After a long journey, Mile Zero Brewing in Metchosin has opened its doors to the community.
Co-owners Michael Morgan, Michelle Morgan and Dirk Slot all got their start in home brewing and are excited now to welcome residents to their self-described nano-brewery taproom.
Husband-and-wife team Michael and Michelle first got the idea to open after a family member suggested during a Thanksgiving dinner about opening one.
On the long drive home, the pair started fleshing out the idea and started experimenting with home brewing.
After a few years, Michelle connected with her then-colleague Slot – himself a veteran home brewer who runs the UVic Wizards of Beer, a home brewing and beer appreciation club at the University of Victoria. From there, they started work on opening Mile Zero Brewing.
The nano-brewery – so dubbed because of its small batches – opened officially on Dec. 10, and so far has had a warm response from the community.
But it wasn’t easy getting to that point. A number of residents expressed concerns about the prospect of a brewery moving into a classroom in the old school building back when the idea was being considered by council in February 2022.
After a vigorous review process, Metchosin council green-lit the idea and since then the trio has been working on renovations and grappling with supply chain delays for equipment, which delayed opening.
But now they’re open and the taps are flowing, with Michael Morgan saying most batches of beer don’t last longer than a couple of weeks.
“(The Island is) saturated in terms of maybe looking at bigger breweries,” Michael said. “But I think there’s an increasing number of small-scale local breweries that are really focusing on the local market … I think there’s still room in the market for that kind of growth.”
Michelle Morgan noted the West Shore doesn’t have many small breweries, meaning beer tours often have a long gap between Victoria and Sooke, which Michelle said they’re hoping to fill.
The perks of nano-batches mean the trio can experiment more with flavours. Michael prefers English beers, Michelle likes experimenting with a variety of fruit-flavoured beverages. Slot’s passion is Belgian style.
A number of the beer styles Mile Zero are brewing are hoppy and best served fresh, according to Slot, though some other styles take a couple of weeks to brew depending on the fermentation process.
The food menu has more options than previously planned after Mile Zero formed a partnership with downtown-based restaurant Urban Forage to provide their food. The trio is planning more partnerships down the line, working with Victoria chocolatier Uncouth Chocolate to develop a chocolate-flavoured beer for Valentine’s Day, and plans to work with Saanich-grown malt and barley next year when the seasons line up.
Michelle said there are also plans for games nights.
“When you’re in Europe, you can go down to your local pub – but this isn’t a pub, it’s a taproom – but we’re still wanting to be community-oriented and to know people’s names,” said Michelle.
The trio is planning a grand opening come patio season.