The Vancouver Island Brewery is the only full-fledged brewery in Victoria, British Columbia, with widespread distribution in Greater Victoria, and lesser distribution through the rest of British Columbia. It was founded in 1984 after the death or departure of all of Victoria's previous brewing industry. A craft brewery, it follows the much-vaunted Bavarian Purity Law of 1516, using only barley, hops, yeast, and water in its beers.
Vancouver Island brewery makes five year-round beers and one seasonal beer. These are:
- Piper's Pale Ale:
Named after a local piper who became a hero in the First World War, Piper's Pale Ale is a golden-brown ale with a warm, hoppy flavour.
- Hermann's Dark Lager:
My favourite among the VIB beers, Hermann's is a cola-dark lager with a wonderfully full flavour. It has just the right amount of hop bitterness to balance the slightly sweet malt flavour, and the crisp aftertaste of a lager completes the refreshing Hermann's experience.
- Wolf's Scottish Cream Ale:
This beer has a true creaminess to it that I haven't experienced in any other beer to date, a quality I find very offputting. As such, I've only had this beer once and can't really say much more.
- Ed's Honey Blonde Ale:
This beer, named after a local radio personality, Ed Bain, is unique among the VIB beers in that a portion of the proceeds is donated to the BC Cancer Foundation. A fairly typical blonde ale, it is nevertheless refreshing.
- Victoria Lager:
An amber, pilsner-esque lager. It's fairly unremarkable but it goes down very easily.
- Hermannator Ice Bock
The one seasonal beer, with each year's batch of 10,000 bottles coming out in November. A strong beer (9.5% alcohol), it comes in oversized, 650 mL bottles and is (among other things) a boon to exam-weary students at the University of Victoria, since one bottle of Hermannator has a comparable amount of alcohol to 4 bottles of Hermann's.
The Vancouver Island Brewery is located at 2330 Government St., just outside downtown Victoria. On the premises is a cold beer store and a taproom for sampling. Both public and private tours with sampling are available. The brewery website can be found at http://www.vanislandbrewery.com/ .
Information gleaned from the VIB website, a tour of the brewery, and the consumption of numerous VIB products
This writeup is copyright 2004 D.G. Roberge and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs-NonCommercial licence. Details can be found at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd-nc/2.0/ .