by Chuck Hallett | The start of the winter cellaring beer release season is upon us. How can I tell? Vancouver Island Brewing has dropped the 2013 version of their famous Eisbock, aka Hermannator. Now in its 26th year, this dark and strong bugger comes out mere weeks before the rest of the winter heavies, giving us beer geeks time enough to clear out a shelf or two in our cellars.
You wouldn’t know it by looking at it, but an Eisbock is actually a lager; a pitch black, strong (9.5%!) lager that, upon tasting, you’d be forgiven for confusing with a rich ale, what with all the chocolate, caramel and brown sugar that comes through on the palate. And is that some raisin I taste in there, too? Yes it is. This is a brilliant beer to sip out of a snifter on those cold winter evenings (drink it from the bottle and I will break into your condo, hurt you, and take it away like a cruel sort of reverse Santa Claus).
And don’t just take my word on it. Hermannator was recently awarded the coveted Best Of Show Award at the 2013 BC Beer Awards, which is some serious beer geek cred. In addition to being almost universally acclaimed as awesome, Hermannator is a great starting beer for those interested in cellaring. Properly stored, this beer will age and slowly improve for five or more years.
If you’re keen on cellaring, look for the limited edition waxed dipped 650ml bomber with the 2013 vintage stamped into the wax-dipped top at private stores in Victoria, and at select private stores in Vancouver (VIB will announce who gets the goods via Twitter).
Where to get it: The LDB carries the six packs. Private stores in Victoria will get access to the waxed 650ml bombers.
How much is it: $13.75 for six 335ml bottles.
When to get it: Hermannator six packs stick around for a few months, but generally are gone by February.