I’ve reviewed a fair number of Victory Brewing Company beer on this website. Part of the reason for this is that it is one of my “home” breweries. In college I lived 45 minutes away from Downingtown, PA, home of Victory. By the grace of God I was able to get their beers in Texas and now that I live in Delaware, the brewery is only an hour away. I was at their brewery two weeks ago and saw Summer Love on the tap menu. I never heard of it so I grabbed a six pack on my way out. Apparently this beer had previously been released a few years ago, but they recently had a re-release party.
Summer Love is styled as an American Blond Ale or Golden Ale. It pours a surprising </sarcasm> golden color with a wispy white head. The beer is perfectly clear as well. The nose is pretty intense for the style. By that I mean that it is super hoppy. I find a lot of Victory’s beers tend to be on the hoppy side of the style, but this one is really hoppy smelling. There is a lot of citrus/grapefruit hops going on. A light touch of biscuit can also be found, but the hops really dominate the flavor profile.
As much as the hops smell like they will overpower this drink, they don’t in the flavor arena. The hops are strong, but balanced enough with the malt to make this beer very drinkable. I found a nice honey-like sweetness mixed with some bready flavors in the front end of this beer, followed by a solid hop punch. The hops linger around a bit longer than I wanted on my tongue, but I think that is more do to personal preference.
Victory Summer Love comes in at a 5.2% ABV rating. It is nice and refreshing as any summer beer should be. I like that it doesn’t follow the typical orange Belgian flavor profile that is so prevalent in summer beers. I love the artwork on the label of this beer. It is slightly nostalgic in the way it is presented, but also shows a slew of summertime activities; camping, fishing, baseball, fireworks, etc. I feel like they also did some things just for the local area on the artwork. The Liberty Bell is on there along with some baseball themes. Obviously the Phillies have been a summertime tradition in Philadelphia and that trend is only growing. Philadelphia’s City Hall is on the back label as well. As a homegrown Philadelphian, I appreciate a brewery that acknowledges that locals. There is still a month left of summer, so try this on out while you can. Continue reading
Even since my return from Belgium I have had a taste for authentic Belgian beer. St. Bernardus Prior 8 was one such beer and I have been craving more. On my last trip to the beer store I spotted a beer that I had in Belgium and loved, Rodenbach Grand Cru. Rodenbach Grand Cru is brewed by Brewery Rodenback, or more properly Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V., of Roeselare, Belgium. I didn’t have the chance to make it out to this town, but if I will make sure to if I ever make it to Belgium again.
Rodenbach Grand Cru is a Flemish Red Brown Ale, which is more commonly known as a Flanders Red Ale. The bottle mentions that it is, “33% ‘young’ Ale and 67% Ale matured for two years.” This process is much like what they do at the Cantillon Brewery.Unlike what we think of Belgian beers, this one is relatively low alcohol, striking only 6% ABVs on the scale.
This Belgian ale pours a redish brown, hence the Flemish Red Brown Ale designation. It has a thin light tan head to partner with its redish brown color. On the nose you get the first hints of why this beer has a Flemish or Flanders designation. Flemish or Flanders implies that it is a sour beer made in Belgium. If you have ever heard the term, “bugs in the beer,” they usually are referring to this style of beer. The “bugs” are often a type of bacteria that will sour a beer with time. Rodenbach Grand Cru smells very sour and has some grape qualities to it.
I’m generally not a fan of very sour things and Rodenbach Grand Cru is sour, but not overall sour. It has some strong wine translations with the grape-like flavor and dryness that developed in the flavor profile of this beer. Other than complex sourness, the beer is pretty clean. There are no hops to speak of, but some plum notes can also be found. I also got some cherries in there.
This is a really, really nice beer. It has a good clean flavor that gives a good sour experience without going overboard. It is well balanced and not overpowering in any respect. If you have never had a sour beer this is a great way to get your foot in the door. I can’t wait till I get more! Continue reading
In my last review of a Peak Organic Brewing Company I mentioned that I had plenty of their beers to still review for the site. Today’s review is one of those reviews. Peak Organic Brewing Company of Portland, Maine knows how to brew in order to deliver a fresh, crisp hop flavors and aromas. I figured that an IPA from this brewery was a no-brainer.
Peak’s IPA pours a nice orange color and it is crystal clear. There is a very fluffy head to go with the orange liquid but I think I was a bit aggressive with the pour, so there is a lot more head than there should be. The nose on this beer is exactly what I expect from Peak. There are tons of bight citrus hops that smell very fresh and clean. There is a slight malt note as well, but the shinning star in this beer is the hops.
After taking a sip I again received what I expected. The hops are very bright and carry though the full flavor of the beer. While the hops are strong, they are well balanced with the malt. The hops are mostly grapefruit in flavor but there are some slight pine notes mixed in there as well. I really liked how clean this beer was. The hops come in, stay for a bit, and then leave. They don’t sit on the tongue for a long time, but finish a second or two after you swallow.
I really enjoyed this one. Peak is quickly becoming one of my go-to breweries. Each of their beers are crisp and fresh. Their IPA is no exception. When I think of an IPA, this beer is one of the examples that comes to mind. It is hoppy but balanced and at 7.2% is a sneaky SOB. I highly recommend this beer for anyone who enjoys a well balanced IPA. Continue reading
Now that I live in Delaware I feel a special allegiance to Dogfish Head Craft Brewery of Milton, DE. I have a number of their beers that I need to review on this site, but most recently I reviewed their Aprihop. I appreciate Dogfish Head for being bold and making beers that not everyone will like. I think sometimes their strive to be unique takes them down dangerous paths, but for the most part, I really enjoy what they brew. Sam has written three books and even had a short lived show on the Discovery Channel (when is that last episode coming out anyway?). I have a lot of respect for what they do and Namaste is one of those beers that I have been meaning to purchase.
Namaste is an Indian word that is used as a common greeting. My wife told me that. The label on the bottle says that Namaste is an ale, “brewed with coriander, orange, and lemongrass.” It also comes in at, for Dogfish Head, a paltry 5% ABV. This beer pours, what I am calling, a “straw orange” color. It isn’t orange and it isn’t straw blonde, but when you combine those colors, you get the color of this beer. The first pour was pretty clear but later pours came in cloudy from the yeast that rests on the bottom of the bottle. There is also a thick white head to go along with everything else.
The nose gives off the orange and lemon that were mentioned on the label. I found that it had a “Blue Moon quality.” It didn’t smell exactly like Blue Moon, but it wasn’t far off either. On the first taste the orange and lemon delivered on the things they promised in the nose. The coriander made an appearance on the back-end of the flavor profile. The coriander is very strong and I am surprised that I didn’t get any on the nose. It almost numbs your tongue.
I wouldn’t call this one of my favorite Dogfish Head beers but it is certainty refreshing. If you are looking for a big bottle of slightly unique, drinkable beer, try this one out. Continue reading
As an end of summer trip my wife and I agreed to meet some of my friends for a day at the beach at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewis, Delaware. We decided to head down to the beach a little early so that we could stop by the Dogfish Head Brewpub in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware to grab some quality food and brews before beaching it up for the day.
We arrived right around 12:30 and somehow found a spot in their parking lot. We decided to eat on the deck because the temperature was in the low eighties and there was a slight breeze. There wasn’t anyone on the deck for the most part either, which is always a plus in my book. To begin with I ordered a Limb and Life, which was delicious. Limb and Life is made from the second runnings of the Life and Limb ale, a collaboration of Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. Limb and Life was very refreshing and fully flavored. It had all of the right notes and body to be a dangerously drinkable beer.
Once our drinks came we ordered lunch. My wife went with the “healthy” option and ordered a turkey sandwich of some kind. I went with the indulgence burger, pictured below. Needless to say it was delicious and I am craving another one already.
We also ordered a custom sampler since Smalls, my wife, couldn’t decide on just one beer. I don’t blame her at all for that. Our choices are pictured below.
- Black and Red: I never had this one before and I don’t think I’m going to get it again. The beer is “dry hopped” with mint leaves. I thought it had a very medicinal taste and it was the only beer of the day that we didn’t finish
- Chateau Jiahu: I dig this beer, but my wife digs it more. It has a bubble gum like sweetness and Smalls says it tastes just like candy.
- Midas Touch: Another beer that both my wife and I dig. The grape flavor goes really well with this beer.
- My Antonia: It was hoppier than my wife expected but I really like this Imperial Pilsner.
- 90 Minute IPA: We went on a Monday and they run the beer though the Randall on Mondays. 90 minute was as good as always but I didn’t think that the Randall added a ton to the flavor
After we kicked the sampler we ordered desert. Smalls decided on the Warm Brownie Raison DEtre Sunday. The ice cream is partly made with Raison DEtre. I didn’t care for the ice cream all that much but the brownies were wonderful.
To finish it all up I had a Shelter Pale Ale before meeting my friends. I really like the brewpub in Rehoboth. It is much nicer towards the end of the summer around noon, since the crowds haven’t really hit yet. The outside seating was a big plus. We were under the cover of burlap and hop vines and the table centerpieces were DFH growlers with rope lights inside. I thought the prices were pretty reasonable and I am looking forward to heading back. One final note, Dogfish has the coolest coasters anywhere around.
There are some more pictures if you hit the more button after this sentence. Continue reading