Over the years, we’ve come to love the brewpub and brewery eating experience. Going waaay back to when Spinnakers in Victoria set the whole idea in motion, we’ve not missed an opportunity to check out each of these spots as they open up. What’s better than sharing a flight of unique beers over pub or gastropub food?
Now, with the surge in popularity of this kind of eatery, we can’t help but feel like the market is getting a tad oversaturated. Some shops no longer offer anything to differentiate themselves from the pack. Bayview Brewing Company in Ladysmith is one of those. One of the pack.
Our visit to Bayview took place on a beautiful (but cold) Fall afternoon. The restaurant itself is mostly patio, but it’s quite attractive, with long open tables, and heat lamps. Everything looked brand new and unweathered. Inside we were treated to a menu board with plenty of beer options and a food menu with some unusual choices. We were excited to see global items like banh mi (Vietnamese subs), bao (Chinese steam buns), vegan buddha bowls, and shawarma as options. Sadly for us, our visit coincided with a kitchen equipment failure and so only a limited menu was on offer. (Dang it – we really wanted to try their banh mi!)
Naturally we ordered a beer flight (pictured above). Included were the salmiakki (licorice) stout, the hazy IPA, the dunkel, and the strawberry lemonade berliner weisse. Each of these was good in it’s own right, but the standout was the stout. The malty and licoricey flavour was the perfect thing for the weather and we quite enjoyed it. Unfortunately this was a special release and not a regular menu item.
For food we had a soft pretzel with “beer cheese” and the lamb and beef donair. The pretzel was impressive and suuuuuper salty – which it should be. The outside was stiff and the inside soft. The “beer cheese” surprised us as it was more of a thin dip than anything cheesy, but the flavour was still good.
The donair was served open and was covered in pickles, tomatoes and thick, sweet donair sauce. The donair meat was tender and good but the thing was nearly impossible to eat without making a huge mess.
Service during our visit was difficult to measure as there is no table service (you order at the counter). The limited interactions the staff had with us were friendly enough.
Our bill for the single flight, the preztel, and the donair, along with tax and a modest tip, was $43. We consider this to be fair value.
If it seems like we don’t have a strong opinion on Bayview Brewing, well, you’re right. Nothing about or visit was bad – except maybe the broken equipment – but also nothing was particularly fabulous either (or even just interesting). Everything about the place was just so… fine. We’ll try them again one day so we can taste some of their other menu items, but for now our conclusion is this: if you’re in the neighbourhood, by all means check them out, otherwise we can’t recommend the drive out of town when you can do just as well here in Nanaimo.