On the 13th of December 2016, my mates and I tested out the “Greatest Hits” pub crawl. Beginning at The Bent Mast around 2:30 in the afternoon, and wrapping up at about 11:00 in The Drake, it was a smashing success!
For a while now, my friends and I have been discussing the idea of a “Greatest Hits” pub crawl. But what pubs would we choose, and when would we do it? Lucky for us it’s exam period again (for those who are still in university) and I am moving back to Vernon, so it makes sense to embark on one ‘last’ drinking adventure together! So without further ado, I present to you: Riley’s Farewell Pub Crawl: Greatest Hits (click for map of route).
I have long had a fascination with all things from the British Isles, with those originating in England striking the deepest chord. One of those things has long been cricket; that very British of sports, queer, elusive, incomprehensible, yet indispensably appropriate if one is to understand the antics of P. G. Wodehouse’s Bertie Wooster, or the gentleman thief A. J. Raffles of E. W. Hornung fame.
And so a sport that had merely elicited British stereotypes in my mind slowly transformed from mystery into a sport that I knew and loved: first during an eight hour One Day International at the MCG in Melbourne, 2013, and more recently during the 2015 Cricket World Cup. After that I was hooked; I needed to play cricket. In the summer of 2015, the best that I could do was to practice one time with the Kelowna Cricket Club, but in the summer of 2016 I did one better!
I recently went on a pub crawl with my friend Scott. At our first stop, Bart’s, we enjoyed pints of the Lighthouse Keepers Stout. Long ago I made a promise to review this beer. So I did. But the pour seemed poor to me, with a dearth of head, and my tasting notes were not satisfactory. So you won’t find any Keepers Stout tasting notes in this blog post. What you will find is a review for Hoyne’s Helios, so read on.
Back in April I posted my Victoria Pub Crawl No. 1, then promptly tested it out with a couple of friends. The crawl was delightful, so we reckoned that another one was in order. This pub crawl route has no overlap with the previous one, since there are plenty of fine pubs in Victoria yet to be featured. So with that in mind, let’s get started on today’s pub crawl!
One of my friends from Vernon recently came down to Victoria for a concert and we met up on Friday afternoon for drinks. We rendez-vous-ed on the UVic campus and grabbed a snack before heading downtown for some real food and a drink. Since he didn’t have much experience with the Victoria pub scene I took it upon myself to give him a little tour. We began at Garrick’s Head, where we ate a proper pub lunch and engaged our mouths in the first beer of the day; a Dark Matter for him and a Stanley Park Amber for me. After that we wandered over to Smith’s Pub where we were the first patrons of the day. Here we both opted for the Longwood Steam Punk Dunkel, which comes from Nanaimo and is a mighty fine brew indeed! I look forward to reviewing it sometime. Our final stop of the afternoon was Swans Brewpub. I reckoned that Swans was worthy of a visit to anyone solely accustomed to the rather lacklustre pubs of Vernon, and I had been meaning to review their popular Berry Ale for a while.
Another one of my favourite pubs in Victoria, which may well appear on my next pub crawl route, is Smith’s Pub. Located within the Quality Inn building, about a block north of Douglas street, and below the Argyle Attic, Smith’s offers one of the most authentic, classic pub atmospheres in Victoria. A key to this atmosphere is that there are only a couple of televisions, and they are only turned on for important sporting events such as Habs games and Canucks games. If nothing substantial is on, the televisions are turned off, which is refreshing and avoids the unwelcome distraction of endless loops of Sports Centre after midnight. The interior is tastefully decorated with wood trim and has an interesting wall paper with the names of various English artists, musicians, poets, writers etc. scrawled upon it in a gentle style. The beer selection is always full of interesting seasonals and good local beers, whilst the gin selection boasts over 40 different gin from around the world; a gin tasting is certainly in order one of these days. The food menu, while simple, is very good. I recommend the Anglo-Poutine!
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