Summer’s Here and The Time is Right for Drinking in The Streets: Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils and Victory Prima Pils

August 21, 2012

What a drag it is getting old…

Mama’s Little Yella Pils from Oskar Blues is a crisp pilsner, slightly fruity smelling, mildly herbal and grassy tasting, with a pale yellow color and a quickly dissipating foamy white head. It pours crystal clear, and has a mild lemon zest flavor, with an aftertaste of mildly toasted grains. This is not a hop bomb, but no pilsners can make that claim. I popped this open after a run in the Florida sun and enjoyed this refreshing beer immensely, 7.5/10.

Prima Pils from the always excellent Victory Brewing is a bit different from the usual pilsner. Remember when I said that no pilsners can claim to be hop bombs? The Prima Pils almost makes a liar of me, as it is more aggressively hopped than is the norm for a pilsner. Beer purists probably object to this, because it fails to adhere to the standards set forth by the Great Beer Council of 1512, but I am ok with it. The flavor starts off mild and herbal before the grapefruit zest and black pepper hops kick in on the back end. I am not saying this a hop bomb beer, but it is certainly a hop bomb pilsner, making the Prima Pils a pilsner for IPA lovers. The 5.3% ABV is low enough to make this a good session beer. This is not the standard to compare other pilsners to, as it quite different, but it is delicious, 7.5/10.

Keely Smith’s Favorite Beer


Victory Headwaters Pale Ale

June 25, 2012

I am genuinely surprised that I have not already reviewed Victory’s Headwaters Pale Ale, as it has become something of a ‘go to’ beer for me over the past year or so. It is not a groundbreaker in any way. It does not push the limits of what can be defined as beer. It does not redefine the pale ale genre. It does not make me see visions of comely wenches lounging languidly as I drink and guffaw in my Falstaffian glory, and yes, there are some beers that do that. Frankly, it is not even my favorite pale ale, as the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is still my number one pale ale.

It may not be any of those things, but it is still a damn fine beer. The hops are assertive without being overpowering, and there is some malty sweetness on the back end to make this a nicely balanced beer. It is dry, crisp and refreshing, not heavy at all, and at 5.1 % ABV is an excellent session beer. This is the type of beer I would give to a beer neophyte in order to introduce them to the world of good beer, and yet is good enough to give to beer snobs, as I did with GEB a few weeks ago. Yet another fine offering from Victory, 7.5/10.


Victory Summer Love Ale

May 6, 2012

Fireworks, thunderstorms, the legs on that girl who worked the register at Swensen’s, baseball on the radio, fireflies in a jar, Gator taking the mound, crappy jobs that I have come to love in my later years, the smell of freshly cut grass, early mornings in the caddy shack waiting for a loop, Doc taking the mound, perpetually skinned knees and elbows, taking the afternoon bus to NYC, seeing concerts on the Pier, falafels at Mamoud’s, root beer floats from the Magic Fountain, bumblebees, helmetless bike rides, the chirping cricket thermometer, pizza from the Magic Table, pick-up baseball games at Stagg Field, skateboarding down Gavin Road, Grunning’s, getting lost in Turtle Back Rock, honeysuckles in bloom, ice cold beer.

There are not many things I’d change about the summers of my youth, but I would replace the Olympia (or whatever swill I was drinking back then) with a beer as good as Victory’s Summer Love Ale. I am not normally a fan of German style beers, but this is exceptional. It pours crystal clear, with a tangy, slightly bitter aroma. It has a mild floral hops flavor, just enough to give it some bite, but subtle enough to not be overpowering. It is crisp, refreshing, with just a touch of lemon zest in there and at only 5.2% ABV, you can have a few to quench your thirst on a hot summer day. I hope this is available all summer, as I’d like to drink it in the dog days of August, 7/10. Maybe this will be my beer when Darvish takes the mound. I doubt he will have a debut season like Doc had, but stranger things have happened. Now if I can just find some decent pizza in Texas.


Victory Hop Wallop

May 26, 2010

Tilting Suds is a big fan of Victory Brewing.  Hop Wallop was a Christmas offering a few years back, and proved to be so popular that it was made into a year round Imperial IPA.  It is aptly named, as it does pack a wallop of hops bitterness.  Hazy and pale gold in color, with a fluffy white head, this has the lacing of a hefeweizen, but that is where the similarity ends.  This has piney hops, orange peel hops, grapefruit hops and just when you think that you are hopped out, here come some peppery hops.  The Hop Wallop is very dry with no malt sweetness whatsoever.  I loved this beer, 7.5/10, but I am not sure how many of these I would want to drink in a night, and at 8.5% ABV, I am not sure how many I could drink in a night.


Victory Yakima Twilight

April 28, 2010

I am a big fan of Victory Brewing.  Their offerings are usually excellent, and the Yakima Twilight is no exception to that general rule.  It was maltier than I expected, almost chocolatey, but that is not a complaint. The malts are more prominent than the hops, but the hops are definitely present in a resinous sticky aroma and flavor.  It is a complex and interesting beer, with a touch of smokiness, and well worth a tipple.  This is described by Victory as an American Strong Ale, and at 8.7% ABV, it is certainly strong.  It reminded me of a porter, albeit a hoppy porter.  No matter how it is described, it gets an 8/10.


Victory Hop Devil and Victory Helios Saison

March 25, 2010

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.


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