Last September, Erik and I went on a beer tour of Victoria with our fathers. Sadly, it was the weekend after the Great Canadaian Beer Festival. We were busy on GCBF weekend, but will definitely be attending next year. Nonetheless, we still had a great time in Victoria. We stayed in one of the guest houses at Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub. I would definitely stay there again, but not with a group of dudes. We found the guesthouses to be a bit on the romantic side. Spinnakers has everything going for it. In additon to a brewpub and guesthouses, Spinnakers also boasts on an onsite restaurant and bakery, plus scenic views of Victoria harbor from its oceanside plot. We awoke every morning at Spinnakers to fresh baked goods dropped off for breakfast, which was a tasty treat indeed.
Us guys at Canoe Brewpub
Our itinerary consisted of first popping into the brewpub at Spinnakers for a late dinner on Friday night. We found the food, atmosphere, and, above all, the beer to be quite satisfying. Upon learning the 11PM closing time was fast approaching, we hastened to sample as many of their beers as possible before being cutoff. Consequently drunk, we abandoned our plans for bed and decided to wander around Victoria until the wee hours of the morning. We somehow ended up at Swans Brewpub across town, enjoying further libations. Now, I can’t say I recall too much about the beer at either Spinnakers or Swans from that night, but I do recall it being rather tasty.
On Saturday, we woke up rather late and worse for wear. We had a leisurely morning enjoying our baked goods from the Spinnakers bakery before setting off for the Canoe Brewpub. I recall Canoe being the plushest and most modern of the establishments we visited. I also recall the Braised Beef Short Rib & Blue Cheese Burger I ordered as being the greatest burger I have eaten in my entire life (surely the healthiest too). The beer there was also tasty, but the rest of the days events seemed to have wiped my memory of particular details. We then ventured to Vancouver Island Brewing for a tour. The tour usually costs $5, but they waived our fee for enthusiastically showing up far too early. Had we paid the fee, it would have been well worth it for the tour and the five glasses of each VI brew we were poured. At this point in the early afternoon, we were roundly drunk, but ventured on to Hugos.
Hugos brewhouse was largely a disappointment. The beer we ordered was all well and good, but there was something off about the place. We felt as though we were sitting in a dark, empty nightclub, not the atmosphere one would expect of a brewpub on a Saturday. I was not surprised to learn later that Hugo’s was largely known as a nightclub in its last days and was closed down weeks after our visit. We then ventured to the Stickey Wicket, tired and unenthusiastic. The pub itself is very cool, convivial, busy, and featuring three floors (the top floor features an open air volleyball court). We weren’t there long as we had hit the wall. We ventured back to Spinnakers for a solid nap (the longest walk of my life, I swear). After our nap, we returned to the Spinnakers brewpub for dinner where two of us couldn’t even contemplate ordering another beer. The night ended shortly after an unrousing game of darts, when we retired rather early.
On Sunday, we awoke refreshed to more Spinnakers baked goods. I had the delivery girl drop our basket off outside “because of the no pants and whatnot”. Erik was none too pleased with my saying “whatnot”, wondering what the poor girl may have inferred. We then gathered ourselves and headed to Swans once more, to give it a fair chance in an uninebriated state. We enjoyed the beer there very much, although I again can’t recall any details. We then ventured back to the mainland, laiden with bottles, after a two day trip where we consumed beer aplenty.
Us guys at Swans Brewpub
We had an awesome time in Victoria and it is a tour we’d definitely do again. It was very cool to be able to do this with our fathers before they lose mobility. Just kidding, our Dads are on the young side and much fitter than we are. We learned a lot from this beer tour though, foremost that it is best to pace yourself to get the most out of the day. It was also a shame we didn’t get to visit any of Victoria’s other microbreweries. Before we ventured on our trip, we had planned to visit both Philips and Lighthouse Brewing. I called both breweries and asked if they did tours. They did not, but both said they would accommodate us if we stopped by, which I though was pretty cool. Sadly, our weekend trip did not coincide with the hours of operation of these two breweries. I imagine that new Victoria brewery Driftwood operates similary. I hope to visit all three the next time I’m in Victoria on a weekday.
My next trip to Victoria is already planned and we will be staying at Swans, a more suitable venue for a bachelor party, due to its lively atmosphere, than Spinnakers. It is indeed my good friend Dave’s bachelor party. This time the focus will be more on debauchery than beer. That being said, I hope to visit Spinnakers and Canoe again, and we’ll possibly do a brewery tour. This time I’m going to organize a golf game at nearby Gorge Vale on Saturday morning, to ensure we don’t hit the wall to early.