Island Craft: Your Guide to the Breweries of Vancouver Island by Jon C. Stott

From the opening description of his first legal glass of beer in 1960 at a beer parlour in Victoria’s Ingraham Hotel through several chapters describing his 2018 “journey of a thousand sips” from Victoria to Campbell River, Jon C. Stott’s Island Craft: Your Guide to the Breweries of Vancouver Island is a thoughtful, passionate joy to read. A retired professor and author of over 20 books—including Beer 101 North and Beer Quest West— Stott is a knowledgeable guide to our burgeoning craft brew scene. More importantly, he knows how to tell a good story.

Stott uses his first chapter to describe south Vancouver Island beer’s historical pioneers like Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub, Swans Brewery, and Canoe Brewpub. Another chapter visits the emerging scene in Sooke, including recently opened Bad Dog Brewing Company. One section describes the evolution of Vancouver Island Brewing Company, Lighthouse Brewing Company, and Phillips Brewing and Malting. Stott’s concise narratives capture the connections, often familial, between many of Victoria’s brewers, breweries, and beer business owners.
The explosion of Victoria brewing operations: Driftwood Brewery, Moon Under Water Brewing and Pub, Hoyne Brewing Company, and Îl Sauvage Brewing Company, all opening between late 2008 and the end of 2011 in the Rock Bay neighbourhood
is the focus of another section.

The Beer in the Burbs chapter visits breweries in Saanich, Saanichton, View Royal, and Langford and is grounded by Stott’s historical research, perceptive accounts of the personalities behind the beer making, and the author’s poetic, rapturous descriptions of his favourite brews.

Stott’s Mid-North Island section takes him from Duncan to Chemainus via Salt Spring Island and visits to craft breweries in Nanaimo and the Highway 4 ale trail from Mount Arrowhead Brewing Company to Tofino Brewing Company, finishing up with visits to craft brewers from Cumberland to Campbell River. Stott’s extensive appendices include a directory of Vancouver Island Breweries and Brewpubs, a glossary of brewery terms, a guide to beer styles, an appendix of beer ingredients, brewing equipment and packaging, and a very personal guide to enjoying beer. The final appendix offers a two-four of beer books.
For beer enthusiasts on Vancouver Island, you might only need this one book.

Island Craft: Your Guide to the Breweries of Vancouver Island
Jon C. Stott (Touchwood Editions) 276 pages $25

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