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Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub & Guesthouse

Not Rated.
Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub & GuesthouseSpinnakers Gastro Brewpub & Guesthouse
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

30 Ratings
Ratings: 30
Reviews: 28
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 9.27%
Active Beers: 36
Beer Ratings: 258
Beer Avg: 3.73
Taps: 0
Bottles: 0
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

308 Catherine St
Victoria, British Columbia, V9A 3S8
Canada
phone: (877) 838-2739

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap @spinnakers

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: 49degrees)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 30 | Reviews: 28 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by 2beerdogs:
Photo of 2beerdogs
4.38/5  rDev +9.8%

This place is worthy of a pilgimage for the creature comforts in life. First of all, the beer is fantastic!!! One of the main reasons I pop in every time I'm in Victoria is for their Imperial Stout (although it seems to me they now produce a less fortified version than in years past). It is a bitey, rich mouth filling ale. Many of their other beers stand out as well.
The food is also very good, ranging from a fair price to only a bit pricey. But worthy of note is their breakfast menu, their breakfast bowls in particular. I can't remember the exact name, but it is a bunch of smoked salmon, and various other ingredients scrambled with eggs. This one is to die for!!!
The guest house is superb. My wife and I stayed there. Shh her family doesn't know that we stayed here the night she said "yes." The rooms are beautiful, the service perfect-attentive but not omnipresent. On all levels, this is a place worthy of going out of your way to visit!!!

2beerdogs, Jun 22, 2006
More User Reviews:
Photo of BarneyGumble
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

BarneyGumble, Jul 26, 2014
Photo of KStark
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

KStark, May 13, 2014
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.94/5  rDev -1.3%

This is a cool brewpub set right on the water. Very vintage pub kind of feel to it. Two stories and a bottle shop on the main floor.

There were about 10 regular taps plus 2 casks on when I was there. I tried 8 different beers in total (mostly smaller samples) and the quality ranged from well below average to above average. Nothing really impressed me. The selection, in terms of style variation was excellent though. They had EPA, APA, IPA, DIPA, imperial stout, Belgian Pale, etc.

Didn't eat. Service was very good. Sat at the bar and the bartender was very good.

TheSevenDuffs, Mar 20, 2013
Photo of BeerisfoodLLC
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%

We hopped on the water taxi which took us most of the way there. This is a beautiful restaurant/brewery with a great view of the harbor. Nice place full of character and a comfortable pub feel. Lots of great craft beers on tap. We tried the Spinnakers Cask ESB which was great as well as the IPA. Good beer and decent food. I enjoyed this stop more than most places in the area. The prices were a bit better as well, although I found all of Victoria quite pricey. If you find yourself in Victoria, it is worth the time to go there. Not a bad walk, bus ride, or water taxi ride to the center of town either.

BeerisfoodLLC, Aug 30, 2011
Photo of ericj551
4.38/5  rDev +9.8%

My girlfriend and I went to Spinnakers last weekend for dinner. We've been there a couple times before and really enjoyed it. The place is in a beautiful spot, overlooking the harbor. It's really nice inside, but not overly fancy. The place has a very old feel, with some pub like qualities, very comfortable.

The beer is great overall. They have some standard beers, but plenty of rotating selections. They had a delicious saison, as well as an imperial stout, both of which we really enjoyed. In the past we've tried their IPA, and double pale ale, which are solid.

The food is top notch. It is generally up scale pub food, with a focus on high quality local ingredients. I've had the pulled pork sandwich, fish and chips, and beef ribs, all are excellent. The pizza is really good as well. Prices are awesome, maybe it is the time of year, but everything seems $5 cheaper than you would get at most other comparable places around town. Being close to a common bus route doesn't hurt either!

ericj551, Feb 24, 2011
Photo of CBA
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%

Had Thanksgiving dinner here on a fluke. We had stopped in for an afternoon drink, and decided to come back for dinner. Awesome location with great views from the upper deck of the bay, watching the seaplane and ferry action. If you get a chance, be sure to sit outside. While I did find a few of their beers somewhat lacking, and they were unfortunately out of the Titanic Stout, the best I had was surprisingly their 3.9% summer ale. Bottle list was deep, and certainly made up for any deficiencies with some of their draft offerings. Dinner was excellent, service was polished, and a great table overlooking the bay with a huge fireplace made it all the better. Be sure to buy some of their chocolates from the gift store on the way out (stout soaked chocolate cookies were up there with anything I've had from Soma).

CBA, Oct 18, 2010
Photo of joshuacavett
3.53/5  rDev -11.5%

I visited this brewpub having great hopes of experiencing a jewel brewpub, but was greatly disappointed in the beer. The food was amazing, I had a beef pot pie and my wife had the fish & chips which was exceptional. We sampled every beer on their menu and three of the beers were very flat (I could not get carbonation in the beereven if I blew bubbles in them). The only one that was above average was their IPA on draft. The place is very kid friendly and the waiter was very quick to bring our order. They did have three seasonal beers on bottle (Jolly Pumpkin Oro de Calabaza, a Merle and another belgian) that give a better selection. If visiting the Victoria/Vancouver area, I would recommend The Alibi room(see my review - http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/17068) over Spinakers. The Alibi room has an unbelievable selection and cellared brews.

joshuacavett, Aug 14, 2010
Photo of Conrad
3.38/5  rDev -15.3%

I had a preconceved notion formed from the ads and from previous posters. The place did not live up to expectation. The venue was good and there was free parking. However, we (wife and I)were taken aback by the crowd of people. I thought this would be a high class joint, but it must have slumped. There were lots of jocks and loud people in the place, guys with their ball caps on, some on backwards, the girls in denim and tattoos, and all of them speaking loud to be heard over the music and general noise. Too many TVs were on, and the hustle was a bit much. However, I was there for the beer, and the beer did not disappoint. I tried a flight of the samplers and settled on their ESB. Excellent choice, if a bit pricey. I will not go back until I have tried the other brewpubs in town.

Conrad, Jun 19, 2010
Photo of josiahschlender
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%

Spinnakers was one of the "must see" brewpubs on a recent trip to Victoria... I think many people would agree, and I'd probably go there again, but with a couple minuses from the experience.

The place itself is a very cool building with a classy yet lived in feel overlooking the inner harbor from the upstairs seating area next to the bar. Lighting and sound ambiance were good, as well.

The beers I tried were their Blue Bridge double IPA and Nut Brown ale. Both were solid, well crafted beers that I would have again. Their double IPA was very short on hops to this Portland hophead, but it was a pleasing, well balanced malty strong pale. They had a good selection of their own beers that almost all interested me. Too little time, too little money.

I'm torn on the food, I wanted to love it. They take the time to prepare and note on the menu food-beer pairings, so cool. Having already ate dinner, the only food I tried was disappointing, the Baba Ganoush with home made bread. Many other options looked good, and I really appreciate the many local ingredients integrated. Perhaps I'm spoiled by superb Lebanese food, but I'd be optimistic the next time ordering something different.

Service was slow. I'm not sure if they are understaffed, but the place was not very crowded and our waitress only breezed by us a couple times after we waited almost 20 minutes for her to notice us.

Prices seemed comparable to good to other Victoria establishments, but probably at least a quarter more than what I'm used to paying in the states. Yet Spinnakers would still probably be a "must see" for me again on my next trip to Victoria. If I knew my food and service experiences were not the norm, Spinnakers would be my easy top recommendation between the three brewpubs in Victoria.

josiahschlender, Sep 15, 2009
Photo of AllThingsNinja
4.63/5  rDev +16%

There are few better locations for a brew pub than a spot on the water, overlooking downtown Victoria's inner harbor, and on a clear day the mountains of the Olympic Peninsula. Spinnaker's capitalizes on its location, with numerous windows to bring the view into both the dinning room, and the pub upstairs.

The beer list changes frequently, and makes a clear division between cold-draught beers and warmer traditional cask beers. This is the first brew-pub I've visited that gave the real ales top billing. In my recent visit, 4 casks were on including some delightful pale ales, bitters and the exceptional Mt. Tolmie Dark ( a strong dark Mild of terrific complexity). Draft offerings included hefewiesen, IPAs, and a kolsch.

Considerable emphasis is placed on using meat, produce, and cheeses from the Island, or at the least from the province. Dishes are creatively prepared, and served with elegant presentations. It is simply delicious, and impressive for a restaurant in the price range and exceptional among brewpubs. It's certain to imptress a date.

The pub setting upstairs is quite nice, and bit more relaxed, with a billiards table surrounded by 50lb sacks of grain, and a traditional bar. Visitors to the pub may order from the same menu as the downstairs dinning room, while being well above pretension.

Spinnaker's is a brewpub worthy of any journey, and a must visit if in the area, or even a two hour ferry ride away.

AllThingsNinja, Aug 31, 2009
Photo of DIM
3.3/5  rDev -17.3%

We got off to a really bad start here, but things did get somewhat better eventually. I'm not sure how relevant this story is, but I'll tell it anyway. Eight of us went to Vancouver Island for a vacation recently, including my father who is in a wheelchair. We ended a long day in the Victoria area so we decided to see about having dinner at Spinnakers. My brother-in-law Eric called ahead to see if they could accomodate all of us including my father. It seemed to be an unusually long call and Eric said he was put on hold twice, but we were told it was no problem.

We arrived about 20 mintes later and the hostess began to lead us upstairs. Apparently there was a miscommuniaction somewhere. Eric did mention my father's handicap, but no one passed this on to the hostess I guess. Spinnakers has plenty of seating, but most of it is either up or down some stairs. There wasn't anything available in area accessible to my father, except in the outdoor area. The sun was setting on a sixty degree day and the wind was picking up, so that wouldn't work.

What happened so far annoyed me, but mistakes happen. This is the part that made me see red. The bartender/manager was summoned. He shrugged and said, "sorry, its either upstairs (impossible for my father) or outside (freezing cold)." He came across as calloused and uncaring. My wife saw how angry I was and pulled me aside while my more diplomatic sister handled the situation. Perhaps I'm overreacting, but I thought this was handled very poorly. His people made a mistake and he wasn't willing to do anything to help make it right. I wanted to leave at this point, but my dad had his heart set on eating here after I told him about it.

The hostess stepped up and asked a recently seated party if they minded moving upstairs. So we did get seated after about fifteen minutes. My thanks to her for making an effort to resolve the situation. As for the bartender, well I think he's an ass.

Despite my bad first impression, I have to admit this is a cool place. A beautiful brewpub in a perfect setting, right on the water. I tried three beers, the nut brown ale was great, the IPA was pretty good, and the Scottish ale on cask was pretty weak. I had a BBQ chicken with caramelized onion and roasted garlic that I grudgingly admit was fantastic. Frankly though, I was surprised when the bill came to find nothing comped. I thought at least a couple of free appetizers were called for.

In summary, its probably best to ignore my review and focus on the more positive ones. Despite what I thought of the manager this place has a lot going for it.

DIM, Jul 01, 2009
Photo of ritzkiss
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%

Visited on a slow Wednesday night, sat upstairs in the tap room with a friend.

Cozy atmosphere. Sinnakers has the best location in town, overlooking the inner harbor. On a nice day (it was raining) you can sit on the patio or on the balcony and watch the boats and the float planes.

Waitress knew the basics but the guys downstairs, once they knew I knew a thing or two about beer were all talk, chatting up their favorite brews there.

The beer went from mediocre to exceptional. I had that night's cask, the Dark IPA (nice hops, too light body), the ESB (too light) and the Icebrg PA (very good!). Each night they open a cask conditioned ale, which is really sweet. They always have at least 7 or so of their brews there... though the ones I was looking forward to weren't there (RIS, DIPA).

Overall, one of the best brewpubs in Victoria. They know their beer, they work on interesting casks, great atmosphere, good food. Tops.

ritzkiss, Apr 02, 2009
Photo of Voonder
3.95/5  rDev -1%

Overall - it's really good place. We got lucky, our server was excellent, she was really knowledgable and helpful. So, service was really good, and the barmen was nice enough to give us a hand with off-sales.
Food was really good too, we had steaks and really liked them. The food selection wasn't that great though. They only had to offer 1 kind of burger, steaks and pasta and that is pretty much it. House made ice cream was allright.
Beer was good. Really good. We tried hefeweisen, currant noir and irish red and we weren't dissapointed with any of those brews. We need to come back and try some more.

Voonder, Aug 11, 2008
Photo of IronDjinn
4/5  rDev +0.3%

Another fantastic destination in Victoria, one that any beer afficianado should seek out when in this city.

We stopped in on a Friday evening before 6 p.m. and the place was already hopping. The dining room was already filling up, and since we didn't have any reservations we were lucky to get a table in the bar on the 2nd floor. Clientele was predominantly white collar, all in for their after-work Friday drink or beer session, although there were some larger groups present dining and/or celebrating this or that. Large windowed-in patio section along the waterside, as well as an open patio that wrapped around the building--both were packed to capacity. The view of downtown across the water is stunning.

Service was friendly yet somewhat intermittent, although we all eventually got what we ordered throughout the evening at one point or another. The server knew her beers by rote and could do a spiel about any required, as well as recommended food pairings.

We were so impressed with the place that we came back the following morning for brunch, when the place was less noisy and packed to capacity, in order to get a second look. Easy to pick out the regulars at this point, as well as recognize fellow tourists in to enjoy the place as well. The food was delicious and fine quality both times I ordered, a lot of thought goes into this menu. You also definitely get what you pay for.

Was also very impressed with the beer selection and quality, and all were served in proper glassware. What stood out most for me was their limited edition Iceberg strong pale ale, was glad to have been out there at the right time to sample it. One of the best pale ales I've tried. Some styles were stellar, while others ranged above average, but nothing was simply mediocre. They certainly put a lot of thought into their beers as well.

Other perks to this establishment are that they brew their own malt vinegar ranging from many of the different styles of ale they produce. Also contains an artisinal bakery, plus along with dessert pastries they also make their own gourmet truffles. All this can be found in the small gift shop near the front entrance, which also sells glassware, shirts, hats and other products with the Spinnaker's monicker on it. Up the road a bit (Yale I think it is) in a mini-mall complex is the Spinnaker's liquor store, where you can pick up their bottled line if you forgot to buy any off-sales while you were at the pub. They also have a decent selection of other local micros, as well as imports.

Very impressed with this place, and would like to return and visit some more to see if it still lives up to the calibre of my last visit. Hopefully the service will be upped a few notches as well.

IronDjinn, Mar 02, 2008
Photo of Sammy
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%

Great view. Very pretty retaurant and (separate floor) longer bar, busy in mid-aft offseason weekday. Al kinds of people. A sweet little friendly giftshop with bottles and such to buy.
If you find yourself in Victoria, you must make a stop here though you are spending at least most of a day and some funds to do so.
The beer was fine and mostly served well. The bartender appoligized for the Saison that was overcarbonated and gave us another half pint. The saison ws serviceable, the brewmaster who spent time with us is competent and experimenting well, though conservatively into Belgians.

Sammy, Feb 21, 2008
Photo of CanuckRover
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%

Bit of a walk, but I actually enjoyed looking at the upscale condos surrounding it and the view across the bay to city hall was great.

Me and a friend were seated promptly, although we felt a little out of place, the average age was somewhere in the 60s. Decor was northwest Canadian and comfortable. Menu was impressive, resulted in much headscratching from me and the buddy. Settled on a starter of a few oysters, lovely, and I had a burger with the works, awesome, and Adam had the cod and chips, said it was great.

Nice waitress and the speel they had for the unitiated about beer was admirable, including the disclaimer over temperatures, would have been appreciated by your average macro drinker. Wide range of beers, had the pale ale and the IPA. Not particularly impressed with either, thought the IPA was nicer, malt in the pale ale wasn't to my liking. Okay session beers, nothing to write home about.

60 bucks or so for 4 oysters, 4 pints and two meals. I'd go back.

CanuckRover, Sep 20, 2007
Photo of JanM
3.48/5  rDev -12.8%

Spinnakers is located in an area full of sprawling condos across from the inner harbour of Victoria. Although there's a scenic walking path along the water the area feels kind of desolate. There's a good view from the patios and you can watch the sea planes take off and land if that amuses you. The rather straight cut bar is upstairs while downstairs boasts a gourmet restaurant. The beer list looked very interesting but when they had pumped up their Titanic Stout real ale from the basement I found it to be a disappointment. Compared to, say a St Peter's or Young's stout it was rather thin and watery. It's not a bad place to sit but I think the BA ratings are a bit hyped. I guess a good session with friends upstairs could knock my ratings up a notch or two.

JanM, Aug 14, 2007
Photo of sockeye101
3.4/5  rDev -14.8%

A very nice spot that really excells focusing on what food pairings work well with their beers. I went there for lunch and the atmosphere was nice, a nice restaruant feel as opposed to a brewpub feel. Food was very good, I had salmon and pasta. I was a bit disappointed with their beer selection. 3 of my first 3 choices on their list were not currently available. I was expecting to see a special brew on tap in addition to their standbys on their menu, but there were none. Service was quite slow and we felt abandoned at times. Overall a great place if you want to havea very nice meal and a good beer. But in my opinion their are better beers in the Victoria area.

sockeye101, Jan 10, 2007
Photo of doubleipa
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Was really looking forward to going to the original brewpub in Victoria. The beer was the best we had in Victoria. I especially liked that the cask is listed separately from the regular draught. The cask ESB was quite good. The atmosphere was quite good. It was dark by the time we got there, but I can imagine during the day the view is fantastic. The food was quite good. My wife had the mussels and I had the tuna. The mussels were great, as was the tuna. I could hardly finish the meal, which is usually never a problem. The service was the worst we had while in Vancouver or Victoria. The only time we encountered a wait staff with an attitude.

doubleipa, Oct 16, 2006
Photo of bodybyadam
3.75/5  rDev -6%

A Brewpub with a view is just something extra special in my book. A co-worker and I planned on stopping here after a quick twenty-something bike ride. Well we worked up a sweat after a beautiful ride, and being able to lock our bikes outside on a bicycle rack impressed me. So we come walking in our "spiffy" cycling gear clicking our plastic souls on the floor. Drawing some attention to us but still felt very comfortable and not stared upon. We sat upstairs for a late lunch or early dinner, and saw a wonderful view of the bay. A great selection of beer that was offered in 4.5 oz selections so I could try multiple selections without getting toasted for my bike ride back (very smart marketing). I ordered the mussels cooked in a Belgian beer sauce and they were extremely good. My buddy got the fish and chips that I tried and thought it was good without to heavy of a batter. Definitely check this place out if you're in the area. If you're already in the area, well I'm jealous and hope to be back soon.

Two Elbows Up,
Adam

bodybyadam, Oct 08, 2006
Photo of BDTyre
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%

Don't get me wrong...I really like Spinnaker's and I make a point of going there every time I am in Victoria. Not much is wrong with this place except...their service is inconsistent.

A Friday afternoon, the place is packed. We have no reservations, but we get seated and served promptly.

Saturday night, the place is really busy but since there are only two of us, they tuck us away in a corner, but attend to our every needs.

Friday night, the place is empty. But lots of tables are reserved. We are told we can be seated, but the table has a reservation an hour and a half later...no problem. So why does half an hour go by before removing our empty plates?

Food usualy is great. However, on our last visit there was a fly in my wife's salad. Plus my cheese and beer pairing was served somewhat separately. Another not on service...not everyone can remember six beers and six cheeses and which goes with which. I don't expect the server to tell me this, but at least leave me with a copy of the menu card so I can pair them up properly.

Other than that...

Good atmosphere. Nice worn wood decor, great view. Food is always tasty, great selection...and the beers are always great. It can be a bit pricey.

Part of the problem lies in their own popularit I think...sure they're a bit out of the way...but I've never been here when it is quite. Everyone seems to know this place. Locals are always here, plus loads of tourists and the proximity to Esquimalt always brings a good number of service members for lunch and dinner. Also, they allow children. This here creates a problem because families with young children always require a bit more attention that your of-age pub patrons.

Again, I really love Spinnaker's, but they could improve on a few points. On the plus, they apparently offer cask nights on Fridays, except the Friday beerfest night (usually the Friday after Labour Day).

BDTyre, Sep 12, 2006
Photo of geographie
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%

Spinnakers is set apart from the rest of Victoria's brewpubs for many reasons-

1) its across the bridge from downtown- in Esquimalt in a bit of an awkward place. You don't just 'happen to stuble across it'.

2) they are Canada's very first brewpub, and it shows. While most brewpubs in Victoria are recent within the last ten years, are engineered with a decent capacity in mind and usually are limited to 1 or 2 brewers to brew all the beer on premise. Spinnakers, however is cramped for space. They have an extensive brewing operation, but the batch sizes are limited. They do a lot of conditioning and other fancy stuff, but they require 4 to 5 brewers working there full time. Crazy! The space is a bit dirty and antique, but apparently it works :o)

3) They do a few special things with their beers- for starters, they split up the beers into cellar (from an actual cellar) temp, and normal serving temp. Also, on fridays, they tap a cask at 5:00 and charge the same price for a more-wicked version of one of their regular line-ups (check it out!). And finally, why Spinnakers is so cool - they encourage anyone to try their beers for free. When i first sat down at the bar, the barkeep explained each and every beer and gave me about a 2oz sample of all 8 beers on tap.

BEERS. As for the beers. They are all well-crafted beers. After 20 some odd years of being open, they've fine tuned them to be quite good. My only beef with them is that there is nothing controversial about a single beer in the whole joint. Nothing exciting or wacky. They have 8 taps, i'd like to see them fool around with something a little different. The head brewer, doesn't hail from a brewing background, so maybe he just wants to keep with what he knows.

** A few words of advice. DO NOT go at busy times. The food slacks as the kitchen does not have the space, but the beer is always good!

geographie, Aug 20, 2006
Photo of Derek
4.6/5  rDev +15.3%

We stayed in room #3 of the 1884 Heritage house from December 19 to December 22, 2005. The working gramophone (vintage mechanical record player) was pretty neat. With no television, it was a relaxing through-back to a simpler time (there was an alarm-clock/radio though). The front hall was nicely decorated for the holidays, using hop-vines for garland!

They bring you a pot of coffee and a basket of freshly baked goods for breakfast, along with the local paper. When they make up your room, they leave a couple bottles of water from their artesian well, along with a couple of chocolate truffles. Service was great!

The brewpub food is far better than your average pub-grub, and it's a good value too (not over-priced gourmet). Their beer is available in 5 oz samples, at a very reasonable price.

Their darker ales had a very strong flavours from British yeast, which I'm personally not that fond of. I think I'd prefer a lower fermentation temperature... particularly for their Scotch Ale.

Their "Pale" Ales were closer to blonde in colour (perhaps to appeal to a larger segment). The British yeast character was a lot more subtle as well. These were good, drinkable beers.

Their motto/mission-statement:
"Let no-one thirst for real Ale!"

Derek, Dec 24, 2005
Photo of Xadoor
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%

Stopped in for lunch during a recent visit to Victoria. The weather was beautiful so we attempted to sit on the wrap-around deck, but they have limited tables in the shade and we eventually had to move inside to avoid baking in the afternoon sun. Great view of the harbor though. Interesting choices on the menu with their own spin on some classic dishes. In addition to being a brewpub, they also have a bakery, deli and guest houses. I wish we had had more time and I would have loved to stay in the guest houses. I did purchase a few bottles of their beer to take home with me as well as their Barley Wine Vinegar. Definitely worth a visit.

Xadoor, Sep 14, 2005
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Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub & Guesthouse in Victoria, BC, Canada
90 out of 100 based on 30 ratings.