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.
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.
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.