Beer. It conjures up images of backyard barbeques, capricious dixie cups filled with the frothy refreshment at a game, discomfiting St. Patrick’s Day memories and unwinding on the couch with a great sipper. It’s both pizza’s and burgers’ loyal companion, second to none when it comes to thirst quenching abilities and so much more. Beer’s importance in our daily life is no accident – it is one of the most popular libations in human history. In fact, some of the earliest known writings from ancient Babylon and Mesopotamia refer to the production and distribution of the sudsy potable. Beer has evolved over the centuries and today, you’d be hard pressed to find a city that isn’t jumping on the brewing bandwagon and here in Victoria, it’s no different. Victoria brewing is all about being accessible, understandable, fun and of course, delicious.
We’re kicking off our brewery tour in the beautiful city of Sooke on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island. This little city on the edge of the Pacific is small, stunning and a hidden gem for local craftsmanship. Sooke Oceanside Brewery is the brainchild of owner Ryan Orr, who was dedicated to bringing his passion for great craft beer to the little city of Sooke. Sooke Oceanfront Brewery or S.O.B as the cheeky crew call it, is home to award winning brews, fun staff and is a great place to visit if you’re a fellow enthusiast or happen to be staying close by at Pacific Coast Beach House or Arbutus Hill.
Victoria is BC’s beautiful capital city perched at the southernmost point of Vancouver Island. Victoria has struck the perfect balance of history and modernity and it’s here that you can find colourful historical buildings and sites interspersed with forward thinking fashion, culture and food. It’s no wonder that Victoria is the epicenter for craft brewing on Vancouver Island and the breweries here are always pushing the envelope. So if you’re lucky enough to be staying downtown at the Corazon, Monaco Living, Ironworks Living, Wave 9, the Reef Executive Condo or even the Beacon Hill View Condo these incredible downtown breweries are a walk away!
If you’re looking for an incredible meal, a great patio and friendly staff all overlooking a waterway then your best bet is Canoe Brew Pub on famous Wharf St. right at the bottom of Chinatown in Victoria. Not only does Canoe have incredible menus all day and seating for every occasion but they also happen to have been brewing craft beers for Victorians for over twenty years! Don’t let the elegantly modern dining rooms fool you, Canoe is a hardworking brewery and if you’re in the area it’s the perfect place to sample some local craft beer staples.
We all need a little whimsy in our lives and when it’s paired with great beer, it’s an all around win. Phillips Brewing is the place to go for those who are young at heart and passionate about beer. From humble beginnings, a few self-styled beer nerds teamed up to create beers that are now staples in craft beer all across BC.
For nearly 40 years, Vancouver Island Brewery has been producing and distributing amazing craft beers on Vancouver Island. This long-standing brewery helped pioneer the craft beer culture on Vancouver Island and is still making waves with their innovation and commitment to the environment.
There are a lot of amazing breweries but what makes Hoyne Brewing Co. a little different is their commitment to their Values First approach to their brewery. Hoyne not only makes excellent craft beer but they are dedicated to serving their community. Every month, Hoyne showcases an important charity in the community and a portion of all growler sales go to the charity. If you needed a reason to drink delicious beer, now you have one!
If you’re a true connoisseur and looking for something different and exciting, île Sauvage is the place to go. Specializing in Begian style wild ale and sour beers, a process that uses wild yeast or bacteria for fermentation and secondary fruit fermentation, this little brewery is turning out some really surprising and delicious libations.
Victoria and the Saanich Peninsula
Whether you’re ready to explore more breweries outside of downtown or just want to stop by while you’re out on an adventure these breweries are worth the trip.
An easy drive from Camden Green Mews in the little township of Esquimalt is Driftwood Brewery. Driftwood’s story only began in 2008 and today, they are arguably one of the most ubiquitous brands of beer in BC. But don’t let their popularity fool you! They are dedicated to creating stunning suds whether it’s their core beers you can find all year ‘round or the ever changing line-up of seasonal brews, Driftwood beer is always refreshing, complex, high quality and of course, delicious.
For a taste of Scotland right here in BC, you have to visit Twa Dogs Brewery. This unique brewery is actually a part of Macaloney’s Caledonian Distillery which produces some incredible whiskey made using traditional techniques by Scots – you can’t get much more authentic unless you actually are in Scotland! At Twa Dogs, the traditional methods continue by combining the focus on quality and craftsmanship of West Coast craft beer and the rich, unfiltered session beers of Scotland to create truly unique, flavourful craft beer. Guests of Prospect Lake are in luck because this gem of a brewery is only 10 minutes away!
Up at the top of the beautiful Saanich Peninsula you’ll find the tiny or pico Howl Brewery. This unique little brewery is focused on producing high quality, small batch brews, experimenting with obsolete beer styles, connecting with local farms and passionately educating their visitors about their processes. So whether you are staying at one of the beautiful homes like the Patricia Bay Beach House or the stunning Heron’s Landing or if you’re just touring the top of the peninsula for the day, this sweet little brewery is worth stopping for.