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Lift Your Spirits in Victoria

posted on Mar 11

Vacations in Victoria, B.C. can provide visitors with many opportunities to “toast the good life” with a glass of locally produced wine, beer and now, even a sip of Victoria Gin.

Victoria Spirits

Produced by Victoria Spirits they describe their gin as “balancing the characteristic evergreen flavour of juniper with notes of citrus, floral, and spice.” They distill it in small batches in a gleaming handmade wood-fired copper pot still. Only the middle part of each run, the “hearts”, is saved for bottling.  The result is an intensely flavored spirit that is as full-bodied and complex as a fine single-malt whisky.

Other spirits they produce include:
Left Coast Vodka
Oaken Gin
Twisted & Bitter aromatic bitters
Craigdarroch Whisky
Eau de vies (distilled wines)

You can read more about their products on their web site

http://www.victoriaspirits.com/our-gin/

Vancouver Island Wines

Prefer a glass of local wine from grapes grown in Vancouver Island? Here are just a few of the wonderful options available to you when you come to visit.

In Victoria pay a visit to Church and State Wines, 1445 Benvenuto Avenue. They are located close to Butchart Gardens, in a vineyard setting in beautiful Saanichton.  Church & State Wines offers award-winning wines, which can be tasted as you relax on their wrap-around deck. Their tasting bar open daily from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Next stop on your wine expedition – Muse Winery, located at 11195 Chalet Rd (North Saanich/Deep Cove). Muse Winery produces award-winning, handcrafted wines from quality grapes. Also they add minimum to zero sulphites to their wines. Their wine tasting terrace, Bistro Muse, will make you think you're in the wine country of France as you enjoy a glass of wine on their vineyard patio!

Marley Farm Winery 
1831D Mount Newton Cross Road, Saanichton is a family-run boutique winery.

Starling Lane Winery. 
5271 Old West Saanich Road features handcrafted wine from three vineyards.

DeVine Vineyards, 6181B Old West Saanich Road invites you to visit their vineyard, winery and tasting room to savour their Saanich Peninsula wines and enjoy breathtaking views of the coast & mountains.

Less than an hour's drive from Victoria is the gently rolling countryside of the South Cowichan Valley. Award-winning wineries are found along the country roads that meander through the region's lush hills, many of them offering winery tours and wine tastings.  Enjoy driving through the coastal and countryside communities of Mill Bay, Shawnigan Lake, Cobble Hill and Cowichan Bay and be sure to stop at the following wineries:

Averill Creek Vineyard, 
6552 North Road, Duncan. Handcrafted estate-grown quality wines from the Cowichan Valley.

Blue Grouse Estate Winery, 
4365 Blue Grouse Road, Duncan.  One of the founding Estate Wineries of Vancouver Island.

Cherry Point Vineyards, 
840 Cherry Point Road, Cobble Hill. One of the first licensed wineries on Vancouver Island. Bistro on site.

Godfrey Brownell Vineyards, 
4911 Marshall Road, Duncan. Two organic vineyards.

Venturi-Schulze Vineyards, 
4235 Trans Canada Hwy, Cobble Hill.  Venturi-Schulze features many fine wines and, to top it off, they make their very own balsamic vinegar, using traditional barrel methods; it is probably the very best balsamic vinegar that I have ever tasted.

Craft Breweries

For the “ale aficionados” a visit to some of our wonderful craft breweries and brew pubs is an absolute must.

Phillips Brewery has some of the most inventive – and delicious – brews in BC. Examples include the Longboat Chocolate Porter or the 24-Mile Blueberry Pale Ale, where every ingredient travelled 24 miles or less from farm to brewery.

Lighthouse Brewing crafts six beers with a “green conscience” using power-efficient equipment and waste is distributed to local farmers for feed. Try the Fisgard 150, a Bavarian style lager, or the Beacon IPA – both nods to two well-known Victoria landmarks.

Other breweries include Vancouver Island Brewing, the island’s first craft brewery, and Driftwood Brewing, whose favourites are on tap in many Victoria pubs.

Victoria Brewpubs

Victoria’s brewpubs are great places for pints of local and seasonal favourites, sampler flights, cask nights, good food, and scenic patios.

Canoe Brewpub, located in an 1894 brick-and-wood beam heritage building, is a Victoria landmark. Stop in for views of the Inner Harbour, a vibrant atmosphere, and of most of all, the handcrafted beers. Don’t miss the Espresso Stout, which uses fair-trade, organic espresso from a local coffeehouse.

Spinnakers, Canada’s oldest brewpub, is a pioneer in the craft brewing industry. Its locally sourced cuisine and seasonal offerings (like Pumpkin Porter and Raspberry Ale) have made Spinnakers a favourite among Victorians.

Swans Buckerfields Brewery crafts traditional English-style beers made using UK malts. Try the Buckerfield’s Bitters and Appleton Brown Ale, take in the nightly live music, and admire the artwork and Aboriginal carvings adorning the walls.

Many brewpubs also offer one-of-a-kind brews on special cask nights. Check with a brewpub for dates.

Ciders

If your palate craves a cool glass of cider be sure to visit the Sea Cider Farm and Cider House, located at 2487 Mt. St. Michael Road in Victoria. Try out their critically acclaimed selection of traditional fermented ciders, which are handcraft from certified organic heritage apples. Savour a glass of cider along with a cheese plate while you drink in the ocean view from the majestic Cider house, which overlooks their organic orchard.

Another wonderful place to sip a cider is Merridale Estate Cidery, located about 40 minutes north of Victoria, where they handcraft ciders, fruit brandies and a limited edition cider vinegar. Sample a glass and pair it with some of their cider sourdough bread made on-site in the bistro.

Mead

Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery 
8750 West Coast Road, Sooke produces honey and mead, the ancient beverage made from honey. If you’ve never tried a glass of mead before, here’s your chance. If you have a sweet tooth you’ll love this.

Practical Points

The legal drinking age in BC is 19. Two pieces of valid I.D. are required as proof of age.

Some breweries, cideries and distilleries are open by appointment only.