Craft Beer and Brewpubs

Out here on the Island, we love our craft beer. Victoria is no exception! It even plays host to its own Victoria Beer “Week” – a 9-day event (because a drinking week has 2 extra days) that supports and shows off BC craft beer and local artisan food. The event’s goal is to educate and satisfy visiting and local beer enthusiasts alike! If you’re a beer lover, take the time to try some of British Columbia’s finest beers from Victoria’s handful of micro-brewpubs and well-known breweries. The brewpubs also have many tasty eats and other drinks available to please the palette if beer isn’t to your liking (don’t worry, we’re not judging…). Take a look at the list below to pick out the ones you don’t want to miss!

Breweries and Tours:

Vancouver Island Brewery

VIB, one of the Island’s largest breweries, will take you behind the scenes to see first-hand how they create their award winning beers. They’ll even let you try them after so that you can receive the full experience of their beer-brewing passion. These $7, hour-long tours are an educational experience that will help you learn about the craft. Tours run every Friday and Saturday at 1:00pm and 3:00pm, so be sure to plan accordingly – you’ll even get to keep your glass as a souvenir! There is a maximum capacity of 30 people for the tours and spots fill in quickly so be sure to call ahead!

Photo By: Kelly Marion

Phillips Brewing and Malting Co.

Perhaps one of the best-known breweries on the Island (you’ve probably seen its Blue Buck Ale already), the Phillips is a passionate success story that anyone can appreciate, whether they love beer or not. Building its way up in 2001 from a windowless apartment with a single employee, the company now owns a soda company, distillery and the only malting facility in Canada. With a past like that, you know it’s gotta be good! Swing by the factory for a tour, where $6 will get you in to learn about the process, sample a glass or six from the tasting bar and have a little souvenir to take home!

Ps. The Ginger Beer, while brilliant on its own, is the perfect ingredient for a Dark and Stormy cocktail!

Hoyne Brewing

Although they don’t offer brewery tours, tracking down a pint of Hoyne is an easy affair, especially in Victoria. Studying under the watchful eye of one of North America’s Micro-brew pioneers, Adam Hoyne set up shop in his first brewery in 1989, founded another in 1998 and went on to open his latest under his own name in 2011. Let’s just say the man knows what he’s doing when it comes to beer. Already, there are a number of favourite brews and tasty seasonals of limited quantity! The witty and colourful labels are simply a bonus. If you’re a fan of dark beer, definitely give Hoyne Dark Matter a try, as it gives Guinness lovers a run for their money!

Category 12

If you’re into that super-secret, exclusive thing then you’ll love Category 12, a small-batch-only microbrewery. They only create about 30 kegs at a time of each type of brew! This allows for maximum flavor and quality, as well as fine-tuning for the ultimate recipe. Category 12 uses all local ingredients – nothing travels too far so everything is fresh for a fantastic brew. Featuring an open growler shop and tasting room known as “the Lab” where you can take a sneak-peek at the process and sample the results, Category 12 is a great pit stop to witness how a brewery begins to grow. Conveniently located in the same area as the Butchart Gardens, it’s on the way to another great spot to visit in Victoria. Why not make it a double?

Brewpubs:

Canoe Brewpub and Marina

For great food, fantastic beer and live music with a view, there’s only one place to go and that’s Canoe Brew Pub! Take a stroll all the way through Chinatown and discover the pub, lounge, dining room or patio. There, you can choose from a selection of award winning, small-batch beer that is brewed with only the best ingredients. They also brew without additives or preservatives. You can even try the whole fleet or grab bottles to take back home with you. Finally, pair your beer with the perfect meal or snack and take time to soak the view in to complete the experience. The large brick building creates a wonderful atmosphere and the knowledgeable staff make it a great experience all around. Note that there is live music is on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub and Taproom

Spinnakers is a one-of-a-kind gastro brewpub that boasts Victoria’s largest selection of traditionally crafted beers. The menu has all your favourite pub fare, but with a local twist. With casks that are tapped on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 4pm, as well as a rotating Guest Tap, all those who love choices and decision-making will be coming to the right place. Spinnakers’ philosophy is that “great beer goes with great food” and any beer or food lover who has taken the time to sip, sample and snack would have a hard time disagreeing. The taproom possesses an amazing view of Victoria’s Inner Harbor, while the downstairs pub-style restaurant is open for the whole family. Take a load off on their patio, sip a fine brew and enjoy this special Victoria BC spot.

Photo By: Sam Vandervalk

Swans Brewpub

Swans is a well-known spot in Victoria and is much more than just a pub, it’s also a hotel, liquor store and brewery! Since 1989, Swans Brewery has been producing its own British-Style ales and German and Canadian Beers. It is located in a beautiful heritage home off of Pandora Avenue. Whether you’re looking to try out one of their ales on tap paired with a snack, or would rather pick up a few bottles to take back to the hotel, Swans has got it covered. Visit on any Friday or Saturday to experience the pub at its liveliest. Local talent takes the stage to get the place jumping. Their open-air, glassed patio is also a perfect spot to soak in the sun, so don’t hesitate to stop by for breakfast, lunch or dinner, try out another local Victoria brew (or two!) and take in the scenery.

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