Glen Cowley outside the Saltair Pub that’s featured in his book Amber River. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Chemainus authour documents the region’s unique pubs in Amber River

Guide book provides all the interesting details and experiences that await customers

It’s a tough job, but somebody had to do it.

Chemainus author Glen Cowley, 69, took it upon himself to visit many of the unique pubs around Vancouver Island and the Salish Sea over a period of a few years to publish his findings in a guide book titled Amber River. There will be an official book release and signing at Riot Brewery in Chemainus Oct. 17 and 18 between 6 and 8 p.m.

Riot is one of the Chemainus establishments featured in the book, along with the Shoe Pub, Sawmill Taphouse and Saltair Pub. Other Cowichan Valley locations included are: the Cobblestone Inn in Cobble Hill; Maple Bay’s Shipyard Restaurant and Pub and the Lion Rampant; Duncan’s Craig Street Brew Pub; the Cowichan Bay Pub; Ladysmith’s Fox & Hounds Pub; and Lake Cowichan’s Riverside Inn.

The book is divided into pubs within eight regions: Victoria/South Vancouver Island; Mid-Island South; the Gulf Islands; Nanaimo; Mid-North Island; Sunshine Coast; West Coast and North Island.

Cowley and wife Karen Hopkins’ regular travels formed the basis for the book’s research to be conducted.

“We always tried to find an unusual pub or coffee shop,” Cowley explained.

He wanted to provide a comprehensive guide to the Amber River that flows around the region and is developing new tributaries all the time.

“Seeking uniqueness has become a bit of a habit for us, and it struck me in chatting with others that this is a not unappreciated practice,” Cowley noted in the book’s introduction.

Cowley has written two other books, both about hockey in Kamloops where he lived for 17 years. Wind and Ice: One Hundred Years (almost) of Kamloops’ hockey and The Seventh Man: The history of the Kamloops Blazers franchise documented the storied hockey history of the region.

Cowley couldn’t initially get a publisher for Amber River when he started on the project in 2013, but eventually landed Hancock House Publishers for his collection of unique places to go and things to do while you’re there.

“There’s some pubs that didn’t want to be in and some didn’t get back to me in time,” Cowley explained.

Of course, the market is changing all the time. Cowley no sooner finished the book than a new place opened up in Sooke.

“Some I didn’t include, that was just subjective,” he indicated. “It’s geared to locals and tourists who want the pub experience but don’t want the beer parlor experience.”

The cover features an eye-catching photo of a pooch named Brew, the unofficial brewmaster at the Moon Under Water Brewpub in Victoria.

“I figured who’s going to walk past a dog with a beer in front of him,” laughed Cowley. “I figured when I got that photo, I’ve got to use that.”

Each of the 85 pubs and establishments featured inside are documented with two or three pages, plus inside and outside photos for many.

“The idea is people will be able to identify the pub from the outside,” said Cowley. “There’s the odd one has an inside shot.”

There are many things within so many unique pubs that still stood out among all others for Cowley.

“Some of it is the decor,” he noted. “The Lion Rampant in Maple Bay, their view is breathtaking.”

Cowley lists basic location details and contact information for each place, what makes each one unique and something he calls ‘earning your beer.’ That’s when you might have to do a nearby activity to take away the guilt of enjoying drinks without the benefit of some exercise.

The whole experience clearly became a labour of love for Cowley.

“Things have changed,” he indicated. “Pubs are not like the old bars. There isn’t the same drink to excess.

“That’s a healthy change and it seems to be more community involvement, more than just sponsoring teams, and there’s a new appreciation for craft beers.”

One thing Cowley found is a great appreciation for each other within the industry.

“There’s a lot of camaraderie between the brew pubs,” he said. “They’re competitors, but they’re supportive of each other.”

The book is available through all the usual sources or people can purchase a signed copy at the release later this month.

 

Author Glen Cowley, above, outside the Shoe Pub in Chemainus, one of the establishments featured in his book Amber River. Below, Cowley outside the Saltair Pub that’s also featured in the book. The book release and signing will take place Oct. 17-18 at Riot Brewing in Chemainus. (Photos by Don Bodger)

Just Posted

Ladysmith Interact club students inspired and inspiring

Ladysmith Secondary School group making a difference in their community

IIO doesn’t recommend charges after motorcyclist death in Mill Bay

An off-duty VicPD officer was involved in the crash

New wind warning for most of Vancouver Island

Forecasters are calling for strong winds up to 90km/h for some areas

Mount Washington opening for winter season this weekend

The resort’s original opening day was delayed due to lack of snow

VIDEO: Kitten rescued from under school bus in Duncan

School staff have affectionately called kitten “Axle”

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Woman guilty of impaired driving in death of Vancouver Island pedestrian

Man in his 70s killed in 2016 Courtenay multi-vehicle incident

Rash of bomb threats a learning opportunity for response capacity, Goodale

Thursday’s wave of bomb threats swept across communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border

Windstorm topples tree onto townhouse in Nanaimo

Heavy winds have thousands of B.C. Hydro customers without power

Most Read