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The Beer Friends write, review, and discuss Craft Beer as fans instead of experts.  They share their unique voice and affinity for craft beer through multiple platforms and offer a range of media to join their craft beer conversation.



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Filtering by Tag: Victory Brewing Company

BFF4 Round 2: East & Midwest

Beerfriend Paul

This week we know what teams have advanced to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament we move on to our second round in our Beer Madness 2013.  Congratulations to to Michigan, Syracuse, Wichita State, and Louisville for making it to the Final Four.  We here at the Beer Friends would like to wish Kevin Ware a speedy recovery, it was reported yesterday that he was up and walking around on crutches which is great news after his injury this past weekend. Now, on to the beer!

East #1 vs #9

Flying Dog Gonzo Porter came out of a tough match up to face Cigar City Maduro Brown.  These two darker beers come from the maltier side of beer, will the fantastic oatmeal brown ale from Tampa be able to hold off the delicious Porter from Frederick?

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East #5 vs #13

An interesting match up here with the double bock Troeg's Troegenator goes up agaist the pale ale from lambertville River Horse Hop Hazard.

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East #3 vs #11

The incredibly underrated Victory Hop Devil comes through as an 11 seed to take on the strong (in taste and strength) Dogfish Head Festina Peche.  Will this IPA have enough to take down one of the premier Sour beers?

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East #2 vs #7

Yards Brewing Company extends its stay in the tournament with Poor Richard's Tavern Spruce and goes up against the established Smuttynose IPA.  Spruce ales have interested the beer friends this past year with 2 of them brewing their own versions of the O Tannenbock Spruce by Brooklyn Brew Shop, but will that be enough to get past the classic IPA from New England.

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Midwest #1 vs #9

Left Hand Milk Stout is always a favorite around the beer friends but will the sweet stout have enough to get past the Dark, Rich, and Sexy Founders Porter?

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Midwest #5 vs #13

This is the first match up between beers by the same brewery.  Founder's Red's Rye PA is a fantastic rye ale that is a go to six pack for this particular beer friend but the question is, does it have what it takes to stand up to the incredibly popular triple IPA Founder's Devil Dancer?

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Midwest #3 vs #6

This match up pits the wet hopped Two Brothers Heavy Handed IPA against Founders Dry Hopped Pale Ale in this battle of brewing styles and hops.

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Midwest #2 vs #10

This match up puts the incredibly popular Two Brothers Cane and Ebel up against the incredibly rare Founders Old Curmudgeon's Better Half.  Both beverages are fantastic but for very different reasons.

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New York City Craft Beer Events for the Week of September 23, 2012


Tuesday, September 25 - Tuesday Night Tastings: Birrificio Bruton @ Bierkraft, Brooklyn: Despite our intense love for all-American craft brewing, the Beer Friends have been known to get international.  One of our favorite  event nights of recent memory was at a beer event hosted by the Italian craft brewery Collesi.  Italian beers have always gotten a bad rap here in the US and in most other parts of the world - but as with food, wine and Roman pillars, Italians are master craftsmen when it comes to beer brewing.  Birrificio Bruton boasts a focus of balance with a dedication to food pairing as the central tenets of owner Lacopo Lenci's creation.  He'll be there to walk you through a new viewpoint of craft brewing: Italian culture, food and life all in beer.

Bierkraft is located at 191 5th Avenue between Berkeley and Union Street in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Wednesday, September 26 - Oktoberfest Sampling/Beer Pairings @ The Stag's Head, Manhattan:

Beer and food.  Beer and fall. Fall and food.  Can't go wrong with any of those combinations so why not go with all three.  Head on over to the Stag's Head this Wednesday for some very specific beer/food pairings all based on the fall tradition of Oktoberfest.  They'll be pairing a dish and beer together to ensure maximum deliciousness for your taste buds.  Here are the slices of fall foliage heaven that await your mouth:

Sweet Potato Croquettes with rosemary and goat cheese Paired with Southern Tier Harvest

Bratwurst Sandwich - grilled brats, sauerkraut, Märzen mustard, pretzel roll Paired with Sly Fox Oktoberfest

Punkin’ Chunkin’ Tartlette with farmer’s cheese, roasted pumpkin, baby arugula, warm brown butter-maple vinaigrette Paired with Dogfish Head Punkin’ Ale

Beer-braised Short Rib with parsnip puree & braised red cabbage Paired with Left Hand Octoberfest

The Stag's Head is located at 252 East 51st Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues in the Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan.

Wednesday, September 26 - Victory Night @ The Blind Tiger, Manhattan:

The craft beer world has grown large in recent years, so large in fact that once common meetings between beer bar owners/brewing innovators does not happen as often as it used to when the whole world was a bit smaller.  However , this does set the stage for more epic reunions now that the beer world has blossomed and exploded into it's current state of dominance.  Such a meeting of epic proportions will be occurring this Wednesday:  Bill Covaleski of Victory Brewing will be making his yearly trek to the Blind Tiger Ale House.

Think beer brewing god meets beer bar god and they're inviting you to their hangout AND they are pouring all the beer they brought for your enjoyment.  Plus, a first timer: Polaris IPA.  Made with the Polaris hops which are described as being minty and glacier-like by Dave Brodrick, Blind Tiger owner.

Check it:

Prima Pils Golden Monkey Festbier V12 Donnybrook Stout (Nitro) Braumeister Pils – Saaz Baltic Thunder Headwaters Pale Ale Summer Love Ale Helios Ale Ranch DIPA – Chinook Mild Rye’d Otto in Oak Bavarian Polaris IPA Storm King – firkin HopDevil – firkin


The Blind Tiger is located at 281 Bleecker Street between 6th Avenue and Jones Street in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan.

Wednesday, September 26 - Three Heads Brewery Night @ George Keeley's, Manhattan:

Who says there isn't room for comedy in the craft beer world?  Nobody actually, I think we'd actually prefer it.  Especially when the brewing comedians come from this Beer Friend's home town.  Introduce: Three Heads Brewing from Rochester, NY.  They'll be bringing a few brews over to George Keeley's on the Upper West Side this Wednesday and boy are they funny.  Check out their website sometime and I guarantee you'll laugh at least once - and not at their web design!

They'll be bringing for your drinking pleasure...:

Bromingo Smoked Maple Amber Ale

The Kind IPA


The Common Man

George Keeley's is located at 485 Amsterdam Avenue between 83rd and 84th Streets in the Upper West Side neighborhood of Manhattan.

Hashtag Battles Week Nine!


Hello Beer Friends Nation! In the spirit of competition, Beer Friends would like to invite everyone to our NFL season hashtag battles! Using we will pit two breweries against each other when their NFL counterparts are facing off on the gridiron. Are you ready for some football? And drinking? And #hashtag battle?!?!?!

What's a hashtag battle? When you're drinking a beer of a brewery competing in the battle (#gooseisland vs #victory), throw a #hashtag of the brewery and tweet it (or setup your foursquare or untappd to push to tweet and include the #hashtag) and we'll use to declare a winner after the Monday Night football game on ESPN. We're starting on Sunday morning so drink up - support your team, support your beer, drink local and hashtag battle!

Week Nine - Chicago (#gooseisland) vs Philadelphia (#victory)

Chicago is in trouble.  It all started last year as their season hung in the balance and Jay Cutler couldn't come back on the field.  Instead of explaining to the national TV audience that he sprained his knee and couldn't play - the Bears allowed him to keep his pads on and sit on a bike on the sidelines - then the tweets started rolling in.  The off-season was filled with questions and everybody in Chicago defending Jay - and the interesting Sports illustrated article "Jay Cutler doesn't care what you think".  Now the NFC North (Norris division) is controlled by the undefeated Packers and the up-and-coming Lions which leaves the Bears lumped in with the Vikings (which always play a dynamite first half and then leave their abilities in the locker room for the second half) in the bottom of the division.  But alas there's hope - the season is barely half way over and Cutler has a rocket arm - so there's always a chance...  Goose Island became one of the most talked about breweries in the nation after being bought out by Budweiser.  The marriage was inevitable with the same distribution companies and a craft brewery that's far enough away from anything Bud produces to make it worth while... Then came the aftermath of tweets and people embarrassing themselves at bars - looks like both these franchises are in need of a little face saving and re-birth.

Philadelphia was in trouble - until they won last week and are safe - until they possibly lose this week (also, people are ignoring the fact that they need to rattle off 9 wins in a row to be 12-4 and guarantee a playoff spot) but that's the future and let's look at the now.  The self proclaimed "Dream Team" can be the most exciting team on the field because they only beat themselves.  Last week they looked fantastic against the Cowboys (and those Eagle WR's helped me win a fantasy football matchup) - but they've also self-destructed and had multiple turnover games which resulted in the current 3-4 record.  Unlike the up and down Eagles, Victory Brewing always comes ready to play.  Located outside of Philly - this is a delicious brewery that is always a pleasure to see at the bar.  One Beer Friend still always goes for the Prima Pils and this Beer Friend always enjoys one of their two stouts (Stormking and Donnybrook) on a nitro pour.  While Victory constantly lives up to their good name, can the Eagles join them and win this weeks hashtag battle?

New York City Craft Beer Events for the Week of 1/25/11


Alright, bust out your studded leather jacket, your dislike for authority and your mohawk's punk rock beer week in NYC!  Bringing back my past memories of being a punk rocker and combining them with my present interests of...well, beer, and it's enough to get one into a headbanging, sweaty mosh-pit of life changing inspiration.  If this doesn't kick start my quarter life crisis, well, then I don't know what will! Alright, here's what you've been waiting for.  Break out the NOFX shirt.  Break out your skateboard.  Break out your Dead Kennedy's discography selection and Tim Armstrong smokers voice.  It's East Coast/West Coast Punk Rock Tour Time!

Wednesday, January 26 - East Coast vs. West Coast Punk Rock Brew Tour @ The Pony Bar, Manhattan:

I think that someone  that loves me very much stole my wallet, turned all my cash into change and dumped it into every fountain they could find only to wish that someone would think up this event for me.  Thank you.  Do it as often as you like.  Many  people believe that the East Coast/West Coast rivalry started with gangster rap.  Not true. It started with punk rock and now that battle (which has since outlived the rap rivalry) continues.  Smuttynose and Victory will be representing the East Coast and Ballast Point and Lagunitas will be representing the West Side of things.   Each brewery will be providing 5 lines of the same categories:  Light, Dark, IPA, Imperial IPA and WILD CARD!  Think it couldn't get any better?  Each team also has to create their best punk rock mix to compete against the others.  The beer competition is fine - I think I'll be able to enjoy all of it.  The music though, well, I think I'll be able to enjoy all of that as well.

The Pony Bar is located in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan on the Northwest corner of 45th Street and 10th Avenue.

Thursday, January 27 - East Coast vs. West Coast Punk Rock Brew Tour @ The Wild Goose, Staten Island:

Consider this a first.  Staten Island has finally joined the Beer Friends craft brew events list. Forget the Jersey Shore and the Blowouts, Staten Island has gone punk rock.  The Wild Goose will be hosting their own installment of the Punk Rock Brew Tour featuring the same breweries of above (Smutty/Victory vs. Lagunitas/Ballast Point) but this time only two lines each - IPA and Wild Card.  If your one of the lucky residents of Staten Island then you need to hit up this event.  Chances are you'll hear some Bouncing Souls.  And they're from Jersey.  Just like home.

The Wild Goose is located at 530 Forest Avenue, Staten Island between Lawrence and Davis Street.

Just when you think the punk rock is over Bad Religion comes out with another album and the party continues.

Friday, January 28 - East Coast vs. West Coast Punk Rock Brew Tour @ The Lazy Boy Saloon, White Plains:

I know what you're thinking:  After two days of Punk Rock Brew Tour how could anything else compare?  Answer: More Punk Rock Brew Tour...but this time you get to take a scenic train ride on the way!  Head up to Westchester's bustling city of lights to continue your week-long punk rock adventure.  The Lazy Boy Saloon in White Plains will be featuring 5 tap lines from each crew - Dark, Light, IPA, Imperial IPA and a Wild Card and an old school punk rock mix to drink along with!   3rd time is the charm and we at the Beer Friends hear that Westchester is nice this time of year.

The Lazy Boy Saloon is located at 154 Mamaroneck Avenue between Court Street and Maple Avenue.  It's also a short walk from the White Plains stop on the Metro North commuter line.  Jump on it!

Saturday, January 29 - Captain Lawrence Tasting Event @ GRAB Specialty Foods, Brookyn:

You have now been punk rocked out.  You feel like Green Day when they made that crappy acoustic sounding album or Rancid when they went on that tour with Good Charlotte.  Nobody is happy and everyone's head hurts.  Well a perfect cure to punk rock party hangover is to taste small amounts of good craft beer in a calm quiet atmosphere.  Captain Lawrence will be pouring samples of Liquid Gold, Pleasantville Smoked Porter, Captain’s Reserve Imperial IPA, and Westchester Pale Ale at GRAB Specialty Foods over in Brooklyn.  Head over to do some specialty food shopping and while you're add it help your body recover from this weeks punk rock festivities.

Don't know about all y'all out there but I've already put The Decline on repeat with occasional interruptions of Less Than Jake, Pennywise and Millencolin.  My predictions:  East Coast wins with the music, West Coast dominates IPA's/Imperials, East Coast grabs darks, West Coast grabs lights and I will bet that the Wild Cards will blow us away no matter what coast you're on!

NYC Craft Beer Events - Week of 10/31 - 11/6


The other day I was standing in a bodega in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan gazing at the beer cooler.  I must've stood there for 5 minutes with a content grin on my face.  Craft beer took up 4.5 of the 5 coolers dedicated to brew.  There was so few American Lagers and Corn/Rice Pilsners that I had to actually look to find them.  Not that I was looking to find them.  I walked out with a sixer of Smuttynose IPA and a sense that maybe the country isn't totally heading in the right direction.  Perhaps instead of looking up to dirty politicians and corrupt above-the-law athletes as our role models we should look to the hard working, steadily growing, creatively inspired people of the craft beer world. On that note, let's see what some of those people are up to this week...

Tuesday, November 2 - Victory Takes the Taps @ Rattle n' Hum, Manhattan: Speaking of Craft Beer All-Stars, Patrick Donagher and the employees at Rattle n' Hum are coming at us with a big one:  Victory Brewing Company will be taking over ALL the taps.  ALL of them.  That's 40 lines.  Every beer that makes your mouth water when you're thinking about Victory will be on.  Another Craft Beer All-Star Bill Covaliski, Victory Brewmaster and the founder of craft beer in Philly, will be leading the celebrations.  Tell ya what, I don't need to say anything else besides this:  I'm off of work at 5, I'll see you there.

Rattle n' Hum is located at 14 East 33rd Street, between Madison Ave and 5th Ave, Manhattan.

Thursday, November 4 - Longtrail Night @ David Copperfields, Manhattan: Alright anyone who has access to the 4/5/6 trains, here's a treat for you.  Jump on the uptown line and head straight to the UES for the Longtrail Brewing Company event at David Copperfields.  We're talking Hibernator, Imperial Porter and Double Bag to warm you up.  It's been cold out recently and you deserve it.

David Copperfields is located at 1394 York Ave, corner of 74th street, Manhattan.

Thursday, November 4 - Lagunitas Night @ Bierkraft, Brooklyn: This might be the best event of the week.  Lagunitas will be bringing some of their rarest and best craft brews out to the Brooklyn's best beer haven.  Bierkraft will be featuring the Bourbon Aged Cappuccino Stout, Habanero IPA, Wethop IPA, Hop Stoopid and Fusion 4 (rumored to be the only keg in NYC).  They also are pouring my personal Lagunitas favorite: Maximus.  Except this one will be cask-conditioned.  I feel like I'm repeating myself with this one, but, I get out of work at 5.  I'll see you there.

Bierkraft is located at 191 5th Ave, between Sackett and Union, Brooklyn.

Saturday, November 6 - Dogfish Head Brewery  @ GRAB Specialty Foods, Brooklyn: GRAB has really earned a regular appearance on our events listings recently.  Each Saturday they feature a craft brewery and they have been bringing in some heavy hitters recently, including Great Divide and Sixpoint.  Well they aren't backing down this week.  Dogfish Head will be bringing in many of our regular favorites 60 and 90 Minutes, Chicory Stout.  You know, the usual's.  They'll also be bringing some of their, well, heavy hitters: Theobroma, Midas Touch and Red & White.  I'll see ya there?  Definitely.

GRAB Specialty Foods is located at 438 7th Ave (between 14th and 15th streets), Brooklyn.

NYC Craft Beer Events - Week of 8/29 - 9/4


This week August ends and we start our transition into fall.  The weather will get a bit cooler but we have many things to look forward too in the beer world.  Fall spice brews and Octoberfest's will start to grace the beer menu's at our favorite craft brew bars and we can finally go back to seasonally enjoying the darker beers in life.  Let's see what we have to look forward to this week as fall starts peering around the corner. Tuesday, August 31 - Hodgepodge Event @ Jimmy's No. 43: The East 7th Street craft beer legend has a fantastic series of events, every Tuesday, called $10 Tastings.  They'll bring in brewers and beer experts, including their own famous expert/owner Jimmy Carbone (co-founder of The Good Beer Seal) and for $10 you get to taste and talk about the featured craft brews.  This event is truly Hodgepodge.  Jimmy's is going deep into their bottle collection and pulling out some of their favorite brews for this week's tastings.  When a place as renowned as Jimmy's No. 43 goes into their bottle cellar and pulls out their favorites for you to taste for a 10-spot, you'd want to be there.

Wednesday, September 1 - Whole Foods Market Local Homebrew Hero Contest, Whole Foods Bowery Beer Room: Whole Foods, Kelso of Brooklyn and The Good Beer Seal are sponsoring what may be NYC's biggest homebrewer's contest.  If you are a homebrewer and have faith that the brews you've been creating and enjoying could stand up on a bigger level then check the links below and head on down to Whole Foods Bowery Beer room for to enter it into the competition.  The rewards are pretty amazing:  The winner gets $300 of home brew equipment from Whole Food's Bowery Beer Room, a party thrown at Jimmy's No. 43 in their honor and, the best part, their beer will flow from the taps of some of NYC's best craft beer bars.  I know I have a few friends who need to jump on this one...


Wednesday, September 1 - Founder's Nemesis Release Party @ Puck Fair, The Double Windsor, Fourth Avenue Pub: I could describe the importance of this event, but I feel like Founder's already did a pretty good job of it, so I'll just quote them. Founder's says: “What you have here is a rarity. A special, one-of-a-kind ale that is only made once a year. Sometimes that’s all. Forever. No more. Nada. Limited-time only. You never know what you’re gonna get. But you can be sure that it’ll be damn tasty.”  Need they say more?  You'll be able to get a couple pints of Nemesis at each of these places, but it's been rumored that anyone that has it only has a pony keg, so it'll go out quick.  You can find the addresses below.  Maybe you could make all three...

Puck Fair @298 Lafayette Street, Manhattan

Fourth Ave Pub @ 76 4th Avenue Brooklyn

The Double Windsor @ 210 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn

Saturday, August 4th - Pony Express Brewery Tour to Ithaca Beer Co. Beer Festival: We plugged this installment of the Pony Express Brewery Tour to Ithaca Beer Co. Beer Festival.  We hope that inspired you go head over to the Pony Bar and pick up a ticket to this rare, but awesome, event.  They'll be leaving this Saturday from The Pony Bar (45th st and 10th ave, Manhattan).  We hope you can make it on the bus!

Saturday, September 11th - Victory Brewery Tour - Leaves from Rattle n' Hum, Manhattan: We know September 11th is a bit further down the road, but you need to jump on this now.  Head over to Rattle n' Hum and pick up some tickets for you and your friends for this event.  Tickets are $95, which might seem a bit steep, but for all you're getting it's quite the deal.  You get a bus trip down to the Victory Brewery, outside of Philly, to attend a barbecue and beer event thrown by the MAN himself, Bill Covaleski, the founder of Victory Brew Co and the man heralded as founder of Philly craft beer (check out our report on Victory here).  You'll get a return bus trip, t-shirt, beer on the bus, sandwiches on the bus, roasted pig @ the brewery and a lot of Victory beer.  I don't know if you're having the same thoughts I am about this, but it feels like...Victory.

On another note, The Beer Friends were published this Sunday in a New York Times article on New York City craft beer brewing and blogging.  Thanks to Chris O'Leary for the shout out.  Check out his blog Brew York for more things craft beer.

Brewery of the Week: Victory Brewing Company


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!