By Joe Wiebe June 11, 2015 #php comments_number('0 Comment', '1 Comment', '% Comments'); ?> #php echo wpb_get_post_views(get_the_ID()); ?>
Vancouver Island welcomed several new craft breweries in recent months, joining the island’s existing operations in Tofino, Nanaimo, Duncan and the craft beer capital of British Columbia, Victoria, which is already home to 11 local breweries and brewpubs.
Back in December, Category 12 Brewing opened in Saanichton, about halfway between the Swartz Bay ferry terminal and Victoria on the Saanich Peninsula. Founded by Michael Kuzyk, a PhD scientist with 20 years experience running labs while he honed his brewing skills at home, and his wife, Karen Kuzyk, this brewery features Belgian-inspired and “colossal west coast” beer styles. The tasting room is a popular spot to sample their beers, fill a growler or pick up a 650-ml bottle or two of your favourites.
Heading “up Island,” Duncan is an ideal place to stop for a break on the way to Nanaimo. About an hour north of Victoria, the small city has been home to the Craig Street Brewpub since 2006, and now it welcomes Red Arrow Brewing, led by Craig Street’s former brewmaster, Chris Gress. Situated in an ivy-covered brick building that previously housed a custom motorcycle shop, Red Arrow’s tasting room is very attractive and welcoming. If you’re looking for more to do in Duncan, check out the Forest Discovery Centre. And, of course, the Craig Street brewpub is a great option for lunch or dinner.
Nanaimo is home to the Longwood Brewpub, established in 1999, and Wolf Brewing, which has operated there since 2011. Longwood opened a new production brewery with its own tasting room in 2013. Wolf recently expanded and will be adding a tasting room and growler station this summer. Look for another new brewery to open downtown later this year.
Another hour north of Nanaimo is the Comox Valley, a region well known for its agricultural scene and local food movement. Until recently, however, this area had sadly lacked any breweries of its own. But that has changed in a big way with the arrival of two new craft breweries and another on its way shortly. First to open in December 2014 was Cumberland Brewing in the historic coal mining town of Cumberland. Founded by Darren Adam and Mike Tymchuk, who had previously established Wild Rose Brewing in Alberta, the small brewery is adjacent to Rider’s Pizza on Dunsmuir Avenue, Cumberland’s main street. The brewery has been a huge hit with residents who have quickly made it a community hub. Stop by for some pizza and glass of two of beer, and fill a growler to take home with you. There is a small tasting room inside the brewery as well as a spacious outdoor patio -both are family friendly.
Gladstone Brewing opened in an old auto mechanic shop in Courtenay early in 2015. Brewer John Adair previously worked at Parallel 49 Brewing in Vancouver, but grew up in Victoria. Owners Daniel Sharratt and Alexandra Stephanson also lived in Victoria, specifically on Gladstone Avenue, hence the name of the brewery. Enjoy beer by the glass in the tasting room or on the patio outside, and fill a growler to take away with you.
Vancouver Island will welcome even more craft breweries in the near future with plans in the works for Chemainus, Port Alberni, Langford and Victoria. With this wealth of choices, it’s easy to plan a brewery-focused road trip around Vancouver Island – and even better if you add in active options such as golf, biking, skiing or hiking to work off some of the calories in between beer breaks. Cheers!
Craft Beer Bike Tour in Victoria, British Columbia
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