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.

Craft beer

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria art gallery provides Open Space in an online way

View Chantal Gibson’s recent show on the web, hear Indigenous stories on Instagram starting Sunday

Victoria brewery throws support behind still-operating restaurants

Vancouver Island Brewing initiates #TakeOutTuesday to keep local eateries in the public eye

LIVE MUSIC: Artist in Residence reaching into the community

Kathryn Calder to perform livestream show on YouTube channel this Friday, April 3

Victoria vocalist Maria Manna reaches out to hard-hit Italy with special online song

Jazz singer to perform ‘Hymn to Freedom’ with Italian lyrics on Facebook at 2 p.m. Monday

Royal BC Museum joins home education trend for outreach programs

Free webinar options available for RBCM@Home and kids’ programs, starting March 31

Hip tradition sing-along planned again for Canadians April 2

The Tragically Hip’s Paul Langlois is encouraging all to join him virtually in a’Porch Session.’

Vancouver Island musicians in quarantine thank neighbours with backyard performance

Nanaimo Chamber Orchestra director Karl Rainer and his sons play for those in self-isolation

Order of Canada Vancouver Island musician pens ‘The Ballad of Bonnie Henry’

Qualicum Beach lawyer and saxophonist Phil Dwyer notes health officer has become a ‘folk hero’

Campbell River journalist launches Isolationpalooza II

Featuring all local musicians, a volunteer virtual concert, of sorts

6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

Netflix reducing video quality in Canada to lower Internet bandwidth use

Bell Media is also planning traffic measures affecting the Crave streaming service

Will the show go on? B.C. music festivals consider options for 2020

Summer events running out of time to stay on schedule, in wake of COVID-19 uncertainties

Most Read