Monday, August 20, 2012

East Victoria, BC

(Victoria, BC, Canada)

Pretty much everyone I know has made a visit to Victoria, British Columbia and I finally got my turn a couple weeks ago.  Earlier this year, I was able to nab a LivingSocial voucher for half-price Clipper tickets, so Mandy and I decided to spend a few days and make a little vacation of it.  We pretty much just walked and drank beer the whole time.  It was great.

About the only trip preparation I did was pack some chargers and underwear and shit and read The Beer Geeks' post on their recent spring visit.  That's it.  (It's not like there's a big language barrier or anything.)  An officially sanctioned urban beer hike would obviously be in order, but we would save that for day two.  (More on that in the next post.)


We spent our first day getting settled.  The boat ride was pretty smooth, but getting on and off, going through customs, dealing with idiots and their little morons, finding the B&B, etc. all took its toll.  We needed to drop our shit and start sampling the local beer!

Our accommodations were in a quiet neighborhood, about two miles southeast of downtown.  Since our urban beer hike the next day would take us in and around downtown, we decided to explore the quieter parts of the city first.  It was about lunch time when we dropped our bags and got our house key.  Our keen B&B host recommended Pizzeria Prima Strada in Cook Street Village and we were off.

It's hard to say what the best thing about Prima Strada was.  The Rucola E Crudo pizza was made less than two feet from us and was delicious.  They had a bunch of Driftwood beers on tap, including the Farmhand Ale -- which was great because I knew Driftwood would not be included on the main hike the next day.  Also, our heroic server Emilie found my phone and went looking for me in the neighborhood.  "I went to the liquor store and the pub.  Where were you?", she asked when I returned.  Too funny.

When we returned to the B&B, we had already logged almost seven miles of walking.   All we needed was a little nap and we were ready to set out for Oak Bay and the Penny Farthing Pub.

East Victoria UBH - about 6 miles;
Penny Farthing / Christie's Carriage House / Beagle Pub

View East Victoria, BC in a larger map.

I originally thought that maybe we could make a small UBH out of it and hit three pubs, but as tired as we were and knowing we had a full day ahead tomorrow, we decided to just pick one and chill out there.  By the time we woke from our nap and set out, it was well into the evening.

Moonrise at the beach

We chose The Penny Farthing because the walk took us along the water for much of the way and through a few quiet neighborhoods, but we didn't know that right next to the pub was Vis à Vis, our first great surprise of the trip.


Vis à Vis is a somewhat upscale place, but fuck it.  We were on vacation and decided to treat ourselves to a really swanky meal.  The menu posted outside the restaurant hooked us immediately and after we were seated,  we learned that it was 3-for-2 entrée night AND cheap wine night!  This was getting better and better.

Charcuterie case at Vis à Vis

The food and wine were every bit as good as advertised, but I had waited long enough for beer, so we paid our bill and walked down a short passageway into the Penny Farthing Pub.  This is about as English as you get outside of England, I imagine.  (I have never been to England, unless you count Northern Ireland.)  The wholly inviting interior is filled with dark wood and brass and there was even a skeevy European dude at the bar trying to charm the bartender's skirt off.  (She handled him in stride.)

There are tons of local beers on draught (plus more than a couple on cask) and I thought twice about ordering an IPA after such a rich dinner, but it had to be done.  They had the Driftwood Fat Tug and I'd heard great things about it.  It took me a little longer than usual to put it away -- partly because I was savoring it, partly because I was completely full.  I would have loved to have hung out longer, but it was getting close to closing time and Mandy and I were growing weary.

We hit the road and returned home via the now quiet Oak Bay Avenue.  Everything was closed, but I imagine that in the middle of the day there is a fair amount of neighborhood traffic.

The Butcher of Oak Bay
After a good long hike, we returned to our B&B with eyes half-shut.  Even a raving baby raccoon outside our window would not keep us from sleep.  What a long day.

If I ever make it back to Victoria, I'll certainly start earlier and give this route another go.  It would be a good beer hike to do as a loop from The Beagle Pub to The Penny to Christie's, and returning to The Beagle.

Coming up next:  breweries and boats in Victoria.

We're just getting started, sweetheart.

1 comment:

  1. So cool to read about your beer-drinking adventure in Victoria. I see you hit up a lot of spots that I missed on my visit there. I mainly bought local craft beers from the store and worked on a friend's property with the best tree service company Victoria has in town. Wish I could go back and hit up the Penny Farthing.