Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Victoria, part II--the downtown brewpubs

  In part I I set out on Joe Wiebe's Victoria beer mile-plus from Spinnakers and went off counter-clockwise as far as Vancouver Island Brewing.  Heading down Government Street from that point, one passes Phillips Brewing, which was not open, and then to the old downtown, the touristy part.
   Swans Brewpub is part of a boutique hotel also called Swans.  The brewery part cannot be seen from the pub, which has a cozy European feel, with both tables and stand up areas and dark wood trim.
I took Joe's published advice and ordered a pint of Appleton's Brown Ale.  I found it a good exemplar of the style, malty, great aroma, creamy mouthfeel.   I wanted to peek at one of the rooms, for future reference, but the hotel was full that evening.
The brewery opened in 1989 as part of the making of the hotel (formerly a feed warehouse).

   A couple blocks from Swans, on the waterfront, the Canoe Brewpub, Marina, and Restaurant is located in a refurbished brick building that originally housed the coal-fired generators that electrified the city in the 1890s.  The marina part means you can look out on the harbor through the masts of moored sailboats while enjoying a pint on the patio.

Canoe, like Spinnakers, does food on two levels, upscale dining down below and the pub, with the big screens on all sides for the hockey games, on the second floor.  The menus disclose that Canoe is a member of the Truffles Group, a corporate entity but one with taste.  The pub affords a glimpse of the brewing system, and the high ceilings with canoes hanging down are dramatic.

The website says the four signature beers in Canoe are a red, a brown, a pale and an ESB.  The beer list in March said that the fourth signature ale was an IPA rather than the ESB.  This IPA is bittered with Australian hops, not something you see very often, but the brewer is from Down Under so not surprising.
  There were three or four seasonals on the menu and I went with a Simcoe Imperial Pilsner.  Not sure how imperial it was, at 6.5% abv and 45 IBUs, but it had a nice lemony finish and a good aroma.

   This wrapped up the beer mile.  I ate at Canoe and walked over later to a beer week event downtown, a combination panel discussion by six brewers, art show of beer labels, and cask tapping.  Discussion was lively, the cask samples were very good, and the label art, enlarged for public display, showed some creative imaginations at work.
Victoria is great fun for tourists of many persuasions, beer tourists for sure.
(Visited 3/06/14)

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