Founded in 2001, this brewery comes with a doozy of a backstory. Matt Phillips, with only a dream and as many credit cards as he could take out in his name, began brewing up a storm in his residence with the idea of becoming a popular local beverage. After a disastrous spill (which caused him to be evicted from his rented home), he took up in an old lumber shop, eventually throwing parties and live musical performances that bolstered the name of the Phillips brand.
Fast-forward more than twenty years later, and Phillips beer is easily the most recognizable brewery in Victoria. Not only that, but they now ship their delicious malted beverages across the country, seeing incredible success with staples like their Blue Buck lager, and one-time offerings like Dr. Funk Dunkels (yes – we promise they made that at one time!)
They have a tasting room and regularly fill the growlers of thirsty locals every weekend. They’re about a 25-minute stumble from the Oswego Hotel – we recommend maybe taking a cab or an Uber. Be sure to follow them on Instagram as they’re always hosting live events, markets, and parties!
Sheringham Distillery is located in Langford, so it’s a little off the beaten path, but for true connoisseurs, it’s certainly worth the trip.
Jason and Alayne MacIsaac started from scratch when they decided to start their first distillery in their garage in the little town of Shirley (originally named Sheringham), Vancouver Island. They quickly realized they had something special, and began finessing their craft to hone in on culinary artistry, and creating the ‘world’s most drinkable gins.’ We think they’ve succeeded, and they’ve now expanded into their own facility and tasting room in Langford.
From the gins themselves right down to the bottle, every single aspect of their spirits is incredibly well-thought-out and designed. When you stop by their tasting room, you’ll likely get a chance to peek into their distillery and process, as they’re incredibly passionate and excited to share their knowledge and love for the spirits they create.
Be sure to check out their cocktail recipes, too!
While Hoyne Brewing Co. was officially founded in 2011, the story of its original brewmaster goes back to the 1970s, when a young Sean Hoyne began brewing beers and crafting unique brewing recipes in his spare time. Having perfected several of these recipes, he brought them to the great brewmaster Frank Appleton. He was soon hired as Frank’s new brewmaster at his brewpub ‘Buckerfields’ in 1989, and after two successful decades of growth and innovation, the Hoyne Brewing Co. came to be as we know it today.
Now, you can find their signature 22oz. bottles (as well as regular-sized bottles and cans) in pubs and restaurants not just across Vancouver Island, but across Canada.
Hoyne Brewery is an 11-minute drive or cab ride from the Oswego Hotel,
Vancouver Island Brewery
Another longstanding island tradition, Vancouver Island Brewery was founded in 1984.
Vancouver Island Brewing is a 10-minute drive or cab ride, or a 30-minute scenic walk from the Oswego Hotel.
Spinnaker’s Gastro Brewpub
Don’t miss stopping in at Canada’s first in-house brewpub! Originally conceived in 1980, it took years of hard work and dedication to overturn provincial laws that forbade the combination of brewery/pub, leading to the creation of Spinnaker’s! By 1983, the location took off, and remains to this day one of the city’s most popular hangout spots – for locals and tourists alike!
Since then, they’ve expanded from craft beers to ciders, to wine barrel-aged sours, to spirits. Everything is made in-house, and there are some unique flavours of the West Coast that you just have to try. They also have an extensive food menu which serves breakfast right through to dinner, and they are also kid-friendly which makes them a great spot to bring the family.
Spinnaker’s is an 8-minute drive or cab ride from the Oswego Hotel, though if you are indulging responsibly we highly recommend renting a bicycle, as the trip takes you on a scenic route across the harbour.