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Hopped up Devil

I was at Victory Brewing Company earlier this week to have dinner with some friends and my wife, all of who had never visited the brewery before. My wife banned the camera from taking any pictures while eating or anything like that, but I did have some wonderful beer and burgers. As is my custom at a brewery, I purchased a burger and a sampler. I had a glass or two of Uncle Teddy’s Bitter as well which is a great beer if you are the driver for the evening. It comes in at 3.7% and is still a sipper. I wish more breweries had some super low ABV offerings.

One of my favorite things to do before leaving Victory is to visit their gift shop and make sure that there isn’t any single bottles that I can’t take home. I did pick up a bottle of their new beer, Otto, which will be reviewed shortly. Victory is now making their own beer inspired ice cream. They offer three flavors using the wort (pre-hop) from Golden Monkey, Hop Devil, and Storm King Stout.

Judging by the title of this post I bet you can figure out which ice cream we took home. Hopped up Devil is an ice cream that has ingredients such as cayenne, cinnamon, and chocolate covered coffee beans.

The mix of ingredients goes really well together. The cinnamon gets a bit burred out of all of the flavors but the cayenne is a stand out. The heat from it slowly builds as you eat the ice cream. It isn’t intense at all, but gives a soft burn on the back-end. It make a cycle of eat ice cream, cool down mouth, cayenne heats mouth, eat more ice cream. A wonderful and dangerous cycle. As I have mentioned before, I’m no coffee fan except in beer, but add ice cream to that list. The chocolate covered beans provided some nice punches of flavor as well as a different texture. I think the ice cream is only available at the brewery, so stop in if you are ever close and try some beer ice cream. (more…)

Beer Review #135 Headwaters Pale Ale

Victory Brewing Company of Dowingtown, Pa released this pale ale to the public just this year. To my knowledge they did not make a packaged pale ale prior to this point. It’s somewhat surprising that they haven’t had a sable one to this point considering pale ales are a big seller. I wasn’t sure why they named the beer Headwaters Pale Ale until I ran across this bit on their site:

Named to pay homage to the water with which is it brewed, Headwaters Pale Ale is not only a refreshing beer but also a vehicle for Victory charity. A portion of every bottle sold is collected and distributed to environmental advocacy groups through the Headwaters Grant.

No it makes sense. There is a lot of other great information on the link given above if you are interested in reading a bit more about it. Now onto the beer review!

Headwaters Pale Ale pours a nice orange color. It is perfectly clear and has a thin white head to go along with the liquid. The nose is full of big bright hops. There is a lot of grapefruit in these hops. I believe they use Simcoe hops in the brewing of this beer which gives off a very similar aroma. There is some sweetness mixed in, but the bright hops are what really shin on the nose.

Unlike what the nose suggests, the malt in this beer is pretty solid. There are notes of toasted caramel along with some good honey-like flavors. The grapefruit is in there was well. I didn’t really get a lot of piney hop flavors, but there was a small touch in there. I found the flavor to be slightly grassy as well.

Headwaters is a pretty solid pale ale. It isn’t quite a typical pale ale but it is enjoyable. When I was drinking the beer I found some things, that resembled bits of lemon, in the beer. I’m not sure if they were supposed to be there or not but they didn’t bother me or add any noticeable flavors. Try this one out if you haven’t yet. Let me know if you get the lemon things in your beer as well. (more…)

Beer Review #132 Victory Summer Love

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. (more…)

Which beer would you pick as your last?

All of this talk of the rapture coming tomorrow got me thinking. What beer would you choose for your last beer ever? It’s an interesting question and I could go two ways with the answer. On one hand I would go with a super rare beer that is a real treat to have. A good sipping beer, something that I like to call an “hour long drink.”

On the other hand I might go with something that I’ve loved for a long time. I’ve enjoyed Victory Brewing Company’s Hop Devil since I was old enough to drink and I could easily see myself having one of those as the end came. My choices come down to two things; preferred taste or “sexiness.” With the sexy beers you generally don’t know what you are getting. They are usually expensive and a rare buy. I’ve been very disappointed by some well acclaimed beers so a go-to beer would be a good choice since I know what I would be getting. On that same note, I already know what I’m getting so do I really want to spend my last drink on a sure thing? That might apply to other parts of life but, at least to me, not in beer.

So what beer is my choice for my last drink? I’m going to choose Russian River’s Pliny the Younger. A popular choice for some but a rarity for me. I’ve only had it once and it really hit the spot. It is a sexy beer, but a very drinkable sexy beer. What would be your last beer? Feel free to reply after tomorrow as well.

Victory Brewing Video

Growing up in southeastern PA and going to school in the same general area, Victory Brewing Company has been a local favorite of mine. One of the great things about them is that I could get their beer when I lived in Lubbock, Texas as well. Awesome. They put out this video today which I enjoyed watching and thought that I would pass it along.

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