My Victoria Craft Beer And Pub Crawl
Did you know that Victoria has a wicked culinary and craft beer scene? If you are from the west coast you know that food and beer lovers alike flock to BC’s capital city. I’ve been eating my way around Victoria for years but there are a few new to me places that I’ve been dying to try out and this trip is the perfect time to dive into the Victoria craft beer and Pub scene. Aside from great food and beer Victoria is also one of Canada’s most “English” cities so it should be no surprise that pubs are everywhere. Enjoy a frosty pint of locally made brew and dine out on outstanding dishes sourced from local farmers and suppliers. Who wants to join me on a pub crawl?
In Victoria you have options. There are brewpubs that brew their own beer plus serve food), pubs that serve beer from a variety of breweries and serve food, microbreweries with tasting rooms that make their own beer that you can sample and serve light snacks and there are even a few places that just serve great beer. Which you choose to visit is up to you but I would suggest you try them all as they all offer something unique and special.
Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub & GuestHouses 308 Catherine Street – It only makes sense to start at Spinnakers, it is acknowledged as Canada’s first in-house brewpub of the modern area and they brew really great beer. Everything from lagers, stouts and IPAs to barrel-aged and sour beers there is a beer for you. Oh, they also make hard cider as well.
To pair with their beers you will definitely want to stay for lunch or dinner. My top recommendations are the Cheese & Beer Pot and the Daily Made Pub Pie. The cheese & beer pot was so good we ordered a second one.
Moon Under Water Brewpub 350 Bay Street – Chances of you strolling by Moon Under the Water Brewpub isn’t very high. It is a destination worth taking a taxi to and from.
The beers are inspired by European traditions. You will find Pilsner, Lager, IPA and Barrel Aged Sours on tap along with their Dunkel (dark lager) which is used to make SaltChucks’s Dunkel Beef Pie. I highly recommend the Fish & Chips and the Onion Rings. Both are outstanding.
Swans Brewery, Pub & Hotel 506 Pandora Avenue – Location wise you couldn’t ask for better. Located right in the heart of downtown Victoria, a visit to Swan’s is a must. Happy Hour is from 3 to 6 pm every day and appies are only $4.95 when you buy a drink. This is the perfect spot to rest your weary feet from shopping all day.
As for the beers, there is plenty on tap to choose from. They rotate regularly so there will be plenty on hand for you to try. My personal favourites are the Hefeweizen and the Raspberry Blonde.
CANOE Brewpub 450 Swift Street – Want to hang on the best patio in all Victoria? It’s at CANOE along the waterfront, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the street.
The patio is huge but it fills up fast so make to get a seat early. Now your next decision is what to eat and drink? The Taps are constantly changing with a few mainstays that the regulars demand like the Helles, Witbier, West Coast & Amber. Order a tasting flight though and add some of the seasonals into the mix. I personally loved the Witbier.
As for food if you like lamb then you’ll love the Lamb Burger that comes with fries and salad.
Irish Times 1200 Government Street – No matter if it is St Patrick’s Day or a Tuesday you’ll want to visit the Best Irish Pub in North America.
They have over 10 local brews on Tap plus some from the mainland and the staple Irish brews like Guinness and Kilkenny. As for what to eat I highly recommend the Corned Beef and Cabbage. OMG, it fell apart in my mouth and was quite simply AMAZING. I will definitely be ordering this again on my next visit.
Bard & Banker Pub 1022 Government Street – Spend any time in downtown Victoria and you will probably walk by the Bard & Banker at least a few times. Great location and an equally impressive interior decor make a meal or a beverage quite enjoyable.
They boast an impressive 15+ Tap list of local microbrews along with a wide selection of Steak & Chop options. How’s this 14oz Pork Loin Chop look? Very tasty as well.
The Guild 1250 Wharf Street – Built in 1882 by James Yates and designed by John Teague, you are entering a Victoria Landmark building when you eat & drink at The Guild.
There are over 20 rotating Taps available and you are guaranteed that at least a few will be pouring a local brew. Happy Hour is from 3 to 6 pm every day and for those that like a late night nibble it is also on 9 pm to close Sunday through Thursdays. Order a few appies, the Arancini are delish, and order up a tasting flight of beers and let your day unwind.
Beer, Beer & More Beer
The Drake 517 Pandora Avenue – Want the best selection of beer including Victoria craft beer, BC and from around the world in Town? There is only one place to go and that is The Drake. If your beer makes it to the Tap list you are golden.
The taps are always rotating and every time you visit you are guaranteed to be able to try something new. They also offer a fabulous menu perfect for sharing and pairing with the beers on tap. I hear their Ribs are to die for.
Phillips Brewing & Malting Co. 2100 Government Street – Last but not least there is Phillips Beer. The largest microbrewery in the Victoria craft beer scene it also boasts the newest Tap Room and Tasting Lounge.
What makes Phillips Beer special goes far beyond their size. Not only do they brew an amazing line up of craft beers, they also have a line of Spirits, Sodas, Tonics and even built a malting facility (the first of its kind in Canada).
What beer did I love? The Raspberry Wheat Ale is perfect for a hot summer day, but the Citricity Grapefruit IPA won the day for me. Oh, I also LOVE their Root Beer.
And there is more… I have only scratched the surface of the Victoria craft beer and pub scene. Consider this my part one of what will surely be a three-part series. Next visit will include Hoyne, Driftwood and others …