The Victory Brewing Company of Downington, Pennsylvania, is a craft brewery that is quickly growing in both popularity and acclaim. Founded in 1996 by Bill Covaleski and Ron Barchet, Victory has produced several noteworthy beers and has cemented its place as an American microbrewery of distinction.
Most notable about said beers are their wide variety. Other small breweries might be content to produce a lager, an ale, a porter/stout variant, and then call it a day. Not Victory. Victory makes beers in styles that even self-styled beer snobs haven’t heard of. One of their flagship brews, Golden Monkey, is a Belgian-style Tripel. When Victory wanted to make wheat beer, which is so popular with the kids now-a-days, they didn’t stop at one. They made five, which include a standard German Weissbier, an unfiltered Hefeweizen, a Belgian Witbier, as well as a Weizenbock and a Dunkelweizen. I was fairly confident that Victory had simply made up that last one; upon further research, it turns out that “dunkel” simply means “dark”, and a Dunkel Weizen is a dark wheat beer that often tastes of banana bread.
Other hard-to-find styles Victory produces include (among others) a Kölsch, a Rauchbier, a Maibock, a Zwickelbier, and a Barley Wine. Of course, Victory’s more pedestrian styles are quite good as well. Their Hop Wallop, a Double IPA, as well as their several types of Pilsners, have all been well received.
Victory’s Storm King, an Imperial Double Stout, has garnered particularly high praise. For example, Jason Alström of The Beer Advocate, perhaps the snobbiest of the great beer snobs, described Storm King thusly:
“This one goes down as one of the greatest, not just one of the greatest Imperial Stouts but as one of the greatest beers in the world. As close to perfection as you can get.”
This is coming from a person who feels he can describe Hoegaarden
as having a “semi-chewy mouth feel,” and that such a pronouncement is not only intelligible, but somehow a profound statement as to the quality of the beer. This latter fact is not design to impugn Alström’s review of Storm King, but rather give a sense of how seriously this guy takes his job. (And while this aside probably speaks more to my opinion of food criticism in general, it should be kept in mind that Jason Alström has traveled the world on a quest to drink hundreds, if not thousands of different beers, and if he and his umlaut want to describe a beer with the word “chewy
,” well, more power to them. I’ve had Storm King. It’s quite good. You should have one, perhaps while eating a nice steak, if you are into that sort of thing.)
Readers may have picked up on the preponderance of the words “double” and “trip(le)” in the description of these beers. Aside from the variety and consistent quality of their beers, Victory may be able to attribute their growing popularity to the fact that their brews have extra alcohol in them. Their strong and bold flavors may set them apart from American macrobrews (Natty, I’m looking in your direction), but their sheer alcohol-by-volume percentages set them apart from many other comparable microbrews. HopDevil, Victory’s regular IPA comes in at 6.7%, while the Double IPA, Hop Wallop, sits at 8.5%. Storm King clocks in at 9.1%, Golden Monkey, the Tripel, at an impressive 9.5%. At the top of the stack is the aptly named Old Horizontal Barley Wine, at an even 11%. To put it in perspective, the average beer-pong beer is 5% or lower.
So if you would like some hard-hitting, innovative, and creative brews, seek out some of Victory’s fine beers. Like another popular Northeastern microbrewery, Victory has managed to carve a comfortable niche for itself off of word-of-mouth, attractive packaging, and most importantly, tasty beers. This means that those fortunate/unfortunate enough to live in New England should have little difficulty picking up a six-pack of Victory’s more popular selections, and those in the Greater Tri-State Area will have access to a larger variety of both bottles and taps. For those in the vicinity of Downington, you can actually visit the Victory Brewery, which has (from what I hear) a nice restaurant and bar, and gives tours on Fridays and Saturdays.
Beers Victory currently produces:
- Braumeister Pils
- Dark Lager
- Extra Strong Bitter
- Golden Monkey
- Hop Wallop
- Mad King’s Weiss
- Milltown Mild
- Old Horizontal
- Prima Pills
- St. Boisterous
- Storm King
- St. Victorious
- Sunrise Weissbier
- Sunset Dunkleweizen
- Uncle Teddy’s Bitter
- Victory Lager
- Moonglow Weizenbock
- Whirlwind Witbier
- Workhorse Porter
A Victory for Your Taste!