Top 10 List: Island’s Best Craft Breweries

It’s Top 10 Tuesday again, still a favourite day of the week for us!  If you have missed any of our lists, find them here: https://wp.me/p9C7A4-5O. We’ve listed best spas, best farmer’s markets, best coffee places, best taco tuesday places, and more!

This week, we’re listing the Island’s Best Craft Breweries!  There was so much enthusiasm for our Top 10 Island’s Pubs List and we wanted to make sure our local, awesome breweries got the attention they deserved as well!  With this list, we went back to visit some of our favs and hope to give you some new ideas of places to go check out!

  1. Loveshack Libations, Qualicum, BC
  2. Cumberland Brewing Company, Cumberland, BC
  3. Red Arrow Brewing Company, Duncan, BC
  4. Mount Arrowsmith Brewing, Parksville, BC
  5. Moon Under Water Brewery, Victoria, BC
  6. Beach Fire Brewing, Campbell River, BC
  7. Salt Spring Island Ales, Salt Spring Island, BC
  8. Riot Brewing Co., Chemainus, BC
  9. Tofino Brewing Co., Tofino, BC
  10. Twin City Brewing Company, Port Alberni, BC

Each brewery is its own unique little place and our Island breweries create some of the most innovative and tasty brews I’ve had anywhere.  Whether you’re following the BC Ale Trail or just happen upon one of these gems, you’re guaranteed to have a fun time, sampling the beers and enjoying the atmosphere.  To learn more about why this is our Top 10 list, read on below!

Loveshack Libations, Qualicum, BC

Fav Beer: It’s a tie between the Juicy Juice and Crafty Cream Ale

You might remember Loveshack from our post Try This: Celebrate Your Birthday with a Private Tasting at a Local Brewery Since discovering this nano-brewery (BC’s 2nd smallest brewery in fact!), I’ve gone back time and time again and I’m always excited to see what’s on the menu.  Dave is constantly experimenting, trying new recipes, and improving his classics.  The tasting room is centered around a beautiful live edge table and is generally full of craft beer enthusiasts!  Be sure to check the site for open hours as they are currently keeping limited hours on Wednesdays and Saturdays only.  Plus bonus points are given because The Knockananna Grill food truck often parks outside and offers delicious food for you to enjoy while you enjoy your delicious beer!

Cumberland Brewing Company, Cumberland, BC
it seems I forgot how to take a selfie 😉

Fav Beer: Love the current featured pale ale, License to Spill

With all the time we’ve spent camping and paddleboarding at Comox Lake, we’ve grown to love the surrounding community of Cumberland.  It’s just generally awesome and the same applies to Cumberland Brewing Company.  Unassuming from the outside, this place has a great lineup of fun and unique brews and you can pick a tasting flight to sample the ones you are most curious yet.  Here, beer & patios combine perfectly so I also suggest taking your flight outside to really relax and soak it all in!

Red Arrow Brewing Company, Duncan, BC

Fav beer: Threesome.  Seriously… go find and try this beer!

This place has a great sense of humour, a fun tasting room, and some of the best brews out there!  For example, Threesome was initially released as a seasonal beer but it flew off the shelves so fast that they started brewing it more regularly to keep up with demand!  Jakes on the Road, a great food truck, is almost always on premises and it’s not an unusual day for me to head to Duncan to swing by the Old Farm Market for awesome & cheap produce before heading to Red Arrow for a pint and lunch.  If the sun is shining and I can also sit outside on the patio, it’s just a perfect time!

Mount Arrowsmith Brewing, Parksville, BC

arrowsmithbrewing.com, bcaletrail.ca (bottom)

Fav beer: Comfortably Chum Hefeweizen is my go-to!

This amazing little brewery won BREWERY OF THE YEAR at the 2017 BC Beer Awards.  How amazing is that?!  The accolades are well-deserved and the beer really is THAT good!  Their whole line-up is west coast named and plays off the inspiration of beers found around the world — my fav, the Hefe, is a traditional German-style beer and the brewery also has a couple different (but both fantastic!) Belgian-style ales.  If you want to try out a new, easy-drinking beer, this brewery won’t let you down!  (PS. You’ll also find The Knockananna Grill here sometimes too!  They share the love and food with Loveshack!)

Moon Under Water Brewery, Victoria, BC
bcbrewerytours.ca

Fav beer: Lighter Side of the Moon session lager… You won’t find a lighter, tastier beer!

This brewery has worked hard to blend European tradition with West Coast Creativity, which they do quite seamlessly and, often, with results you want to try time and time again.  A full brew pub and brewery, Moon Under Water is the kind of place where you can lose track of time and accidentally spend 6.5 hours in, alternately laughing hysterically and seriously discussing the meaning of life.  Of course, all this happens while sampling the many varieties available in fun tasting flights.  Consider yourself warned! 😉

Beach Fire Brewing, Campbell River, BC
beachfirebrewing.ca – check the site for yoga & a pint dates

Fav beer: the Wheel-Bender Stout is amazing!

Campbell River’s first craft brewery, Beach Fire Brewing & Nosh House is a special place.  Focused on brewing the best beers, making the best food, and being the best neighbours in their community, you can’t help but feel part of something bigger here.  Their beers paired with their super creative, fun menu (they live stream the menu board to keep you up-to-date!) make for a truly unique experience.  Plus, if you go on a Tuesday, you’ll get in on their Tuesday Small Batch Release!  They say themselves “we brew up something fun (and sometimes weird!) in a 50 litre batch for pint sales only on Tuesdays.  Once it’s gone it’s gone, so don’t be late!”  They also offer Yoga & a Pint – it’s awesome!  Check their site for dates & times.

Salt Spring Island Ales, Salt Spring Island, BC

Fav Beer: Heather Ale.  I always have a bottle in my fridge always!

We found Salt Spring Island Ales on our Other Islands trip to Salt Spring and instantly fell in love.  Luckily, the brewery has a great island-wide distribution so I can still enjoy my favourites even if I can’t make it to the brewery as often as I’d like.  I certainly recommend a trip to the brewery though – the tasting room here is low-key, relaxed, filled with local-made products, and features an impressive line-up of craft beer!  Beyond my favourite Heather Ale, many of the brews here have won best-in-category awards since opening in 2009.  You can hand-pick your tasting flight here and try all their offerings.  Then, treat yourself by buying a bottle (or two!) of your favourite to take home!

Riot Brewing Co., Chemainus, BC

Fav beer: Life Partners Pale Ale

Riot Brewing burst onto the scene in November 2016 and have been going strong since then.  The brewery has a fantastic patio, live music events, and great line-up of beers to try.  Tucked away on the outskirts of Chemainus, it’s a great place to spend a couple hours and share laughs with the whole crew at the brewery.  They know their stuff and have a great sense of humour!  Their core line-up is boosted by seasonal offerings and, recently, they have been partnering with other brewhouses to create some super unique and innovative brews for us all to love and enjoy.

Tofino Brewing Co., Tofino, BC
Does it get better than this?!  cred: www.wickinn.com

Fav beer: Spruce Tree Ale

My fav beer is one of the most unique beers I’ve ever had and you’ll be amazed at how spruce-like it actually tastes!  Tofino Brewing perfectly captures the rugged wildness of the West Coast and plays a role in making Tofino even more of a destination!  The brewery itself has an industrial and modern feel while being oh-so-welcoming for anyone passing by!  The brewery is open to visitors seven days/week from 11am-10pm so it’s honestly just one of the easiest stops you can make on your trip out to the #westcoastbestcoast.

Twin City Brewing Company, Port Alberni, BC
twincitybrewing.ca, tripadvisor.ca

Fav beer:  Sparkling Leotard. The name alone is amazing, but if that’s not enough to convince you, it really is an amazing grapefruit radler perfectly blending their Swedish Blonde Ale and sparkling grapefruit soda.

In the midst of Port Alberni’s transformation from a forestry and paper mill town to the Valley Of Trails, Twin City Brewing is a lovely and usually well-deserved stop after partaking in any of the many recreation and outdoor adventure pursuits you can find in the area.  Whether you hike Roger Creek Trail or up to Wesley Ridge and the benches, Twin City Brewing, its crew, and its patrons will greet you with big smiles and hand you a pint as a reward!

So… Did we get it right?  Did your favourite brewery make the list or do you know of another Island brewery that should’ve made the list?  Comment below to let us know!

 

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