Howl Brewing in North Saanich is tiny but packs a punch with its small-batch beer offerings. Photo by Mathieu Poirier

WHAT’S ON TAP: Howl Brewing joins the pack of local craft beer operations

Monday beer columnist Matt Poirier checks out a new microbrewer in North Saanich

Everybody who homebrews jokes around that one day they’ll open a brewery. The difference is that some people actually do it.

Monday Magazine beer columnist Mathieu Poirier

Dan van Netten, the driving force behind Howl Brewing, is one of them. Outside of Sooke, this is the first brewery to open in the Capital Region in nearly two years, and brings the total number of operations south of the Malahat to 17, for now.

Located at 1780 Mills Rd. in North Saanich alongside The Fickle Fig Market, the nano-brewery is tucked in a 340-square-foot space that was once a gravel-floored pergola with a metal roof. The 300-litre brewhouse is smaller than some kitchens, yet contains everything he needs to make small batch beers that are light, refreshing and have ties to the community. There is even a small space inside for a tasting bar and growler filling station.

There is a clear desire to make sure there is a local influence, not only with names like Land’s End IPA and Deep Cove Pale Ale, but also with ingredients sourced from local merchants like Michell’s Farm Market. Dan has cultivated some of his own barley on locally rented land, and intends to use it in future recipes. He’s also planted a few hundred hop plants in various locations that he hopes to harvest for use in his beers as well.

One thing he chose to do – bucking the trend in the industry – was to keep things under wraps until the doors were open. With the exception of a few close family and friends, nobody knew about a project that was in the works for over a year. With questions surrounding ALR land use for brewing for bigger operations like Persephone Brewing in Gibsons and Crannog Ales in Sorrento, Dan felt he was better off keeping it close to his chest until those issues had been resolved.

He’s also had advice and support from some of the more influential local characters in the industry, which reinforces the competitive, yet collaborative nature of craft beer.

At the time of this writing, Howl had three beers available, the nicely balanced Deep Cove Pale Ale (5.0% ABV, 30 IBU), Dan’s self-described aromatic Land’s End IPA (6.0% ABV, 58 IBU), and the bright and fruity Strawberry Wheat Ale (6.0% ABV, 20 IBU).

Because of the small batch size, the variety will likely change relatively quickly, so if you hear about one you’d really like, don’t delay. Growler fills are $12, plus $6 for the bottle if necessary. The brewery is open Wednesday and Thursday 11am-2pm, Friday 11am-6pm, Saturday 11am-4pm and Sunday 11am-3pm.

Just Posted

Deep Island connection for indie rockers Half Moon Run

Montreal-based band brings their dreamy sound to Victoria for Jan. 14 show at the Royal

Have your New Year’s Eve set? Try out these musical gala options

Greater Victoria venues featuring local bands to ring in 2020

Ladysmith set to star in new Syfy series, Resident Alien

Island town will play the role of Patience, Colo. in the series

Jim Cuddy Band members turn trio for next Victoria show

Jan. 11 stop at the McPherson Playhouse part of the Countrywide Soul tour

The Strumbellas grow their award-winning sound organically

Juno-winning band makes a rare West Coast appearance at the Royal Theatre for Jan. 9 concert

VIDEO: Led by ‘Marriage Story,’ Netflix dominates Golden Globe noms

Netflix flexed its muscles across all categories, just as it is girding for battle with a host of new streaming services

B.C. family’s ‘Feud’ game-show trip was ‘meant to happen’ after father’s death

Surrey resident Atish Ram’s departed father ‘loved game shows’

‘Jurassic World 3’ will film in Metro Vancouver under working title ‘Arcadia’

Filming is set to take place between Feb. 24 and March 6, 2020

Bursary created in memory of late Duncan musician triples in second year

Young Vancouver Island musicians in financial need can apply by Dec. 15

Talking about tubas! Annual concert attracts hundreds to Market Square

The 2019 edition of Tuba Christmas concert and fundraiser goes this Saturday in the square

Yellowpoint holiday spectacle returns this weekend

Musical variety show offers a wide range of genres, along with many of your seasonal favourites

Carolling in Cadboro Bay Village helps fund music at Mount Doug Secondary

Singing set for 5 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 1, in Cadboro Bay Village.

VIDEO: Celine Dion tops Billboard 200 for first time in over 17 years

‘Courage’ is Dion’s fifth album to reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200

Most Read