The V-Man is a serious softball player, and this past weekend he wanted to get some swings in at the batting cage. He was meeting some of his teammates, and not having anything better to do, I joined them. I first took some swings in the slow pitch softball cage, and while I was not smacking the ball around, I at least made contact on all ten balls. Granted, they would have all been weak grounders to second or short, what are known as ‘Double-Play Balls’, but at least the ball was put in play. I then took some cuts in the fast pitch softball cage. My performance there was sad. When I was done, the high school girls who were waiting their turn were all giggling, and I do not think it was because they thought I was cute.
After the spring training session, we retired to Just Jakes in Montclair for some beer and appetizers. Being the beer dork in the group, I was asked for advice on ordering. I suggested to a guy who liked Hoegaarden that he try the Leffe Blonde. He loved it. The rest of the group was choosing between the Victory Hop Devil or Long Trail Double Bag. The lone female in our group (who outslugged me in the batting cage by a considerable margin) deemed the Hop Devil to be “too perfumey” for her, and opted for the Double Bag. While I slightly disagree with her beer choice, I think “perfumey” is a good description of the Hop Devil. It has a serious hops aroma, which you notice before you take a sip. Hop Devil is another of my ‘go-to’ beers. This beer is damned good and eminently drinkable. It has enough hops ‘perfume’ to keep the beer snobs happy, and enough balance and flavor to entice the macro-beer drinkers in to giving it a try. 8/10.
The Victory Helios is a rebranding and repackaging of Victory’s Saison. The Victory Saison was my summer beer last year. It was a classic Belgian Farmhouse Ale, light, crisp and refreshing, with some yeasty sourness to make it an interesting brew. It does not seem like much has changed with the Helios, other than the bottle is no longer corked (Boo!) and the price has come down considerably (Huzzah!). It is still dry, crisp, refreshing and wonderfully complex, with notes of lemon peel and black pepper spiciness on the nose and on the tongue. 8.5/10.