Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I mentioned Victory Brewing Co. very briefly before, but it deserves some loving remarks. For one thing, please note that this brewery is American. So those sneering anti-American snobs who speak deprecatingly of watery, weak, insipid domestic beer are speaking utter, unfounded nonsense. Weak? Try Old Horizontal:
Alcohol by Volume: 10.5%
But, of course, it's not merely the alcohol content that makes Victory beer good. After all, fortified Bud Light is still awful. No, Victory wins because of its quality and variety. What follows will be some unsystematic remarks about some of the beers I have had.

Victory does hops very well. HopDevil, the single best example of this accomplishment, is so hoppy as to be almost overwhelming. To those who dislike hops, this will be torture. But an occasional HopDevil is immensely satisfying - the sharpness of the hops is invigorating. Prima Pils, though less hoppy, probably strikes the right balance for those who enjoy hops in moderation. It's lower in alcohol, very low for a Victory (5.3%), and milder in flavor, making it excellent for sustained guzzling.

I'm not a big fan of the Victory lager. It's all right as a beer but a bit disappointing as a lager, being unnecessarily bitter. It's low on flavor and left the back of my mouth with a dry feeling.

Golden Monkey is sneaky - it has a thin feel, without the substance of the Pils, but packs 9.5% into that thin frame. The site describes it as having fruity notes, and I found this to be an excellent description. It's hard to make a night of it with Golden Monkey, though, because the flavor comes out only upon heavy drinking - and, as it turns out, that's a bad idea with such a strong brew.

Storm King is an attempt at a stout that invites comparisons to Guinness but fails to deliver - nothing can be as heartily thick as Guinness. Storm King will also overwhelm you with its 9.1% of blood-thinning. For all the company's attempt to make Storm King into Guinness, it reminded me much more of Yuengling's Porter - not thick enough, but with good strong flavor. In that vein, Donnybrook Stout, being infinitely more suited to long drinking sessions with its milder alcohol content, seemed good, although I only had one glass. Seeing as how it's draft only, I won't get much chance to sample it again.

Whirlwind Wit is the best beer they make, "they" quite possibly being the whole of humankind.
Offering a tamed tempest of flavors both spicy and sublime, this softly fermented ale greets the nose and tingles the tongue.
Calling it "spicy" is deceptive, because it's no HopDevil or anything like that; it has a bit of spice, but the flavor hits you in a broad, not acute, way and induces a pleasant sensation. Rather than assaulting the tongue, it stimulates it with balance. It's been a while but I think I can remember an alluring smell. Well, whatever; drink this.

Old Horizontal is, as you can imagine, excellent for getting you horizontal. The site claims that its flavor hides its strength, but at this level, nothing can really hide it. The alcohol taste is there, somewhat diminishing the experience. It's still good, but don't think it tastes like soda or anything.

V-Twelve seemed good. I only had half a bottle, though.

If you can manage to get around to their restaurant, you can enjoy all the draft-only beers that you won't likely find elsewhere (unless your bar has them). The food is excellent as well, surprisingly good considering the reasonable prices.

Drink this, for great justice.


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