Monday Magazine columnist
We’re surrounded by some of the world’s best breweries, 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 local brewpubs.
Don’t get me wrong, our brewpubs 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 plans to convert retail space at 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 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 eight 1,000-litre service tanks over the bar. In addition to pouring a wide range of beers in a tourist friendly, local space, there is a selection of light snacks, 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 showcasing brewers’ creativity.
One of the biggest benefits of the tasting room, emphasized owner Matt Phillips, is 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: Keating’s Category 12 was recently granted a lounge license, Lighthouse is converting space in its facility in Esquimalt, and Ile Sauvage plans to open with a tasting room on site. Moon Under Water is jumping through procedural hurdles and hopes to open its tasting room shortly.
Phillips’ tasting room is open noon to 10 p.m. daily at 2000 Government St.