Monday, January 23, 2012

The Beagle

Address: 301 Cook St.
Phone: (250) 382-3301
Price: ~$13 for an entree
Notes: A great selection of craft beer in Cook Street village

The Beagle used to be so far down on my list of pubs I enjoy in Victoria that the mention of the name elicited a frown so extreme friends rarely suggested it a second time. However, as a member of CAMRA I was lured in by the massive selection of craft beer they have on tap and their pretty epic cask nights that feature the delicious beast that is local cask-conditioned ale.

I think my first experiences were just generally underwhelming: carpet that smelled like stale beer (ew!), nothing on the menu to write home about (or write a blog post about...) and yet there was a low chance of getting a table on a high-traffic night. The latter hasn't changed since my initial impression - it is still packed and noisy every time I have been - but everything else seems to have improved significantly. There is no more icky carpet, and the few things I have tried on the menu have been quite delicious!

The Cook Street Village location is ideal for a wander along the waterfront ending in a warm meal or a cold pint. The pub is pretty much one big room broken up by a large bar, a raised area for some booths and a side-room with some sofas for lounging. There is a lot of dark wood and deep colours, which reminds me of 'authentic' british pubs with the exception of the fact there is a really high ceiling, so it has none of the cosiness and comfort that I associate with a pub experience but all of the beer and camaraderie of a good group of regular clientele. The owner is also the same owner as the Moka house - so has quite a stake in the landscape of the neighbourhood!

December 2011
We visited twice in December  - but the dates escape me now. (I'm working on a strategy to get un-lazy... I swear).  Both times we had really good service considering how busy the place was both times. Sitting at the bar, we had a great chat with the bartender.  The server when we were squished in to a set of tables was a little bit slower on the uptake, but she was serving a massive section and certainly wasn't slacking off - just busy!

December 2011

Whisky-Bourbon Wings via

Note: This picture was taken extra with angularity & glisteniness especially for Mr. YRS. Your cantankerous contributions to the Victoria food blogger "community" will be... notedly absent ;)

These were pretty decent wings! We didn't want anything too massive - already had a dinner plan and it didn't involve eating out for a change - but we realized we needed something in our bellies to counteract the wicked punch of the epic Lighthouse "Cruel Yule Winter Ale" cask. My partner-in-food-and-life pointed out that it's a bit weird that they are called 'whiskey' and 'bourbon' wings but I'm pretty sure we can't blame the Beagle for that paradox! We noted that unlike some wings in town, these were large with lots of meat. The sauce a good balance of sweet, sticky and savoury overall. I would order them again.

The previous visit I had the chipotle chicken burrito and was very impressed - lots of nice, smoky chipotle flavour, well-balanced vegetable to protein and rice ratio. I am not sure if I was too hungry to take a picture, or if it has been lost in the transfer over to my new computer and the finer details lots with the passing of time. (Bad food blogger. No cookie!)