Take the Traveller Quiz Super, Natural British Columbia

Vancouver Island is home to more than 40 craft breweries spread all throughout the lower half of the Island. From Victoria at the southern tip, where the whole microbrewing movement got its start when Spinnakers Brewpub opened in 1984, to Campbell River up north, and across to Tofino on the west coast, there is a diverse range of breweries sprinkled all over the Island, all producing artisanal beers and often using local ingredients. Some are ultra-local, designed to serve their own communities or neighbourhoods, which means you have to visit them in person if you want to taste their beers, while others have expanded to distribute throughout BC and even beyond its borders so you’ll see their beer on tap at bars and restaurants wherever you go.

No matter what your taste preferences are, you will definitely find some new favourites here.

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 beautifully rugged and 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.

Enjoy Inside Or Take It To-Go

But back to the beer, which is the real reason for this guide. Many of the breweries listed here have tasting rooms where you can sample their brews and perhaps enjoy a snack or even a full meal. Some are brewpubs with full restaurants offering extensive menu options. Many are family-friendly places where you can bring the kids along. At each brewery, you will also be able to purchase bottles or cans to take away with you or fill a growler to take back to your campsite, RV, motel or cabin.

Arrive Thirsty, Leave Inspired. Let the BC Ale Trail be your guide.

For more information, visit the BC Ale Trail website, which offers in-depth itineraries and detailed information about every brewery on the Island. Or download the BC Ale Trail app, which you can use to collect points each time you visit a brewery, and then redeem for a special prize at participating locations. It will also help you find local liquor stores that offer good craft beer selections.

Part 1

South Island

The “cradle of the revolution” is home to 16 breweries and brewpubs in total, including 11 that are within easy walking or cycling distance of each other around the downtown Inner Harbour. The city is home to Canada’s original brewpub, Spinnakers, which opened in 1984, as well as BC’s most successful craft brewery, Phillips Brewing & Distilling, and some of the province’s newest and freshest operations, such as Île Sauvage Brewing and Whistle Buoy Brewing.

Canoe Brewpub
This brewpub operates out of a gorgeous heritage building dating back to 1894. Its beautiful interior, excellent kitchen and sun-drenched, waterfront patio are all good reasons to visit, and the beer will keep you coming back.

Category 12 Brewing
Located on the Saanich Peninsula just off the highway on the way to the ferry and the airport, Category 12 Brewing offers a tasting room with an on-site kitchen. Its beers run the spectrum from standards to barrel-aged specialties—all excellent. 

Driftwood Brewery
Famous for its flagship Fat Tug IPA, Driftwood also brews a range of other top-notch beers, including barrel-aged sours and a potent barley wine and imperial stout. Though its storefront is not a full tasting room, you will be able to find Driftwood’s beers on tap nearly everywhere.

Four Mile Brewpub
Built in 1858, the Four Mile was a roadhouse for stagecoaches and later automobiles, then a cabaret with a notorious brothel upstairs. Renovated and re-opened with gorgeous decor in 1979, the brewery was added in 2014.

Howl Brewing
A tiny brewery tucked away next to the Fickle Fig Market just north of the Victoria International Airport, Howl specializes in ancient beer styles long forgotten, as well as a range of contemporary standards.  

Hoyne Brewing
Sean Hoyne started brewing beer professionally in 1989, first at Swans and then at the Canoe Brewpub. He opened his own brewery in 2011 and has only reinforced his legacy as one of Victoria’s top brewers.

Île Sauvage Brewing
Named Rookie Brewery of the Year at the 2019 BC Beer Awards, Île Sauvage is a lot of attention for its fantastic beers. Stop by its beautiful tasting room to sample from a beer list focused on sour beers, hazy IPAs and barrel-aged saisons.

Lighthouse Brewing
Lighthouse’s beers and marketing have always reflected a nautical theme inspired by its location in Esquimalt, home to Canada’s Pacific Coast naval base. Its tasting room and outdoor picnic area make it an attractive destination.

Moon Under Water Brewery, Pub & Distillery
This popular local brewpub has a solid beer list and a great food menu with lots of events such as music bingo that keep the pub packed. It recently added a distillery tasting room next door.

Phillips Brewing & Malting
One of Canada’s most successful craft breweries, Phillips began as a one-man operation two decades ago. Its tasting room is a great place to sample its beers and the brewery also hosts regular events in its backyard throughout the warmer months.

Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub
Canada’s original brewpub dating back to 1984, Spinnakers’ location on the Inner Harbour offers gorgeous views to go along with delicious beers and an excellent kitchen that works closely with local farms and food providers. It even has guesthouses, making it the perfect home base for exploring Victoria’s beer scene.

Swans Brewery, Pub & Hotel
Once an “ugly duckling” of a building that was renovated into a gorgeous swan, this brewpub dating back to 1989 has a great pub with 48 beers on tap, 20 of which are brewed on-site. The hotel upstairs is a great option for staying right downtown.

Vancouver Island Brewery
Dating back to 1984, VIB has been a strong presence in Victoria’s beer scene ever since. Its downtown brewery has a tasting room with tours available on Friday and Saturday afternoons.

Victoria Caledonian Distillery & Twa Dogs Brewing
You’ll feel like you’re visiting Scotland when you stop by the welcoming tasting room at this single malt whiskey distillery and brewery. Be sure to take the entertaining and educational tour.

V2V Black Hops Brewing
This veteran-run brewery is based in the original Axe & Barrel Brewhouse with a mandate to support military and first responder veterans PTSD programs.

Whistle Buoy Brewing
Victoria’s newest brewery based in historic Market Square, Whistle Buoy is named for a diving location where its three founders first decided to open their own brewery. It has a cozy tasting room inside and a sun-drenched patio that can’t be beat in the warmer months.


Must Stop Spots

Part 2

Gulf Islands

Find your piece of paradise within the islands. There are lots of pet-friendly accommodations and areas in nature to please both you and your dog.
From farm-fresh produce, home-baked goods, and crafts, supporting the local artisans is a way of life across the gulf islands, and dogs are welcome to shop with you at some markets and stores, but make sure to check before entering.

Experience the outdoors, relax, play, and stay overnight with your best friend, all in one spot at Woods on Pender Island. They aim to provide an unsurpassed vacation for your pet, so they’ve put together a pet-friendly package!
For a splurge-worthy treat, stay at the Mineral Springs Resort on Salt Spring Island, and don’t miss the famous Saturday Market (April to October); there’s a doggy daycare available!

Over on Galiano Island, “Small Island, Big Fun!”, Bodega Ridge offers seaside dog-friendly accommodations with fields and wooded areas to explore when you’re looking to get out into nature on a leash or off.

Pets that stay at Mayne Island Resort settle right into island life. From fetching sticks and chasing the ball on the resort’s sandy beach, to exploring the island’s trails and other beaches; pick up a map at check in to see why this island is so unique.


Must Stop Spots

  • Salt Spring Island Market

    Salt Spring Island, BC V8K 2T9

Where to Stay

  • Mineral Springs Resort

    1460 N Beach Rd, Salt Spring Island, BC V8K 1J4
  • WOODS on Pender

    4709 Canal Rd, Pender Island, BC V0N 2M1
  • Mayne Island Resort

    494 Arbutus Dr, Mayne Island, BC V0N 2J1
  • Bodega Ridge

    120 Manastee Rd, Galiano Island, BC V0N 1P0
Part 3

Cowichan

Famed for its award-winning vineyards, great restaurants, vibrant artist community, and rich with Indigenous history, Cowichan is your next stop on this Vancouver Island road trip.

Settle in with your morning coffee out front of True Grain in Cowichan Bay, the “Jewel of the Bay.”
When you’ve had enough sitting, make your way to Rotary Park, Duncan’s off-leash dog park. The location along the Cowichan River allows for a lot of room to run and dip into the water for a swim.

Stop in for lunch at Rusticana Coffee in Mill Bay. This peaceful spot, located off of Highway 1 allows pets on their outdoor patio. There’s also a tap available to refill the doggy dish for thirsty pups.

Chemainus Lake Park and Wul’aam’ (Echo) Park are two great off-leash options to let your dog socialize in the trails, if you’re looking for more spots to burn energy!

Wind down your day with an award-winning glass of wine in the tasting room at Unsworth Vineyards – since there is no food served inside the tasting room, dogs can join you.

After a day of exploring, you’ll be ready to check in to your pet-friendly room at Oceanfront Suites in Cowichan Bay.


Must Stop Spots

  • Rusticana Coffee

    803 Deloume Rd, Mill Bay, BC V0R 2P1
  • Unsworth Vineyards

    2915 Cameron Taggart Rd #1, Mill Bay, BC V0R 2P2
  • True Grain

    1725 Cowichan Bay Rd, Cowichan Bay, BC V0R 1N0
  • Rotary Park

    545 Al Wilson Grove, Duncan, BC V9L 5E4
  • Chemainus Lake Park

    W67X+8J Chemainus, North Cowichan, BC
  • Wul'aam' (Echo) Park

    3217 Channel Blvd, Chemainus, BC V0R 1K2

Where to Stay

  • Oceanfront Suites

    1681 Cowichan Bay Rd, Cowichan Bay, BC V0R 1N0
Part 4

Central Island

Start your day at Drip Coffee’s patio, overlooking Departure Bay Beach, with a warm drink in hand and a freshly baked good.
Now that you’re ready to get your legs moving, hike Cable Bay Trail. This off-leash hike boasts stunning ocean views.

After a morning of exploring the local forests and waterfront, you’ll need to refuel, so head to Baby Salsa for a variety of traditional Mexican dishes; dogs are allowed on the patio when it’s open throughout the warmer months.

Keep in mind; while the region is dog-friendly for most of the year, dogs are banned from the beaches located in the Parksville and Qualicum area during the Black Brant geese migration period every spring. This is an excellent time to head inland to Top Bridge Trail or to Qualicum Beach Dog Park, where dogs can explore off-leash.

If you’d prefer to get off-land, paddle the waters on your own, or join a tour with Dragonfly SUP Adventures out of Qualicum Beach. Dogs are allowed on their paddleboards, and wetsuits and booties are available for the humans to explore year-round.

Tuck in for the night in one of the dog-friendly cottages at Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort, or, in a private room at Qualicum Beach Inn.

You can’t leave this region without stopping in for a beer at Mount Arrowsmith Brewing in Parksville; it’s an award-winning brewery that allows dogs.


Must Stop Spots

  • Cable Bay Trail

    2645, 2705 Nicola Rd, Nanaimo, BC V9X 1N4
  • Baby Salsa

    550 Fifth St #205, Nanaimo, BC V9R 1P1
  • Drip Coffee

    2835 Departure Bay Rd, Nanaimo, BC V9S 3X1
  • Top Bridge Trail

    249 Allsbrook Rd, Parksville, BC V9P 2A8
  • Dragonfly SUP Adventures

    2831 Island Hwy W, Qualicum Beach, BC V9K 2C4
  • Qualicum Beach Dog Park

    Garden Rd E Qualicum Beach, BC V9K 1M6

Where to Stay

  • Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Resort

    1155 Resort Dr, Parksville, BC V9P 2E3
  • Qualicum Beach Inn

    2690 Island Hwy W, Qualicum Beach, BC V9K 1G8
Part 5

Pacific Rim

Start your west coast adventure at “Vancouver Island’s Sweetest Secret,” Coombs Country Candy in Port Alberni. Pick out some of their finest goodies to enjoy on their patio – dogs allowed!

Walk off that sugar rush at Dry Creek Park in Port Alberni. This park is located in the middle of town, and it’s a nice place for a walk all year round.

Pescadores Bistro is conveniently located on your way out to towards the west coast. Their picnic tables open up when the weather is good; make this local favourite a must stop before heading west.

Kennedy Lake, along the Pacific Rim Highway, is the perfect stop for a freshwater dip. There are a few provincial park day-use areas that your dog has to be leashed, but there are some more off-road spots for the well-behaved off-leash type.

From spectacular hiking, soaring surf and rugged shorelines, the region is an outdoor playground for you and your pup! Dogs are allowed to visit, but they must be leashed along trails and the beaches in the area.

Sleep under the stars at Green Point Campground, or choose to stay in comfort at Tofino Marina Resort, or, curl up in your private oasis at The Cabins, where they believe that pets are very important family members.

When hunger strikes, check out these two options: Tacofino food truck and Wildside Grill, these funky locally-sourced options have outdoor seating and are located steps from one another.


Must Stop Spots

Where to Stay

Part 6

North Central Island

Dogs can be seen accompanying their owners at the local beaches and trails, and even at some restaurants – it’s almost like they are humans in some parts of this region.

Explore Mount Washington Alpine Resort, Vancouver Island’s largest year-round family resort. From dog-friendly mountainside accommodation to hiking and nordic trails (dogs have to be leashed in the provincial park!) an overnight stay should be on your list.

When you’re ready to relax sea level, head down the mountain to the Comox Valley, for ocean views and city sights, or go for a romp in the trails at Seal Bay Park. Dogs are allowed off-leash in designated trails from July 1-March 31. Head back into town to share a bite with your pup while you sip on an adult beverage at Gladstone Brewing – they too have a dog-friendly patio!

Next, hop aboard BC Ferries to the nearby islands of Denman and Hornby. Tucked in the middle of the Salish Sea, these islands are lush with sandy beaches and great hikes like Heliwell Provincial Park and Morning Beach Park, both on-leash areas.

Test your dogs’ skills at the fully fenced dog agility park, located at Willow Point Park in Campbell River. It’s designed for dog socialization and agility training.

Considered to be “Vancouver Island’s Best Kept Secret,” Brown’s Bay Resort is a seaside resort for travellers looking to surround themselves in nature. Whether you are pulling up in your boat, RV or car, this destination makes for a great overnighter for you and your family.


Must Stop Spots

  • Mount Washington Alpine Resort

    84XPPMRW+GP
  • Seal Bay Park

    Q269+G8 Courtenay, Comox-Strathcona B, BC
  • Morning Beach Park

    7600 Denman Rd, Denman Island, BC V0R 1T0
  • Heliwell Provincial Park

    Helliwell Rd, Hornby Island, BC V0R 1Z0
  • Willow Point Park

    1800 S Alder St, Campbell River, BC V9W 6W8

Where to Stay

  • Brown’s Bay Resort

    15021 Brown's Bay Rd, Campbell River, BC V9H 1N9
Part 7

North Island

When you and your dog need a little extra freedom, head north!
There are plenty of outdoor trails and beaches to discover where your pooch is welcome but on a leash.
Because of the expansive wild nature and wildlife in the region, many trails and beaches require dogs to be leashed. San Josef Bay is the only trail within Cape Scott Provincial Park that allows dogs, but they must be leashed.

On the east coast of the island—reached by a 25-minute ferry ride from Port McNeill—Burger Barn is Sointula’s longest-running eatery with outdoor picnic tables. Check their hours before you plan your trip; they adjust throughout the year.

Marble River Trail is a 4.2-km hiking and biking trail in Marble River Provincial Park, located 15-km north of Port Alice. Dogs are allowed to explore with you if they’re leashed.

Café Guido in Port Hardy has outdoor seating, so you don’t have to leave your dog in the car while you enjoy a delicious meal.

K’awat’si Tours is a pet-friendly eco and cultural experience in Port Hardy that specializes in cultural and wildlife tours. They welcome well-behaved leashed dogs on their tours.

Four-legged guests receive a warm welcome at the oceanfront Alder Bay Resort; tuck in for the night at Port Hardy RV Resort & Log Cabins; it’s minutes from the city centre, or relax in comfort a Kwa’lilas Hotel; they welcome pets of any size for an additional fee.

Now it’s time to embark on your Vancouver Island road trip.
Happy trails & tails!


Must Stop Spots

  • Marble River Trail

    HF35+W4 Coal Harbour, Mount Waddington C, BC
  • Burger Barn

    JXR9+VX Sointula, Mount Waddington A, BC
  • Cafe Guido

    7135 Market St, Port Hardy, BC V0N 2P0
  • K’awat’si Tours

    9040 Granville St, Port Hardy, BC V0N 2P0
  • San Josef Bay

    Cape Scott Park Rd, Mount Waddington B, BC

Where to Stay

  • Alder Bay Resort

    1 Alder Bay Rd, Port McNeill, BC V0N 2R0
  • Port Hardy RV Resort & Log Cabins

    8080 Goodspeed Rd, Port Hardy, BC V0N 2P0
  • Kwa’lilas Hotel

    9040 Granville St, Port Hardy, BC V0N 2P0

Canoe Brewpub

450 Swift St, Victoria, BC V8W 1S3

Category 12 Brewing

2200 Keating Cross Rd C, Saanichton, BC V8M 2A6

Driftwood Brewery

102-450 Hillside Ave, Victoria, BC V8T 1Y7

Four Mile Brewpub

199 Island Hwy, Victoria, BC V9B 1G1

Howl Brewing

1780 Mills Rd, North Saanich, BC V8L 5S9

Hoyne Brewing

101-2740 Bridge St, Victoria, BC V8T 5C5

Île Sauvage Brewing

2960 Bridge St, Victoria, BC V8T 4T3

Lighthouse Brewing

836 Devonshire Rd, Victoria, BC V9A 4T4

Saltspring Island

QGVF+G2 Fulford Harbour, British Columbia

Mineral Springs Resort

1460 N Beach Rd, Salt Spring Island, BC V8K 1J4

Salt Spring Island Market

Salt Spring Island, BC V8K 2T9

WOODS on Pender

4709 Canal Rd, Pender Island, BC V0N 2M1

Mayne Island Resort

494 Arbutus Dr, Mayne Island, BC V0N 2J1

Bodega Ridge

120 Manastee Rd, Galiano Island, BC V0N 1P0

Galiano

Galiano Island, BC

Mill Bay

Mill Bay, BC

Rusticana Coffee

803 Deloume Rd, Mill Bay, BC V0R 2P1

Unsworth Vineyards

2915 Cameron Taggart Rd #1, Mill Bay, BC V0R 2P2

Oceanfront Suites

1681 Cowichan Bay Rd, Cowichan Bay, BC V0R 1N0

True Grain

1725 Cowichan Bay Rd, Cowichan Bay, BC V0R 1N0

Rotary Park

545 Al Wilson Grove, Duncan, BC V9L 5E4

Chemainus Lake Park

W67X+8J Chemainus, North Cowichan, BC

Wul'aam' (Echo) Park

3217 Channel Blvd, Chemainus, BC V0R 1K2

Chemainus

Chemainus, BC

Cable Bay Trail

2645, 2705 Nicola Rd, Nanaimo, BC V9X 1N4

Baby Salsa

550 Fifth St #205, Nanaimo, BC V9R 1P1

Drip Coffee

2835 Departure Bay Rd, Nanaimo, BC V9S 3X1

Top Bridge Trail

249 Allsbrook Rd, Parksville, BC V9P 2A8

Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Resort

1155 Resort Dr, Parksville, BC V9P 2E3

Mount Arrowsmith Brewing

425 Stanford Ave E #109, Parksville, BC V9P 1V9

Dragonfly SUP Adventures

2831 Island Hwy W, Qualicum Beach, BC V9K 2C4

Qualicum Beach Dog Park

Garden Rd E Qualicum Beach, BC V9K 1M6

Qualicum Beach Inn

2690 Island Hwy W, Qualicum Beach, BC V9K 1G8

Port Alberni

Port Alberni, BC

Coombs Country Candy

2101 Old Nanaimo Highway Rd, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 8P4

Dry Creek Park

65QX+Q8 Port Alberni, British Columbia

Pescadores Bistro

5093 Johnston Rd, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 5L6

Kennedy Lake

2CQ9+V8 Ucluelet, BC

The Cabins

1090 Peninsula Rd, Ucluelet, BC V0R 3A0

Green Point Campground

374H+J2 Long Beach, Alberni-Clayoquot C, BC

Tofino Resort & Marina

634 Campbell St, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

Tacofino Food Truck

1184 Pacific Rim Hwy, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

Wildside Grill

1180 BC-4, Tofino, BC V0R 2Z0

Tofino

Tofino, BC

Mount Washington Alpine Resort

84XPPMRW+GP

Seal Bay Park

Q269+G8 Courtenay, Comox-Strathcona B, BC

Gladstone Brewing

244 4th St, Courtenay, BC V9N 1G6

Morning Beach Park

7600 Denman Rd, Denman Island, BC V0R 1T0

Heliwell Provincial Park

Helliwell Rd, Hornby Island, BC V0R 1Z0

Willow Point Park

1800 S Alder St, Campbell River, BC V9W 6W8

Brown’s Bay Resort

15021 Brown's Bay Rd, Campbell River, BC V9H 1N9