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Black Kettle Brewing food truck adds to beer–friendly vibe

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Black Kettle
Black Kettle's owner Bryan Lockhart (right) and Tom Sharpe show off some the brewery's pub grub they serve out of their food truck.

Roasted turkey with sage and gingerbread stuffing, salsify and cranberry pot de crème. Butter poached halibut with candied bacon Brussels sprouts and truffled celery root puree. Caramelized chestnut mousse with noisette streusel.

We’re in the thick of holiday meals and as this article drops, the eggnog-fueled mania of the season will have reached fever pitch. Everywhere I turn, it’s “holiday entertaining ideas” and “last minute gifts to put a smile on their faces.”

I’ve already tuned out, if I’m being honest, and am looking forward to the ordinary days of January. And so it was that in the spirit of minor, personal rebellion, while friends and family were heading out for one celebratory meal or another, I headed down to Black Kettle Brewing Company for a pint.

I have always appreciated the vibe of Black Kettle; it’s a straightforward, functional brewery that has dedicated some space to sit and enjoy the brewer’s wares. There is also an appealing symbolism to its location, across the railroad tracks where Bewicke Avenue approaches its Northern conclusion, where one literally must cross over a physical barrier to access the destination, leaving behind the bustle of a more populous part of town for a quieter, more industrially-minded area. Situated where it is, Black Kettle affords patrons a singularly focused experience; one visits the brewery with intention and little distraction.

In recent times, Black Kettle has added a food offering to their repertoire. A dedicated food truck sits outside the main doors of the brewery, offering up simple but very well thought out, beer-friendly dishes that are reasonably priced. Black Kettle gave me a perfect Saturday evening escape, a stripped–down dining experience that was the antidote to Christmas fervor.

The brewery was hopping when I showed up, mainly populated by groups of four to six indulging in tasting flights. I passed the food truck on my way in, two-litre growler in hand, and spotted a great looking sandwich being brought inside. At the service bar, I ordered a pint of Kentucky Common Ale, a growler fill of Black IPA to take home, and a dinner of Miso Poutine and a New York Style Hotdog. The menu also included onion rings, a vegan sandwich (the one I had spotted) made with avocado, Roma tomatoes, cucumber and Kosher salt on a homemade bun with a side of fries, baby back ribs in housemade BBQ sauce with coleslaw, deep fried pickles, “Dinosaur Drumsticks” (extra large chicken drumsticks in buffalo sriracha sauce) and a handful of other light meal items.

As I sat down to sip my beer and await my food, a chatty patron from the bar engaged me in a conversation about The Godfather films. He had taken a pause midway through the second film to grab a bite and a beer, and he explained that it was his first time watching the series. He sensed a foreboding note in the second film and, without giving too much away, I told him he had one of contemporary western film’s most shocking, heartbreaking moments to look forward to (“I know it was you, Fredo”).  It was the sort of spontaneous banter that I relish when I dine on my own and in no time, it seemed, my meal was set down in front of me, piping hot and colourful.

The miso poutine was a clever take on a French Canadian classic. Long, crispy fries were covered in melted, small-bead cheese curds from Salt Spring Island and topped with a generous helping of fragrant miso gravy with a sprinkling of coarsely chopped scallion. The gravy had just enough miso to make the rich and round, faintly pungent bean paste identifiable, but without being overwhelmingly salty, a common trapping of the ingredient. The hotdog was, plainly put, surprisingly delicious. A super fresh, dense bun was topped with a generous portion of deeply caramelized onions (cooked in Black Kettle’s Kentucky Common Ale), a strip of extra crispy, thick-cut bacon, a juicy sausage and a drizzle of ketchup (which I never put on a hotdog myself) and ballpark mustard. For a $6 dog, it was pure magic and the perfect accompaniment to the Kentucky Common, a nuanced beer made with corn, rye and barley with just the right balance of hoppy bitterness and malty weight. Kentucky Common is considered one of the few indigenously American beer styles and has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in the wake of the meteoric rise of the craft brewing scene.

The Black IPA, my consistent favourite beer from this brewery, packs a potent punch at 6.5 per cent ABV and 70 IBU (bitterness rating). It is a sipping beer, in my opinion, rather than a food beer, and makes nice pint to hunker down with on a cold, wet day.

My meal and growler fill were $35 before gratuity.

Black Kettle Brewing is located at 720 Copping St. in North Vancouver. 604–987–9989.


Lower Lonsdale can expect the imminent opening of a growing seafood franchise group, The Captain’s Boil. Despite its frankly off-putting name (it sounds like the skipper needs minor medical attention) the restaurant boasts a tasty–sounding food concept in which patrons get to select their seafood of choice (I’ll be curious to see if the signature crawfish make their way to North Vancouver), preferred flavourings and seasonings, spice level and sides. The Cajun-themed group is popular in Ontario and has a smattering of Vancouver locations presently (