Year Opened: 2008
Recent BC Beer Award Wins: 2014 – Belgian/French (White Bark Wit Bier), Fruit/Sour (Bird of Prey Flanders Red), 2013 – IPA (Fat Tug)
Recent Canadian Beer Awards Wins: NA
Rank in Greater Victoria: 1st place (out of 15)
Rank in Southwestern B.C.: 5th place place (out of 77)
Driftwood has been doing its thing for a while now, and doing it extremely well, to the point where it can be easy to take for granted the things they do and nitpick the things they don’t.
Because sure, it would be nice if they had a tasting room where you could sit down, or a group of mainstays that was a little more adventurous, or a brand new option that really lit the B.C. beer scene on fire like they used to.
But you can make a strong case that Fat Tug is the most popular beer in the province this decade. You can make a strong case that Sartori Harvest IPA is still the most anticipated yearly seasonal beer in the province. You can make a decent case that Singularity is the best strong/dessert/special occasion beer in province.
And those things can be taken for granted, just like the fact that their beers are easy to find and they come in a wide variety of styles. Or that their tasting room, while not “good” in the Vancouver sense, is unique and a great price value, with servers that know the beers inside and out and give you essentially a six-course mini tasting menu. Or that they could print money by focusing solely on Fat Tug and their known seasonals, but push out new fares like the Latus Wild Ale or Limb From Limb Rye IPA, to say nothing of one-offs that you can only get at the brewery itself.
If this was 2012 or 2013, Driftwood would be the best brewery in the province. It isn’t anymore, because there are younger and hungrier outlets on the Lower Mainland, with slightly more diverse beers or slightly more offerings, with real tasting rooms, avoiding clear misses like their sour Belle Royale or Venatrix Framboise.
But again, nitpicking. Fat Tug is an outstanding example of the west coast IPA style — and with the current infatuation with northeast IPAs, will likely be so for years to come — Naughty Hildegard an outstanding ESB, Blackstone Porter and White Bark Witbier very good examples in their genres, and you can get them virtually anywhere in southwest B.C. And any new offerings are still eagerly anticipated by beer nerds far and wide.
That’s the reason Driftwood still the best brewery in Greater Victoria. We just hope as they enter their second decade, they keep up the quality and inventiveness that gave them the reputation they hold today.
Quality: 16.3/20 (8th)
Standout: 4.4/5 (3rd)
Diversity: 7.5/10 (10th)
Innovation: 4.1/5 (3rd)
Experience: 6.4/10 (59th)
TOTAL: 38.8 (5th)
Next in Southwest B.C.: Twin Sails
Categories: Brewery Rankings