Dessert Pairing

Friday, November 13, 2015 | Fuller's, Goose Island, Ithaca, Lancaster Brewing, Leffe, New Belgium, Old Dominion, Rogue, Victory


There is often discussion here about how to pair your favorite beers with food, but typically that conversation steers towards entrees and other savory dishes. However, many beers can make an excellent accompaniment to sweeter desserts. As an introduction to this pairing style, we offer this list to consider. As with savory pairings, these duos can either mimic one another with similar flavor notes, or complement each other with different accents. For each beer, we offer an example for each.

Goose Island Sofie – Champagne-like in mouthfeel, with pepper and citrus flavors and a vanilla finish.
Imitation: Fresh Fruit Ambrosia Salad
Complement: Chocolate-Orange Scone.

Lancaster Shoo-Fly Pie Porter – Sweet heavy molasses, vanilla and brown sugar.
Imitation: Pecan Pie
Complement: Crème Brûlée

Old Dominion Candi - Pear, apple, sugar and pepper, with a bit of tartness and finishing hop character.
Imitation: Pear Upside-Down Cake
Complement: Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Fuller’s London Porter - Dark chocolate, coffee and smoky tobacco; a very strong flavor profile.
Imitation: Chocolate Torte
Complement: Raspberry Cheesecake

Leffe Blonde - Spicy banana, orange and vanilla make up this beer.
Imitation: Orange Banana Nut Bread
Complement: Dark Chocolate

Victory Storm King - Dark chocolate and espresso are cut with hop bitterness.
Imitation: Chocolate Espresso Pound Cake
Complement: Vanilla Fudge

New Belgium Snapshot - Lemony-tartness throughout, with a bready backbone.
Imitation: Lemon Shortbread
Complement: French Silk Pie

Rogue Chocolate Stout – Chocolate and hops combine for a darkly rich and bitter beer with a touch of nuttiness.
Imitation: Pecan Brownies
Complement: Cheesecake

Ithaca Country Pumpkin - All the pumpkin pie spices (clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice) and a touch of pumpkin itself.
Imitation: Pumpkin Roll
Complement: Vanilla Bean Pudding

Spooky Good Beer

Friday, October 30, 2015 | Evolution, Long Trail, McKenzie's Hard Cider, New Belgium, Rogue, Victory


Halloween is tomorrow, and we’re here to help with a few last minute party and costume ideas to make sure the night goes spookily–err, smoothly.

Beers to Try:

Magic Hat Night of the Living Dead Variety Pack – Today is Magic Hat’s 21st birthday, so you should give them a little love. This festive case includes #9 Not Quite Pale Ale, Magic Hat Ale (their first beer ever brewed), Wilhelm Scream and Miss Bliss.
Victory Storm King Stout – This blackest of black beer starts with a huge hop aroma and continues with a rich, deep chocolate malt flavor. And at 9.2% ABV, it’ll warm your night.
Evolution Jacques Au Lantern – Halloween wouldn’t be right without a pumpkin ale, and Evolution provides a perfect example of the style.
New Belgium Pumpkick – Another pumpkin ale, but with a kick of cranberry tartness to shake things up. Available locally for the first time, so be sure to give it a try.
Long Trail Limbo – Citrus and resiny pine hoppiness lies inside this IPA, and a beautiful red-black-white label features a skeleton just in theme with Halloween.
Rogue Dead Guy Ale – This notorious brew is always great for Halloween due to its drinkability, appropriate name and popularity.

Party Ideas:

Costume and Pumpkin-Carving Contest Prizes: If you’re having a larger party, it’s always nice to have a few activities planned; either a costume contest or a jack-o-lantern carving contest (or both) are fun ideas to keep people engaged. And if you’re going to have a contest, you’re also going to need prizes. It’s best to separate these contests into kids and adults categories, to check for skill as well as so you can cater the prizes to the age range. For the kids, a bag of dried apples, spooky stickers, maple candies, a coloring book and a ribbon would make a nice prize basket. For the adults, make your own variety six-pack with the seasonal favorites we listed above.

Ghostly Beer Giveaway: Create cheesecloth ghosts of appropriate height and opacity, and once dry, set the ghosts over several bottles or cans of different types of beer. Make sure the cloth hides the label well enough that the beer cannot be deciphered. When guests arrive, have them choose a ghost-beer combo. They can drink the beer at the party and take the ghost home as a souvenir. For smaller parties, this works particularly well with larger bottles, like Victory’s V-Twelve. For larger parties, a 12 oz bottle variety pack can be used, like Magic Hat’s Night of the Living Dead.

Cider Cocktails – Instead of serving just straight cider, try your hand at making cider cocktails. This recipe has the benefit of being blood-red, but there are a number of delicious hard cider cocktail recipes out there, and you can use your favorite cider (we suggest McKenzie’s, Bold Rock or Johnny Appleseed) in the mix.

Costume Ideas:

Dead Guy – The namesake of one of Rogue’s top ales actually makes a pretty simple costume. Most costume stores will carry a skeleton suit of some sort. They will also probably have some sort of helmet/hat that is similar to the one on the label–gold or bronze is the color you’re looking for, particularly one that is tall. You can easily add length to a helmet by getting one that sits on top of, not around, your head. If you have trouble finding a suitable helmet, use the dome template on this page, and try making the bottom wider to lengthen the helmet. While you’re at the costume store, pick up some black and white face paint, and follow this guide to make your face into a skull. Carry a plastic beer mug around and voila. Bonus points for anyone with a barrel to sit on while they hand out candy.

Hop Flower – If you’ve got a little time, and a knack for a bit of sewing, a hop flower is a pretty straight-forward. First, you need a green beanie, shirt/dress and pants/leggings/tights. Second, you need a couple yards of light green material, and lastly a single sheet of green felt. The petals are roughly diamond in shape, with rounded sides, a pointy bottom tip and a flat top. Here is a basic outline. Measurements should be roughly 5 inches wide at the widest point, and 7 inches long. A little variance is okay, and petals near the top of the costume should be slightly smaller. How many you need will vary. To keep track, you can start pinning the petals onto your shirt or dress in rows as you cut then out. The petals in each row will touch, but not overlap too much. Rows should be roughly 3 inches apart, overlapping some with the lower row underneath the upper. Be sure to stagger the petals, like so. Cover the entire shirt or dress, and allow some petals to hang past the hem. It might be easiest to start from the bottom, and sew each row as you work your way up. For the hat, make a few small petals, sew then in a ring around about the middle of the beanie, and then sew on a green felt stem.

Beer Knight – A fun, cheap and relatively easy costume is waiting right next to your recycling; use your favorite old beer case boxes to create armor for yourself, including helmet, shield and breastplate. With a little ingenuity and a lot of clear packing tape, you can make a costume that will have people pointing you out at every party.

Autumn-Winter Transition Beers

Friday, October 30, 2015 | Anchor, Goose Island, Long Trail, New Belgium, Victory


Holiday season is upon us, meaning you’ll probably be attending all sorts of family gatherings, office parties and other events. As we transition from autumn to winter in the next month or so, we can find a variety of delicious brews that straddle the line of the seasons. Transitional beers are those that can be enjoyed from now through the end of the year, spanning a spectrum of flavors that go from harvest to freeze. So if you’re thinking about what beers you’ll be enjoying at Thanksgiving or the coming winter holiday parties, keep this list in mind.

Long Trail Harvest – This little brown ale has a little something special added to give it that wonderful holiday flavor; real Vermont maple syrup, imbuing it with a sweetness that remains well-balanced. It’s also sessionable, coming in at 4.4% ABV

Anchor Maple Leaf – Another maple beer that manages to walk the line of just-sweet-enough. This red ale’s hoppiness is tempered by the syrup’s flavor, creating a complex flavor profile. 6% ABV

Ithaca Country Pumpkin - Pumpkin season doesn’t end in October; you can have pumpkin pie (and pumpkin ale for that matter) right into December. 6.3%

Bold Rock Virginia Hard Cider - In the wake of pumpkin ales, we often forget that ciders are also in season. This is a great gluten-free option, and just a good, refreshing drink between heavier brews. 6%

Lancaster Shoo-Fly Pie Porter – Named for a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch molasses pie, this porter has subtle smoky sweetness and a hint of vanilla, perfect for pairing with holiday cookies or pie. 6.2%

Goose Island Festivity Ale - This ever-changing line of beers from Goose Island always packs holiday flavors in. This year, it’s full of caramel and dark fruitiness, enjoyable November through December. 7.7% ABV

Victory Over Breast Cancer

Friday, October 9, 2015 | Bars, Collaboration, Victory


As most of you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Victory is gearing up for the cause. To help them in their efforts, you need only go to one of the locations listed below and drink one of their delicious brews, the pink Kirsch Gose. A portion of the proceeds from every pint sold go to the Victory Over Breast Cancer fund. Additionally, Victory will be selling pins, all the proceeds of which will enter the fund, which in turn will be donated to Living Beyond Breast Cancer and Fox Chase’s Irma H. Russo Breast Cancer Research Lab.

Victory’s Kirsch Gose is typically a spring seasonal, but they brew a small, special batch just for this month. It’s got a big, tart, cherry flavor and crisp carbonation that’s hard to beat, so it’s a joy to drink, especially knowing that you are doing good for the world.

So go to one of the bars listed below, look for the pink V handle, and enjoy a pint with the knowledge that you’re making a little bit of a difference.

All Participating Bars

Berks County

Bucks County

Delaware County

Montgomey County

Victory Headwaters Grant

Thursday, September 17, 2015 | Environment, Sustainable, Victory


From the good folks at Victory:
Victory Brewing Company’s commitment to the environment runs deep. It was the nearly pristine water that led owners, Bill and Ron, to establish the first brewery in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. This water source, the East Branch of the Brandywine Creek, is a large part of the great flavor of Victory beer that their fans have come to love. When the time came to open a second brewery, it was a simple decision to keep it on the same water source, which is why the state-of-the-art Parkesburg, Pennsylvania brewery is located just 17 miles away and receives its water from the West Branch of the Brandywine Creek. In order to continue delivering consistently delicious, flavorful beer, it is critical that we keep the water clean, not just in our local Chester County, but across the country.

Five years ago, Bill and Ron established the Headwaters Grant, named for the beer which pays homage to the importance of clean water. For every bottle of Headwaters purchased, a portion has been donated to the Grant. Victory has been able to donate nearly $35,000 to local water advocacy groups and make a great difference:

“The Headwaters grant has enabled the Guardians of the Brandywine to pursue their mission to protect and preserve the Upper East Branch of the Brandywine Creek. With Victory’s Headwaters funds, we have established a stream monitoring program at four sites along the Upper East Branch, have restored riparian buffers with tree plantings and have established a Headwaters scholarship for college students studying our watershed.” - Guardians of the Brandywine

Association As of September 1, 2015, Victory will donate a portion of all Headwaters sales nationally. Our local wholesale partners, Gretz Beer Company and Penn Beer Company are showing their support of this important cause by generously donating a portion of every case equivalent of Headwaters Ale sold. With your help, we can make an even larger impact.

This Sunday, September 20, marks the first Victory Run for the Headwaters 5K.  It will begin at 11:00am at Victory in Downingtown.  The race (run or walk) will raise money for the Headwaters Grant, which funds water advocacy groups that work towards keeping the Brandywine River clean.  Please join us as a runner, walker, or volunteer and help make a change!  With your participation, you will receive a free beer (or root beer) and item from Victory’s Brew Pub on Wheels.

To participate as a runner or walker, please register here.

Drink Headwaters, Save the Planet!

Brewing for Independence

Thursday, July 2, 2015 | Anchor, Anheuser Busch, Rogue, Troegs, Victory, Widmer


With the 4th of July being this Saturday, you’ve likely made plans, either for your own party or to attend another’s. Whether you’re holding your own event or going to a friend’s/family’s, you can’t forget what goes best with BBQ and patriotism; a cold, refreshing beverage. Let’s go through a list of the best options to put in your cooler.

Anchor Liberty Ale – This effervescent IPA is crisp, piney and balanced perfectly with a firm backbone of sweet malts. It was first brewed as a celebration of the Bicentennial of Paul Revere’s famous ride to Lexington and Concord.

Rogue American Amber – Caramel and roasted malt character is accentuated by assertive hops in this American Amber Ale. Quite drinkable, a great craft brew for the uninitiated and craft fiends alike. As another plus, it’s available in cans for ease of cleanup and safe outdoor parties.

Victory Summer Love – This American Blonde Ale just screams summer with its bright, floral hops and bit of honey malts. It pairs well with pretty much any sort of grilled dish you can think of, but stands well enough on its own. So good there won’t be any leftovers. Now available in cans for the first time.

Budweiser – It’s a classic choice for the Fourth, and particularly in their beautiful Statue of Liberty emblazoned cans. Fill up a cooler (or two) with this and you’ll be sure to make a great party.

If you want to put a twist on the usual, there are some unique ways to incorporate beer into the festivities. Chances are when you were a kid, your drink of choice for the 4th was lemonade. Why not harken back to the good old days with a more adult version. Check out this list of shandies, including a few recipes to make on your own.

Another unique way to incorporate beer would be to add it to your cooking. Here’s a recipe for beer can chicken, with the suggestion of either Victory’s Prima Pils or Troeg’s Sunshine Pilsner. Or if you’re looking for an all-purpose marinade or mop, try this recipe and use either Troegenator or Widmer Bros’ Drop Top Amber Ale.

Pairing Beer with Chocolate

Monday, May 4, 2015 | Breweries, Food, Goose Island, Old Dominion, Rogue, Troegs, Victory


Chocolate, much like beer, is a treat to be savored. It has a reputation of being paired with strong emotions like love and sympathy, and for good reason. It releases feel-good chemicals serotonin and dopamine, creating a feeling of well-being that can be shared between lovers or help bring you out of a slump. Good beer can have a similar effect, relaxing and bringing cheer to the drinker. So it makes good sense to combine the two. If you aren’t sure on where to start, or what chocolate might pair well with your favorite brew, look no further than this guide on how to pair the two.

Stouts and Porters are the simplest way to start your foray into chocolate and beer pairing, because many of them include the roasty flavors that are in chocolate. Your first instinct might be to go with a dark chocolate for these dark beers, but milk chocolates actually complement the bitterness better by adding sweetness to the palate and allowing the strong flavors of the drink to play on the subtler notes of the chocolate. The milk in the chocolate will also play on the creaminess of milk stouts. Try DAGOBA’s milk chocolate with Old Dominion’s Morning Glory Espresso Stout to round out the flavors of both.

Brown ales can be paired with nutty chocolates, either those that actually contain nuts like almonds or hazelnuts, or those that simply carry nut-like characteristics. This will bring out the earthy tones in the beer that can sometimes be lost under its sweetness. Ghiradelli’s Intense Dark Hazelnut Heaven Bar will pair perfectly with Rogue’s Hazelnut Brown Nectar.

Sometimes you need something to sweeten your bitter, dark chocolate, and in that case, it’s best to pair it with a Belgian-style Dubbel or Tripel. Chocolove’s Strong Dark Chocolate has enough bite for Troegs’ Jovial.

Wheat beer can be great in combination with a citrus-accented chocolate. Darker chocolates will bring out more contrast in the two flavors for a great complement. Lindt’s Lemon EXCELLENCE Bar would go well with Hoegaarden’s Original.

It may not seem intuitive to pair something hoppy like a Pale Ale or IPA with chocolate, but there is a whole range of flavors that can work with the complexity in these beers. Chocolates containing citrus rinds like orange or lemon can bring out these flavors in the hops, and the same goes for floral notes. Alternatively, dark chocolates with chiles can be a wonderful combination with an IPA. DAGOBA Organic Xocolatl Dark chocolate is a good spicy chocolate to go with Goose Island’s IPA.

The highly alcoholic and quite varied Barley Wine can be the perfect partner with a strong chocolate that can compete with its flavor. This includes both sweet and bitter chocolates, depending on the profile you are looking for. Try Chocolove’s Ginger Crystalized in Dark Chocolate with Victory’s Old Horizontal as a good nightcap.

Floral Brews

Monday, May 4, 2015 | Ithaca, Old Dominion, Rogue, Victory


As we begin May and the scenery changes to one more colorful, we can reflect on mid-spring with beverages that high-light the growth of new flowers. When reading about different flavor profiles, oftentimes one will come across the word floral in the description, and it is what it sounds like; a flavor that tastes like flowers smell. A soft and fresh nectary sweetness that is often found in hops, but can also be aided by malts or even come from actual flowers. These flavors don’t tend to be as powerful–or as prevalent–as fruit or pine notes, but they can be found in some of the most delicious beers out there.

Ithaca Flower Power – As it was named for, this IPA is packed with a big floral flavor with fruity notes to back it up.

Victory DirtWolf – This hoppy nectar has a bit of honey sweetness to add to its flowery taste while still retaining a nice bitterness.

Rogue MoM Hefeweizen – This lightly spicy wheat beer is brewed with rose petals to give it a perfumed bitterness.

Old Dominion Cherry Blossom Lager – This springtime favorite has some floral flavors under its big cherry taste.

Crafty Recipes

Friday, April 3, 2015 | Anchor, Boxcar, Carlow, Food, Keegan Ales, Kona, Leffe, Old Dominion, Rogue, Starr Hill Brewery, Troegs, Victory


A beverage can be a great complement to a meal, or may be enjoyed on its own in partnership with only a great moment. But when simply drinking your favorite beers isn’t enough, there is another step to take in your appreciation for good craft brews. Eating them.

Just like wine is often used in culinary creations, beer can add wonderful flavors to all sorts of food, particularly since there is such a wide variety in flavors between all the styles of beer. Dips, sauces, glazes, desserts, breads, even pickled vegetables can all be made with a little help from your go-to beverage.

Googling recipes that call for beer can yield an overwhelming number of results. If you aren’t sure where to start, take a look at this list of recipes, and try making a few with our suggested beers.

IPA Beer Cheese DipStarr Hill Northern Lights

Beer-Battered FishKona Longboard Island Lager

Cream Cheese Beer Pancakes with Strawberry Saison SyrupHoegaarden and Anchor Saison

Beer-Soaked Grilled CheeseLeffe Brune

Craft Beer Can ChickenKeegan Ales Bine Climber or Troegs Cultivator

Dry Stout Beef StewO’Hara’s Irish Stout

Coconut Curry Beer Chicken SoupRogue MoM Hefeweizen

Slow Cooker Beer Brisket SandwichesDominion Morning Glory Espresso Stout

Belgian Tripel & Honey Black Pepper Chicken WingsVictory Golden Monkey

And if you’d like to try your hand at coming up with your own recipe, here is a brief and general guide on flavors to get you started.

Porters and Stouts – These dark beers are for adding intense flavors to a dish. Chocolate and coffee-flavored beers can be used in either rich desserts like chocolate cake or marinated meat dishes like ribs or pulled pork. Stews and soups can gain a bitterness from a dry stout or porter, while milk stouts can add a roasty sweetness to a glaze or sauce.

Wheat Beers – Fruity flavors are what hefeweizens and witbiers complement best. They’re a great addition to cakes, breads or tarts with fruit accents, and round out the flavors of sweet glazes and BBQ sauces. Honey, citrus, apricot, peach and berries are all flavors to add wheat beers to. Once you’ve tried those combinations, be adventurous and try it in combination with savory dishes like pasta and cheese sauces.

Fruity Beers, Barleywine and Saisons – These are flavors that can be a little more difficult to endow food with. It’s usually good to pair fruity beers and saisons with like flavors–candied fruits, ginger and other sweet-and-spicy notes–but barleywines need bold flavors to compete with. Roasted meats and heavy desserts like pumpkin dishes and dark chocolates can benefit from just a few tablespoons.

IPAs, Pale Ales and Pilsners – IPAs generally go with spicy dishes, but don’t limit yourself to that. Cheese sauces, breads, lemony dishes, seafood, and chicken can all benefit from the hops in the right conditions. Pale ales and pilsners can replace IPAs in many dishes, especially when looking for a milder flavor, and are more easily added to desserts.

Brown/Amber Ales – These sweet and mild brews are great for roasted chicken, pork, sticky-sweet desserts and sweet breads. Sometimes it can be added to beef-centric recipes, but it is the perfect level of flavor to be eaten with white meats.

If you’re just beginning to cook with beer, try adding it to sauces, glazes, and marinades, or try your hand at a beer bread, and before long, you’ll be looking for ways to add it into dinner every night.

The Growing Movement of Session Beers

Friday, March 13, 2015 | Anchor, Boxcar, Full Sail, Goose Island, Keegan Ales, Kona, Long Trail, Magic Hat, Victory


It’s no secret that craft beers tend to be a bit higher on the alcohol by volume, and that can be bad news for someone who wants to enjoy several brews in a night while still being safe. But have no fear! Low-alcohol session craft beers have been making their mark on the market in recent years and are on a climb in popularity. This means you can enjoy a party, round of cards or wedding while still enjoying your favorite craft breweries

The term session comes from the British, referring to the timeframe of a social gathering that involves drinking. In craft beer, a session beer has come to mean a beer under 5% AVB, but is still full of taste. So here we present a list of delicious session beers to try.

Full Sail Session Lager – What it lacks in ABV, it makes up for in big malt flavor and herbal hop character. 5.1% ABV

Anchor Steam Beer – This California Common beer gets its name from tradition West Coast brewing methods. 4.9% ABV

Goose Island Honkers Ale – An English bitter with fruity hops and a rich malt middle, making for a very drinkable brew. 4.3% ABV

Keegan Ales Bine Climber – Citrus hops lead this IPA, then is balanced by the malts, making it an especially good hoppy beer to drink a few of. 4.7% ABV

Kona Big Wave – Fruity flavors are suspended on bready malts, giving a full flavor to this blonde ale. 4.4% ABV

Long Trail Ale – This full-bodied amber ale is great for drinking around the campfire or bringing to a party. 5% ABV

Magic Hat Circus Boy – An unfiltered hefeweizen brewed with lemon grass that won’t have you on the floor. 4.5% ABV

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