On a recent road trip to the west side of Vancouver Island, I was able to sneak a peek inside the soon-to-open Ucluelet Brewing Company with Head Brewer Allan Cukier (formerly of R&B Brewing).
Located in the heart of Ucluelet at 1601 Peninsula Road, the new two-storey brewery is picturesque, housed as it is in a former church and perched on a hill overlooking the harbour. Previously, the building had acted as a community hall and event space after St. Aidan’s on the Hill was deconsecrated in 2010 and sold to a developer a year later. In 2016, new owners Dennis and Sarah Morgan proposed turning it into a brewery, an idea that was received with unanimous community support. Since then, the building has undergone extensive exterior and interior renovations, and I’m glad to report that it is finally nearing completion.
The sun-lit, spacious main space has a warm feel thanks to lots of reclaimed wood features. There’s a gorgeous long bar lined with a dozen taps; a railing made of refinished bowling alley lanes from nearby Howler’s Restaurant; and the stunning timber arches of the building itself. Up front will be a growler filling station and a selection of merch. Then comes the bar, which will pour Kolsh, Wit, Sour, Red Ale, Pale Ale, IPA, and a Porter to start. There’s also a small food prep area allowing for beer snacks, charcuterie/cheese boards and bowls of vegetarian chili, chicken gumbo, and Irish stew.
Part of the floor has been opened up to take us down a level to the production area, which Allan designed. The space leads out to a large patio, which will likely be the place to be this summer, with room for 20 or so. Look up and you’ll see a functioning bell-tower, which could be used for sounding the tapping of a new keg. Original pentagon windows are echoed throughout the brewery’s design elements, like the carved tap handles and the brewery’s logo.
The brewery is in good company with nearby local spots including coffee roaster Foggy Bean Café (in the same building) and Zoe’s Bakery and Café (house-made everything, bread, pastries, their own spiked coffee creamer). The brewery will be the town’s first and hopes to be the gathering space for year-round locals and summer tourists alike.
Opening date is firmly set for mid-February. I look forward to returning, tasting their beers, and settling into a seat in a booth overlooking the harbour to keep an eye out for some orcas.