Victoria, BC (May 21, 2015) – In the spirit of collaboration and advancement of craft beer, Vancouver Island Brewery and Steel & Oak Brewing Company have poured over the recipe book to revive a classic German specialty beer. VIB and S&O are proud to present United Front Braunbier, a traditional German Kellerbier made with Vienna malts — the latest beer installment of the BC Craft Brewers Guild’s collaboration series. “A project like this shows the innovation and collaboration that is moving the brewing industry forward in the province,” declared Ken Beattie, Executive Director of the Craft Brewers Guild.
The United Front symbolizes the historic interaction when New Westminster and Victoria came together, uniting the colonies of Vancouver Island and the Mainland. Now these two cities come have together again, uniting to create a great collaboration beer. “We strive to prove ourselves as industry leaders on a national level, and this beer really showcases our commitment to innovation and craftsmanship,” added Beattie.
The collaboration united two breweries of differing credentials in British Columbia’s vibrant brewing community. VIB recently celebrated 30 years in business; S&O is nearing its first anniversary of brewing. The idea of unity was foremost in the minds of Langdon and Foss when they were developing the name for United Front. The name also nods towards the combined heritage of Victoria and New Westminster as both serving as capitals in B.C.
“We were honoured when Ken Beattie approached us with the chance to brew a beer on behalf of the Guild,” said Murray Langdon, General Manager at VIB. “This is a great opportunity to showcase what Vancouver Island Brewery has been doing for more than 30 years and, at the same time, work with one of the best and brightest teams in this business, Steel & Oak.”
“It’s been a great way to cap off our first year,” said Steel & Oak co-founder Jorden Foss, who said he was elated to participate in the creation of the beer. “Anytime you get to work with one of the original craft breweries in B.C., it’s going to be a highlight,” said Foss. “Working with Vancouver Island has been a fantastic experience.”
The chance to partner with VIB, and demonstrate S&O’s skill, was a true opportunity added Foss. “Not only are we excited about this beer but about the partnerships formed throughout the process.”
The Craft Brewers Guild provided both breweries with the challenge of combining the vast old-world experience of VIB’s brewmaster Ralf Pittroff with the fresh views of S&O’s Peter Schulz, who himself has a strong history of brewing traditional German styles. Once the pair began to discuss potential style options, establishing common ground was very easy.
“Peter and I share the view of using quality ingredients to brew old world styles. We came up with the idea to do the Braun bier from one of Peter’s own recipes, and adapted to a production level,” said Pittroff. “It wasn’t a difficult decision. I loved the idea of brewing a German style that hasn’t seen much development in North America even as craft beer becomes increasingly popular.”
S&O’s brewmaster agreed. “I think a Braunbier was the perfect style to create,” said Schulz. “With both Ralf and I coming from German brewing backgrounds it was a great opportunity to brew this historical German style lager. I can’t wait for people to try it.”
The beer will be available starting this week in the 650 mL format at private liquor stores, and government liquor stores shortly thereafter. Select locations in Victoria and Vancouver will also serve United Front on draught. In addition, United Front will be featured during several events at Vancouver Craft Beer Week, including the Guild’s Rookies and Legends evening at 12 Kings on June 5 and the VCBW Craft Beer Festival on June 6-7 at the PNE Fairgrounds.