Steeped in European tradition and committed to American experimentation, Victory Brewing Company, located outside Philly in Downingtown, PA, has become a standard-bearer of sorts for the Northeast craft brewing scene. At their state-of-the-art brewing facility they produce a diverse array of well-balanced, yet flavorful beers, using 23 different yeast strains and exclusively whole leaf hops. In this tasting we try three of their high-gravity offerings to see how many complex flavors they can put in a bottle.
The Golden Monkey is a hazy, yellow-gold Tripel with great head. The aroma is yeasty, with hints of honey, caramel malt, and alcohol. The flavor up front is sweet with a crisp, almost lager-like finish, and even though this beer has a high ABV, the alcohol flavor is far from over-powering. An easy drinking American take on the classic Belgian Tripel.
A glass of Old Horizontal looks like liquid toffee. It has a hazy complexion, with a rich, yet quickly dissipating, pale yellow head. The smell is thick, with notes of toffee, cherry, and apricot. The taste starts sweet but rounds out from heavy hopping and finishes with a slight alcoholic burn. This is a good after dinner drink - a sipping beer to be enjoyed with dessert or perhaps a nice cigar.
The Storm King is an imperial stout, the color of strong coffee, with a tan head similar to that of a Coca-Cola. In the nose we find notes of roasted barley, coffee, and some sweet toffee as well. The King's taste is lighter than one might expect, with roasty malt notes giving way to a smokey, espresso finish. This beer gives the body a soft warming sensation, and even those of us who tend to favor lighter styles, find this beer pleasant and satisfying.
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