Given that NHLers haven’t received a cheque in the mail from game action since April, it helps to have the money you have made tied up in business ventures that keep the moolah rolling in during the dog days of October when they’re still not playing because of the lockout.

I don’t know about you folk, but as a big fan of beer being involved in a brewery would be a dream gig regardless of whether or not I play in the NHL someday (I won’t). It appears as though Chris Phillips — in what is probably an effort to stick it to me — has jumped on that, as he is the co-owner of the Big Rig Brewery in Ottawa. It is a brew pub. Golf clap.

Here’s Phillips talking about the project in a piece from the Senators earlier this summer:

Chris Phillips breaks into a hearty laugh when the question is served up to him.

“Who wouldn’t want one?” the Ottawa Senators veteran blueliner asked in response to a query about seeing his name most prominently associated with a new brewpub opening in the city’s west end. “I guess that’s the best way to (answer) that.

“Being Canadian and growing up drinking beer, I guess, you hear everyone talking about it and people have tried making it in their basement or garages. Now to have a beer named after me and be a part of the process … it’s just very cool.”

When Big Rig Kitchen and Brewery opens its doors at 2750A Iris Street (near Greenbank) on Tuesday at 11 a.m., patrons will surely notice right away that it is anything but your average sports bar. And that’s precisely the way Phillips — whose ‘Big Rig’ nickname pays homage to his roots in the Alberta oil town of Fort McMurray — and his partners want it.

“A little bit, but not overbearing,” Phillips said when asked how much of his hockey career you’ll see at Big Rig Brewery. “I don’t want to call it a sports bar. It won’t be that. If you looked around a little bit, I think you’d figure out who is a part of it. You’ll see a few things on the menu and a little bit of stuff on the wall. But the biggest thing is everything is called Big Rig.”

Now, without coming off as too much of a giddy schoolgirl, this place looks pretty badass and I’ve heard nothing but positive talk from friends/acquaintances/mortal enemies in Ottawa who have made it out there. All in all it sounds like a good time. There are also rumors of taps at tables — confirmed by photo evidence below — which have gas station-esque meters to track how much you have… ordered. This is absolutely killer — both in a slang way and a ‘your wallet’ way.

Here are some shots of the place:

The coolest part? All of the beverages (read: beer) are brewed in-house as part of the Big Rig brand. Just totally awesome in every way.

So, if you’re looking for a place in the Ottawa region to watch sports (read: not hockey) during the days which are approaching, I would encourage you to check out Chris Phillips’ new digs during the lockout and keep Ontario breweries pumping out the good stuff. You could run into him there as well, which would be a mildly amusing bar anecdote for the future and has Facebook picture potential.

The above call to action does not apply to Leafs fans who should seek entertainment elsewhere. By going to an establishment such as Real Sports (Ottawa location coming this fall), you help pay for the Colby Armstrongs and Darcy Tuckers of the world despite the fact they are either playing for Montreal or retired.

It’s an ugly job, but someone has to do it. Just don’t expect the Leafs to. Some things must be left to professionals.