Heya all you Beer Friends out there! Today we are featuring the Victory Brewing Company out of Downingtown, Pennsylvania. Victory was founded in 1996 by Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet. Before opening Victory Brewing Co., Coaleski and Barchet traveled to Europe to learn from the best brewers in Belgium and Germany. When they came back to the U.S. they brought with them century old brewing techniques heavily based in German traditions and combined it with their good ol' American creativity to produce some of the best craft brew in the Northeast. The blogger Beerlass, writing for the website Philadelphia Restaurants, name Covaleski and Barchet the "Founding Fathers of Philly Beer." A title they have definitely earned. Victory is getting a special mention here with the Beer Friends due to their heavy involvement in New York City Good Beer Month. The Victory brewing team held several events here in the city including beer showcasing events at the Blind Tiger Ale House (Beer Friends recap of the night) and Sunswick 3535 and beer tastings hosted by the brewers at Jimmy's No. 43. We love the cross-city craft brew cooperation!
Victory has several year-round flagship brews that are popularly imbibed throughout their 30-state distribution area. Let's start with the Hop-Devil IPA. Using German Two-Row Malts and generous amounts of whole American hop flowers, the Hop Devil gives you a bitter, herbal punch in the face and then runs away with a malty smoothness. Very drinkable and definitely an eye-catcher on any menu. You can also find the "Wild Devil" that is a tarter version of the hop devil thanks to being brewed with wild yeast.
The next brew is a personal favorite of this Beer Friend. One of the best Pilsners available, the Prima Pils has an incredible drinkability that is layered with a mellow malty presence and an herbal hop that is definitely not try to hide. The crisp, clear, golden quality of the beer that lends to the drinkability does not, in any way, sacrifice the flavor profile. I will seek this brew out wherever it hides. The best part is that it rarely hides. You can find it at many bodega's and bars around this wonderful city.
Victory also has a few stouts that make a dark name for themselves. The Storm King has a strong Pacific hop presence up front and finishes with a colossal roasted malt body. Drink this if you're feeling a little chilled, cause' it will definitely warm you up. The Donnybrook Stout is brewed in the Dry-Irish Stout tradition. It has a low ABV (3.7%) and is layered with roasted malt flavor. The hops are European and give it an earthiness reminiscent of sipping on a home-brewed stout next to a roasting peat fire in the middle of a soft Irish night. It's poured on a nitro-tap and is a welcoming substitute for other, more popular, imported Irish stouts.
Victory also has an extensive, and deliciously rare, selection of seasonal brews. The Whirlwind Witbier is a diverse selection of flavors otherwise not expected from a easy drinking summer brew. It's got the Beglian yeast, grows to a lay down some spice and mellows out with unmalted wheat.
St. Victorious Doppelbock is the type of lager you'd have on a blustery December night as you were trekking through the Black Forest of Germany. Rich in earthy flavor and spices and a nicely tempered, but definitely aware 7.6% ABV this is a first choice for any cold Northern Hemisphere day or night.
Last, but definitely not least (definitely not) is the Yakima Twilight. This brew defines the definition of "Big Beer." The flavor profile is intense and complex. The brewers use dark, roasted German Malts and 4 whole flower Yakima Valley Hops, the famous hop variety from Washington, USA. It deploys a massive herbal bitterness from start to finish with a big dark malty backup punch. This beer is rare and only available between November and January. I suggest make an adventure to find it in your city, like an all day thing. Then buy a bunch, drink most of it and age the rest in a dark place for awhile. Then break it out in the spring, summer or fall when you can't find it anymore.
Thanks Victory for being such a big part of New York City Good Beer Month and for brewing some of the best craft beer the East Coast has to offer! We'll see you soon!