Cheers to Fall! Our Favourite Fall Wines, Ciders and Seasonal Beers

With the days getting shorter and the chilly temperatures making everyone bundle up, you might start to miss those sunny days on a patio or the beach sipping your favourite drink. When that happens on Vancouver Island, one of the best ways to beat the seasonal blues is to visit some local craft breweries, cideries and wineries because there are lots of incredible seasonal drinks to try that will see you through the winter. So, ditch the sunny Aperol and easy-drinking pilsner and give one of these incredible, local potables a try…who knows you may just find your new winter favourite!  

Breezy Beers

Category 12 Brewing 

2200 Keating Cross Rd C, Saanichton, BC V8M 2A6

This local brewery is known for their bold branding and even bolder beers. With an incredible attention to detail and constant tinkering by head brewmaster Michael Kuzyk, Category 12 has some delicious seasonal beers that are perfect for fall.

  • Excitation: This bold and smooth cacao nib espresso stout is an ideal fall sipper. If you love coffee and chocolate, this beer should be on your list! Don’t worry though, it won’t get you jittery – it has a lower caffeine content than decaf coffee. It’s the perfect way to wind down as you watch the weather roll in at one of EMR’s stunning waterfront properties.

Driftwood Brewery

836 Viewfield Rd, Victoria, BC V9A 4V1

The brew masters at Driftwood Brewery are uncompromising in their craft and dedication to creating a wide variety of incredible beers. While their lineup of core brews is popular year-round, their seasonal beers are more than worthy of a taste test. 

  • Blackstone Porter: Unlike some heavier porters, this session porter retains the full-bodied flavours of chocolate and coffee that are expected of this type of beer with a crisp finish so you can enjoy more than one. Great pairing with board games or your favourite series while curling in a beautiful EMR Victoria rental.

Hoyne Brewing Co.

101-2740 Bridge St, Victoria, BC V8T 5C5

At Hoyne, brewing incredible, high quality craft beer is their love language. Plus, this local, family owned, and operated brewery is all about caring for their people and their community – great beer and social consciousness, is there a better pairing? 

  • Finnegan’s Irish Stout: With a deeply complex flavour profile and a rich fullness on the palette, this ode to James Joyce and the incredible craft of brewing traditional Irish stout is the perfect companion to warm hearth on a chilly day.

Phillips Brewing Company

2010 Government St, Victoria, BC V8T 4P1

For almost 20 years Phillips has been brewing mouth-watering craft beer and there’s no sign of them slowing down! 

  • Crookeder Tooth Pumpkin Ale: Perfect for the season, this bourbon barrel aged beer made with roasted malt and fresh pumpkin is sure to hit the spot – especially when enjoyed beside the fireplace at one of the EMR rental homes!

Crisp Ciders

Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse

2487 Mt St Michael Rd, Saanichton, BC V8M 1T7

Using only heritage apples grown right on the property and traditional methods, Sea Cider has an array of sensational cider for every season and occasion. If you’re staying in Sidney, you can take the ten minute drive straight to the farm to pick up some incredible cider!

  • Prohibition: Using traditional, hand pressing techniques, champagne yeast and rum soaked barrels, this cider has the perfect notes of brown sugar and rum. Serve chilled or heated, this is a winner! 
  • Witch’s Broom: If you’re looking for bottled pumpkin pie, this is the cider for you. With notes of fall spices and the tartness of orange and heritage apples, this cider is the perfect balm to a stormy fall day. 

Merridale Estate Cidery

1230 Merridale Rd, Cobble Hill, BC V0R 1L0

This farm, located in the microclimate of the Cowichan Valley, may be the perfect location to grow incredible cider apples. Using slow fermentation processes, these traditional, hand-crafted ciders blend Northwest Coast flavours and traditional English cider.

  • Scrumpy: Based on traditional English ciders, Scrumpy is made with high tannic apples, slow fermented in oak casks with light carbonation. With hints of caramel and a bright tannic finish, this is a perfect fall cider to enjoy bundled up on a patio.
  • Cyser: A cider inspired by mediaeval England belongs on this list! Fermented with aromatic apples and wildflower honey from the orchard, this award winning potable will impress!

Tugwell Creek Honey Farm & Meadery

8750 W Coast Rd, Sooke, BC V9Z 1H2

Mead may seem like a drink reserved for Renaissance fair goers, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! With a passion for bees, traditional fermentation processes and high quality ingredients, Tugwell Creek mead is the perfect drink to try in the fall especially if you’re staying in Sooke and you can make the short trip to the meadery itself!  

  • Solstice Metheglin – Ginger Spiced Mead: Made with wildflower honey from the farm, a special spice blend and aged in French oak barrels, this mead is off dry and perfectly balanced. Serve it with one of your favourite fall dishes and taste how the flavours come to life! 

Warm Wines

Cherry Point Estate

840 Cherry Point Rd, Cobble Hill, BC V0R 1L3

Nestled in amongst the pastoral landscape of the Cowichan Valley, this long-standing vineyard produces incredible estate wines that will cure the seasonal blues and pair perfectly with your favourite fall dishes.  

  • Bête Noire: The blend of Agria and Zweigelt grapes produce this incredible full-bodied, Rioja-like red wine that has notes influenced by the unique terroir that can only be found on the Cherry Point estate. This is the perfect wine for your Sunday roasts or a rich charcuterie board while lounging on a luxurious sofa . 
  • Siegerrebe: This bold, fruit-forward white is lovely on its own and can hold up when paired with rich food. Pop this open for your next Indian take out, pair it with rich, garlicky seafood dishes or fettuccine alfredo.

Alderlea Vineyards

1751 Stamps Rd, Duncan, BC V9L 5W2

With a microclimate like that in the Mediterranean and balmy maritime winters, the Cowichan Valley is the perfect place to grow wine making grapes. Alderlea, located right in the Cowichan Valley, near to the little town of Duncan, makes award winning wines that rival Napa varietals. 

  • Valerie: A blend of Cowichan Valley Ortega and Viognier, this bright, elegant white with notes of pear and apricot, is a great accompaniment to the bright flavours of the autumnal harvest. Pairs perfectly with a butternut squash soup or a flaky, savoury pie!
  • Clarinet: For a bold, heavy red, you can’t go wrong with this incredible wine. Made from grapes grown on hand-tended vines, this dark wine with notes of pepper, coffee and sweet blackberries is an excellent choice to impress friends while entertaining. 

Blue Grouse Vineyards

2182 Lakeside Rd, Duncan, BC V9L 6M3

On a south-facing slope in the Cowichan Valley, bordered by pine trees and nurtured by the fresh ocean air lays the 65 acre Blue Grouse Vineyard. The terroir at Blue Grouse is an unusually fortuitous mixture of gravelly soil and clay which produces exceptional grapes and incredible wine. 

  • Ortega: This 100% Ortega wine, the grape most commonly grown in the Cowichan Valley, is an incredible medium bodied white that has a savoury edge and a long, smooth finish. Pop this open for a dinner party when you’re serving pasta, seafood or rich, red meat. 
  • Black Muscat Reserve: This varietal is a rare find in the Cowichan Valley but it is the perfect bottle to open on a quiet night with a few friends downtown Victoria. The spicy, medium bodied, fruity wine has a lovely purple hue, a crisp dry finish and is a great wine to pair with chocolate and cheese.