The first time I tasted Victory was toward the end of college. I was sharing an off-campus apartment with an engineer, an IT guy, and a filmmaker, so our paths didn’t cross very often, but once a month or so we’d all get together in the kitchen/dining/living room and just hang out. Movies, video games, or cards might enter the mix, and we’d almost always take the opportunity to elect the “Scapegoat of the Month,” who would be blamed for anything and everything that might go wrong (when you live in a crummy apartment in Philadelphia, a LOT of things go wrong).
One such evening, we were joined by a friend and beer evangelist, Matt Hartshorne, who brought along a couple of growlers from Victory Brewing Company. I’d never seen a growler before, or even sampled a beer that didn’t taste like Schuylkill River water, so I was intrigued. Was craft beer really that different?
In short, YES. It was the difference between seltzer water and Mountain Dew, between black licorice and literally any other flavor of licorice. One sip of Victory’s fabled Golden Monkey was enough to enlighten me. At the time, I didn’t know the words to describe the flavor of the beer (rich and fruity with an undercurrent of coriander), but I was pleased enough to discover that beer held the capacity for flavor.
I’ve sampled many of Victory’s craft brews since then; the stalwart HopDevil, the barrel-aged Oak Horizontal, the earthy DirtWolf—each with a distinct character colored by the whole-flower hops that Victory is known for. I’ve made pilgrimages to their popular Downingtown brewpub, where the cuisine is as finely crafted as the beer. And last year, when The Fridge received a limited release of White Monkey (Golden Monkey aged in white wine barrels), I was the first in line to try it. Can you tell I’ve become a fan?
When Victory announced that they were opening a new brewery in Parkesburg, I was pretty thrilled—that’s practically in Lancaster County. Like the Death Star II, the state-of-the-art facility is not quite complete…but that thing’s operational! Brewing and bottling are already underway, and they expect to open the new brewpub in early 2015. You can bet I’ll be making the trip!
What’s brewing at Victory’s new location? Read more in FLL #31!