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Victory… Victory Dark Intrigue

It’s not often that a beer comes along that demands lines out of the front of the brewery, but ¬†Victory Dark Intrigue is one of those beers. Victory released their bourbon barrel aged version of Storm King Stout today for only the second time. If you believe their posts, this will be the last time this beer is ever made. Call me a skeptic, but I think we will see it return in a few years once they have some more room at the brewery.

Victory started selling cases and individual bottles of the beer at 11:30 AM but they mentioned that you could start lining up at 9:00 AM. I heard a few say there people were there at 7:00 AM. I had to work, so that wasn’t in my plan, but I did have a half day, and I work 15 minutes from the brewery, so I headed over as soon as I got out of work. When I got there a line went from the entrance all the way to the second loading dock, no small distance. A worker was handing out brackets and numbering them. I was number 340. Just for reference they were only giving out 300 cases of the beer so my chances we no good to terrible.

As the first hour passed a few behind me gave up hope as case after case entered different cars and drove away. One person behind me was keeping tally of every case that went out of the front doors. In hour one, about 100 cases had been sold.

Hour two saw some light rain and worsening spirits. Anyone past the magic number of 300 was given a Victory sticker. For reference they cost 50 cents in the gift store. I was beginning to lose hope, but the line was slowly drudging on.

Hour three had some moments of worry and excitement. Because not everyone bought full cases (at $180 a pop!) the magic number for a guaranteed chance at beer was at 320. That number quickly went above my number and I knew I was in good shape. After three full hours I paid for my beer and had it in my hands. It comes in 750 ml caged and corked bottles, each bottle costing 15 bucks. I overheard one of the works saying that they took some of their distributor cases out of the shipping area to ensure that everyone had a chance to get some beer. I only purchased three bottles which drew some strange looks from those who purchased full cases.

I have no plans on hoarding this beer. Even if it is the last time they ever make it, beer is meant to be enjoyed, not worshiped. It wasn’t that fun of an experience and I’m not sure if I would do it again.¬† I also haven’t tasted the beer yet, so my opinion of the whole thing could change. I have a few other thoughts about the day that I will share in a later post, but I got a bottle (and two for a friend) and I accomplished my mission of the day.

Rare does not always equal better

One of my friends from back home is as big of a beer freak on me. He is signal and does well for himself so he has a lot more of his disposable income being thrown at beer. I am truly jealous of his collection as I wish I had access to some of the same beers. Somehow he finds some really rare beers that I didn’t even know were possible to find in the Philadelphia market. He will routinely send me text messages on what beer he is drinking and what special beer he was able to find.

Lately his text messages have been about how overrated some of the rare or limited production beers have been. He contends that because the beer is rare, people treat it like it is something more special and rate it higher. In general I would have to agree with him. I think some of the most sought after beers build up such a reputation and a are so hard to find that they get killer ratings that might not be all that well deserved. I generally stick to the more available mass produced craft beers, but when I find a rare one I do get it. I have found about a 50/50 split between beers that lived up to the hype and ones that have not. Does anyone else notice that rare beers might not always have the most accurate ratings based on their rarity?