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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BC Beer Baron #26 – Vancouver Island Hermann’s Dark Lager

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.

Vancouver Island Hermann's Dark Lager

“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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