Victoria hosts a bustling craft beer scene that any beer drinker will appreciate. To my delight, the breweries make some terrific wits and hefeweizens to satisfy my cravings, while also providing a selection of hoppy IPAs to please my man, Chris.
We set out one afternoon to see what Victoria had to offer. Here's what we found. This whole itinerary can be covered by foot. Leave the car behind.
Hoyne Brewing Company
Hoyne was our starting point and a solid brewery. The small tasting room is cozy and locals were continuously streaming in for growler fills. It was a Friday afterall, and at $11 a fill, you can't beat the deal for quality beer. I enjoyed Summer Haze, a honey hefe, and Chris favored the Devil's Dream IPA.
Just a stone's throw from Hoyne, Driftwood was our favorite of all the breweries. It's another cozy tasting room with one wall covered in a driftwood mosaic. They have a nice range of beers on tap. My favorite was the Cry Me A River Gose, refreshing like a wit with a hint of sour. Chris enjoyed the Twenty Pounder Double IPA, pictured, and the New Growth Pale Ale. They have unique and striking designs for each of their beers. Adding to the experience, was chatting with tasting room staffer, Braeden, who gave us the best local hangouts and restaurants. The best advice was to eat at Hanks.
Vancouver Island Brewery
They make some interesting brews at Vancouver Island Brewery; a couple of ales and, strangely, a Mexican lager. The tasting room is clean and modern, but I felt like I was in an office building. None of the beer excited me either. I was ready to move on to the next.
Phillips Brewing & Malting Co.
Phillips is a well established brewer, with their beer and craft sodas in distribution throughout town. After a couple rounds of tasters at the previous tasting rooms, I can't remember what I liked here, but our crew favored Bottle Rocket ISA (India Session Ale) and the Longboat Chocolate Porter which our buddy described as "god-damned Easter eggs in my mouth". That means that he really liked it.
Canoe Brewpub is known as having the best patio seating in town and it certainly was picturesque along the water. Canoe has a full menu, so we enjoyed some short rib tacos and lettuce wraps. Don't let the restaurant fool you, in addition to amazing eats, Canoe has a dedicated brewing philosophy, only using all natural ingredients and Canadian hops and malt.
We called it a day, at this point.
Other worthwhile stops:
Spinnakers Brewpub and Guesthouses - See more about our visit to Spinnakers.
Category 12 Brewing - You don't want to miss the delicious beers and sciency-theme of Category 12.
My essential beer tasting accessory: Camelbak
The one item I bring on all my trips is my Camelbak pack. It addition to the water reservoir, it serves as a backpack for your second layer and souvenirs. Of course I use it when hiking, but a Camelbak is also a great accessory for a beer tour so you stay hydrated between all the tasters and have a place to stash your purchases of brewery tees and chotchkies. What's your essentials beer tour companion?
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Whistler Worthy Brews
Mammoth Festival of Beer & Bluesapalooza
Tiger Brewery: A Singapore Beer Tour
Anna Fleming, the Curly Vagabond, roams like a local, searching for adventure, tasty cuisine and the best craft beer; all with a sense of humor and a budget any working stiff could appreciate. Home base is Oceanside, CA in North San Diego County.