Best Victoria Breweries on Vancouver Island

Looking to visit the best Victoria breweries on Vancouver Island?

The capital of British Columbia offers craft beer lovers a diversity of options when looking to sip suds. Visit the Victoria breweries during a fun beer festival, or book a craft beer tour to learn about the city’s unique and innovative brewing history.

Our guide to Victoria breweries offers detailed descriptions for each of the city’s craft beer bars and brewpubs.

Many of the city’s top breweries also offer restaurants, offering menus that pair perfectly with craft beer. Chefs love to get creative at Victoria’s breweries, infusing their west coast cuisine with freshly brewed beer.

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History of Victoria Breweries

Dobbernationloves had a chance to sit down with Joe Wiebe, author of Craft Beer Revolution: The Insider’s Guide to BC Breweries, to learn about the evolution of the Victoria breweries.

Wiebe shared, “In 2014 I founded Victoria Beer Week with a group of local beer lovers, which takes place every March. I also helped create the BC Ale Trail as a tourism marketing project for the BC Craft Brewers Guild with funding from Destination BC. We believe it is the largest craft beer marketing program in North America, possibly the world!”

The first known brewery in Victoria was also British Columbia’s first brewery: Victoria Brewing, which opened in 1858. Wiebe explained, “It changed hands a couple times and eventually evolved into the Victoria-Phoenix Brewery, which built a beautiful, modern brewery complex in 1890. That eventually was bought by Labatt in the 1950s and they in turn renovated and modernized it, but in 1982 they decided to close it and demolished it despite local opposition.”

As of 2020, there are 11 Victoria breweries and brewpubs, along with another five in the surrounding suburbs. On top of the 16 that currently operate in the city, there are three new breweries in the works — one, Herald Street Brewing, is expected to open this summer, while the other two are at least a year away.

Victoria Breweries Evolve

So what makes the Victoria breweries so special? Wiebe exclaimed, “I fell in love with the beer scene when I originally moved to British Columbia from Niagara-on-the-Lake in 1991. I arrived in Victoria on a whim, never having been west of Windsor, Ontario. I moved into a house with my older brother at the west end of the Songhees Walkway that stretched along the Inner Harbour to downtown. Halfway along sat Spinnakers Brewpub, which I learned had opened in 1984. It was Canada’s first brewpub and has been thriving ever since.”

Wiebe continued, “Victoria’s beer culture has this amazing mix of history and fresh originality. In addition to Spinnakers there are a few other older brewpubs with great character (Swans, Canoe, and the Moon Under Water) as well as prominent breweries led by charismatic brewmasters. The beer scene is very walkable or bike-able with most of the breweries and brewpubs clustered around the Inner Harbour.”

Greater Victoria also offers several craft breweries, perfect for beer lovers looking to plan a quick road trip. Wiebe shared, “The Saanich Peninsula has Category 12 Brewing and Twa Dogs Brewing. In nearby Sooke enjoy sud-sloshed sips at Sooke Oceanside Brewery, Sooke Brewing and Bad Dog Brewing. I am an avid cyclist and I just love the fact that I can plan a long ride with a couple ‘hydration’ stops along the way!”

Victoria didn’t have any breweries with tasting rooms until recently. It may come as a surprise, considering it was the norm in 2013, when the provincial government changed the liquor laws to allow breweries and distilleries to open their own tasting rooms.

Wiebe explained, “I think the delay happened here because we had so many brewpubs, which because of their built-in restaurants, didn’t need tasting rooms, and the existing breweries were well established as wholesale production-focused operations. Eventually, we started to see new Victoria breweries opening with tasting rooms, such as Île Sauvage and Whistle Buoy Brewing, and then Phillips Brewing. Tasting rooms are great because they give consumers the opportunity to go right to the brewery and taste the freshest beers right there. The breweries often make special, one-off batches of beer that are only put on tap there.”

Great Canadian Beer Festival takes place each year in Victoria, British Columbia.
Great Canadian Beer Festival takes place each year in Victoria, British Columbia.

Festival Fun at Victoria Breweries

Wiebe likes to call Victoria the “cradle of the craft beer revolution,” because of the fact that Spinnakers kicked off the whole microbrewing movement in Canada.

The Great Canadian Beer Festival also launched in Victoria in 1993 and has been taking place annually in September ever since. Wiebe added, “For a long time, there was no question that was the best beer destination in Canada, although in recent years, Vancouver’s brewery scene has just exploded, and there are some amazing breweries over there, too. But I still think Victoria’s is the best because of its unique combination of history, natural beauty, and fresh, exciting new breweries.”

  • Victoria Beer Week: a whole week of craft beer events, which takes place in March.
  • Great Canadian Beer Festival: a 2-day outdoor festival in Royal Athletic Park with close to 100 breweries on site and 4000 people attending each day. Takes place each September.
  • Victoria’s Oktoberfest Event: Stein & Dine: Each October German merriment takes over the city as beer lovers nosh on pretzels and sausages while slurping steins of local craft beer.
  • Brewery & the Beast: This fun sustainable food event offers guests local culinary creations, Phillips’s Brewing’s best craft beer and live music.
  • Winterbrau: This two day beer festival takes place in November at Canoe Brewpub. Over 20 of the best Victoria breweries pour their winter seasonals, paired with complimentary hors d’oeuvres.
Book a fun craft brewery tour of Victoria, British Columbia.
Book a fun craft brewery tour of Victoria, British Columbia.

Victoria Brewery Tours

There are plenty of great ways to explore the Victoria breweries. Organize your own DIY itinerary or book one of these popular tours led by local craft beer experts.

Sip through the Victoria breweries while staying at the luxurious Fairmont Empress Hotel.
Sip through the Victoria breweries while staying at the luxurious Fairmont Empress Hotel.

Hotels Near Victoria Breweries

The Victoria Breweries spread out from downtown Victoria to the nearby Saanich Peninsula. If you’re planning a craft beer adventure on Vancouver Island, we suggest staying at one of these beautiful accommodations in Victoria.

  • Fairmont Empress in Victoria: Vancouver Island’s most iconic hotel sits perched over Victoria’s scenic harbour. The 5 star luxury accommodation is an excellent home base for those on a Victoria craft beer adventure. The historic hotel offers chic suites, romantic spa, elegant bar and Victoria’s best Afternoon Tea.

Expedia | TripAdvisor | | HotelsCombined | Agoda

Expedia | TripAdvisor

  • Oak Bay Beach Hotel: This luxury hotel in downtown Victoria features modern guest rooms, gym, spa and jaw-dropping views from an outdoor pool.

Expedia | TripAdvisor

The Victoria Breweries are recognized as the launching point for British Columbia's craft beer movement.
The Victoria Breweries are recognized as the launching point for British Columbia’s craft beer movement.

Best Victoria Breweries

Whether your a tourist looking for a sud-sloshed adventure on Vancouver Island or a thirsty local, our guide to the Victoria breweries features the best craft beer producers located downtown or a short drive from the city’s scenic harbour.

Colourful craft beers offered at Ile Sauvage Brewing's tap room in Victoria, BC.
Colourful craft beers offered at Ile Sauvage Brewing’s tap room in Victoria, BC.

Ile Sauvage Brewing

Victoria’s Ile Sauvage Brewing was launched by Stephane Turcotte, Ian Ibbotson, and Adam Gresley-Jones in November, 2018. The trio originally met as college roommates and came back together over their passion for craft beer.

Stephane previously owned and brewed at Galmegi Brewing in South Korea and returned to open a brewery in Victoria with friends. Stephane Turcotte shared, “We wanted to provide two things to the craft beer scene in Victoria: sour and funky beers and a full tasting room to enjoy them in!”

The Victoria brewery’s name comes from a nod to Stephane’s roots in Quebec and the inspiration from Belgian beers. The name translates to Wild Island because of where the brewery is located and the types of beers they produce.

Ile Sauvage Brewing offers 21 taps with 1 reserved for local Kombucha, 1 for local Cider, and the rest for an ever changing taplist. You’ll typically find 16 to 18 of Il Sauvage’s own beers on tap.

Ile Sauvage doesn’t have a core beer range as they’re always tinkering with creativity but the recipes they brew the most include Raspberry Sour, Tropique Guava Sour and Yuzu Gose.

If you’re feeling pecking while slurping a craft beer flight feel free to order pepperoni sticks or hummus at the bar.

There’s also an onsite retail store that sells fresh beer in cans, bottles and growlers.

Spinnakers barrel room in downtown Victoria.
Spinnakers barrel room in downtown Victoria.

Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub

308 Catherine St, 250-386-2739

Spinnakers is Canada’s oldest brewpub, having opened in 1984 at a time when there were only about a dozen craft breweries in all of North America. 

The Victoria brewery was founded by 3 partners: John Mitchell, who opened the first brewpub in June 1982 at the Troller Pub in Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver, Ray Ginnever, an accountant from Victoria and Paul Hadfield, an architect who managed the development process.

Spinnakers Brewpub was inspired by John’s original work at the Troller Pub. John was a veteran of the hospitality sector having worked in United Kingdom and France before becoming one of the first bartenders in Vancouver as liquor laws began to loosen up back in the 50’s and 60’s. 

Hadfield shared, “He was frustrated by the lack of flavour and the lack of variety in Canadian beer and had lobbied for a few years for the opportunity to get access to better beer.  He was approved by Provincial authorities to open a brewery as the industrial brewers were about to strike as was becoming a common scenario, forcing the Province to bring in US product to have any beer on their store shelves. There being no North American manufacturers of small scale brewing equipment he pieced together, mostly from used dairy equipment, a small brewery which was a step up from homebrew but with which he was finding it challenging to produce consistent quality beer.  The Troller had a brewery located in a separate location where the beer was brewed and it was kegged for transport to the pub where it was treated and dispensed like the industrial beers. John was motivated by an opportunity to start over and build the first purposed built brewpub of the modern era.”

The building was a renovation of a 1912 concrete block 2 storey building that consisted of 3 suites, a gable roofline and offered the potential for great views looking south over Victoria harbour. 

Hadfield added, “What we were looking for was to create a public living room for the community. We patterned the interior after the more regal homes of the early century with 11’ ceilings, expansive windows facing the harbour, fir board and batten wainscotting and quarry tile floors.  Due to regulatory restrictions on operating capacity we needed to appeal to a broad demographic and worked to set in place scenarios that would fill as many of the 65 seats we were allowed to open with for as many hours per day as we could. We had no opportunity for off-premises sales so we needed to fill the seats for as many hours a day as we could. We combed the used furniture stores that specialized in importing containers from England, Scotland and Wales for classic pieces that provided a comfortable, upscale sense of place for people to congregate and enjoy themselves.”

Spinnakers currently has two bars located on two floors.  They both have a set of 20 taps on a tower with an additional 6 on the main floor and an additional 9 on the upper floor. The upper floor bar also features 3 beer engines for dispensing classic English cask conditioned ales. In addition to beers, Spinnakers Brewpub also produces its own craft ciders and always have at least four on tap.

Spinnakers in Victoria also helped launched one of British Columbia’s first local food first restaurant concepts, “By the early 1990’s we were establishing ourselves as what would come to be known as Farm to Table and today we are hyper-local with most of our food products coming from the bounty of Southern Vancouver Island,” said Hadfield.

Highlights from the Spinnakers food menu include Halibut and Chips, Fog Fighter Breakfast Sandwich, Smoked Wild Pacific Salmon Benedict and Seafood Chowder.

Enjoy lunch or dinner with a fresh pint at Moon Under Water Brewery.
Enjoy lunch or dinner with a fresh pint at Moon Under Water Brewery.

Moon Under Water Brewery, Pub, and Distillery

350 Bay St, 250-380-0706

Victoria’s Moon Under Water Brewery was first opened by Don and Bonnie Bradley in 2010. Don and Bonnie founded Bowen Island Brewing in the 80’s but had been out of the industry for several years. The couple wanted to open their ideal English inspired Brewpub but became overwhelmed with the time demands of running both a brewery and restaurant. 

Clay Potter, Anne Farmer-Ash, and Steve Ash purchased the Moon Under Water Brewery in 2012 and revamped the space to create a modern, German-inspired Brewpub.

The craft brewery’s name comes from the George Orwell essay describing his ideal British Pub. The trio designed the space to feature an approachable neighbourhood brewpub. Tall ceilings, beautiful expansive hardwood floors and brewery paraphernalia make the Moon Under Water Brew Pub the coziest and coolest brew pub in Rock Bay. 

Skip inside Moon Under Water and you’ll find 12 taps serving fresh suds. The Victoria brewery’s core craft beer range includes Potts Pilsner, Moon Juice Raspberry Sour, Creepy Uncle Dunkel Dark Munich Lager, This Is Hefeweizen, Hip as Funk IPA and Lightside of the Moon Session Lager.

Looking to enjoy a bite at one of the best Victoria breweries? The Moon Under Water offers traditional, west coast pub fare to pair with their award winning beer. The pub is famous for its wing nights, nacho platters and Fish & Chips. 

Victoria Breweries: Craft beer flight at Hoyne Brewing.
Victoria Breweries: Craft beer flight at Hoyne Brewing.

Hoyne Brewing

101-2740 Bridge St, 250-590-5758

Hoyne Brewing first opened in downtown Victoria in December, 2011.

Founder Sean Hoyne had been brewing professionally since 1989, helping launch several breweries for other owners throughout his career. He has been the brewmaster at Swans and Canoe Brewpub for numerous years.

Hoyne shared, “I have consulted on the design and installation of numerous other Victoria breweries. I have been immersed in the craft beer world for more than 30 years. It was always my dream to one day open my own brewery!”

Hoyne is primarily a production brewery. The vast majority of its beer is shipped from the facility in either kegs or cans. In the short span of 8 years, Hoyne Brewing has become one of the largest producing craft breweries in British Columbia.

Hoyne added, “Our beers are a reflection of my beliefs as a brewmaster. Our line-up of beers include a list of classically made, European influenced, fine ales and lagers. Our flagship beers, Dark Matter and Hoyne Pilsner, are staples of every pub and restaurant in the area. We also produce a line-up of more adventurous beers that include a coffee stout (Voltage), a Belgian Cherry Wit-bier (Entre-Nous), a Weizenbock, an Irish Stout, a wet hopped Pale Ale (Wolf Vine), a farmhouse Saison and a beautiful Dortmunder (Helios).”

Visit Hoyne Brewing and you’ll find a small tasting room where locals come to fill up growlers to go. The intimate retail shop offers tours on Saturday afternoons for $5. Money raised from the tours are matched by Hoyne Brewing and are donated to a local charity.

Canoe Brewpub is a Victoria craft brewery offering a restaurant and outdoor patio.
Canoe Brewpub is a Victoria craft brewery offering a restaurant and outdoor patio.

Canoe Brewpub Marina and Restaurant

450 Swift St, 250-361-1940

Canoe Brewpub Marina and Restaurant is located in downtown Victoria, along the scenic inner harbour.

The brewery is located in a historic building, which was erected in 1894 to house a coal-powered electric generator, which powered the city’s streetlights.

The Victoria brewery gets its name as an homage to the Canoe Club, which once operated the building prior to the brewery being installed over 20 years ago.

Visit Victoria’s Canoe Brewpub and you’ll find a soaring timber interior and rustic brick architecture. The craft brewery comes complete with a pub, lounge, dining room and scenic patio. It’s also one of the city’s most popular live music venues.

Canoe Brewpub offers 6 in-house craft beer options, one guest tap, and one cider tap at each of its 3 bars. Resident brewmaster Kyle York shared, “We have 4 core beers, 1 seasonal offering, which rotates every 3 months, and an experimental line, which we call the Windward Series.”

If you’re looking to enjoy dinner while touring the Victoria breweries we suggest making a reservation at Canoe Brewpub Marina and Restaurant. Chef Kyle Dampsy utilizes fresh local ingredients that he transforms into his own innovative West Coast cuisine.

Pair Canoe Brewpub’s popular Helles Lager or Amber Dark Rub Ale with one of Chef Dampsy’s signature dishes. Local favourites include scallop chowder, organic beef burger and pickled salmon cobb salad.

Swans Brewery is one of the most historic Victoria breweries.
Swans Brewery is one of the most historic Victoria breweries.

Swans Brewery & Pub

506 Pandora Ave, 250-361-3310

Swans Brewery was founded in 1989 by Michael Williams. He bought the building that is now Swans Brewery in 1987, but the 107 year old building was initially the Scott and Peden building operating as a granary. Forty years later the Buckerfields company bought the building, and 45 years after the building was transformed again into Swans Brewery. Today, Swans in downtown Victoria features a 30 room boutique hotel, lively pub, beer & wine store, night club, restaurant, and craft brewery.

Swans is the second oldest brewpub in Canada. Its first name was Buckerfields Brewery, named for the buildings previous name. Over the years, the historic Victoria brewery has featured a who’s who of brewmasters in the British Columbia brewing community. Swan’s current Brewmaster, Chris Lukie, has turned the brewery into what it is today operating more often than not as a one man team, producing the most amount of in house taps anywhere in the country and elevating its brewery program into one of the best and most unique in the province.

Swans General Manager Mike Boyle shared, “The pub features exposed brick, large wood support beams, as well as the steel railroad that 100 years ago used to ride in through the front door to unload grain, and the initial granary elevator wheels, and a vintage Buckerfields brewery sign. The pub and building, although recently renovated does draw on its history back when the from the days of shipping yards & warehouses, steam locomotives & gambling dens. The brewery boasts the original brewing equipment put in place by Frank Appleton, feature 5 fermentation tanks, 20 conditioning tanks, and 8 lagering tanks 17 feet below ground in our dedicated Lagering Cellar. The original grain mill used for the first 30.5 years has recently had to replaced, however is still on display in the brewery.”

Boyle added, “Swans Pub offers 20 to 24 of our own taps pouring at all taps, but could operate with as many as 28 of our own beers pouring at once, including a dedicated rotating nitro tap, as well as pouring beers from our Lagering Cellar. Additionally we pour 23 guest taps, 5 cider taps, as well as barrel aged cocktails made in house and poured on tap. With regard to core brands, we feature 5 year round, however we do small batches of rotators in the area of 20 or so, as well as single batch per year beers too.”

Chef Bob Hendle manages the menu at Swans Pub, which highlights fresh and local ingredients from Vancouver Island. Boyle shared his favourite dishes, “Our Scotch Egg has become renowned, pizza’s stand out as they are large, sandwiches and burgers are very popular. We’ve also recently worked on releasing a new vegan menu. It focuses on vegan comfort food such as poutine, pizza and nachos.”

Enjoy a craft beer tasting on the patio at Whistle Buoy Brewing.
Enjoy a craft beer tasting on the patio at Whistle Buoy Brewing.

Whistle Buoy Brewing

Whistle Buoy Brewing first opened its doors in June 2019 in Victoria’s Market Square. Located in downtown Victoria, Market Square is a notable heritage building that dates back to the 1800s.

The brewery is co-owned by Matt West-Patrick (brewer), Nina Colovic (HR), Colin Curtis (GM), Iwan Williams (Finance) and Isaiah Archer (Marketing).

The Victoria brewery’s resident brewer, Matt West-Patrick, wanted to open a tap room brewery where he could do small batch one-off releases using high quality local ingredients and pour it fresh from the tank into a customers glass.  

Archer shared the story behind the Victoria brewery’s name. “We (Iwan, Matt and Isaiah) had been going to Bamfield for fishing trips and were spearfishing one day at the Whistle Buoy when the fog surrounded us, but the buoy was the beacon that kept us feeling safe. We ended up diving the reef below and had a successful day of fishing. We talked a lot about starting a brewery on these trips. This experience represents a lot of the beautiful things about Vancouver Island’s coast that we love and inspire us,” said Archer.

Step inside Whistle Buoy Brewing and you’ll find an interior designed by Studio Roslyn built mostly from re-used materials. Archer explained, “We did a lot of the work ourselves. The bar top is made from scrap marble that was queried here on Vancouver Island. The front of our bar is made from scrap stainless steel from our brewing tanks.”

Whistle Buoy Brewing’s bar features 10 taps pouring craft beer, cider and kombucha. The flagship beer is a West-Coast Pale Ale called Coastality. It is the only beer available at all times. Almost everything else is a one-off experimental style. Brewery Matt West-Patrick made nearly 40 unique recipes in the brewery’s first 8 months of production.

While Whistle Buoy Brewing doesn’t have a kitchen, peckish guests can snack on treats by Little June Cafe, The Bikery Pretzels and Four Quarters Meats.

The beer bar at Phillips Brewing in Victoria, British Columbia.
The beer bar at Phillips Brewing in Victoria, British Columbia.

Phillips Brewing and Malting

2010 Government St, 250-380-1912

Matt Phillips launched Phillips Brewing and Malting in Victoria in 2001. In the conservative beer climate of that time the brewery launched with an Espresso Stout, a Raspberry Wheat Ale, and a boldy-hopped IPA.

John Shields of Edda Creative designed the space alongside Matt Phillips. The tables in the tasting room are reclaimed beams from the old warehouse at the back of the property.

Phillips Brewing features 16 taps featuring 15 year-round brews and a number of seasonal beers and one-batch offerings. Popular seasonal beers include Raspberry Wheat Ale, Solaris White Peach Ale, and Dinosour Blackberry Sour.

Phillips explained, “We don’t have a kitchen but sell massive pretzels baked with some of our spent grain prepared by a bakery just up the street; two meat pepperoni sticks made by a local producer; one using our Longboat Chocolate porter and one using our Electric Unicorn White IPA.  We also offer a cheese board that is available with a matching paired beer flight. We also offer hot, fresh meat pies by a local producer that use our sour beer in the recipe as well.”

Victoria’s Philllips Brewing also launched a soda company, distillery and malting facility, the only of its kind in Canada. The brands Fermetorium utilizes a 1920s copper still to produce small batch Stump Coastal Forest Gin. Phillips Soda offers a non-alcoholic option for thirsty travelers including Ginger Ale, Craft Cola, Root Beer and Orange Cream.

Enjoy a craft beer tasting in Victoria at Category 12 Brewing.
Enjoy a craft beer tasting in Victoria at Category 12 Brewing.

Category 12 Brewing

2200 Keating Cross Rd C, 250-652-9668

Category 12 Brewing opened in Victoria, British Columbia in December, 2014. It is the craft beer passion project of Michael and Karen Kuzyk.

Michael’s PhD in Biochemistry and Microbiology lent itself to both the planning and execution of all aspects of brewery operations. Karen shared, “Originally the concept stemmed from a desire to do something that was under our own control and giving both of us something that capitalized on each of our strengths, allowing us to stay in Victoria to raise our children. With such a significant amount of time spent in post-secondary education, you can imagine this wasn’t a decision taken lightly!”

The Victoria breweries name is a subtle way of incorporating a little science into branding. Karen explained, “C12 is carbon 12 on the periodic table, which lent itself nicely to being the foundation block of this next chapter of life. Also, we liked the alignment of the name with an element of mystery, like Area 51, but cooler and with beer.”

Skip inside Category 12 Brewing and you’ll find counters that mimic the composition and look of science lab tables. Karen added, “It was easy to keep clean lines and aspects of the mid century aesthetic that tied in with our atomic age branding. You’ll find lighting that evokes Erlenmeyer flasks and atomic rings in our chandeliers. Stainless steel and tile is used throughout the taproom, tying in with the sight-lines provides by the large windows into the production space itself.”

Hop up at the Category 12 Brewing bar and you’ll find 8 taps with plans to double up to 16 soon. The popular Vancouver Island brewery offers a wide offering of craft beer styes. Their most popular beer is the East Coast IIPA, but they’re also well known for their evolving range of sour beers, IPAs and a wood program (from barrels or foeder).

The brewery also plays home to a funky Food Lab, featuring a small but passionately created selection of local offerings. Karen chirped, “Reflecting our location in an agricultural hub of the Peninsula, fresh greens and locally raised beef are integral menu components.”

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Lighthouse Brewing Company's outdoor patio in Victoria, BC.
Lighthouse Brewing Company’s outdoor patio in Victoria, BC.

Lighthouse Brewing Company

836 Devonshire Rd, 250-383-6500

Lighthouse Brewing Company is a craft brewery located in Victoria on Vancouver Island.

The popular Victoria brewery started in the summer of 1998, amidst a sea of macro beer. Lighthouse Brewing’s Ben Thomas shared, “When we started out there were only about 10 craft breweries in British Columbia. Craft beer in Victoria was limited to a couple brewpubs such as Spinnakers and Swan’s, and only one actual production brewery.”

Lighthouse Brewing founders David Thomas, Paul Hoyne and Gerry Hieter launched the brewery in Victoria in hopes of sharing their love for small batch brews. The sort of interesting craft beers that were difficult at the time to find in the local market.

The Victoria brewery is located in an industrial warehouse in Esquimalt, about a five minute drive from downtown Victoria. Hop up at the bar and you’ll find 9 taps pouring fresh craft beer. Lighthouse Brewing’s core lineup includes Race Rocks Amber Ale, Shipwreck IPA, Nightwatch Coffee Lager, Ghost Ship Hazy IPA and Numbskull Imperial IPA.

The brewery’s tasting room sells cans, bottles and kegs to take home. In the summertime locals love relaxing in the sun at the brewery’s outdoor picnic area.

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Peak into the production facility at Driftwood on a Victoria Breweries tour.
Peak into the production facility at Driftwood on a Victoria Breweries tour.

Driftwood Brewery

102-450 Hillside Ave, 250-381-2739

Driftwood Brewery is the realized dream for founders Kevin Hearsum, Jason Meyer and Gary Lindsay, who were once colleagues at Victoria’s Lighthouse Brewing.

The trio began adapting and developing the brewery on Hillside Avenue in July 2008, releasing their first kegs in October of that year.

Jason and Kevin spearheaded the plan for an independent brewery and secured the space, equipment and brewery concept with Gary joining them to provide sales support.

So what inspired the trio to open their own craft brewery in Victoria? Lindsay explained, “We had a desire for autonomy on what to brew and wanted to fill a niche to provide ‘new’ old world styles to the local craft scene.  There was a healthy and long standing local craft beer scene but variety in styles being offered was somewhat limited. Jason has always been inspired by Belgian styles and brewing styles to their full potential.”

Skip inside Driftwood Brewery and you’ll find a cozy tasting room and retail shop. A mosaic of beach glass and small piece of driftwood are laid out in hand crafted design, offering a hat tip to the islands home on the Pacific Northwest Coast.

At the Victoria craft beer bar you’ll find 6 taps featuring signature brews such as Fat Tug IPA, White Bark Witbier, New Growth Pale Ale, Arcus Pilsner, Viewfield Brett Saison, Naughty Hildegard ESB and Goldynwell- West Coast table Beer.

Vancouver Island Brewery offers a fun and friendly beer bar in downtown Victoria.
Vancouver Island Brewery offers a fun and friendly beer bar in downtown Victoria.

Vancouver Island Brewing

2330 Government St, 250-361-0007

Vancouver Island Brewing was founded as Island Pacific Brewing in 1984 by small business owners in southern Vancouver Island. The ownership of the Victoria brewery changed hands in 2016 when it was sold to Bob McDonald, who also owns Muskoka Brewery in Ontario.

Vancouver Island Brewing’s Chris Bjerrisgaard shared, “Our interior was constructed by Aryze Developments. As we have been in the space for over 25 years, we have a number of vintage pieces from our history that adorn the walls of our tasting room.”

Vancouver Island Brewing’s tasting bar features 8 taps. Guests can sip signature craft beers including Victoria Lager, Broken Islands Hazy IPA, Faller Northwest Pale Ale, Dominion Dark Lager and Piper’s Pale Ale.

Looking to enjoy a beer tour at one of the most popular Victoria breweries? Vancouver Island Brewing offers daily tours between May and September at 3pm (Fridays and Saturdays in the winter).

Howl Brewing produces craft beer in the Saanich Peninsula near Victoria.
Howl Brewing produces craft beer in the Saanich Peninsula near Victoria.

Howl Brewing

1780 Mills Rd, 778-977-4695

Howl Brewing first opened its doors in 2018 in Vancouver Island’s Saanich Peninsula.

Founder of Howl Brewing, Daniel van Netten spent years home brewing as a hobby before launching the craft brewery.

Visit Howl Brewing and you’ll find a hand-crafted building using 100 year old repurposed wood, bar featuring old floorboards, old fences and doors from the Belfry Theatre.

Howl’s resident brewers are cousins Daniel and Ben van Netten. They brew small 270 litre batches of craft beer onsite.

Daniel shared, “We release a new original beer almost every week. We try not to have many core beers as we like to keep it interesting, however, Vienna lager we make regularly.”

Howl Brewing features 8 taps, which often showcase rare historical beers, fruit and herbal bee and even mushroom beer! Hungry visitors can enjoy food next door at the Fickle Fig Farmers Market.

Enjoy a craft beer and whisky tasting at Twa Dogs Brewery near Victoria
Enjoy a craft beer and whisky tasting at Twa Dogs Brewery near Victoria

Twa Dogs Brewery

761 Enterprise Crescent, 778-401-0410

Are you a whisky fan enjoying a beer-sloshed holiday on Vancouver Island? Hit two birds with one stone by visiting Victoria Caledonian Distillery & Twa Dogs Brewery.

The Victoria brewery’s first batch of craft beer was produced in August, 2016. Owner Graeme Macaloney shared, “We’re a single malt distillery, which people associate with Scotch single malt whisky. We’re also in Victoria with its ‘British feel’.”

Macaloney added, “Playing to my heritage and also that of many, many Canadians we chose the Scottish theme from a Rabbie Burns poem called Twa Dogs. Twa is Scots language for two and the poem is about appreciating people over beer. It is about a rich mans dog and a poor mans dog who compare notes on how life is. They conclude that no matter how wealthy or poor you are, you still experience the same highs and lows in life. It’s message is that no matter your background life is what you make it and what better way to enjoy life than with your fellow human over a pint of beer!”

Macaloney designed the plant after gutting a leased warehouse. Twa Dogs offers a unique stop for those visiting the Victoria breweries as the space features massive copper pot stills.

Macaloney continued, “Even though they make whisky our beer tourists all get their pics taken at the pot stills, some of the largest for craft whisky in North America. Also very unique is the fact that you can grab a pint and wander into the brewery floor where you can sit on a bench while watching the brewers and distillers practice their art. We even do a 5 course hot meal for our Rabbie Burns night in this space with up to 85 guests.”

Twa Dogs Brewery near Victoria offers a beer bar with 10 taps. Signature brews at the craft brewery include Parting Kiss Bourbon Barrel Ale, Drouthy Neibor IPA, Life & Liberty Pale Ale, and Keekin Glass Pilsner.

We suggest whisky and craft beer lovers book a tour of the Victoria Caledonian Distillery & Twa Dogs Brewery. The 45 minute guided tour is conducted by a kilt-clad guide who is knowledgeable about the brewing and distilling process. Guests have the opportunity to taste barley, smell hops and fill a whisky cask with moonshine. Afterwards, enjoy a tutored tasting of chocolate and whisky or craft beer with cheese & charcuterie.

In 2020 Victoria Caledonian Distillery & Twa Dogs Brewery launched its first culinary concept. The onsite kitchen serves pizza, barbecue, wings, salad and fries.

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Never travel without insurance! We suggest World Nomads comprehensive coverage as it includes over 250 adventure activities such as scuba diving, bungee jumping and surfing.

If you’re planning a road trip make sure to compare the best local car rental options.

Looking to book a tour or VIP experience on holiday? Book the best local tours on Viator.

Be sure to check your travel destinations electrical plug requirements in advance. If you travel often be sure to purchase a multi-region adaptor.

Whether you’re marching through a city or exploring a rugged rural landscape, it’s important to ensure you’re traveling with comfortable footwear. We suggest these comfortable walking shoes for urban adventures or these waterproof hiking boots when embarking on a hike holiday.

Capture your holiday on a quality camera. We suggest the pocket-sized Canon Powershot G7 or professional SLR we shoot with Canon EOS 6D.

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  1. Hi Andrew, I am doing some research on Kraft beer in BC.

    I would like to ask your expertise on the subject.

    Are you familiar with Riot Brewing? And if so, what are your thoughts?