Sunday, April 14, 2024

4 Victoria-made non-alcoholic drink options to get through dry January and February


The new year has begun and that means people are saving money, hitting the gym, supporting local, cooking more and some have maybe decided to take a month or two off of drinking after indulging in a December amount of rum and eggnogs.

Luckily for those who have opted to support local and drink less, there are plenty of other options so you can still party or go out for drinks, just without the alcohol.

Here are 4 Greater Victoria places that make delicious non-alcoholic beverages:

Whistle Buoy Brewing Company

Tucked away in their cozy Market Square taproom, Whistle Buoy is one of just two local breweries that produce their own non-alcoholic “near beers.”

The Little Vis Non-alcoholic Hazy IPA is back by popular demand.

This near beer is made with all the same hops that Whistle Buoy frequently uses in other recipes, but with only 0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV).

The Little Vis uses Citra and Mosaic hops, which provides a similar fruity aroma and flavor profile with a gentle bitterness that satisfies without overwhelming the senses.

“We want to create products and experiences that are inclusive and accessible so people in our community feel welcome,” said Isaiah Archer, Co-owner of Whistle Buoy Brewing.  

“To be honest, it took a long time to decide to make non-alcoholic beers because at first we didn’t find it exciting and didn’t see lots of good examples in the market. Over time we realized the demand was real and here to stay, so we took it on as a creative challenge to come up with something that we feel holds its own beside other high quality craft beer we’re proud of.” 

Archer recommends the Little Vis for people who like hop-forward beer. 

The Little Vis Hazy IPA is available both in four-packs, and to enjoy in the taproom itself. 

Phillips Brewing Company

Phillips Brewing is the biggest brewer in town and because of that they have the opportunity to have a variety of options for their customers. 

iOTA is the affiliated brand that Phillips launched in 2021 and can be found in the Phillips Beer Shop as well as throughout BC in certain craft focussed liquor stores. 

There are four different options when it comes to the Phillips iOTA, including a pilsner, a hazy IPA, a pale ale and a lemon blackberry ale. 

Phillips says their iOTA Pilsner has an easy and effervescent mouthfeel with a light body that has smooth German hop notes on the finish. 

Their iOTA Hazy IPA has a low bitterness, which is full of citrus and juicy fruit notes that helps to carry its tropical hazy hop profile.

The iOTA Pale Ale is a light golden colour and has a balanced malt and hop profile. According to Phillips, it features honey and cereal notes, a straightforward mouthfeel that is accented by floral hops.

Lastly, their iOTA Lemon Blackberry Ale is for the juice lovers. It has juicy blackberry flavours which are accented by hints of lemon, all in a medium-bodied ale. 

All their offerings to Victorians seeking non-alcoholic options contain 0.5% ABV. 

Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse

Nestled in Saanichton, Sea Cider are masters of their craft in producing high quality ciders, but have also found success in providing an array of options for people who like a sweet, effervescent drink, minus the alcohol. 

Their Temperance Series of ciders features four distinct options for people who may not like beer much as they make their way through dry January. 

Their first option is Temperance Ava, which Sea Cider says is a salute to women across the globe who raise their voices in inspirational and empowering ways. Ava, which means “voice” in Persian, is a sweet cider made with a blend of apples, apricots and elderflowers.

The Temperance Chérie was made as a comfort beverage, meant to remind people that self-care is essential care, according to Sea Cider. The Chérie features ripe cherry notes, British Columbian apples, with hints of orchard blossoms. 

Sea Cider says that the Temperance Roxie was made as an ode to women who enjoy sports, break barriers and build acceptance for all expressions of gender and strength. They say that in this bottle, crisp apples, ripe raspberries and zesty lemon combine for a refreshing non-alcoholic option.

The fourth non-alcoholic option that Sea Cider offers is the Temperance Eden which the cidery calls “an aromatic bubbly for all ages.” It is made completely of British Columbia apples.

A portion of proceeds from their Temperance Series supports wellness programs in Canada that nurture physical, mental and social well-being. 

These are especially nice for those looking for a non-alcoholic option that is also gluten-free. 

Cultured Kombucha

Cultured Kombucha has taken the region by storm and is brewed right in the heart of Rock Bay.

The company says that primarily their goal is to focus on making a delicious, non-alcoholic beverage that is inspired by the transformation that occurs during fermentation—and they do exactly that.

If you don’t know, Kombucha is a fermented beverage that is made from steeping tea along with a culture which is similar to yogurt or sourdough bread and it has been being made for over 2000 years around the world. 

Cultured Kombucha has a myriad of flavours that are ever-changing aside from their core six.

They always have Electric Kiwi Colada, Blackcurrant and Cranberry, Citrus Ginger, Nettles & Petals, Elderflower Rose and Raspberry Lemonade.

At the time of this publication, they also offer flavours such as Blueberry Jasmine, Peach, Strawberry Mint, Tropical Hops and more. 

With Kombucha, the bonus is that this drink is really good for people’s gut health because it produces probiotics as well as beneficial enzymes and acids. 

It can be ordered online and found in many bars, pubs, restaurants, general stores and grocery stores throughout Greater Victoria. 

Curtis Blandy

Read more

Latest Stories