Victory

Respect the Monkey

Friday, September 16, 2016 | Contest, Victory

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Living in this area, you’d be hard pressed to find a beer-lover who doesn’t have a story involving Golden Monkey. The tripel has become synonymous with wild tales and freed inhibitions, so it stands to reason that a collection of stories surrounding the beer would be quite entertaining.

If you need a new audience for your favorite Golden Monkey escapade, the folks at Victory are eager to hear it. Submit your story with a photo or video to RepsectTheMonkey.com for your chance to win exclusive Golden Monkey prizes. Submissions will be accepted until midnight, October 10th, after which judges will pick five video and five photo finalists. Then starting October 15th, fan voting will determine the final winners, which will be announced on the 29th. Finalists will receive a Victory t-shirt and a small swag item, while two grand prize winners will get a Golden Monkey prize package with signed memorabilia.

So tell you story and don’t worry if the monkey speaks.

To enter, click here, and for more information on the contest, click here.

Go for a Gose

Thursday, May 26, 2016 | Long Trail, Uinta, Victory

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Originating in Goslar, Germany in the 16th century, this wheat beer combines fruity sourness, herbal qualities, subtle spiciness and slight salinity for a complex flavor profile. The low hop character sets it apart from many big styles on the market today, but classifying it simply as another sour beer does a disservice to its other characteristics. It also doesn’t usually carry the high ABV associated with other sours. This is a style that wasn’t huge in the American market until recently, but it’s been gaining steam in the last few years as craft brewers expand their repertoire. It’s found a foothold in several breweries and will likely be expanding more before too long.

If you’d like to try this newly re-emerging style, we have a few recommendations for where to start.

Victory Kirsch Gose – A rich, bubbly texture and sweet, bright fresh cherry flavor cover this beer. A soft tartness and slight salinity create a clean taste that goes well over the wheat-y malt base. Plus, it’s sessionable at 4.7% ABV.

Long Trail Cranberry Gose – Cranberries, coriander and a dash of salt are all added to this unique brew to come out with a distinct tartness that only the fruit can deliver. However, the effervescence, like said tartness, is not overdone, and this remains and easy drinker. 5.2% ABV

Uinta Ready Set Gose – This one is on the straight and narrow, a good example of the style that allows the wheat malt and yeast combo to show its lemony zing and zesty coriander character. Clean, dry and light. 4% ABV

Victory Cage Radler

Thursday, May 26, 2016 | Victory

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Brighten up your taste buds and get ready for summer with Victory’s Cage Radler, a refreshing treat for warm weather. The lemon flavor pops in this German-inspired brew, with fresh-cut citrus on the nose and sweet lemonade on the tongue. A bit of graininess reminds you that you’re still drinking beer, but doesn’t take away from the bright nature of this brew. Perfect as you’re go-to after some intense biking, or just some intense lawn work. 2.75% ABV

Aging Beers

Friday, March 25, 2016 | Fun, Goose Island, Troegs, Uinta, Victory, Widmer

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Most beers are best drunk fresh, particularly those on the hop-forward side of things. But as with every rule, there are exceptions. Like fine wines, some beers dig deeper into their flavors with age, blooming into something truly extraordinary. Today, we’ll go over the best methods for choosing a beer to age, and what conditions are best for bringing out the most in your bottle.

Will It Age Well?

The flavors that hold true over time are breadiness, earthiness, blackcurrant, straw, woodiness, wine and sweetness. If you choose a beer that is strong in these flavors already, chances are they will only grow. However, do consider that metallic and cardboard flavors can develop in some beers. Also, beers with higher ABV (7% and up) tend to age better than those with less alcohol.

Don’t be afraid to experiment! Just as taste in beer style is relative, the styles that you may like aged are probably different than your neighbors’ or friends’ preferred aged styles.

So, here’s a quick rundown of the styles that might be good for aging.

Barleywines
Saisons
Winter Warmers
Sours
Lambics
Krieks
Gueuzes
Stouts
Porters
Oak-Aged Beers

Where and How to Store

There’s a reason that this process is often referred to as ‘cellaring.’ Beer of any variety hates heat and light. This is the cause of ‘skunkiness,’ or that stale, horrible flavor that one equates with a bottle that’s been found sitting on a porch after several weeks. This is why craft beers are stored in dark bottles or cans. So you’ll want a cool, dark environment to let your beer sleep. Temperatures in the low 50s are thought to be best, thought consistency in temperature is also key. If you have a corner of your basement that keeps cool year-round, that might be the places to set up your little aging center.

It’s best to keep your beer upright for several reasons. Although wine cellars have a tendency to store their bottles horizontally, vertical orientation helps to keep the beer from over-oxidizing and ruining the flavor. Also, if you are choosing the age a corked beer, that same cork can impart some not-so-pleasant flavors into the brew. Sommeliers refer to this as a wine being ‘corked.’

Deciding to age a beer can be fraught with impatience. The time that you store a beer is ultimately up to you. However, we so humbly suggest buying several of your chosen beer, and tasting it as it progresses, starting with a fresh sample, then aging one year, two years and so on to see how the flavor changes. Keeping note of the changes can be a fun project, as well as allow you to know what the best aging time is for your next go ’round. Plus, if you don’t wait as long as planned (there is that impatience again), you will still have a back up so you can taste what you otherwise would have missed.

Our Suggestions

Of course we have a few suggestions for as to what you might like to age. If there is something on this list you’ve liked fresh, maybe put a bottle or two away to see how your favorite flavors develop with age. There’s a few of these that will be off shelf for the season, so try and grab them while you still can.

Goose Island – Sofie

Troegs – Mad Elf

Uinta – Anniversary Barleywine

Widmer Bros. – Old Embalmer

Victory – Storm King Stout

Evolution – Bourbon Migration

Dark Beers for Winter

Friday, January 22, 2016 | Anchor, Evolution, Fuller's, Keegan Ales, Lancaster Brewing, Old Dominion, Rogue, Troegs, Victory, Wyndridge Farm

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We still aren’t done with winter, folks. With the cold season still coming on strong, let’s take a moment to look at the best beer styles to warm the soul when the weather is frigid: stouts and porters.The strong, roasted flavors of these styles provide a rich escape from the realities of the cold outside, and notes of cocoa or coffee keep the mind on warm beverages.

Porters are first mentioned in the early eighteenth century as a style of well-hopped ale made from brown malt and strong in both flavor and alcohol. They derived their name from being popular with porters, which allowed breweries to make this style in a variety of strengths. Stouts actually began as a type of porter, referred to as ‘stout’ or ‘double stout’ porters, due to their higher ABV than standard porters. Even today, there is some debate on whether the two styles should be separated as they are, as the difference between them is largely their alcohol content.

Anchor Porter: A rich and well-balanced drink with a deep roasted malt flavor and touches of chocolate and dark fruit. 5.6% ABV

Dominion Oak Barrel Stout: Infused with vanilla bean and oak chips, this brew is smooth, with woody, chocolatey and caramel notes. 6% ABV

Ithaca Super Stout: A coffee oatmeal stout is full-bodied and packed with bittersweet chocolate and coffee flavors. 4.9% ABV

Lancaster Double Chocolate: Cocoa nibs and pure chocolate were infused into this slightly sweet milk stout. 6.7% ABV

Fullers London Porter: Fuller’s has been brewing ales since 1654, so it stands to reason that their classic porter is one of the best representations of the style. 5.4% ABV

Evolution Lucky 7: Smokey and chocolatey with toffee and dark fruit notes, this porter is top notch. 5.8% ABV

Troegs Java Head: Locally roasted espresso and Kenyan coffee beans make this oatmeal stout taste like another delicious brew we know. 7.5% ABV

Keegan Mother’s Milk: A silky milk stout with licorice hints above a coffee and chocolate base. 6% ABV

Rogue Chocolate Stout: This one is chocolate all the way down without being overly sweet. Top of its class. 5.8% ABV

Victory Storm King Imperial Stout: Huge hops lay over the darkest roasted malts you’ll ever encounter for a rich espresso-chocolate profile. 9.2% ABV

Wyndridge Farm Farm Dog Chocolate Vanilla Imperial Porter: Madagascar vanilla beans and Ghana cacao nibs imbue this finely-crafted porter with the richest of flavors. 7% ABV

Victory Winter Cheers

Thursday, December 10, 2015 | Featured Beer, Victory

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A perfect brew to brighten your dark winter evenings. Winter Cheers brings joy to the heart and taste buds with a flavor full of spicy clove, sweet banana and a touch of citrusy tartness. It’s medium-light mouthfeel is refreshing in a season of full-bodied beers, and a touch of hop character rounds out the flavor profile nicely. 6.7% ABV

Barrel-Aging

Thursday, December 10, 2015 | Goose Island, New Belgium, Tennent's, Uinta, Victory

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Beer was housed in wood for centuries, fermenting, aging, traveling and even being served straight from barrels. Barrels were simply the best method of containment not only for beer but also wine, liquor, vinegars and even dry goods. Although the true time and place of origin for barrels is hard to determine as all early artifacts rotted long ago, the general consensus is that they were first constructed by Celts or Gauls in northern Europe around 300 B.C., and spread over the world after they were conquered by the Roman Empire. Although wine is now traditionally the drink that comes to mind when thinking of barrels, it is likely that the first barrels were actually made to house beer as the Gauls and Celts did not make their own wine until much later. With wood being lighter, stronger and easier to handle than the clay pots being used before, the use of barrels expanded into wine and other goods by 100 A.D.

Wooden barrels remained the standard housing for wine, beer and later liquor up into the 20th century. Somewhere in there, it was realized that the wood and aging process imbued the beverage with particular flavor qualities. Additionally, what had previously been stored in the barrel also had an effect on taste. Generally, this was prevented by adding a layer of pitch to the inside of the barrel before storing beer, but winemakers were making full use of this by the 19th centrury.

Wood has its downsides, though; it’s hard to clean, porous, and hard to seal completely. Because of this, beer had to be consumed quickly, hopped heavy-handedly or cask-conditioned in order to prevent infection. With the advent of metal brewing equipment and storage, barrels were all but abandoned by brewers.

However, the qualities provided by barrels were not forgotten, and now breweries are taking advantage of the flavors of wood, as well as the wines and liquors stored before. Barrels in beer-making are gaining popularity for some of the same reasons they were abandoned. Fortunately, breweries nowadays have the luxury of being selective in which brews they decide to age, and the barrels they age in, allowing for combinations to be orchestrated and perfected.

Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout may be the first modern craft beer that utilized the bourbon barrel-aging process that has taken the craft scene by storm. The bourbon gives this a unique sweetness and the oak a smokiness over chocolate caramel and vanilla notes.

A twist on a classic, O’Hara’s Barrel-Aged Leann Follain is allowed to sit for 90 days in Irish whiskey barrels, enhancing the chocolatey flavor of the stout with the addition of dry scotch.

Tennent’s Aged with Whisky Oak combines wood, caramel and vanilla flavors through the use of a single malt and toasted oak.

Uinta’s Jacked B Nimble is a part of their Crooked Line, a spicy imperial pumpkin ale that’s has a signature oak note and a touch of rye.

Victory White Monkey takes the beloved Golden Monkey and allows it to mature for three months in oaken barrels that once stored white wine, adding nuanced to an already delicious brew.

After eight months aging, Evolution Bourbon Migration puts the bourbon flavor at the front with notes of vanilla and char, balanced by chocolate, toffee and coffee underneath.

New Belgium La Folie is a sour brown ale that spends one to three years in a huge oak barrels called foeders, coming out with a sharply fruity flavor full of berries and apple.

Dessert Pairing

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

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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

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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

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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

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