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A Matter of Beer with Mathieu Poirier

The latest news on beer and breweries

Last month, all of the focus seemed to be on the return of large-scale events like concerts, food and beer festivals, and others of those big events that Victoria has become very well known for. Now that those are out of the way, it’s time for the more intimate events to start shining.

If you’re not familiar with Cantillon, it is a world-class brewery out of the Belgian capital of Brussels. Known for its spontaneously fermented beers, this producer of some of the best Lambics and Gueuzes is also known for being a little tongue-in-cheek. Each year, it holds an event in hundreds of pubs worldwide called Zwanze Day. This event is essentially the only opportunity to try a one-off beer made especially for this day, and in the case of Canadian locations to try it, you’re only going to find one this side of Ontario.

The Drake Eatery will be holding its version of the event on the same day as everyone else: September 25. As it is one of only three Canadian locations, and the host site on the West Coast for multiple instances of the event, we should consider ourselves lucky to have such a highly regarded venue in our midst.

Ticket details will be coming out shortly, but in the past they have included a flight of four beers, including the Zwanze Day offering, a light lunch provided by Chef Chris Klassen, who recently came over to The Drake from The Courtney Room, and access to a perfectly curated beer list that showcases the theme of highly sought after brews.


Another venue that has brought back its top-notch events is Smiths Pub. The Tap Takeovers have always offered a great chance to try a wider range of beers from some of the great local breweries. On August 28, they will be hosting Field House Brewing out of Abbotsford and Chilliwack for an afternoon of tasty treats, and if you haven’t seen their courtyard set up, this is a great opportunity to enjoy one of the nicer, more relaxed patios in Victoria. In July, the recently held Tap Takeover with Salt Spring Island Brewing Co. was a great example of a safely held small event that should give us all something to look forward to this fall.


Speaking of Salt Spring Island Brewing, if you haven’t noticed, they’ve done a bit of work on their look and their name as well. The brewery, formerly known as Salt Spring Island Ales, has rebranded and released several new offerings, including a tasty new Czech Pilsner, Mount Maxwell Lager, in tribute to the island’s highest point.