Victory Brewing Company

Last night was an awesome night! Back in February I entered a homebrew competition called War of the Worts X. One of the categories was HopDevil Clone – the objective being you were suppose to brew a beer that cloned Victory’s HopDevil, and the winner was awarded a personal brewery tour with one of the two owners of Victory Bill Covaleski. Well I had an IPA in bottles at the time, though it was not made to clone the HopDevil nor did it taste a lot like it, it was worth the chance to try and win the prize. Fortunetly, I did win – check out the full story from february here.

Basically, here’s a shorted version of how my evening went, if you want more juicy details give my ass a call or fire off an email. Anyway, Todd & I got up to Victory in Downingtown, PA just before 6PM. We met Bill Covaleski at the bar. We came armed with ECPA II (HopDevil Clone) and an empty growler. Of course Bill was very curtious and welcoming which was a relief, and taller than I expected. But anyway, he offered to get us beers. Bill was drinking Prima Pils, I had a DTown Brown (which was like a cross between a mild and a porter, so maybe like a light porter or strong mild), and Todd had the HopDevil on cask condition (cask whore).

After another beer, Bill & Todd had the same thing, I had the DTown Brown on cask, we headed into the brewing area for the tour. First, he showed us this little area, maybe 20×50 feet and he said that all of there brewing equipment use to fit in that space (which Weyerbacher is now in possession of). Then we headed to the new brewing area and I almost shit my pants!

It was one of the most beautiful, well kept pieces of German engineering I had every seen. As Todd later said to me, “It felt like I was in a dream.” Bill explained everything, answered all of our questions, and actually made us feel comfortable and included, how cool. We passed through the brewers office on our way to the hops freezer. This room smelt like heaven! There were thousands of pounds of compressed hops everywhere, stacked from floor to ceiling, I loved that room. As Bill said, “You probably haven’t seen anything like this since the pages of High Times.” Wow! From the hop freezer we went to the where the fermentation and serving vessels are. The coolest part was seeing the costum made tanks for the Golden Monkey, these guy’s balls must hang low, I give them mad credit. From there we breezed by the quality control lab on our way to check out the cleaning system and then off to the packaging house. The packaging house totally had a Lavern & Shirley thing going on. The best part of the packaging house were the two cooler rooms. They had these two giant walk in coolers that were packed full of different Victory brews ready to be drunk. I literally think I saw an alleulia light shining out while a choir of angels sang, I definetly zoned-out until the door closed to say the least. I think Todd heard something more along the lines of Homer Simpson, “…ummmm beer.”

After the tour, Todd & I grabbed another beer. This time he had Prima Pils a la Bill-style and I had a HopDevil on cask. Unfortunetly at that time Bill had to leave, he had other obligations with his family that I am afraid that I may have made him miss. So we grabbed a seat and grubbed. We split hot wings, then Todd got the brat sandwich and I had a burger. I was happily surprised when the waitress told us our dinner was taken care off, I hadn’t realized that Bill was going to pick up the tab as part of the prize, which of course made everything taste even better. So we threw down a nice tip and headed on our way. Todd went to the gift shop and bought Cali his daughter a HopDevil onesy and a T-shirt for himeself. I filled my growler on the way out with the V-12. It was really a great, great time. I only have one complaint, which I know will sound lame, I was hoping to be able to try the Throwback Lager or the St. Boisterous – both of which were on the beer menu, but were no longer on tap. Just one more reason to go to Victory more often. Thanks again, Bill!

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