Oh Victory, what a tremulant history we have shared. They are that entry level brewery that engages your interest, then you outgrow, but then you embrace again when you are done moralizing and giving a fuck. Victory Brewing is kinda like that uncle who did sleight of hand magic and always invited you over to his studio apartment, but then later you found out it was because your uncle was on house arrest for petty theft. Eventually you come full circle and realize your uncle is pretty kick ass, despite his larcenous trappings.
So Victory is hazarding a branding reboot of sorts, embracing their first canned offering, and bridging the gap to a more accessible consumer base from what I can gather. I mean look at this shit:
I think we can agree that the marketing is dumber than a Rice Krispee Treat dildo. But remember, this is appealing to the type of dude who says “WHEN WE GONNA GET YOU OUT ON THE BOAT” non-ironically. The official press statement boldly asks “WHAT IF WE LIVED IN A WORLD WITH ONLY ONE IPA CHOICE” so I am guessing this is some Fallout 4 dystopian future simulator IPA.
One thing you cant deny is a pretty fucking legit IPA 6 pack for $9.99. That was the reason I loved DIRT WOLF but price alone cannot be Victory’s savior because Hop Ranch was a bag of pulverized chive and garlic nutsacks. So where does this one stack up between those two polar opposites? Eh, somewhere in between, falling closer to the Dirtwolf awesomeness.
The press release is fucking hilarious and makes me wish I wrote copy for this No Fear t-shirt designer turned beer mogul: “WHETHER YOU ARE LOOKING TO RELIEVE A STRESSFUL DAY, TOAST TO ONE OF LIFE’S MANY VICTORIES…REACH FOR THAT WHICH IS VITAL TO ALL FIVE SENSES IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD.” Go ice your boner down and continue reading.
So how does this taste? It appears to have subacriomial bursitis and a rotator cuff tear from patting itself on the back at release. The look is admittedly awesome, that radiant hue with a touch of hay and light orange like when a Filipino dude decides that he would look good with bleached hair.
The nose follows suit and doesn’t go strict IBU overload and instead offers a pretty fulfilling with a sort of shallot and carmelized onion meets mango puree. The waft is thin and has a touch of lemon hand soap to it that is forgivable because it ultimately comes across as refreshing rather than substantial in scope.
The taste is better than the nose and offers up a safe interplay between coniferous cones, yard trimmings, and grapefruit pith. It has a clean fast finish that anomalously would work well in hot weather, and not as a late-Fall release but, I guess that’s fine? It doesn’t have any of the usual malty sweetness problems attendant to, let’s call it, PA’s bordering states. There is a lightly danky oiliness to the swallow that peaces out faster than when the professor says “attendance will not affect your grade.”
So overall, this is welcome offering in a bar that probably is serving like SHIFT or some other shit, but I don’t see you reaching for this over your [insert smaller local superstar brewery.] It will raise the nationwide Grocery Store caliber of beers and act as a cool counterpoint to the likes of Lagunitas and Green Flash in that segment, but people who are drinking Societe or Columbus or Trillium will not be bothered by the spread of this ambitious upstart.
Buy a six pack, crush it, start accusing your children of things that they couldn’t possibly have been responsible for.