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The Best Victoria Beer: A Beer-Lover’s Guide to Victoria’s Top Brewpubs and Beer Tastings

Victoria Beer

Victoria Beer: a set of pints served up at Canoe Brewpub (Photo: sashafatcat)

Think Victoria is best known for its afternoon tea? Think again! For the last decade, the Victoria beer scene has been expanding at a exponential rate. The burgeoning craft brewing industry has been earning rave reviews across North America, blending the finest traditional practices with local recipes and seasonal ingredients. For all lovers of beer, Victoria has become a destination city—so much so that we decided to compile a guide to the greatest ways to sample Victoria’s best beer.

 See our guide to the best beer in Victoria »

VICTORIA BEER STOP #1: Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub
A dining destination and one of Victoria’s original brewpubs, Spinnakers marries outstanding hand-crafted beer with exceptional regional food. Harnessing the freshness available through local farmers and producers, Spinnakers’ chef and brewmaster create seasonally inspired fare, complement it with award-winning beer and serve it all at a heritage building overlooking the Victoria waterfront. Menu highlights include the halibut and chips, and “field-to-plate” selections featuring local greens, chicken, fish and beef. For something different, try a BC cheese platter paired with a selection of Spinnakers brews.
• Spinnakers Brewpub, 308 Catherine St., 250-386-2739, spinnakers.com
Map and reviews 

VICTORIA BEER STOP #2: Swans Brewpub & Buckerfields Brewery
Located in historic Old Town, Swan’s Pub and its adjacent Buckerfields Brewery have been delighting locals and visitors for years. Heritage architecture, stunning original artwork and First Nations carvings set the scene for an enjoyable breakfast, lunch or dinner. The menu offers a good variety of classic pub fare (the shepherd’s pie and halibut burger are favourites) mixed with modern offerings, such as chipotle lime prawns, duck burgers and jambalaya linguini. Buckerfields’s beers are among the best in Victoria, and have won more than two dozen awards in the last eight years. They range from the mild, crisp Arctic Ale to the full-bodied Riley’s Scotch Ale.
Swans Brewpub, Swans Hotel, 506 Pandora Ave., 250-361-3310, swanshotel.com
Map and reviews

VICTORIA BEER STOP #3: Canoe Brewpub
Located on the water in in an inviting Old Town building, Canoe Brewpub has earned a reputation in Victoria for excellent beer and delicious food. It also has one of the city’s roomier patios, which is the perfect spot to relax on a sunny day. Described as “pure comfort food locally sourced,” Canoe’s fare ranges from small plates like fish tacos and short rib sliders to featured farm-to-table mains. This popular Victoria eatery offers several beers to pair with your meal, including Canoe’s signature Beaver Brown Ale and the enticing Siren’s Song Pale Ale.
• Canoe Brewpub, 450 Swift St., 250-361-1940, canoebrewpub.com 
Map and reviews

VICTORIA BEER STOP #4: Phillips Brewing
One of Victoria’s most popular craft beer-makers for more than a decade, Phillips Brewing has grown from humble beginnings into a Victoria beer powerhouse that includes a dozen brews, a tasting room and a store. Recently, the brewery launched its Phillips Soda Works with two naturally brewed sodas: Sparkmouth Ginger Ale and Captain Electro’s Intergalactic Root Beer, providing a local, natural pop alternative. Take a tour of Phillips Brewing Wednesdays or Thursdays at 4 p.m. for $5.60 per person, including samples from the taster bar. Tours are limited to 10 people and fill quickly, so reserve your spot in advance.
• Phillips Brewing,  2010 Government St., 250-380-1912, phillipsbeer.com
Map and reviews 

VICTORIA BEER STOP #5: Vancouver Island Brewery
Founded in 1984 with the mission of crafting local, all-natural beers, Vancouver Island Brewery offers a selection of year-round favourites like Islander Lager and the ever-popular Piper’s Pale Ale. Look for seasonal selections, too, like the deliciously named Dough Head Gingerbread Ale. If you have a devoted beer fan in your life, be sure to pick up a gift of Hermann’s Soap at the gift shop—it’s handmade with “love (and beer) in Victoria.” The brewery offers guided tours Fridays and Saturdays at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. for $7 per person or $10 per person with a branded Vancouver Island Brewery pint glass. The tour lasts about an hour and is limited to 30 people.
• Vancouver Island Brewery, 2330 Government St., 250-361-0005, vanislandbrewery.com
Map and reviews 

VICTORIA (NON-)BEER STOP #6: Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse
For those wanting a change from beer, wonderful things are brewing at Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse. From the crisp, dry Flagship Cider to the sweet, dessert-style Pomona, these ciders are made from organic apples pressed at the farm using the traditional rack and cloth method. Open year-round for tours, the farm is a great place for a day trip. Check out the inviting tasting room and large deck overlooking the Saanich Peninsula orchard—perfect for relaxing with a glass of cider and enjoying the artisan lunch plate. Children welcome.
• Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse, 2487 Mt. St. Michael Rd., 250-544-4824, seacider.ca
Map and reviews

 

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