Ale Trail 2016 – Day 1

originally posted 08/13/2016

Starting on August 6, 2016, my partner and I set out on a grand adventure with one goal in mind: check out some breweries found here on Vancouver Island and find our new favourite beers. We did, and we did. Let’s start things off where all good stories begin, at the beginning.

Day one of our adventure was to take place on Salt Spring Island, a small island just off of Vancouver Island, home to Salt Spring Island Ales. The day started off a bit behind schedule, but we made our way to the Crofton ferry with a song in our hearts, and enthusiasm well in hand.

We hit our first snag coming through Crofton, where a funeral procession and ceremony actually shut down the highway for around 30 minutes. It was certainly a bit of an awkward situation, and we did our best to be respectful, and understanding. People behind us, however, were less so; with one many laying on his horn for a full minute. Classy move guys.

Back on our way, we found ourselves in the huge line for the ferry, having inadvertently arranged our trip to the island on the same day as their annual Garlic & Music Festival (seriously!). I won’t keep you in suspense, we did eventually make our way across to Salt Spring Island, still enthused if not feeling a bit bummed at the way things had thus far gone.

One on the island, our first stop was Burger Bar 537 for some absolutely fantastic food that set the bar for the rest of the trip. Melissa had the Wild Sockeye Burger, and Brendan had the Rodeo Blue Burger, loaded with chorizo, jalapenos, and blue cheese. Both were fabulous, and if you find yourself on the island, stop in and visit these guys.

Bellies full, we moved on to the star attraction: the brewery. Essentially the reason that we added Salt Spring to our list of stops on the ALE TRAIL. We made our way up the beautiful drive way, and caught site of the genuinely stunning brewery only to find it…

Fucking. Closed. 

As it turns out, there were some machinery issues and the brewery was forced to shut down. So, deflated, we headed to Mowhinna Creek Campground, where we would be spending the evening. After a quick sneaky swap, thanks to the absolutely lovely hosts at Mowhinna, we found ourselves in a really beautiful and surprisingly secluded campsite.

Brendan headed off the a local liquor store, and managed to wrestle up some bombers from Salt Spring Island Ales (and a cheeky sour Philips), so a tasting could take place. Both beers were pretty tasty, went well with food, and even managed to help create a much more positive evening, re-inflating us and making for a pretty solid night over all.

Not to mention the fact that Melissa absolutely killed it with dinner, preparing hobo-packets with potatoes, onions, and carrots, and some great sausages from Nesvogs in Nanaimo.

While the beginning of the trip was a bit rocky, we salvaged a really wonderful evening and day one of our journey ended on a genuinely positive note.

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