Each month, as part of this 366-day BC craft beer extravaganza that I will be sharing with you throughout 2016, I will highlight a specific style or theme of beers for a whole week of articles. For the opening month of this project, I wanted to look at some of the flagship and original offerings from breweries around the province.
Vancouver Island Brewing has been in business for over 30 years, or as they put it, since “Bon Jovi was a hot new band, mullets were cool, [and] lawn darts were legal!” Born in 1984 as Island Pacific Brewery (Vancouver Island’s first of its kind), the company started small and has grown exponentially over the years, changing its name in 1992.
Their Hermann’s Dark Lager was first created in 1986 and has remained a staple of the brewery ever since. The beer is named after brewmaster Hermann Hoerterer, whose name also adorns their Hermannator Ice Bock. When Hoerterer moved to Canada, he brought with him the inspiration to create the Dark Lager, among other recipes.
“It is a testament to [Hoerterer’s] brewing skill that he formulated the recipe for a beer that continues to be a significant brand in the west coast markets thirty years later,” said Barry Fisher, President of Vancouver Island Brewing. “The craft beer market today is far more receptive to beers that bring new experiences. Fortunately, Hermann’s Dark has benefited from being attractive for new drinkers, while holding on to a loyal group of dedicated Hermann’s fans. Hermann’s Dark: often copied, never duplicated.”
A few years ago, Mrs. Sip and I visited Vancouver Island at their beautiful facility on Government Street. There, we did a tasting and had a long chat with our server about the brewery and beer in general. Without Vancouver Island, other Victoria breweries, such as Phillips, Hoyne, Lighthouse, Driftwood, Moon Under Water, and Spinnakers might not exist. For that alone, they deserve credit.
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