Best Breweries in Victoria

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Lager, pale ale, hefeweizen, chocolate porter or oatmeal stout? What'll it be?

Born of Victoria's British roots, supported by the dedicated crafts people running its breweries and brewpubs, and thanks to Vancouver Island's dedicated beer drinkers, Victoria has developed a vibrant and innovative beer culture. Small craft breweries and award winning brewpubs have flourished for years. Visit one of the breweries for a tour and sampling of their wares, or go to one of Victoria's brewpubs to sip a pint freshly brewed onsite and treat yourself to some great food as well. If you really want to immerse yourself in beer, come in September for the Great Canadian Beer Festival where you can sample products from over 45 international craft breweries.

Phillips Brewing Company

Phillips Brewing established itself on the island as a real contender in the craft brewing market with beers like Blue Buck, now a staple in many beer drinkers' diets. It continues to please with infamous brews like Amnesiac Double IPA and inventive concoctions like its 24-Mile Blueberry Pail Ale, where all ingredients are grown within a 24-mile radius. The reception area of this creative brewery is also a gallery that features the work of local artists. Come to an artist's opening to check out some of the local flavour while sampling some of their feature brews, or stop in for a brewery tour where you can check out the beer making facilities, learn a little about their techniques and history and of course sample a few of the Phillips beers. Brewery tours are offered Wednesdays and Thursdays at 4PM. Call ahead to confirm, as space is limited.

2010 Government Street
Victoria, British Columbia
V8T 4P1
250-380-1912
phillipsbeer.com

Vancouver Island Brewing

Vancouver Island Brewing, established in 1984, is Vancouver Island's first craft brewery. It is a little bigger and more commercial than its neighbour Phillips, but maintains its craft sensibilities, still brewing unpasteurized ales and lagers in small batches. VIB's beers range from the light Vancouver Island lager to the heavier Herman's dark lager or the Spy Hopper honey brown. The one-hour brewery tour, which runs each Saturday at 3:00PM gets you an inside look at the brewery and its processes, and finishes with a good sampling session in the taproom.

2330 Government Street
Victoria British Columbia
V8T 5G5
250-361-0007
vanislandbrewery.com

Canoe Brewpub

Housed in an 1894 brick heritage building along Victoria's Gorge waterway, the Canoe Brewpub has great views, a lively atmosphere and serves a range of small batch, handcrafted brews made in the huge stainless steel vats visible behind the thick wooden beams above the bar. Brews like Red Canoe Lager and Siren's Song Pale Ale satisfy those seeking something light and clean, while others will be tempted by the hearty Espresso Stout that features fair-trade, organic espresso from Habit, a local coffeehouse. Order a 'fleet' of beers if you just can't decide or want to sample a number of the brews. In the summertime, Canoe has the biggest and perhaps best patio in Victoria, and with a westerly exposure it catches all the afternoon sun. Canoe also has a nice menu offering lots of local fare.

450 Swift Street
Victoria, British Columbia
250-361-1940
canoebrewpub.com
info@canoebrewpub.com

Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub

Spinnakers, Canada's oldest brewpub, has been hand crafting fine ales for over 25 years now. Its original brewery plant, still in use today, was imported by the brewery's co-founder, John Mitchell, from England in 1984 before this type of equipment was available in North America. The pub has an excellent selection of hand-pulled traditional ales from the cellar, served at 10°Cand brewed in small batches. Their regular offerings cover a full spectrum of tastes that include the copper-coloured English Pub Bitter, the lightly hopped Jameson's Scottish Ale, a sweet rich oatmeal stout, a traditional Hefeweizen and a creative selection of seasonal brews.Beer tasters are available at $1.50 for a 3oz glass or a Flight of Four for $5.00.If you build up an appetite they have a great menu of locally sourced cuisine or for the sweet-toothed a decadent assortment of truffles may tempt you on the way out.

308 Catherine Street
Victoria, British Columbia
V9A 3S8
250-384-2739
spinnakers.com

Swans Brewery

Swans Brewery serves a selection of traditional British ales and Canadian and Bavarian lagers that are brewed on-site. Try a full-bodied Swan's oatmeal stout brewed with seven varieties of malt and oats, or the crisp Old Towne Bavarian Lager, which gets aged for a full six weeks. To sample a number of their offerings, 'taster nests' are available with one, three, or six samples. The pub is located in the Swan's Hotel near the edge of the Inner Harbour. There is often live music and the interior has many interesting First Nations artworks. Swan's beers are also available next door at the Swan's Beer and Wine Shoppe in 650 ml bottles.

506 Pandora Avenue
Victoria, British Columbia
V8W 1N6
250-361-3310
swanshotel.com/brewery.php
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