BC Beer Baron #327 – Vancouver Island Black Betty Blackberry Saison

With the Sip Advisor’s annual beer pong tournament being contested, some good beers were needed for my red solo cups. I chose to fill some of them up with this Vancouver Island Brewing release and had a party!

The Black Betty Blackberry Saison is brewed using freshly hand-picked blackberries from the island and combined with Northern Brewer hops for notes of spice and pine flavour. The 5.5% ABV beverage has a tart finish, making for a refreshing summer beer. According to the brewery: “We brewed this Blackberry Saison and the damn thing went wild!”


The summer seasonal is available in canned six-packs at BC Liquor Stores. I also recently came across the beer being part of Vancouver Island’s Pod Pack winter edition, as the feature brew, joined by three other VIB selections.

An homage to the classic rock song of the 1970s, Black Betty by Ram Jam, the tune’s lineage traces back to being an African-American work song. This has caused some controversy when various artists have recorded and released the track.

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BC Beer Baron #167 – Vancouver Island Sabotage India Session Ale

Last weekend, we hosted a big shindig at Ma and Pa Sip’s place to celebrate Ma Sip’s retirement. In order to get my party face on, I picked up Vancouver Island Brewing’s Summer Pod Pack.

The feature beer in that set was the Sabotage India Session Ale (ISA), which uses three different hops in the brewing process. The beverage is light (5% ABV) and refreshing and provides a nice entry point for those interested in trying hoppier beers, but who are reluctant to dive headfirst into an Imperial IPA or something of that ilk.

Vancouver Island Sabotage India Session Ale

The ISA was a really good beer and a nice compliment to a solid Pod Pack. I should know, I killed off almost the entire thing during the retirement party and I was uncharacteristically selfish and not very open to sharing. The summer version of the Pod Pack also includes Vancouver Island’s Piper’s Pale Ale, Sea Dog Amber Ale, and High Trail Honey Ale.

I have to say that I wasn’t overly impressed with the breweries various mixed packs when trying to pick something out the other day. I narrowed my choices down to VIB and Dead Frog, before going with the island option. Perhaps I was being too picky, but I feel there used to be more experimentation in the mixed packs and a more noticeable line-up change when going from winter to summer sets.

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BC Beer Baron #144 – Vancouver Island Sea Dog Amber Ale

As a last-minute addition/replacement to Mrs. Sip’s work outing to The Price is Right Live at the Abbotsford Centre, I spent an hour and a half in traffic, trying to make the show on time. My reward was a beer from the Vancouver Island Brewing booth at the arena.

How Vancouver Island became the beverage of choice all the way out in Abbotsford is a bit of a mystery, but I’m very glad that was the case. While my original choice was unfortunately already tapped out, that was for the best, as it provided an opportunity to order the Sea Dog Amber Ale. Mrs. Sip and I agreed that this was a great beer to enjoy as we watched classic games like Plinko, Cliffhanger, Any Number, and Punch-A-Bunch played out live.

Vancouver Island Sea Dog Amber Ale

Available in six-packs and some versions of Vancouver Island’s Pod Pack variety case, this 5.2% ABV brew is a tribute to Victoria’s naval heritage and the centennial anniversary of the Canadian Navy. The beer is a little sweet with light hops, making for a well-balanced drink.

While in line for the beers, it was funny to note that Abbotsford locals were a little taken aback by the $6.50 price for beers. Meanwhile, Mrs. Sip and I were thrilled with that price, being used to paying double that when at Vancouver entertainment venues. To each their own, I suppose!

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