A long, long time ago (less than a week) in a bar far, far away (about 3 subway stops) Victory Brewery held a night of epic craft beer proportions. The Blind Tiger Ale House hosted Victory Brewery last Wednesday night, 7/14/10, showcasing 20+ of their brews. Two of the beer friends made this long trek and their account of the night follows below. Enjoy! Graham's Beers:
I arrived here about an hour before Paul did, just to check out the scene. It wasn't too busy, but it was also early-late night, which is when this bar shines in my opinion. You can always get a seat or a table and one has little trouble ordering or chatting about the beers with the bartender. Even though it was 10ish (the event started at 6) there were still some of the Victory guys there. Notably their regional marketing/sales guy and one of the head brewers. And since it wasn't terribly busy they were available to discuss some of their beers with us (notably the difference between the holletaur and the holledaur).
Pursuit Pale Ale - Amarillo
The Pursuit Pale Ale series is a bunch of pale ales brewed with different types of hops. I started with the Pursuit Amarillo, which by name, is brewed with Amarillo hops. The Amarillo is very drinkable, which is the pale ale part, but the Amarillo hop presence gives it a taste approaching that of an IPA. The smells off draught is almost non existent which probably lends to the light mouth feel and easy drink-ability. How ever the flavor from front to back is straight Amarillo hops. Very pleasing and very much in the sense of earthy herbal Victory hop brews. Hop Devil is next.
Scratch Hop Devil Sean, the New York City Regional Sales Manager (don't worry, he wasn't a suit and was very well versed on everything Victory Beer related) bought us a round of CBC Hollertaur - Belgian single hop. CBC stands for the Craft Brewers Conference and is a series of beers that Victory brews. They brew many different styles for the CBC series, most of which you can only get at the brewery. Those of us at the Blind Tiger for the event however were lucky enough to score some of the CBC brews.
CBC Hollertauer is a Belgian Pale Ale. It pours a nice golden color, which a good sized head. The smell of bread and spicy noble hops greats me as I go for the first sip. Very easily drinkable, approaching a medium body, the yeast flavor gives it a mellow Belgian underpinning but, like this beer is supposed to do, it completely showcases the hops. It is single hopped, of the Hallertau variety I believe. Very herbal and satisfying. Easily drinkable with that good fruit/bready presence. Truly showcases Victory's range in the craft beer world in which they are already legends.
After the Hollertaur, I had to move on to the CBC Hollerdauer - a Bavarian Pale Ale.
It pours with a similar golden color to the Holletauer, slightly more on the copper side. The smell is more of a weiss, with a similar bready smell that is complimented by a slightly caramel malty presence. The brew approaches medium body but even though it is hopped with, I believe, 5 different hop varieties it comes off as less herbal and spicy that fades quickly leaving a very present weiss taste. It takes away from the 5 hop variety and lends to a much smoother finish.
After having those Belgian brews that are showcasing the hops you are a bit let down with the Hop Devil. The beer is copper in color and smells of dominant bitter hops. There is a strong bitter hop there and the malts are present but in comparison it is so easy drinkable. I have had it many times before and very much respect it as a beer, but it comes off as being more of a strong bitter hop, rather than the herbal showcasing of the Belgian and Bavarian Pale Ales I had previously. Still a great IPA and is a readily available Victory product here in NYC.
Old Horizontal Barleywine
To finish the night I went with the Old Horizontal Barleywine. It's exactly as I remember it. Darker copper/reddish in color and smelling of a strong alcohol burn that is almost perfectly complimented by that malts. The taste is strong and bitter, there is a sweetness that runs side-by-side from start-to-finish with a strong alcohol burn. It definitely leaves a warm feeling inside, that maybe was too warm for the temperature of a hot NYC summer night, but it left a nice haze perfect for the end of the night. Have one of these and then have a cab driver get you home. Which I did!
Victory Helios - Saisons is a style I'm not incredibly familiar with but I generally like them. This one is a good ale. Smooth start that rolls over sweet and leaves with a taste you'd expect from a saison. This was one of the first Saison's I ever had. This is what I am expecting when I order a Saison.
Victory Scarlet Fire - what a delicious Rauchbier. This is another style that is new to me, but a lot of my friends like to call rauchbiers "bacon" beers, but this is a different type of pork. This is ribs, delicious smoky ribs...
Victory Grassy Jack Bitter- very tasty beer. Its hoppy, but not overly hopped. The flavor is good and strong. Its a beverage that I would like to have after work. Strong enough to let me know the day is over and shows me the gateway to the night.
Thanks Victory and Blind Tiger for a great event! We hope to see Victory being showcased in the city soon and more often!