)
Innovation: 3.2/5 (14th)
Experience: 7.4/10 (15th)
TOTAL: 34.17 (15th)