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Guest Trip…to Victoria

January 5, 2010

I was really up for a Boondoggle after Christmas and after some investigation decided Victoria was the place I wanted to go.  The weather was set to be perfect and a long ferry ride through the San Juan’s would be just the ticket to erase any Christmas stress I had.  We (My wife and daughter) boarded the Washington State Ferry Chelan at 7:40 am and rode through picturesque channels and views of Baker.  I suggest this ferry ride for anybody who has not done if before.  Upon arriving in Sidney BC, our first stop was Nanaimo, 60 miles away….Generally that translates to 1-1.5 hours, but with the traffic lights, etc it took about 2 hours.

Our first brewery was Fat Cat Brewing.  Fat cat was started by Rob and wife Bunny.  Rob started as a homebrewer and today has a 11 bbl brewhouse.  He brews 5 beers. Today we got to sample his Honey Beer (FREE).  Normally honey beers are really light and floral.  This one was bolder and more complex. Rob stated he uses a “sap” honey from New Zealand.  He allowed us to taste the honey(FREE).  It was unlike any honey I have ever tasted.  Malty and rich.  I purchased a 22 oz bottle of IPA and some honey beer for further investigation.  He also set me up with some yeast (I am a homebrewer). (FREE)

My next brewery was Longwood Brewpub.  Longwood is a large lodge building with rich wood accents throughout.  Upstairs is the restaurant and downstairs houses a large Pub with a large bar, room for 20 tables or so and an area for billiards.  All the beers are English…most hand drawn.  I had the sampler (4)

Pilsner….not a great Pilsner a bit heavy on diacetyl (butterscotch)

Longwood Blonde Ale…   Low on hop flavor but a good session beer…

IPA…  An English IPA.  Probably around 30-40 IBU  hop flavor but nothing like NW IPAs

Scotch….one of their cellar beers.  Warmer about 48 degrees. Malty and sweet.  Good

After Nanaimo we made the 90 minute trip to Victoria.  I had planned on visiting all the breweries in the area,  but due to work schedules and the Boxing day holiday, I could not visit them all. I was unable to Visit Driftwood brewery, Lighthouse Brewery, Phillips Brewery and Vancouver Island Brewery.  All are production breweries.

My first stop was Swans  (Buckerfields Brewery).  Swans was a converted Grain house right in the heart of town.  Wood floors, brick walls and exposed ceilings. This is truly a British pub with Beer engines and an attention for Real Ale …I ordered a sampler of 6

Artic AleA blonde ale.  Very light in flavor and a slight hint of diacetyl

Bitter,  More of a special bitter…very sweet and low hop flavor.  The English fellow next to me stated that this was his favorite beer in all of Canada.  Not my favorite, but a well built beer.

Pandora Pale Ale…  Drier than the bitter and a little more hop flavor.

Appleton Brown Ale…  Low on carbonation (hand drawn).  Sweet, malty and very tasty.  The low carbonation allowed you to taste each element in the beer.

Swans Extra IPA... Medium bodied IPA with good hop character.  English hops, very different than the Three C hops of the NW

Swans Oatmeal Stout...  Unlike the nitrogen infused Stouts of the states, this was hand drawn..and still remained very creamy to the tongue.  Sweet, hints of chocolate and slightly roasty.  A very good stout.

Canoe Brewpub….

Industrial style building…not sure if it was an old building previously or fashioned this way…Exposed ceilings, multiple floors.  I stepped into the pub…newer style bar with a TV.  Appears to be a nice pre-function area before you are seating for dining.  I ordered the sampler

Red Canoe Lager…  This is a classic pils…clean, malty and a snappy finish. I really really liked this beer.

Sirens Song Pale Ale…  Classic English pale ale.  English hops dominate.  Earthy

River Rock Bitter… an English ESB,a bit lighter in flavor than the pale ale.

Beaver Brown Ale,  English IPA…you can really taste the English hops.  I was not a fan of this beer..I have to be honest…I am not a great fan of many of the UK hops.

Next stop was a very very short drive to Spinnakers.  From the website, it looked like a very nice place to visit and dine.  It sits on the inner harbor and the views (well, I was there in the evening) would be very nice…  I took a spot in the lobby bar area…just a small spot to wait for dining.  I ordered a sampler of six.

Bitter…  sweet and clean.  This is how I envision an English Bitter

Kolsch…   This was a VERY good Kolsch.  Many attempt this style and diacetyl dominates.  This was clean.  Lazy summer days drifted in my head

Spinnaker Ale…  Not sure the exact style of this beer, but it would be a very good session beer.

20’ Late Hopped Pale Ale…  I wish I had time to order a couple sleeves of this.  Very good beer. Not hopped like a NW beer.  But clean, and a nice hop profile

IPA…  Not an IPA in my eyes.  More like a nice hopped blonde.  Good summer beer.

Nut Brown Ale…  A good simple brown ale.  A bit thin, not memorable, but a decent brown.

I did have a chance to have one more beer from a restaurant I visited. It was called Race Rocks Ale.  Made by Lighthouse brewery.  This was my favorite beer of the trip.  Dark chocolate, but light on the palate.  Much like a Dick Danger but much better.  Gonna have to see if I can find this beer in the states.

FTC Information: Good Beer Trips and shaqfeasel are not affiliated with the breweries listed in this post or the Washington State Ferry System.  Unless otherwise specified, all items were purchased by Good Beer Trips or shaqfeasel.

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 21, 2010 6:47 am

    Great Article. I hope you don’t mind me posting here. I love your site, I’ll look forward to your next piece

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