When it comes to craft beer, Vancouver Island is a destination that stands out. This picturesque island on the southwestern coast of British Columbia, Canada, has earned a reputation as a craft beer paradise. With its stunning natural landscapes and a thriving craft beer scene, Vancouver Island has become a hub for beer enthusiasts from around the world. In this blog post, we’re here to celebrate this forward thinking industry and acknowledge the wins at a variety of 2023 Awards.
The Island’s Beer Revolution
Vancouver Island has been at the forefront of British Columbia’s craft beer revolution. Over the past decade, there has been an explosion of craft breweries popping up across the island. Today, you can find more than 40 craft breweries on the island, each offering a unique blend of flavors and experiences.
Breweries Beyond Victoria
While the capital city, Victoria, has a vibrant craft beer scene, the craft brewery love extends beyond its borders. Vancouver Island boasts breweries in towns and cities such as Nanaimo, Comox Valley, Cowichan, Parksville Qualicum Beach, Tofino, Ucluelet and Port Alberni. Each of these locations offers a unique setting and a distinct craft beer experience, often reflecting the local culture and environment.
The brewery locations range from urban taprooms in the heart of the cities to rustic, seaside establishments with stunning ocean views.
Community and Sustainability
What truly sets Vancouver Island’s craft breweries apart is their commitment to the community and the environment. Many of these breweries source local ingredients, support local charities, and focus on sustainable brewing practices. It’s not just about beer; it’s about being good stewards of the land and fostering a sense of togetherness. Collaboration is also key, as our breweries collaborate with each other to craft small and large batch unique offerings.
This past summer, when a wildfire took out access to the west coast on Highway 4, we saw the ultimate demonstration of community in this industry, when the owner of Cumberland Brewing Company jumped in his Cessna and delivered hops to Twin City Brewing in the cut off community of Port Alberni.
Vancouver Island’s craft beer scene is a testament to the island’s natural beauty, innovative spirit, and community values. The plethora of breweries, each with its unique identity and flavors, makes the island a craft beer enthusiast’s dream destination. Whether you’re exploring the historic streets of a city or enjoying the coastal scenery of the coast, there’s a craft brewery waiting to share its passion for beer with you.
2023 Canadian Brewing Awards
The Canadian Brewing Awards invites Canadian majority-owned breweries of all sizes to compete in a Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) sanctioned blind tasting determining the best beers in 59 style categories. A Canadian Brewing Award medal is a widely recognized symbol of Canadian brewing excellence.
With over 800 breweries coming together to compete for a chance to win a coveted medal in one of the 59 categories, take a look at the Vancouver Island breweries who scored a top spot:
Whistle Buoy Brewing Co.
Market Square, Lower Courtyard, #63, 560 Johnson St,
Category: Historic/Regional Beers
Beer: Garden City Fieldberry
Ace Brewing Co.
150 Mansfield Dr,
Category: Specialty IPA
Beer: Cold IPA
Twin City Brewing Co.
4503 Margaret St,
Port Alberni, BC
Category: Experimental Beer
Beer: Bottlecap Cherry Cola Sour
Category: American-style Sour Ale
Beer: Unicycle Sour IPA w/ El Dorado
Category: German-Style Sour Ale
Beer: Obscura Berliner-Style Weisse w/ Plum
Category: Belgian-Style Dubbel or Quadrupel
Beer: Nocturne Belgian-style Quadrupel
Dog Mountain Brewing
3141 3rd Ave,
Port Alberni, BC
Category: Belgian-Style Dubbel or Quadrupel
Beer: Friar Belgian Quad
Small Gods Brewing Co.
9835 Third St,
Category: Session Ale
Beer: Promised Land
Category: European Style Lager (Pilsner)
Île Sauvage Brewing Co.
2960 Bridge St,
Category: Fruit Beer or Field Beer
Beer: Raspberry Sour
Hoyne Brewing Co.
2740 Bridge St #101,
Category: Dry Stout
Beer: Finnegan’s Irish stout
Award: Honorable Mention
Ucluelet Brewing Company
1601 Peninsula Rd,
Beer: St. Aiden’s Porter
Riot Brewing Co.
101A, 3055 Oak St,
Beer: Lipslide Lager
Moon Under Water Brewery
350 Bay St,
Beer: Potts Pils
Sooke Oceanside Brewery
5871-A Sooke Rd,
Category: Bock – Traditional German Style
Beer: Graveyard of the Pacific
Congratulations to these breweries on their hard work and dedication to the craft!
So, if you’re on Vancouver Island, don’t forget to raise a glass and savor the liquid artistry that this island has to offer. Cheers to the craft beer paradise of Vancouver Island!
Canada beer cup
The Canada Beer Cup™ is a national competition celebrating independently owned and operated breweries across Canada. It showcases quality and innovation in craft beer from coast to coast to coast.
|4C – English Style Brown Ale/Scottish Style 60/- to 80/- Ale||Gold||Ember Red Ale||Beach Fire Brewing Company||Campbell River|
|4A – Mild Ale||Bronze||Working Class Hero Dark Mild||Riot Brewing||Chemainus|
|2B – Cream or Golden Ale||Bronze||Drop Tank Blonde Ale||Ace Brewing Co.||Courtenay|
|8A – Porter/Robust Porter||Bronze||Low Pressure Porter||Mount Arrowsmith Brewing Company||Parksville|
|3G – IPA of 8.1% ABV or greater||Gold||Bike Yikes||Twin City Brewing Company||Port Alberni|
|4F – Belgian Style Dark Strong Ale||Silver||Nocturne||Twin City Brewing Company||Port Alberni|
|4D – Barley Wine||Bronze||Category 12’s 8th Anniversary Beer||Category 12 Brewing||Saanichton|
|9C – Wild or Mixed Fermentation Beer with Fruit||Bronze||Effect-Belgian Style Sour with Sour Cherries||Category 12 Brewing||Saanichton|
|4E – Belgian Style Dubbel or Other Belgian Style Dark Ale||Bronze||Belgian Dubbel||Salt Spring Brewing Company||Salt Spring Island|
|6D – Bock (inc. Helles Bock)||Silver||Graveyard of the Pacific||Sooke Oceanside Brewery||Sooke|
|1A – Canadian Grain-Forward Beer||Bronze||LoJo Light||Whistle Buoy Brewing Co.||Victoria|
|3B – Pale Ale||Silver||Northern Swell Coastal Pale Ale||Vancouver Island Brewing||Victoria|
|6E – Doppelbock||Silver||Hermannator Ice Bock||Vancouver Island Brewing||Victoria|
|6C – North American Amber or Dark Lager||Gold||Dark Matter||Hoyne||Victoria|
BC Beer Awards
The BC Beer Awards are an annual event that celebrates and recognizes the excellence in the craft beer industry in British Columbia. These awards showcase the best breweries, beers, and beer-related achievements in the province. The event features a competition where breweries submit their beers in various categories for evaluation by a panel of expert judges. Awards are then given to the top-performing beers in each category.
Rookie of The Year
Innovator of the Year
Small Gods Brewing
Brewery of the Year
Twin City Brewing
Best in Show
Hoyne Brewing – Dark Matter
A full list of winners can be viewed here.
Your Guide to Craft Beer on Vancouver Island
The Vancouver Island Beer Guide has been curated to invite locals and visitors to experience the amazing beer scene here while exploring the various regions of the Island and all they have to offer — whether it’s the agricultural splendour of the warm Cowichan Valley, the rugged and beautiful wild west coast, the sheltered beaches that stretch for miles along the east coast, the urban pleasures of Victoria, Nanaimo and Courtenay-Comox, or the many varied outdoor activities readily accessible here, including biking, hiking, skiing, surfing, paddling, caving and climbing. Vancouver Island is a fantastic place to visit so be warned, once you come here you might never want to leave.