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Breweries on the move

Local beer scene continues growth

A Matter of Beer with Mathieu Poirier

Time and change can cause you to outgrow the location you’ve been in for a long time. For a household, this means finding a new home, packing things up and settling into your new surroundings. But for a brewery, it’s like that, only with bigger things to pack up—and no question about who is bringing the beer at the end of the day.

In the last year, there have been some venue changes for a few local breweries, and with those changes come bigger, better and tastier things.

In March, Driftwood Brewery hauled their tanks across the Bay Street Bridge and set up not too far from Lighthouse Brewing in Esquimalt. The much larger space at 836 Viewfield Road, has allowed for bigger and better equipment, including three special 102 hectolitre wooden foeders that used to belong to New Belgium Brewing in the US. They’ve also installed the equipment for their upcoming distillery program, and finally, they’ve been able to work on probably their most anticipated project: their soon-to-be-open tasting lounge, patio and kitchen.

After celebrating 13 years of brewing back in October, it’s been a long road, but pints and food are coming, with Dumpling Drop taking up residence in the kitchen, serving delicious dumplings and sides to the 120-person capacity indoor and outdoor space. To wash down those tasty morsels, the brewery will be pouring from up to 32 taps alongside some unique tasting room offerings.

Driftwood isn’t the only brewery to make a move. The first brewery to open in Sooke—Sooke Oceanside Brewery—has moved from the confines of its space at the gas station in Saseenos to just down the highway at 5871A Sooke Road. The space has amazing views overlooking the water, a patio for when the weather cooperates and seating to enjoy the full pints of beer. In addition, for those looking for something different, Oceanside is offering cider, wine and local coffee from Stick in the Mud coffee house, and they occasionally have a food truck on site to keep you well fed.

Finally, as the space Driftwood Brewery used to be in has been freed up, and it was already perfectly situated as a brewery, their former neighbours, Hoyne Brewing Company, has decided to take it over. They’ll be using that opportunity to expand across the loading dock, so expect big things to come from Hoyne, even with what seems like a lateral expansion in place.