Archive for the 'Victory' category
I believe Ben and I actually had this beer at the same time, Ben was just quicker on posting his review. With my review in handwritten form, I was able to spare some time yesterday and actually type it up. You can read my thoughts on this beer below Ben’s.
I don’t think I could get much more excited about a beer than I got about this li’l guy. I’m surprised that I wasn’t aware of this long ago, but it actually took me by surprise down at the Blue Light recently. In case you also aren’t aware, this beer was borne of a partnership between three of the better US brewers in existence today: Dogfish Head, Stone, and Victory (in alphabetical order). They formed a group they call BUFF (Brewers United for Freedom of Flavor). This, as I understand it, is their first brew, an ale brewed with parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.
The Saison du BUFF pours a slightly hazy golden with ample effervescence, resulting in a pillowy white head and lots of carbonation surging upwards from the bottom of the glass. In the nose, the unique spicing is evident. In fact, there is so much spice in the nose, that it is difficult for my amateur snout to divine the different components. What is evident, though, is a powerful yet pleasant scent that burns it’s way through the nostrils with additional hints of citrus and yeast. In the mouth, I’m frankly surprised at how good this beer is. The “parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme” gimmick had me worried – not an easy combination to pull off in a beer – but this is downright pleasant. Obviously there’s a melange of spice here, culminating to create a flavor that is, at the same time, earthy, sour, lightly bitter, and rather exotic. This is, as nearly as can be pinpointed, a saison-like beer. Beyond that, however, it defies expectation. This beer is, in the end, completely unique to beers I’ve tasted, and it’s rare these days to find a beer that is both totally new and totally tasty. Somehow, this pulls it off.
So, I’m glad to say that I walk out of this tasting with no decreased respect for the brewers involved, despite their risky stunt. Rather, I’m impressed that they’ve managed to pull a tasty beer out of a very odd hat. I can’t wait to see what further inventions this union renders.
PS – This is just the first version of this beer, brewed at Stone brewery. They will, in fact, be doing new iterations of this same beer at each of the three breweries involved…
Stone has quite a few beers in their collaboration series, and of the beers I have had they have at least been “interesting”. I was definitely psyched when I read on BeerNews that Stone and Dogfish Head, along with Victory, were teaming up for a collaboration. The icing on the cake (or the head on the beer), the collaboration would be in the Saison style. I picked up a few bottles a couple days ago, and I can not wait to dig in.
A thick, creamy and slightly off-white head sits atop a lightly cloudy golden hued body. Though the carbonation is very light, a few large bubbles rising every few seconds, the head stays around for seven to eight minutes. Released from this head is a hoppy lemon aroma, overtly resiny, and a finishing hint of herbs. The beer is a bit thicker on the palate then I expected. A hoppy lemon presence greets the tongue, and it is rather enjoyable and refreshing. Then the herbs used in the beer’s brew process hit. The sage and thyme make their presence known, and the rosemary makes subtle illusions to itself. I’m reminded of a full-roast chicken recipe I do utilizing these ingredients (including the lemon). The aftertaste is not long, but it keeps with the herb character, with the thyme outlasting the rest.
I like my Saison’s a bit crisper, and lighter then this, and the “herb style” of beer is not the first style I reach for, and this beer will not change that.
Overall, not bad, but the remaining bottles will probably sit around awhile in the beer fridge.
For whatever reason, I always get excited about Brett. And, when I say Brett, I mean Brettanomyces, the testy strain of yeast that tends to do wild and unpredictable things to otherwise staid beers. Oftentimes, the results are bad. Sometimes, the results are good. They’re always pretty weird. In this case, Victory chose to take a normal batch of their Hop Devil IPA and toss in some Brett for fermentation, and this is the result.
The Wild Devil pours a medium amber color with some excess golden thrown in. The head is quite luxurious – just slightly off-white, super dense, and rocky and thick. In the nose, you’ll catch some of that floral bitterness that is typical of the Hop Devil. However, there is a gamey sourness that takes over most of the scent. It is full of citrus, but has an excess of another wilder sourness that is hard to describe, but you’ll know it if you’re experienced with Brett beers. In the mouth, this is certainly no longer a Hop Devil. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot of hop here. It is bitter and big and the hop flows through the mouth and has a notable presence in the nasal cavity. However, the yeast has absolutely taken over the majority of the beer here. Initially, there’s a light citrus bite on the tongue. This little bite soon turns into a blast of wild sourness around the middle of the tongue. There are aspects of both sweet and sour in this flavor, and it evolves given space and time in the mouth. Honestly, the flavor the Brettanomyces brings to the beer is almost impossible to adequately describe, but wild and sour do the best. Brett is known to be difficult to predict and hard to control, and you can taste this in the beer. It doesn’t taste orchestrated – it just tastes like something went a little crazy and we’re tasting the result. Whether you like it or hate it, you can’t help but be intrigued by just what a change to this crazy yeast can do to a beer you otherwise know well. So, I can’t say that this is a beer lots of people will like – it’s just a little crazy. But, anyone who is a fan of Hop Devil, Brett beers, or just experimentation will want to try this just for the sake of experience. It’ll broaden your horizons!
I’m skeptical of any beer that costs $14 for a six-pack. Now, this is a little strange, because I’ve been known to pay up to $20 for a single 12 oz. bottle of beer. But, for some reason, the six-pack format strikes me as something that generally doesn’t carry such grandiose pricetags. However, when I saw the Old Horizontal, I had to convince myself that maybe, just maybe, for a 6-pack of 11% abv brews from a great brewery, my $14 might be justified. So, after about 30 seconds of said convincing, I picked it up and took it to the counter to pay out my hard-earned dollars.
This barleywine pours a lovely muddy purple hue with an aroma that is full of grape and dark cherry with just the lightest hint of licorice. The smell gets a lot more of the rich sweetness that I really love from a barleywine, but sacrifices some of that anise bitterness that often comes with the package. Personally, I don’t mind, but it’s a noticeable difference. In the mouth, this beer is full, rich, and complex. There is again a lot of rich sweetness here – mostly dark cherry with a decent bready sweetness. However, around the middle of the mouth, there is also a tart shock, also reminiscent of cherry, that comes out of left field and really kicks the tastebuds in the teeth. On through the mouth, this tartness reaches some level of bitterness that lingers around the top of the mouth while the aftertaste keeps plenty of dark fruit at the back of the throat. Honestly, I expected a lot from this barleywine, and it exceeded all of those expectations. I think that I have tasted more intense barleywines that coax more description than this one. However, this one is so high on all of the attributes that I look for in a good barleywine that I have to give it a definite top 3 spot in my book. It is sweet and rich, with a decent kick, but mellow enough to make it a soothing dessert beer. Definitely seek this out if it is available in your area.
Now, if you weren’t aware, Victory has a pretty sweet sampler pack out. This sampler pack includes 4 each of the Prima Pils, Hop Devil, and Golden Monkey. If you haven’t had any of the above, it’s worth checking each of them individually. However, Victory has made it even tastier for you and I by tossing all three of these in the same box. So, I recommend you all run out and buy at least one of these boxes – maybe 2. The only bad thing about the deal is that the sampler runs about $18 – expensive by 12-pack standards, but pretty cheap when you consider the quality of the brews. Everything in the sampler has been reviewed already, with the exception of this Prima Pils – somehow it slid under the radar. So, here you go…
The beer pours a ultra-clear golden with a very thin but resilient white head. The aroma of the Prima isn’t especially pungent, even by other pilsner standards. What is there, however, is quite pleasant – full of the trademark sharp hoppy aroma that you can only get with a pilsner. In the mouth, the beer is simple and tasty. It is very effervescent over the tongue with a sprightly mouthfeel. Initially, there is a light sweetness that quickly moves into a sharp sourness with bitter hops around the back half of the tongue. On down the throat, the beer leaves you with a refreshing tartness in the back of the mouth that is sharp and rinses nice and clean. Overall, it’s a straightforward pilsner that delivers where it counts. Nothing too crazy, just simple and tasty…
Sometimes it’s fun to go from all these exotic, big beers to something a bit more mundane, especially when the mundane beer has been sitting in the fridge for, literally, about 6 months. That’s how we came to the Victory Lager. Miller bought 2 cases of this stuff for Matty and I way back when to thank us for letting he and his wife crash at our place (I think). So, we’ve been enjoying this beer for quite some time, and it seems like, no matter how much we drink, these things keep popping up in the strangest of places. I sincerely thought it was all gone until I saw this little guy hiding in the bottom of my fridge…
So, this should be a pretty simple review. This beer pours a relatively clear golden with just a hint of debris. The predominant aroma here is very ‘biscuitey’. It smells like a warm biscuit, just out of the oven. In the mouth, this flavor keeps on trucking. This lager certainly highlights it’s malt profile, as there are all kinds of bready flavors. However, there is also a light hop profile that isn’t terribly bitter, but the flavor is still there. And, really, that’s about it. We get a lot of malt and a bit of hop, and that comprises the Victory lager. That being said, this is a pretty good beer. It treats well as a session beer, but it is also very flavorful for a lager, so it really pays off on a lot of fronts. I have drunk a lot of this beer, and I wouldn’t mind drinking a lot more – a tasty, versatile beer from the folks at Victory.
So, here we go with our inaugural review of those beers kindly provided to us by the folks at the Beer of the Month Club. The first brew I’ll be sampling is the Sunrise Weissbier by the brewers at Victory. In general, I’d say I’ve had good experiences with Victory – I’m a huge fan of their Golden Monkey and Old Horizontal. However, I have had some lukewarm experiences with certain beers such as their HopDevil and Whirlwind Wit. So, I go into this with high hopes, but muted expectations. I do like the fact that Victory is shooting for a Bavarian-style weissbier, because I consistently prefer the Bavarian version over most American styles.
The pour of this beer is a hazy, translucent golden with very dense sediment and a prominent stark-white head. The aroma is soft and wheaty with hints of citrus and an aroma that is vaguely ‘soapy’, but in a good way (trust me here) – it’s a very soft and pleasant aroma that certainly isn’t overpowering. In the mouth, the first sensation we get is a sharp carbonation burn blended with some citrus tang. On through the mouth, a light sweetness develops that is slightly reminiscent of the honey-suckle we used to pick off the bush in the back yard. All of the aforementioned flavors seem to join together in one last after-party in the back of the mouth – this amounts to a citrusy sweet lemon flavor with a light floral hint that eventually fades into an aftertaste that is merely sweet. Altogether, this isn’t a bad interpretation of a Bavarian weiss. However, it also isn’t exactly what I’m accustomed to. The recurring notion is that this beer tastes ‘softer’ than most Hefeweizens that I’m accustomed to, both in mouthfeel and flavor. It is slightly subdued and has a bit less of the citrus bite that many such beers will have – This isn’t a bad thing, but simply a differentiating factor. All in all, this is very refreshing, and a good victory for Victory (ba-dum-ching!). I would be happy to drink more of this, and I’m very pleased that the folks at BOMC sent us three bottles to enjoy!
This beer reminds me of the mountains of NC, because the first time I had it was in front of my friend Will’s house, playing Bocce in his yard with dogs running aboot – lovely mountains in the background and a crisp bite in the air. And, of course, I was almost definitely dominating the competition. I’d have a hard time comparing this side-by-side with Victory’s other hoppy offering, the Hop Devil, due to the fact that I don’t have a Hop Devil to sit beside this right now. So, I’m just gonna have to give this one an independent review.
This guy pours a relatively hazy yellow color and smells like fistfuls of fresh hops – all fresh and bitter. In the mouth, this is a very straightforward hoppy ale. It’s full of fresh and floral hop flavor, with a delightful biting bitterness that rides the tongue and leaves a bitter aftertaste. Beyond that, there isn’t much to say. This is just a very fresh-tasting hoppy ale, almost surely made with fresh leaf hops, and lots of ‘em. I really like this.
Why does everyone else hate this beer? The V-12 is terribly strong and well-aged, which I think leads to a great taste and aroma reminiscent of many Belgian Abbey ales. The flavor has hints of fig and anise, with a slight sweetness that seems to have waned with continuing age in the bottle. Altogether, the beer has rounded well in the bottle, and tastes like a well-aged abbey ale that has taken lessons from a vintage port. Just the slightest taste of molasses and a slight muskiness makes this a well-aged version of a varietal favorite
As I poured this beer, my face a good two feet away from the glass, I got a big whiff of fruity hops. Then I realized I was smelling the beer without shoving my nose into the glass. Then I got really excited. Perhaps this will add some unnecessary bias to this review, but I really like hoppy beers.
The pour is a fairly deep amber or sienna with a creamy head. The redolence, as one would expect, is hoppy to the maxxx, full of sweet, fruity, floral, devilish hops with a slight fluffy maltishness. The taste is a little deeper and darker, though, than the nose (my nose, at least) picked up on. The requisite hop taste and mouthfeel are decidedly in control here, but there are pomegranate and grassy undertones that make this a very interesting and enjoyable quaff. The brew starts off relatively sweet and mild, and then turns sharper and hoppier as it moves towards the back of the mouth. Then there’s nothing for a few seconds before the hops just explode in the back of the throat. Whoa…
All in all, the Hop Devil takes the hops and shoves them in to the drinker’s face without being gimmicky and overbearing, for which I offer my most sincere congratulations. This is a very hopped-up brew, but there’s much more beneath the Hop Monster facade. It’s surprisingly well-balanced and intricate for having such a brazenly bold name, and I shall return to this brew often and enthusiastically. To all you hop-headed readers out there, enjoy.
At the risk of sounding like a total db, I feel I have become a pretty savvy beer drinker over the course of the past year and a half. That being said, tonight I feel like a total novice again as I review the V-Saison from Victory. I can count the number of saisons I’ve had on one hand so to claim I remotely have a clue about what makes a good saison is a gross overstatement.
This golden yellow brew smells heavy of citrus and spice. The pour creates a thin strip of white head that disappears into the liquid as quickly as it is formed. The taste is slightly sour with a hint of coriander but neither leave an overpowering aftertaste. The most defining and intriguing characteristic may be the bouquet of floral aromatics that explode on the tastebuds as the thick maltiness coats the back of the throat. I think the carbonation may be a bit unbalanced (on the high side) but not so much that it detracts from this beer’s flavor. Overall this is a very crisp, refreshing beer and one that I can see myself reaching for during the hot summer months. It is not as complex and balanced as the Bison Farmhouse Ale but it is still rather tasty. If I had my choice I would choose the Bison but if someone handed me the Victory I would gladly drink it.
This beer is a delectable-taste-explosion headache-in-a-bottle. The Golden Monkey is a delight to drink – fruity, crisp, and sweet – you’d never know that it chimes in at 9.5% abv. The color is a cloudy neon yellow, and the aroma is akin to a Belgian tripel – spicy and pungent. The taste, again, is fruity, crisp and the slightest bit spicy. After about 3 of these, you’ll be about 2 sheets to the wind. But, beware – go much beyond the 3 bottle mark and the Golden Monkey will be playing drums on your head the next morning. It’s a time-tested fact that the Golden Monkey is a fickle friend – amiable at night, but a bitch in the bed the next morning. Nevertheless, this is one of the top 3 incarnations of a tripel to be found this side of the Atlantic.