There are certain things that are on everyone’s list when they visit Victoria – The Empress, Chinatown, Butchart Gardens, the Inner Harbour and whale watching are all in top spots for visitors to this gorgeous city. But if you want to really get a taste of Victoria and learn why the locals love living here so much, you’ve got to experience the food and beverage scene in the city. If you’re a fan of beer, then one of the best ways to explore the city is to check out the local breweries that are tucked away all over the South Island. Most breweries offer tours, tasting rooms and sometimes have a small menu of snacks to enjoy. Visiting local breweries, tasting all the best craft and small batch brews that the Victoria area has to offer is one of the best ways to spend a sunny spring day.
If you’re looking for a self-guided brewery tour while you’re downtown, we’ve rounded up our favourite breweries that you can get to on foot to enjoy a lovely spring walk in the stunning capital. Try a flight and learn about the history, ingredients, methods and philosophy of each different brewery!
Whistle Buoy Brewing – Market Square, Lower Courtyard, #63, 560 Johnson St, Victoria, BC
This tiny brewery focuses on brewing incredible, small batch experimental beers with the highest quality ingredients. With only 600sqft of space to create their beers and brewing only 800L batches at a time, this is the definition of small batch, local craft beer. It might sound constrictive, but this is exactly the way that the brewers at Whistle Buoy like to work! The small space and small batches let these incredible artists experiment with all sorts of flavours and styles of beer. If you want to try something really delicious and out-of-the-box, this brewery should be top of your list!
Drake Eatery – 517 Pandora Ave, Victoria, BC
Known as Victoria’s craft beer parlour, this is the ultimate place to find an incredible selection of craft beer. Create a flight of beer by choosing a selection of brews that spark your interest and taste an array of samples to find your favourite! Can’t decide? Ask one of the awesome servers of bartenders to help you choose a great selection. The Drake also has a large menu full of unique dishes, casual favourites, plant-based platters that are perfect for pairing with a refreshing flight!
Swan’s Pub – 1601 Store St, Victoria, BC
As one of the most well-established breweries and one of the most beloved pubs in Victoria, Swan’s has a spot in every local’s heart. If you want to see where every Victorian has spent more than one evening chatting, drinking, dancing and laughing and try some truly incredible beers, Swan’s is the place to go.
Herald St. Brew Works – 506 Herald St, Victoria, BC
When Jorden Foss and James Garbutt opened Herald St. Brew Works in Victoria’s old town, they weren’t sure whether their labour of love would stand up to the behemoths in Victoria’s brewery scene. But their hard work and passion paid off and this funky brewery has quickly become a local favourite place to enjoy some incredible local beer, and delicious snacks.
Phillips Tasting Room – 2000 Government St, Victoria, BC
Phillips is one of the most well-known and beloved beers in Victoria. Their core brews are shipped all over BC and loved by everyone who tries them. While you can go and buy these beers anytime you want from your local liquor store, a visit to the tasting room is a great experience! Not only will you be able to try any of the sixteen beers that are on tap and talk to the incredible staff who are there to answer all your questions, but this space is designed with large windows that look into the packaging room so that you can really be a part of the action during your visit! If you’re travelling with non-drinkers, there are also hand-crafted natural sodas and tonics that you can order and a great selection of snacks!
Spinnakers Brew Pub – 308 Catherine St, Victoria, BC
Since 1984, Spinnakers has been making and serving some of the finest, traditionally crafted beers in Victoria. But Spinnakers is so much more than a brewery, this full-scale pub offers guests an incredible menu filled with traditional pub fare and elevated classics. In the spring, a walk along the Songhees waterway followed by lunch and a few flights on their covered, waterfront patio is one of the best ways to enjoy an afternoon.
If you’re staying on the Saanich Peninsula or if you’re in Victoria and want to explore the area, a fun way to do that is visiting the incredible breweries that are around Sidney!
Howl Brewing – 1780 Mills Rd, North Saanich, BC
This pico brewery is an incredible little spot to find high quality, small batch brews. They focus on experimenting with obsolete beer styles, connecting with local farms and passionately educating their visitors about their processes. On a sunny spring day, this sweet, country-style tasting room and patio is a wonderful place to stop, chat with a local and learn something new!
Beacon Brewing – 9829 Third St, Sidney, BC
Officially the first brewery in Sidney by the Sea, this incredible, small batch, non-distribution brewery and tasting room offers pints and flights right in the heart of Sidney. Pop in for a flight and some pizza from Peninsula Pizza or bring your own takeout food from a local eatery and enjoy it here! When you’re ready to head out, grab a refillable growler of your favourite to take with you and give yourself a reason to return!
Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse – 2487 Mt St Michael Rd, Saanichton, BC
This stunning farm and orchard has over 60 certified organic varietals of heritage and cider apples that are used to create award winning ciders since 2007. With a stunning tasting room, over 20 ciders to taste, an incredible menu to enjoy and gorgeous grounds to walk around, this cidery is definitely worth a visit!
Category 12 Brewers – 2200 Keating Cross Rd C, Saanichton, BC
This fun brewery in the middle of the Peninsula is a great place to pop in to try some incredible beers. Brewmaster Michael Kuzyk, is constantly tinkering with ingredients, recipes and creating exceptional beers that are pushing boundaries and delighting taste buds. Plus, their bold branding makes a fun gift!