Vancouver Island Brew Tours: 11 Must Visit Island Breweries
In the past, beer was generic and bland in its brewing process; though in recent years, beer has been reinvented as a ‘craft’, with different flavours, clarity and tastes to delight the senses. Craft breweries have been popping up everywhere – Vancouver Island now houses 26! Here’s a round-up of the top 11 craft breweries on Vancouver Island – 7 in Victoria, and 4 that venture farther up the coast. Cheers!
Vancouver Island Brewing Co.
Consistency is key with Vancouver Island Brewing Co. Since 1984, they’ve only ever had two brewmasters, and you can be sure these two know their stuff. Together, they have created many award winning brews. Vancouver Island Brewing Co. is one of the most well-known breweries on the island and their beer can be found in many pubs on Vancouver Island.
Category 12 Brewing
Category 12 is all about science. Their head brewer and founder, Michael Kuzyk, has been brewing beer for over 20 years. He has his doctorate in microbiology and biochemistry, and believes that the basis of biology and chemistry guides the fermentation process – enabling the creation of consistently great beer.
Hoyne Brewing Co.
Brewmaster, Sean Hoyne, comes from generations of beer brewers and beer knowledge. He studied craft beer with Frank Appleton – a pioneer of the North American micro-brewery movement. Frank and Sean set up a brewery in Victoria’s Swans Hotel in 1989, and later founded the brewery at Canoe Brewpub.
Lighthouse Brewing opened their doors in 1998. Looking back, the response to craft beer wasn’t what it is today. With a market that was saturated by bland, generic beer, their first craft beer, Race Rocks Ale, was well received.
Axe & Barrel Brewing Co.
Located in Langford, Axe and Barrel is the first brewery to open in the Westshore, where they run a craft brewery and BBQ brewhouse.
Four Mile Brewpub
Four Mile Brewpub has been around Victoria for over 100 years! Housed in a 150 year-old tudor-style building – dining here makes you feel like you’re in an Olde English Inn. And this has translated into their brewing style – Four Mile’s craft beer is brewed in the traditional English fashion, with West Coast flair.
Moon Under Water
An award winning brewery and pub with craft beer inspired by centuries of European tradition, and brewed in a German brewhouse.
Gladstone Brewing Co.
Originating in Victoria on Gladstone Avenue, Gladstone Brewing Company has since become a gathering place for locals and passersby in Courtenay and the Comox Valley. Their main focus is on Belgian ales, European lagers, and Pacific Northwest style India pale ales.
A small, but mighty tasting room, you’ll find here a 6 tap growler bar, and incredibly knowledgable staff who would be happy to take you for a taste of the lineup and tours of the entire facility.
White Sails Brewing Co.
Beer inspired by white sails that anchor Nanaimo to the North and the South. Their brewhouse is a place of gathering – where locals meet with family and friends to kick back and relax. Be sure to ask Tyler, their brewmaster for a tour!
Tofino Brewing Co.
Tofino Brewing Co. draws inspiration from their environment on the wild West Coast, reflected in the names of their beers, like Kelp Stout, Spruce Tree Ale, and Hunt and Gather. All of their beer is small batch brewed, using high quality malted barley and Pacific Northwest hops. Visit their tasting room for a flight of beer, and pick your favourite.
If you are looking for something to eat after your brewery adventure, see our article on Victoria’s best eateries.