Vancouver Island is a very popular destination for nature-lover’s from around the world. You’ll find gorgeous hiking trails through the rain forest, kayaking adventures along the coast and tons of wildlife. What you may not know is the name this little island is getting for itself for their growing microbrewery industry.
After a serene paddle along the coastal waters or some shopping amongst Victoria’s quaint shops, stop in one other areas pubs and enjoy a frosty pint from one of the following local breweries.
Phillips brewery first opened in 2001 and has steadily grown in sales and also with their selection of fine craft beers.
A local favorite is Blue Buck, which is a nice amber beer with a slight hoppy finish. You can often find this one on tap in most pubs throughout the city.
My favorite from Phillips would be their Longboat Chocolate Porter. This dark, rich ale has a distinct chocolate finish that is sure to delight your taste buds. This is a great one to enjoy by the fire on a cold winters night.
Hoyne Brewing Company
Hoyne is my personal favorite on the island. They have two
If you love European Pilsners, the Hoyne Pilsner is tough to beat. It has a nice crisp, hoppy finish that is great on a hot summer day (or anytime, really).
If you are more partial to dark beers, then Hoyne’s Dark Matter is for you. For a dark beer, it is exceptionally smooth and flavorful. This is one I keep coming back to when I want something a bit darker.
Hoyne hasn’t been around for long, but they’ve made their mark on the island and have a large loyal following.
Driftwood Brewing Company
Driftwood has an amazing selection of brews to their name considering that they only started brewing back in 2008. It didn’t take long from that time for them to get a name for themselves.
Their Farmhand Saison Crooked Coast Altbier being two of my favorites right off the bat. However, on a warm summer day it is tough to compare with a good wheat ale. Their White Bark Witbier is sensational, especially with a slice of orange. If you’ve never had a wheat beer before you may not be keen on the cloudy golden color, but don’t let that scare you away.
Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub
Spinnakers has been around for a long time and is actually Canada’s first licensed brewpub (over 30 years ago). They create many nice craft brews that they serve in their fantastic farm-to-plate ocean-side restaurant and also bottle them for purchase in the local beer and wine stores.
They produce dozens of different styles of brews per year rotating some of them throughout the seasons. Their year-round brews range from the traditional English style ales to European and west coast inspired beers. Their year round selection includes:
- Original Pale Ale
- Tour de Victoria Kolsch
- Northwest Ale
- Blue Bridge Double Pale Ale
- Lion’s Head Cascadia Dark Ale
- Nut Brown Ale
- India Pale Ale
- Mitchell’s Extra Special Bitter
- Jolly Hopper Imperial IPA
- Dragonfly Rye Saison
- India Session Ale
One of my personal favorites is the Nut Brown Ale. Its rich, nutty, malt flavor has a nice smooth finish and beautiful amber color. Next time you visit, give it a try.
Moon Under Water Brewery
Moon Under Water is another new brewpub on the island and makes some very interesting beers with some interesting names too.
Creep Uncle Drunkel is an outstanding dark IPA that has a nice finish.
Another that I really like is the Victorious Weizenbock. This is another wheat beer that is made with New Zealand fruity hops. It is a nice beer, but be careful, its 8.2% alcohol will sneak up on you.
In closing, I highly recommend that you try out the outstanding microbreweries on Vancouver Island. The above is just a small selection of the great breweries you will find. More are popping up all the time making the West Coast one of the most popular microbrewery spots in Canada.