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Victory Brewing Company

Official Web Page 
420 Acorn Lane, Downington, Pennsylvania, USA
Tel: 610-873-0881

Opened: 1996
Capacity: 
Date Visited:

The brewery is said to have been started in 1973, on a school bus by two 5th graders, but it wasnít actually until the late 1980ís that the lifelong friends, Bill and Ron, started looking seriously into craft brewing. After several years spent gaining experience and education in the brewing industry, they opened the Victory brewpub in 1996. Distribution is pretty much limited to the north east but they did recently spread to California.

Victory's brews are known for their distinctive hopiness.

Beers Reviewed

(click on beer name for full review)
Victory Golden Monkey Type: Tripel ABV: 9.5%

Brewed with 2-row German malt, European whole flower hops, coriander seed and Asian spices.

I popped the cap on the bottle and watched with great anticipation to see how much life was in there. Sure enough the foam slowly made its way to the top of the bottle telling me that Iíd better pour it or drink it. The pour is not quite so lively; a rocky white bed of foam forms and lasts long enough, but within a few minutes is more of a thin white sheet. The body is cloudy with little particles of sediment swimming around (thatís bottle conditioning and itís good for you) among a pale orangey hue. An enticing blend of herbs and spices greet the nose, with the coriander certainly announcing itself early. Itís times like this that I wish I had a spice rack to draw further comparisons. The alcohol presence is also noticeable here without being too loud, as is the yeast and a light fruitiness that I would have to guess as orange or maybe peach. For a beverage so high in alcohol, this is medium bodied and amazingly drinkable. My first couple of sips went down fairly quickly, while igniting my palate with a fullness of flavor and a tingling carbonation. Thereís an intense complexity to the flavor that is telling me something new with each sip. The spices would probably be enough for a more educated palate to write a review about alone, announcing themselves from the outset, along with an initial soft fruity maltiness. The middle turns yeasty with a little biscuity malt, and even suggests a mild banana fruitiness. It finishes off with herbs aplenty, the coriander being especially noticeable, and leading up to a slightly bitter acidic end, while the aftertaste speaks of a satisfyingly smooth and comforting alcohol warmth without coming on too sharp or strong. I also sense something a little orangey in the aftertaste that makes for an impressive blend of sourness and a sugary sweetness. Long into the aftertaste this beer is asking questions of the palate.

Ratings: Appearance: 4/5 Aroma: 9/10 Palate: 4/5 Taste: 9/10 Overall: 17/20 Score: 4.3

 

Victory Prima Pils Type: Pilsner ABV: 5.3%
Pale yellowy golden color, light cloudiness. profusion of small, precise, pinprick sized, bubbles. Wonderfully flowery aromatic nose, infused with herbs, a little minty, piney and suggestions of citrus. Thereís some mild fruitiness, and a pale, almost toasty malt. This may not be brewed in the Czech Republic, but the palate is nicely soft, light bodied, with a smoothness and delicately tempered carbonation. Thereís a hop flower on the label and this indeed is what makes the initial taste impression, tingling and challenging the taste buds, leaving bitter hop notes right across the palate. Thereís some sweeter malt, that I struggled to define satisfactorily, but do provide an excellent balance, as they swim just below the more hoppy surface. The sweetness does materialize a little more as the beer warms, a subtle sugary lemon, while mid-palate thereís a tropical fruitiness, maybe pineapple juice, maybe pink grapefruit, but not quite full enough for me to define with too much certainty. The bitterness develops yet more noticeably in a tangy and exquisitely dry finish, lingering well into the aftertaste, while slowly and gradually, the sweeter lemony flavors come back to put out the flames.

Very refreshing, exceptionally crisp, deliciously bold and flavorful, a pilsner, for those of us who want a beer to taste what it's supposed to taste like. 

Ratings: Appearance: 3/5 Aroma: 8/10 Palate: 4/5 Taste: 10/10 Overall: 19/20 Score: 4.4

 

Victory Storm King Imperial Stout Type: Imperial Stout ABV: 9.1%
Pitch black, struggled to get any suggestions of red or brown. Dense burnt caramel colored foam. Not a particularly strong aroma for an imperial stout.  Aroma is a burnt roasted malt and chocolate, more so at the start than later on, while also showing some dark fruity notes maybe blackcurrant and plums, and a little creaminess. The hops do have a slight influence here but really needed some persuasion before I got faint signs of lemon fruitiness and the slightest hint of spice and herbs. While firm and fairly heavy on the palate, this beer is not too rugged and is surprisingly drinkable. Thereís a slight carbonation that sort of tingles the middle of the tongue briefly, but this is an extremely smooth ale with a wonderful silkiness to it. Upon tasting I soon realize that this is an imperial with a difference, to be more precise a hoppy difference. The malt makes the first notes with a mild butterscotch and a vaguely noticeable chocolate and espresso presence. The fuller flavors are reinforced mid-palate by a slightly sour creaminess, brief hints of port and something mildly fruity, estery. The hop presence, however, somewhat tempers the maltiness throughout and I do feel that it kind of prevents the chocolaty and roasty flavors fully establishing themselves. The hops are especially prevalent in the finish adding a citric bite and bitterness that makes me feel less surprised that they decided to ship some of this over to the west coast. I read a few comments about an espresso like finish but didn't really get it. What seemed like a mild alcohol presence in the nose was certainly much more pronounced in the finish with an extremely pleasing alcohol warmth. The alcohol is slightly vinuous in the finish, while the citric bitterness lingers long and the creamy butterscotch makes a fair attempt at reestablishing itself.

An excellently crafted imperial stout and the hop presence does add another dimension making for a great change. Itís definitely one to recommend to beer drinking veterans and hop lovers, but I just thought the bitterness prevented the mellowness I expect from an Imperial. Great Imperial, but not the best nightcap. Probably not for novices.

Ratings: Appearance: 5/5 Aroma: 9/10 Palate: 3/5 Taste: 8/10 Overall: 17/20 Score: 4.2

Last Updated: 09/06/2001

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