SIDE DISH: Chantal Ireland

Drink in the taste of Victoria

Nothing goes together better than pizza and beer, especially when it’s Prima Strada.

Vancouver International Wine Festival, Victoria Beer Week, my first Empire Donut. All around, it’s been a pretty great few weeks. Find Empire Donuts at Oak Bay’s new Hide + Seek Coffee, 2% Jazz Coffee, Picnic Coffee, Shatterbox and more spots around town. empiredonuts.ca for locations. I started with an old fashioned, a perfectly textured cake donut with a subtle vanilla flavour.

As for the Wine Festival, I used four glasses over two days, a small part of the 82,000 glasses that are used to serve 1,470 wines. Each year there’s a theme country, on which the wineries and seminars are centered; this year was Italy. In 2017, it will be Canada for the first time in 20 years. It’s worth a trip to Vancouver for the International Festival Tasting room floor alone. Mark your calendar for Feb. 11 to 19. Discover regions, grapes, winemaking style and terroir with winemakers and viticulturists multiple generations into the romantic, exhausting, sensory overload that is the art of growing and making wine. Shop the onsite BC Liquor Store to have wines delivered to your local store after the festival. A fundraiser supporting performing arts since 1979, the VIWF has raised $8.5 million.

Here at home, Victoria Beer Week was a smash hit. I tried dozens of new, rare and old favourites at the Brewers’ Brunch, Saturday Cask Night, Prima Strada Beer & Pizza pairing, Beer & Cheese, and a great new event, Lift Off!, launching 12 new beers to close out the week. Driftwood’s Crooked Coast Altbier was a stand out pairing with a spicy pulled pork pizza with apricot, coconut yogurt and fresh Thai basil at Prima Strada. Cask Night favourites were Sunshine & Hoppiness, a Belgian Golden Ale from Hearthstone Brewery of North Vancouver; Carmen the Tart, a mixed-style sour from Strange Fellows, and Category 12’s Wild Pale Ale – watch for their Wild IPA launching soon. If you love cask beers and the creativity that comes with them, follow social media for Hank’s Restaurant, Smiths Pub, The Garrick’s Head, and The Drake Eatery for cask nights. Beer & Cheese was so fun, if this event comes back next year, get tickets early. Hundreds of pounds of cheese from Hilary’s Cheese, Charelli’s Cheese Shop and Salt Spring Island Cheese Co., were sliced, crumbled, spread and paired up with a great mix of beers. Phillips Odyssey Nitro Porter (complete with widget when you get it in tall cans) was tasty with a smoked cheddar. At Lift Off!, Spinnakers Spirit Merchants pop-up shop had event goers getting beers before they were for sale elsewhere. I loved the Sucker Punch Citra Sour from Swans, Yellow Dog’s Go Fetch Hoppy Saison, and Salt Spring Island Ale’s Rye IPA.

Try it you’ll like it:

• Unruly Gin made with honey, from Courtenay’s Wayward Distilling, available in private liquor stores.

• 2014 Oldfield Series Chardonnay from Tinhorn Creek Vineyards. Join the Crush Club to get this wine club exclusive offering, their first from newly designated Sub-Appellation, The Golden Mile.

 

Just Posted

Oak Bay’s new music fest returns next weekend

All festival concerts take place on June 2 and 3 at St. Mary’s Anglican Church

Cyclists win Bike to Work Week’s Commuter Challenge kickoff

16 teams of cars vs. bikes raced to see who could reach downtown destination fastest

Victoria Cool Aid Society invites you to their Homecoming

Event celebrates 50 years of social services across Greater Victoria with fundraiser to keep programs running

Fort Street bike lanes making their debut with roll-out event Sunday

Completion marks the second east-west connector dedicated to downtown cyclists

City shifts gears on Cook Street bike lanes, Vancouver St. recommended instead

Cook said to be too expensive, to inconvenient to install dedicated lanes

Film Review: On Chesil Beach

Saoirse Ronan continues to shine in adaptation Ian McEwan novel about young newlyweds on their wedding day

Burlesque performers don’t let theatre fire stop their show

Cheesecake Burlesque Revue raising money for PEERS with Saturday night performance of Hot Pink

Free mixed media camp offered to youth

Camp hosted on Denman Island

Reading between the lines: the many roles of the Victoria Literacy Connection

Saturday fundraiser to help volunteer-run organization teach people to read, write and more

Film Review: On Chesil Beach

Saoirse Ronan continues to shine in adaptation Ian McEwan novel about young newlyweds on their wedding day

Mulroney children to act as bridesmaids-page boys at royal wedding

Ben and Jessica Mulroney’s children will be in Saturday’s royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

St. Luke’s brings whodunnit to the stage

Laura plays at St. Luke’s Hall from May 16 to 27

VIDEO: Let the good times roll in first Laketown Shakedown

With Current Swell and Jon and Roy as headliners, there’s lots to enjoy at this first in a series

Most Read