Arriving in Victoria on a Friday evening, with friends Richard & Karen, for 4-days of R&R, we sat down after dinner and prioritised our objectives for the weekend. After their recent visit, our kids highly recommended the craft breweries, so Saturday’s schedule comprised breakfast followed by visiting the downtown craft breweries.
What do you think of our priorities?
Judi doesn’t partake in hopped beverages; therefore, as Saturday’s chauffeur she had the honour of selecting a restaurant for breakfast. Having recently watched an episode of “You Gotta Eat Here”, which included a restaurant in Victoria. John’s Place is an established restaurant in Victoria, which we had not heard of before.
John’s Place Restaurant
Located on Pandora Street, they have been in business for over 30 years, serving breakfast lunch and dinner. Reviews stated that queues are common and arrival before 11:00 is highly recommended. Arriving shortly after 10:00 the place was packed, but the turnover of tables is fairly fast, so we waited about 20 minutes for a table.
Andy & Richard waiting patiently outside for a table
Inside Walls of John’s Place
The above photo is a small sample of the continuous array of posters that adorn all inside walls. Once seated, the service was excellent and all staff very pleasant. Click here to check out the menu. We all had different meals and all were served hot and tasty.
Andy, Karen & Richard departing full & happy
Sufficiently nourished, it was time to partake in the other “B” activity, touring the plethora of craft breweries in downtown Victoria. Our first stop found us in the vicinity of 2 breweries and a brew pub.
As we approached the address, we spotted this sign. No way beer connoisseurs could refuse an invitation showing the way to beer from Driftwood Brewery.
This is one of the Breweries we know, as we can purchase their excellent Fat Tug IPA on the Mainland, both on draft and in bottles. Desperate to try some of their other brews, we eagerly entered the tasting room.
Richard & Karen in Driftwood Brewery Tasting Room
The staff were excellent and very knowledgeable of their products. No tasting flight here, they just poured you samples. We tried:
- Farmhand Saison – a light Belgian farmhouse ale, using a partial sour mash with lots of flavour.
- New Growth Pale Ale – wow, a spectacular beer, made with locally sourced ingredients.
- Fat Tug IPA – an amazing and strong IPA (7% alch/vol) with tons of flavour (IBU >80).
- Blackstone Porter – nice and dark with a hint of bitter sweet chocolate.
After a short walk, which was sufficient to work up an additional thirst, we stumbled upon another sign outside Hoyne Brewery.
Yet Another Invitation We Couldn’t Refuse
Entrance To Hoyne Brewing Tasting Room
Hoyne Tasting Room
The young lady was very pleasant and knowledgeable about their exceptional beers. We tried:
- Hoyner Pilsner – light and fresh with a bit of flavour. OK for a lager, but we prefer ales, IPA’s and stouts.
- Appelton ESB (Extra Special Bitter) – a British style Bitter, it is fairly dark with good hops and malt. This one had both Richard and I heading for the fridge to grab a bottle.
- Down Easy Pale Ale – fairly light in colour it had medium hops.
- Devil’s Dream IPA – another fairly light coloured, excellent IPA with loads of hops.
- Dark Matter – a nice dark ale, with minimal hops.
- Voltage Espresso Stout – a rather pleasant stout with hints of coffee.
Slideshow of photos from Hoyne
Moon Under The Water Brewpub
After a short 5 minute walk we arrived at entrance to the Moon under water Brewpub.
Brew Pub entrance
As a brew pub they didn’t provide samples, so Richard and I purchased a tasting flight, in which you selected 6 of their 7 beers. We both opted for everything except their basic lager.
Tasting flight of 6 – 4 oz glasses
Without any doubt, this was the definite low point of today’s tasting experiences. We started with a lager, followed by a dark lager, which were both OK for lager. We then tried the Tanquility IPA, which at 70 IBU was much less robust than the IPA’s at Driftwood and Hoyne. After the IPA, it went seriously downhill, with most of the remaining 3 beers being returned. The low point was the Scotch Ale, which I had eagerly anticipated. Unfortunately, it was ghastly. Not sure what the brewmaster was attempting to achieve, but me thinks they should return to the drawing board.
Phillips Brewing is another brewery we knew, as we can buy their Longboat Chocolate Porter on the Mainland. They also have daily tours, but when we called, they were full with the next available spots on Tuesday afternoon. Oh well, a perfect reason to return for another weekend.
This was the largest tasting room and also the busiest, with a constant stream of customers filling growlers. You can request samples of any of their available beers, all they request is a donation, which are provided to a local charity. I only tried a couple of their beers, the Pale Ale & IPA. Both were very pleasant, but I elected to depart with a growler of Longboat Chocolate Porter.
They also have Vancouver Island Brewery in the downtown, but they are fairly large and we get a few of their beers on the Mainland, so we elected to call it a day and head back to the condo.
This is the result when guys go shopping!!
You may ask, “What is a growler”. This is the latest craze for beer geeks, which basically is a refillable 1/2 gallon glass jug. You purchase the jug and once empty, wash it out and any craft brewery will refill it. Most of the breweries affix a small sticker on the lid to identify the beer. Unopened, they are good for about 7 to 10 days, but should be used within 2 days, once opened.
Short for International Bitterness Units, which some people will use to refer to the amount of hops in a beer. However, the true definition refers to a beer’s bitterness.