Perched on the northern edge of the Fraser River next to the train tracks on River Road sits one of Maple Ridge’s most beloved brewpubs: The Billy Miner Café & Alehouse. With a building over 100 years old, the pub resembles the early-century, main-street commercial style in a way that’s truly authentic. Known for its old-time hospitality and rumbling freight engines, you’ll feel yourself transported back to the time of railway outlaws.
In this article, we’ll break down the storied past of the Billy Miner Alehouse. We’ll also highlight some of the craft beer and delicious menu items that have enabled the pub to live on and bask in its legacy.
The Story of Billy Miner
The Billy Miner Café & Alehouse owes its namesake to one of the town’s most interesting figures. Billy Miner was known as the ‘Gentleman Bandit’, being one of the town’s last old-time outlaws around the turn of the century. It’s said the Billy Miner targeted only the large, menacing and unpopular companies like the Canadian Pacific Railway with his daring train heists. It was just like in the movies. But Billy Miner always left the everyday town folk alone, avoiding unnecessary violence and conducting himself in a polite manner. It was this reputation of his that causes the townspeople to protest his arrest in Kamloops one day.
The History of the Alehouse
The physical building that the Billy Miner Café & Alehouse is home to today has a storied past of its own, serving many uses over the decades. Originally built as the Bank of Montreal’s third location, it narrowly survived a fire in 1932 that ended up wiping out most businesses in the area. Those businesses were forced to relocate, and the Bank of Montreal followed them. During the roughly 40 years that followed, the building housed World War 2 veterans and new families before eventually being left to collect dust.
In 1973, Don and Bernice Gehring came to save the deteriorating building with no cement foundation and a laundry list of issues. After a long eight years of renovations and upgrades handled by Don himself, the Billy Miner Pub was opened in 1981. The family owned and operated the pub themselves until 2002 before selling to another party. The pub was sold again in 2009 and became what we know today as the Billy Miner Alehouse. In an effort to preserve the neighbourhood’s legacy, the pub earned the esteemed protection of the Heritage Act of British Columbia in 2011.
The Craft Beer
Regardless of how dazzling or inspiring the history of a pub may be, its probably for nothing without good quality beer. Billy Miner knows that, equipped with one of the most impressive tap lists around. They’ve got 5 mainstays that tend to stick around month-to-month, which include:
- Original 16 Pale Ale
- Blue Buck Pale Ale
- Innis & Gunn Scottish Ale
- Fat Tug IPA
The pub also boasts an impressive list of 11 house beers from nearby Mission Springs Brewery, which include classics plus some more innovative beers like the Orange Creamsicle Wheat Ale, Cherry Vanilla Tart Ale, and Blackberry Radler.
Aside from the mainstays and house beers, Billy Miner is home to an extensive selection of ever-changing taps from local breweries. You’ll have to come see for yourself (hint: beers are $1 off on Thursdays)! And if beer isn’t your thing, not to worry – there are plenty of cider and cooler options available.
The Billy Miner Café got its start as the Mary Berry Charlton Storey over a hundred years ago, which Mary owned and operated along with her husband. A storied entrepreneur of the time, Mary was also president of the Haney Women’s Institute. When you walk into the Billy Miner Café, you’ll feel the history of care and attention that have spanned many decades.
The sweet-smelling Café is also home to some of the most delectable goodies you can find around town. The wood oven churns out hot and fresh pizzas, while the bakery lines up rows of mouth-watering squares, scones, cookies and cakes. And there are gluten-free options!
If you’re a local of Maple Ridge, you’re already well aware of the belly-warming craft beer and delicious pub eats in store at Billy Miner. You’re also familiar with the storied history, and the powerful feelings that emerge while hanging around the old buildings, train tracks and river. But if you’re visiting – you’re in for a real surprise. The Billy Miner Alehouse is as authentic as they come.