Vancouver Island Brewery Wins Big at Beer Awards

Hermannator Ice Bock, Vancouver Island Brewery | BCBusiness
The Hermannator Ice Bock from Vancouver Island Brewery won the Best in Show award at the 2013 B.C. Beer Awards and Festival.

One of B.C.’s oldest breweries takes home the top prize at the B.C. Beer Awards and Festival

Vancouver Island Brewery’s Hermannator Ice Bock won best in show at the fourth annual B.C. Beer Awards & Festival on Saturday. The Hermannator also beat out seven other entries to win first place in the special lager category.

“Winning best in show really means a lot to us,” says Rob Ringma, general manager of Vancouver Island Brewery. “From a brewing perspective, it is affirmation that we are doing some good things and our beers are appreciated and loved by our customers.”

The Hermannator Ice Bock, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, is brewed in limited batches and is cold aged in a cellar for over three months. The aging process causes the water in the 9.5 per cent-alcohol-beer to partially freeze which is then stripped out of the beer to concentrate the flavours. 

“It’s a really rich, malty, robust beer with a high alcohol concentration but it doesn’t taste that way because of the length of time we take to age it. It really smooths and mellows out the flavour of the beer,” says Ringma. 

Vancouver Island Brewery opened in 1984 in central Saanich before moving to its current home in Victoria. The independently owned and operated brewery produces five signature beers and multiple seasonal brews and recently won a gold medal for its Beachcomber Summer Ale at the 2013 World Beer Championships. It is one of the province’s first craft breweries (opening the same year as Granville Island Brewing) and was opened long before the craft beer scene blew up in the Lower Mainland in the last few years. Ringma says that craft beer in B.C. experienced tough times gaining credibility in the 1990s and early 2000s, but things started to change as consumers became more informed about quality of craft beer. 

“B.C. is doing as well as it is right now because all of the craft brewers right now have a commitment to quality and that’s no different at Vancouver Island Brewery,” he says. “From an economic standpoint the growth of beer in B.C. is an overall plus for the province.”

Other major winners at the B.C. Beer Awards include Central City Brewers and Distillers, which took home seven awards, including five golds. The B.C. Beer Awards were part of a day-long cask beer festival, which took place at the Croatian Cultural Centre. It is also a part of B.C. Beer Month. Other winners this year include: 

Best of Show

Vancouver Island Brewery – Hermannator Ice Bock – Ralf Pittroff

CBC People’s Choice Award

Powell Street Craft Brewery – Whiskey Porter

Dan Small Homebrew Award

1st Place: John Folinsbee
2nd Place: Takashi Guenette               
3rd Place: Adam Crandall and Dan Helmer

See the full list of categories and winners.