Beat the heat with a cool Victoria brew
It’s no secret that Victoria is a tourist hot spot, especially in the summertime. With a scenic harbour, gardens galore and a food scene that rivals cities twice its size, the province's capital has a lot to offer.
Whether you have time to hop a ferry or not, you can still take in a little Victoria-style relaxing with a brew from one of its many craft breweries...
1. Solaris White Peach Ale – Phillips Brewing
Facebook/Phillips Brewing & Malting Co.As sweet and juicy as an Okanagan peach—but with an added buzz—the Solaris White Peach Ale from Phillips Brewing is back for its second summer. This seasonal unfiltered wheat ale made a splash last year with its bright fruity notes, and at only 4.3% ABV, it’s an easy ale that's perfect for summer sipping. Solaris is available in tall cans at most private liquor stores, or if you’re in town, swing by the brewery to fill your growler. And big news! A 42-seat tasting room, located in a building beside the brewery, is planned to be open by next summer—just in time for another round of Solaris!
2010 Government Street, Victoria
2. Summer Haze Honey Hefe – Hoyne
flickr/Hoyne BrewingHoyne Brewing’s head brewmaster, Sean Hoyne has been a staple in Victoria’s beer scene long before opening his own brewery. Hoyne helped establish Swans Brewpub back in 1989, and then opened Canoe in 1998—but it’s Hoyne Brewing that’s been his true contribution to the city. Hoyne Brewing’s Summer Haze Honey Hefe is a quick way to get a taste of the city—-the subtle hints of honey in this crisp hefeweizen are provided by the bee hives at Victoria’s iconic Empress Hotel, located along the picturesque Inner Harbour. The honey notes are understated, not enough to overwhelm the beer’s refreshing and easy drinkability.
101-2740 Bridge Street, Victoria
3. Juan de Fuca Cerveza – Vancouver Island Brewing
Facebook Juan de Fuca CervezaYou don’t have to go all the way to Mexico to enjoy a beach-inspired beverage. For a distinctly Pacific Northwest twist on a classic Mexican lager, try out Vancouver Island Brewing’s Juan de Fuca Cerveza. This lager gets its name from the 47-km long Juan de Fuca hiking trail, but unlike its namesake, there’s nothing gruelling about this beer. The cerveza is light and highly carbonated to maximize refreshment, ideal for seaside sipping in the sand.
2330 Government Street, Victoria
4. Watermelon Kolsch – Canoe
Facebook/Canoe Brewpub's WatermelonCanoe Brewpub’s Watermelon Kolsch is the ultimate fruity beer for people who aren’t into fruity beers. Forget any preconceived artificial watermelon flavour expectations, as Canoe’s kolsch skews subtle. The fruity undertones and low ABV make it a great choice for brunch on Canoe’s stunning harbourside patio. The Watermelon Kolsch is available exclusively onsite, but their massive patio, trendy dining area and menu of locally inspired dishes make it well worth the visit. Canoe is also a great place to catch some local music, featuring a Sunday Patio Session every other weekend until September.
451 Herald Street, Victoria
5. Cry Me a River Gose – Driftwood
Facebook/Cry Me a RiverDriftwood Brewing is responsible for one of the Island’s most popular beers, Fat Tug—but their seasonal Gose is the beer to try this summer. This ale is brewed in a traditional Germanic style that Driftwood claims is enjoying a resurgence in popularity in Europe. Gose beers, named for the Gose River in Germany, are notable for their slight salinity. Driftwood’s Gose inspiration results in a wheat ale with notes of coriander, citrus, and salt. While the pairing of sour and salty is unique, it’s muted enough to make for a refreshing and drinkable beer.
102-450 Hillside Avenue, Victoria
6. VIC Common Amber Lager – Spinnakers
Facebook/Spinnakers Brew PubFully recovered since a fire closed their doors last winter, Spinnakers is a Victoria icon and the oldest brewpub in Canada. Their VIC Common Amber Ale is brewed to celebrate beer #6100 (the Roman numerals for which are VIC). The beer is Spinnakers’ take on a California Common, a modern steam beer popularized by Anchor Brewing in San Francisco. The VIC is a little heavier than your typical summer beer with a moderate bitterness and caramel undertones. Whether you’re stepping in for “Hoppy Hour” on one of Spinnakers’ three patios, staying the night in their heritage guesthouse, or just grabbing a bomber from a local liquor store, Spinnakers is back and brewing better than ever.
308 Catherine Street, Victoria
7. Citrus Shore Session Ale – Lighthouse Brewing
Facebook/Lighthouse BeerOpening its doors in Esquimalt in 1998, Lighthouse Brewing is another one of Victoria’s premier breweries. The Citrus Session Ale, introduced at the end of April, is the newest edition to their lineup. In keeping with Lighthouse’s nautical theme, the beer is inspired by the quirky story of Grates Cove, Newfoundland, where a shipment of oranges washed ashore after falling off a schooner in 1944. This crisp ale clocks in at 4.6% ABV and it keeps things light-bodied and buoyant with citrus notes.
2-386 Devonshire Road, Victoria