Tag Archives: Pennsylvania

764. Victory Brewing Helles Lager

Victory Helles LagerMy second free beer from Victory, not a new beer but a new name. Victory Helles Lager was previously Victory Lager or at least I think it is the same beer.  If I am wrong please correct me.

Nothing too crazy here but exactly what I expect from a Helles Lager. Pale yellow color with minimal aroma. Slightly sweet and a bit of grassy on both the aroma and taste. Finish is super clean and refreshing. This beer was gone in no time and something I would certainly drink again.

Nothing crazy but a Helles Lager isn’t supposed to be. 
Pros:

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 4.8% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Victory Brewing
Brewers Description: There was a time when all beer tasted this good. Back when immigrant Brewmasters turned fresh malts and hops into liquid gold. Before big business lessened our precious beer with corn and rice. Having trained in Germany, we thirst for better beer. So, we brew better beer like this crisp, golden, helles-style lager. Brewed with patience from quality German malts and hops, it is a Victory for Your Taste!®

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761. Victory Brewing Anniversary 19 Session IPA

Victory Anniversary 19Victory contacted me a few months ago and asked if I would be willing to review some of their beers. I love DirtWolf and Hop Ranch and I also love free beer. A few weeks after being contacted a package arrived at my home with Anniversary 19 and their Helles Lager. I was surprised to see their 19th Anniversary beer was a session IPA. Seems most breweries offer up a big, barrel aged or other more special beer.

Session IPAs are not my favorite style. There are other styles of beer that work better for flavorful low ABV beer. This one pours a very pale yellow with a thin white head the disappears quickly leaving little to no lacing on the glass. Aroma was mild with some lemon but not much else. Taste is very light with some lemon zest and light floral hops. Finish is slightly bitter.

Overall this beer is refreshing and good for what it is but I wouldn’t make much of an effort to track it down. 
Pros:

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 4.5% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Victory Brewing
Brewers Description: Welcome to our birthday bash! As our gift to you, we’ve brewed this crisp and easy drinking session IPA – full of hop flavor – for you to enjoy all night long. So put this beer to your lips and start shakin’ what your mama gave you – the party is just getting started.

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731. Voodoo Brewery Hoodoo

Voodoo Brewing HoodooThis beer was part of the box from one of  my underwriters in New Jersey. Voodoo Brewing is new to me but I am always willing to try another IPA.

Hoodoo pours a nice orange color with a minimal head that left almost no lacing. Aroma was the best part of the beer with lots of juicy hops; grapefruit, citrus and some pine. Taste falls short of the aroma with a sweet start, hoppy middle and fair amount of bitterness in the finish. I had high hopes after smelling this beer.

To be fair I have no idea how fresh this bottle was so that may have contributed to the lack of hops in the flavor.
Pros:
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 7.3% ABV
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Voodoo Brewery
Brewers Description: Forged in the bowels of the Meadville bayou, this IPA ushers your soul down a twisted journey on the 7C’s.  This Voodoo brew will insight your dark side and open a portal to your hoppier senses. The 7C’s alchemic concoction of 7 different hop varieties starting with the letter “C” conjures your taste buds into a piney-citrus paradise fit for a Hoodoo doctor.

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640. Tröegs Brewing Nugget Nectar

Troegs Nugget NectarThis bottle came in an exchange from Virginia, there were actually two in the box and I had one within days of getting the box to ensure freshness and then opened this one a few weeks later. My review below is based on the original bottle as it certainly lost something in the few weeks it sat in my beer fridge.

The first thing you will notice about Nugget Nectar is the excellent label art, love the hand wringing the juices out of the hop. One might assume with a name like Nugget Nectar that it would be an IPA or a DIPA however this is actually an Imperial Amber. The appearance is what I expect from an amber, deep copper coloring with a bright white head. Lots of lacing on the glass and very clear.

Aroma is a nice mix of sweet malts and piney hops. Taste follows with a very sweet start followed by those piney hops and a slightly bitter finish. Overall Nugget Nectar is well balanced and tasty for an amber. Certainly worth tracking down if you know someone that has access to Troegs beer. 
Pros: 

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 7.5% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): 93
Rating: 
Brewers Website:
Brewers Description: 
Squeeze those hops for all they’re worth and prepare to pucker up! Nugget Nectar Ale will take hopheads to nirvana with a heady collection of Nugget, Warrior and Tomahawk hops. Starting with the same base ingredients of our flagship HopBack Amber Ale, Nugget Nectar intensifies the malt and hop flavors to create an explosive hop experience.

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598. Victory Headwaters Pale Ale

Victory Headwaters Pale AleBack to back pale ales that are both good but while Out.Haus Ales was focused on the malts this one focuses more on the hops. I picked this up as part of a mixed 6-pack of 12 ounce singles on my first visit to Craft Beer Cellar Portsmouth. This beer and the next few beers were part of this pack.

This one pours a deep amber color with a thick off white head. A fair amount of carbonation gives you some large bubbles in the head. Aroma has plenty of fruit and floral hops but pales in comparison to Hop Ranch and DirtWolf as it should being a pale ale. Taste was quite nice with a nice mix of floral and fruity hops with a sweet malt finish.

Overall this is a nice hop forward pale ale, not as hoppy as Mo from Maine Beer Company  or Edward from Hill Farmstead but I didn’t really expect it to be. 
Pros: 

Cons:
Alcohol Content: 5.1% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Victory
Brewers Description: Malted barley, hops and yeast are the building blocks of beer. But none of these elements would exist without water, the essence of life. The waters that feed our brewery begin just over a dozen miles away, making for spectacularly pure and vital water for brewing. Having worked with watershed advocacy groups since our inception, we value our headwaters, our source, in many ways. We think you’ll value them as well when you taste this firmly crisp and aromatically arousing pale ale.

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595. Victory Brewing Hop Ranch

Victory Hop RanchIt is great to see some of the larger craft breweries stepping up and making some truly excellent beers. Victory released two double IPAs in a short amount of time; DirtWolf and now Hop Ranch. Both are in 12 ounce bottles but that is really where the similarities end. It is probably not fair to compare the two but I will anyway.

Hop Ranch is considerably lighter than Dirt Wolf. HR also  has a significantly different hop profile, this one is more towards the citrus and tropical fruits than the piney, dank hops used in DirtWolf. Taste moves even further away from DirtWolf with an earthy spiciness to start and a nice tropical finish. DirtWolf smells and tastes dank and piney. I think Hop Ranch does a slightly better job of hiding the alcohol content but both are easy drinking.

Overall Hop Ranch and DirtWolf are both excellent DIPAs and I hope Victory continues on this path of making truly excellent beers.
Pros:
Great hop profile
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 9.0% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Victory
Brewers Description: To our hop ranchers, who coax and cultivate our enticing and flavorful hops, we raise this glass. Selecting the finest varieties in their natural, whole flower form, we craft our Hop Ranch Imperial India Pale Ale, as a celebration of their successes. Pungent, floral and intense, this represents America’s best, in every relaxing sip.

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583. Victory Brewing DirtWolf Double IPA

Victory Dirt WolfA couple months ago I asked if the collaboration between Otter Creek and Lawson’s Double Dose IPA was the best IPA available in a 12 ounce bottle. At the time most agreed and while I am not sure DirtWolf from Victory tops Double Dose it is close. This is a truly excellent double IPA and certainly the best beer I have tried from Victory Brewing.

DirtWolf pours a deep orange color with a bright white head. One place where DirtWolf lacks is in the aroma. Double Dose had a huge fruity nose while DirtWolf  has more of a piney dank smell to it. Not unpleasant but I would buy an air freshener with Double Dose’s aroma and certainly would not with DirtWolf.

Taste adds some nice citrus flavors to the pine but also is fairly bitter. This is an excellent DIPA but I think Double Dose still takes the title of best IPA in a 12 ounce bottle.
Pros:
Dank hops
Cons:
Alcohol Content: 8.7% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: 
Brewers Website: Victory Brewing
Brewers Description: Darkly heroic, Humulus Lupulus (hops) have empowered brews with bite and character since the 11th century.  DirtWolf is a tribute to these untamed vines which rise from the earth with the voracity of a “wolf among sheep.” Hops have made an assertive comeback in American craft brewing.  Revel in the best U.S. varieties of hops, in their natural, whole flower form, as they bring a vital, pungent reality to the soul of a wild element in our dangerously satisfying DirtWolf Double IPA.

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305. Yuengling Traditional Lager

Another lager from Sunday afternoon and another beer that I got through a friend. This also may be my first review of a green bottle beer – I’m not going to look back through the prior 304 reviews but I cannot think of another green bottle beer.

This beer looks to have potential after the pour with a nice amber color and thin white head. Again the aroma is typical lager style with some sweetness but almost no hops. Beer is fairly simple but more flavorful than the prior review of Cisco Brewers Light Lager. Certainly some sweet malts to start and a slightly bitter finish. Overall a quality lager and certainly sessionable at 4.4% ABV. 
Pros:  
A decent amount of flavor for a lager
Cons: 
Alcohol Content: 4.4% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating: ★★☆☆
Brewers Website: Yuengling
Brewers Description: An iconic American lager famous for its rich amber color and medium-bodied flavor – with roasted caramel malt for a subtle sweetness and a combination of cluster and cascade hops, this true original delivers a well-balanced taste with very distinct character.

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227. Weyerbacher Harvest Ale

This is another beer from Weyerbacher I had high hopes for only to be let down. This one is their Harvest Ale which is supposed to be an IPA brewed using hops straight from their own farm however I am not getting any hop aroma or flavor from it. The only thing I can think is the bottle may be old but I could not find a bottled on or freshness date on the bottle.

Color is typical of a quality IPA with the nice orange color and thin white head. Lacing was good to start but has almost completely disappeared now. Of course I have been drinking the beer for 30+ minutes hoping it would improve as it warms. Aroma and taste are all malt with a very mild bitterness but no hop bite, no citrus or pine notes – drinks more like a red than IPA.

Really hoping this is just an old bottle as I was very disappointed with this option from Weyerbacher.
Pros:
Cons:
Alcohol Content:
 6.2% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating:  ★★☆☆☆
Brewers Website: Weyerbacher
Brewers Description: Harvest Ale is a 6.2% “wet-hop” IPA made from pale, munich, crystal, and wheat malts. It is hopped with a bounty of cascade hops straight from the brewery’s own farm! The bitterness is restrained to allow the fresh-hop aroma and flavor to shine through.

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215. Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA

I had high hopes for this one as I like double IPAs and Weyerbacher makes some very good beer. The bottle is very nice with cork and wire cage and it took me quite some time to actually get the cork out of the bottle. Could not find any bottle on date so I have no idea if this was fresh or had been around for a while. The appearance of the beer is great; unfiltered, huge head and a deep orange color. Lots of aroma with malts and hops which was surprising.

I figured it would be all hops as many DIPAs are. Taste is lots of hops and alcohol with an oily mouth feel. I had hoped for something a bit more balanced that masked the alcohol better. I have reviewed a lot of double IPAs in the past few months and this one will end up near the bottom of the list.
Pros: Appearance
Cons: Oily mouth feel, strong alcohol taste
Alcohol Content: 9% ABV
Calories: ???
IBU (Bitterness): ??
Rating:★★★☆☆
Brewers Website: Weyerbacher
Brewers Description: Double Simcoe IPA, 9.0% abv, is our incredible reward for Hopheads seeking the intense hop flavor in a Double IPA, without the harshness. It is brewed untilizing only the Simcoe hop variety. This hybrid hop, developed and trademarked by Select Botanicals Group, LLC in the year 2000, was created for its high alpha acid content, maximum aromatic oils, and low cohumulone(harshness) levels so that brewers can really put a lot of ‘em in a beer and not create an overly harsh taste.

Double Simcoe IPA is a full-flavored ale with hints of pineapple and citrus upfront, a good malt backbone in the middle, and a clean finish that doesn’t linger too long. Check it out, and you’ll soon see why everyone’s talking about it. Double Simcoe is available year-round.

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