Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub & Guesthouse

Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub & GuesthouseSpinnakers Gastro Brewpub & Guesthouse

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

308 Catherine St
Victoria, British Columbia, V9A 3S8

(877) 838-2739 | map

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Added by 49degrees

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Reviews: 31 | Ratings: 42
Photo of bodybyadam
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

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,

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Photo of BDTyre
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 3.5

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).

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Photo of geographie
3.85/5  rDev -4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

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!

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Photo of 2beerdogs
4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

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!!!

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Photo of Derek
4.6/5  rDev +14.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

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!"

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Photo of Xadoor
4.33/5  rDev +8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

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.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Another great brewpub in this city. Dark wood and a great uk-styled band playing in the background. Atmosphere was nice...dark wood, UK styled with many rooms. Nice. Service was fast and attentive. Selection was nice as well. Cider, as well as, 8 ales, 6 hand pumps, and more! Selection was good as well, and so was the value of this place. Recommended when on Vancouver island/Victoria! This is a great traditional brewpub with great beer and a great atmosphere! Definately one of the greats! Bow down!

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Photo of OliasOfSunhillow
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Very, very nice looking place with slightly above average beers. The cold-served beers are nothing special, though the warm-served cask-type brews were significantly better. Food was great, pricey but not overpriced (if that makes sense). As you might expect, the seafood was the highlight of the menu.

What makes Spinnakers special is the whole of the place, not any one thing. They not only make beer, they make incredible breads and baked goods, malt vinegars, cheeses and bottle their own artesian water. They own a couple of houses next door and rent rooms in a B&B manner. The rooms are neat and small, we had a nice deck and view of the city. Overnight accomodations aren't cheap, but we made this the "splurge" spot of our otherwise low-dollar BC vacation (lots of camping, Coleman stove-cooked meals, etc.) and were easily able to justify the expense because of the quality of the experience at Spinnakers.

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Photo of canucklehead
3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

This is a classic Victoria brewpub that has really grown and expanded over the years. I can say that the majority of beers are very good and the fact that they serve some warmer on handpump shows a dedication to the craft.

The food was very good with some excellent fish and chips. The service was a bit messed up as the food came the same time as the beer which is a no no in my book. StephenLouis tells me that the service depends on where you sit in relation to upstairs or downstairs. The atmosphere is very nice as this is an old house that overlooks the more open part of the harbour.

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Photo of saskguy
4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Spinnakers was one of the first brewpubs in Canada. They make very good beer.

Not sure if they are still having a couple of casks on Friday night, but it would be worth a check.

The pub also owns a couple of B&B's next door. Makes a great end or start to a brewpub crawl to and from downtown.

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Photo of jreitman
4.13/5  rDev +3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Spinnaker's is right on the waterfront with a good view of the harbor/bay. Very nice restaurant with some real quality food. The reason for the low score on quality was mostly to do with the fact that my girlfriend and I found the beers we tried kind of bland. This may have been the particular batch or beers that we had... will re-rate after next visit. The food was excellent and very filling. Atmosphere is great. Restaurant is surprisingly quiet, has nice high ceilings with great decor. Overall a very pleasant dining experience.

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Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub & Guesthouse in Victoria, BC, Canada
3.65 out of 5 based on 328 ratings.
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