Twa Dogs Brewery

Location: Saanich
Year Opened: 2016
BC Beer Award Wins: NA
Canadian Beer Awards Wins: NA

Rank in Greater Victoria: 14th place (out of 15)
Rank in Southwestern B.C.: 71st place (out of 77)

Usually if a brewery ranks low, our review might be a wee bit blunt and suggest they should stop making beer, either because they make bad beer (or at least, aggressively forgettable beer), and consider just being a bar that has a great space.

But Twa Dogs Brewery — formerly known as “Victoria Caledonian Brewery & Distillery” — does not have a waterfront view of downtown Vancouver or arcade machines and dogs a short walk from the SkyTrain.

What they do have is licence to live their best life, which is not as a brewery/distillery, but as a straight distillery — which if you read any articles about them, seems to be where their true passion lies, with the Twa Dogs label a thing they’re doing while they wait for their first single-malt whisky to be ready.

The beer isn’t bad, it’s just hard to distinguish any of them without labeling. They don’t bring anything to the table except a definition of the style. The saison isn’t bad but that’s because saisons are only bad if something has gone wrong (either from an experiment gone wrong or incompetence), and a brewery should know better than selling it.

The same could be said of the pilsner and pale ale which are both available and also forgettable. There doesn’t seem to be seasonals or anything more than the bare minimum to have a few different styles of beer.

But the space is welcoming (assuming you’re not put off by the quasi-Scottish kitschy gift shop), the staff are friendly, and the whisky is good. But this is a ranking of breweries, so the presence of solid whisky in house contributes to the experience only.

You would imagine it would create a lot of opportunity to make interesting beers that draw from that experience (rauchbiers, Scotch ales, high alcohol beers, etc) but at most it feels like Twa Dogs is just sharing a space with a superior distillery.

Twa, if this is what you’re going to do with your beer, there’s no need to bother — because we like your true, Victoria Caledonian selves.

Quality: 11.1/20 (63rd)
Standout: 2.2/5 (68th)
Diversity: 3/10 (75th)
Innovation: 1.8/5 (67th)
Experience: 6.4/10 (59th)
TOTAL: 24.5 (71st)

Next in Greater Victoria: Canoe
Next in Southwest B.C.: Off The Rail

Categories: Brewery RankingsTags: , ,

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