With Victoria’s craft beer scene, there’s no need to drink imports
There’s no better way to embrace casual drinking than by immersing yourself in the wonderful world of craft beers. It’s a mystery why anyone would still buy imports, when there is an endless supply of drinks from some of the best breweries in Canada to choose from right here in Victoria.
Canada’s first brewpub opened in Victoria, and beer has been brewed here longer than anywhere in the province. Just taking a walk near the water downtown will have you craving a cold one, given all of the breweries and brewpubs lining the streets.
Sitting only behind wine aficionados in terms of pretentiousness, becoming a craft beer snob will have you throwing terms like “hoppy” around and explaining whatever the hell an “IBU” is.
Here are five local picks to get you started without breaking the bank.
Fat Tug IPA – Driftwood
Located in Vic West, Driftwood Brewery has been serving up their bold drinks for nearly 15 years now. If anything, you most likely know Driftwood for their Fat Tug IPA, a drink that will surely make you want to throw on a knitted toque and some Blundstones.
“Brewed with the hop aficionado in mind, Fat Tug is a Northwest-style India Pale Ale with an intense hop profile featuring notes of grapefruit, mango, melon and passionfruit.”
Driftwood’s bar and patio is worth the trek across the bridge if you enjoy a wide selection of on-tap brews and food from Dumpling Drop.
Sneaky Weasel – Balderdash
While not exactly “local,” it would be impossible to exclude Sneaky Weasel from this list for one reason: it’s dirt cheap. No one’s going to claim that this is the absolute best-tasting beer on the market, but at its price point, who cares?
“This mildly hopped craft lager delivers a bold 5.6% alc/ vol, but goes down crisp and clean.”
Located in Vancouver, Balderdash Brewery doesn’t take itself too seriously. Being cheaper than Lucky, Budweiser, and PBR, it’s honestly a mystery how they can sell this stuff for so cheap.
Dark Matter – Hoyne
If you’re not a fan of dark beers, read on because if you couldn’t tell by the name, that’s exactly what this is. Even if you don’t think you’re a fan, it might be worth a shot trying out this chocolatey stroke of brewing genius.
Sean Hoyne has been brewing since the 80s, and he helped open Canoe Brewpub before starting his own company in 2011.
“Dark Matter is the only beer we make where we don’t say on the bottle what style it is. This is for a very good reason. Even we don’t know!”
Implosion Pilsner – Phillips
Before Phillips was a staple brewery of Victoria, Matt Phillips was just a solo brewer in Esquimalt trying to make something special. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in town who’s not familiar with the in-your-face graphic design, and you’d probably be even more hard-pressed to find anyone turning down a can of Phillips’ signature pilsner.
“Patiently cold aged, Implosion Pilsner is meticulously engineered to be clean, crisp and bright. Artfully refined, so you don’t have to be.”
Even if you’re not into alcoholic beverages, Phillips has you covered with its selection of soft drinks.
Race Rocks Ale – Lighthouse
Lighthouse is another Vic West brewery, and has been putting out premium craft beer since 1998. Although their tasting room is currently under construction, it is planned to open back up sometime this spring.
“Race Rocks Ale is a dark, easy-drinking and flavourful ale with subtle notes of caramel and chocolate, and a crisp finish.”
So whether you’re a veteran craft drinker looking for new local favourites, or you just want to fit in the next time you’re at a brewpub, take a sip of Victoria’s alcoholic history.