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Beer Drinking In Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Beer Festivals
Bottle Shops
Drinking Laws

I don't know how local residents can afford to drink here with the massive sin taxes levied on alcohol. However, if you can get past paying $7 or $8 for a beer in a bar or $12 for a 6-pack in a store, this is a beautiful city with tons of excellent options including a wealth of English and Irish pubs. Vancouver Island also has a large number of breweries and brewpubs per capita and their beers are readily available in most bars and restaurants.

The thing that may be the biggest testament to Victoria's love of beer is the fact that their Save-On-Foods grocery stores sell homebrew equipment and supplies. Pretty cool, eh?

Victoria Beer Festivals:

Great Canadian Beer Festival - The GCBF is held each year on the first weekend after Labour Day in September. In 2010, the festival will host beers from 53 brewers from all over the world.

Victoria Beer Bars:

For the most part, Victoria's nightlife ends pretty early unless you are young and going to a dance club. The best places to get beer are in the pubs, however, most of them close by 10pm so get an early start. The beer selection in Victoria is mainly comprised of the many local brewers, national Canadian brands, and Irish/English mass produced beers. More imports are sorely needed here.

Bard & Banker
1022 Government St
This English pub has 30 beers on tap and is a good place to check out some of the brews made on the island.

Christie's Carriage House Pub
1739 Fort St
Christie's is an English pub that has 32 beers on tap and almost all of them are local. What makes Christie's different is that she has several beers that you won't find in most of the other bars in Victoria.

Darcy's Pub
1127 Wharf Street
Darcy's is an Irish pub that is open a little later than some of the other options. The bar has 21 beers on tap, mostly highlighting local favorites and a few Irish beers.

Irish Times
1200 Government St
This Irish pub has about 30 beers on tap and they are almost identical to those found at their sister locations, Bard & Banker and Penny Farthing Pub.

Penny Farthing Pub
2228 Oak Bay Avenue
This English pub has about 30 beers on tap and they are almost identical to those found at their sister locations, Bard & Banker and Irish Times.

Six Mile Pub
494 Island Hwy
This English pub claims to have the Westshore's largest draught beer selection. They have 22 beers listed on their website.

Bottle Shops:

See the drinking laws section below for more information about how beer sales work here.

Liquor Plus
2915 Douglas Street
This store has about 350 beers from around the world to choose from.

Spinnakers Spirit Merchants
130-176 Wilson St
This liquor store is run by Spinnakers Brewpub and offers several hundred beers from around the world. They also have an online store.

The Strath Ale, Wine and Spirit Merchants
919 Douglas Street
Located at the Strathcona Hotel, this liquor store has a pretty good selection of beer.

Brewers and Brewpubs:

Canoe Brewpub, Marina & Restaurant
450 Swift Street
This brewpub is located on the waterfront and has a large outdoor seating area where you can sample their brews.

Driftwood Brewery
102-450 Hillside Avenue
This brewer was established in 2008. They are not open to the public, but their beers are readily available around town.

Lighthouse Brewing Company
2-836 Devonshire Road
Located in Esquimalt, this brewery began in 1998 and produces 4 beers. It does not have a brewpub and is not open to the public.

Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub
308 Catherine Street
This brewpub is on the west side and overlooks the Inner Harbour.

Swans Brewpub
506 Pandora Avenue
This brewpub is located in the Swans Suite Hotel.

Phillips Brewing Company
2010 Government Street
This brewery started in 2001. It does not have a brewpub and is not open to the public.

Vancouver Island Brewery
2330 Government Street
This is the oldest brewery on Vancouver Island and has been around for over 25 years. Guided tours are available.

Drinking Laws:

British Columbia (and most of Canada) has a lot of crappy liquor laws. For starters, alcohol is nearly twice as expensive as most parts of the U.S. This is due to a massive tax on alcohol that goes toward paying for their health care system. All alcohol is sold in government run liquor stores or a lesser number of independent liquor stores. There is little difference between them as the government still controls the minimum pricing for the "independent" variety and they actually tend to be more expensive. Liquor stores are open until 11pm or earlier. Bars can stay open until 2am and the minimum drinking age is 19 years old.

Learn more about Victoria

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