Edited to provide additional information (at bottom)
Also available at Monday Magazine
We’re surrounded by some of the best breweries in the world, and yet, for the longest time, if you wanted to go have a nice glass of beer on a hot day direct from the brewery, you’ve been limited to the local brewpubs. Don’t get me wrong, the brewpubs we have in Victoria are mind-blowingly good, but if you’ve been to the mainland, or to really anywhere outside of the Capital Region, there’s been something missing: The Tasting Room.
Last year, the winds of change started blowing. Phillips Brewing announced their plans to convert the retail space on the corner of Discovery and Government Streets to a tasting room that can fit up to 134 people. After jumping through a seemingly unending list of hurdles, the space opened to the public at the end of April.
The converted space, paying homage to its light industrial surroundings with a combination of its wood frame supported by steel beams, looks onto the brewing floor at one end and is highlighted by the eight 1000 litre service tanks over the bar. In addition to pouring a wide range of beers in a tourist friendly, local space, there is also a selection of light snacks, along with their craft-made sodas, tonics, and Stump Gin. Once things have settled in, guests can also expect to see the occasional cask night, as well as limited release beers to showcase some of the creativity coming from the brewers.
When asked about what the biggest benefits the tasting room has had, Matt Phillips emphasized the the connection to the people. “We have an opportunity to expose our customers to a wide variety of our beers, have a chance to talk directly to them, hear what they want, and tell them a bit about what we do.”
Other breweries have followed suit, with Category 12 having recently been granted their lounge license, Lighthouse is currently converting space in their facility in Esquimalt, and when Ile Sauvage opens, they also plan on having a tasting room on site. Moon Under Water is also in the process of jumping through similar hurdles, but their tasting room should be open shortly.
Phillips Brewing’s tasting room is open 7 days a week from 12:00 PM – 10:00 PM, and is located at 2000 Government St.
Edit: I neglected to mention that Victoria Caledonian Brewery and Distillery offers a tasting room that serves full pints in addition to the ability to consume alcohol on the brewery floor. I apologize for the omission.