CHEF CHRISTINE SANDFORD’S eclectic resumé includes everything from a stint as a butcher at Edmonton’s Acme Meat Market to a sojourn as a chef at Belgium’s legendary (and badly missed) In De Wulf. Now, she reigns over Biera. It joins a collective of local businesses, including Acme and upstart brewery Blind Enthusiasm, within the ultra-modern Ritchie Market building. Not far from scenester Whyte Avenue, Ritchie Market rests at a humble intersection in a cozy neighbourhood still snug with wartime bungalows. Calling Biera a brewpub would be correct yet extremely reductive, for here Belgian sensibilities shine. Tangy flammkuchen, the Germanic analogue to pizza, finds a nuanced sourdough crust made bounteous with sharp onions and snappy Maroilles cheese. Beef tartare edges into an otherworldly realm with a well-judged addition of smoked beef fat.Boudin noir, unapologetically rich, is brightened by its tangy accompaniment of apples sautéed with rosehip and oxalis. It isn’t all European, though. Chef Sandford’s charcoal grill brings a touch of campfire into Biera’s wood and stainless steel domain. Even bok choy benefits from a trip across the coals, rendered smoky, crisp and tender all at once. Do not skip the beer. Blind Enthusiasm’s towering brewing kettles and labyrinthine pipes are just on the other side of a glass wall and, thanks to the long-overdue relaxing of Edmonton’s Prohibition-era liquor laws, produce a quartet of immensely drinkable ales and lagers.
Tuesday to Friday
4:00 PM until 11:00 PM Saturday
1:00 PM until 11:00 PM