After close to two years of planning and red tape, Victoria’s newest brewery opened today in Rock Bay. Île Sauvage Brewing is located at 2960 Bridge St. and features a fully-licenced tasting room and a beer lineup heavy on the sours.
I chatted with co-owner, brewer and Advanced Cicerone (one of only nine in Canada!) Stephane Turcotte about what his new brewery brings to the area.
Why beer? What got you interested in craft beer enough to open your own brewery?
Because beer is amazing! We all liked beer, but it wasn’t until I moved to Asia and really missed B.C. craft beer that I really knew it. I started to homebrew there because of that, and opened a craft beer bar and brewery shortly thereafter. After floating the idea at returning, we decided to go for it and open more of a “passion project” here in Victoria.
How has the local response been so far?
The local response has been overwhelmingly positive. From other local brewers, to our community meetings with residents, it has been unanimous support. We can’t wait to help pay that back over the next few years.
How big is your operation? What size batches are you brewing?
For our setup, we have a 10 hL brewhouse and a bunch of 20 hL [fermenting vessels and bright tanks]. We also have 40 red wine barrels and will be adding many more in the near future.
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Introducing our second beer available this week: “Abricot”. We took half of our Golden Sour and aged it on fresh BC Apricots. The result is a fruity, sour, and quaffable beer. Also, peep our new glassware! 🍑#ilesauvage #ilesauvagebrewing #bccraftbeer #yyj #sourbeer #apricotsour #teku #november1 #comingsoon
What sort of beers will you be brewing?
We will mostly be focused on oak-aged sour beers. However, our tasting room will also feature “clean beers” likes IPAs and Stouts. For packaging, we will be doing almost exclusively bottle-conditioned sour beers.
What’s the story behind the name?
Île Sauvage is French for “Wild Island” and is a dual reference to the wilderness of Vancouver Island and our main focus on Belgian-style wild ales and sour beers. We will be making use of Lactobacillus, Brettanomyces, and Pediococcus fermentations, as well as secondary fermentations with fruit.
You guys were originally planning to open up back in 2017. Why the delay?
The main reason we’ve been delayed in opening is that we [had to undergo] a full rezone with the city in order to allow for the tasting room. As we see it, the best way to show our excitement and relay our love for sour beer is through our own tasting room.
What makes Île Sauvage unique?
Île Sauvage is unique because we are a brewery focused completely on the love of exciting beer with the brewers also being the owners. This puts us in a position to express ourselves freely and focus completely on the beer. Basically, it’s beer-geeks running a brewery.
• Île Sauvage Brewing is open Wednesday to Friday from 3-10pm, Saturdays 12-10pm and Sundays 12-8pm. IleSauvage.com