Monday, September 12, 2011

Victory Root Beer: claiming Victory all day long

After spending nearly one-year in Philadelphia my internship began to slow down which finally allowed me to engage in some activities that I simply did not have the time to do earlier in the year. One of these such activities was visiting the local root beer brewers, one of which was located, seriously, less than 5 miles from where I worked!!!!!

Located in Downingtown, PA a modest suburb of Philly, Victory Brewing Co. has been bottling micro-crafted beverages (the other beer) since 1996 when two beer loving friends came together to indulge in their shared love. The fact of the matter is that Ron Barchet and Bill Covaleski had been fine tuning their brew crafting skills as far back as the mid 80's and so when Victory opened their doors the sky was the limit. They chose this small suburb for two reasons, according to Bryan Audet the restaurant manager, the Brandywine River and the availability of an old Pepperidge Farm factory. They in fact use the water from the river for an added distinct flavor and have renovated the old factory into a full functioning brewery. Bryan assured me that they filter the water extensively but leave in all the good stuff. Victory has claimed some very significant crafted (other) beer awards over the years but he explained that at this point they have refocused on expanding their market share.

It is unclear when Victory began
brewing root beer but most recently they began bottling it in 12-ounce amber long-necks and the local response has been overwhelming. Bryan explained that they often run out of their drafted root beer at the restaurant and now the bottles even run scarce. I was fortunate in being able to grab a six-pack during my visit to the restaurant which is located on site at the brewery. I grabbed enough to pass to the other Brothers. I must admit however, that my arrival to the brewery caused some alarm. The parking lot is just as it was back in the Pepperidge days, it is set up like a factory. In other words, no parking near the door. I first thought maybe I was at the wrong place and that this was employee parking for the brewery. The reality is that it probably is employee parking along with customer parking. So my short walk from the parking lot led me to the entrance of a place that DID NOT look like the inside of a factory!! This restaurant was very impressive, modern, clean, nicely decorated, and not even a hint of an old factory. The wait staff seemed suspicious when I asked to see someone who could talk about the root beer. I tried to explain but it really is not easy to explain what or even why we Brothers do what we do. Hesitantly she ushered Bryan to my table. He was more than willing to tell me all that he could about Victory and the brewery, a real delightful conversation, indeed!

What I was first impressed with was the slogan I found on the six-pack packaging which read, "our root beer is our way to claim Victory at any time of day"!! Now that simply melted my heart!!! The next thing I noted was the fact that this was no "screw off top" nope I indeed (or actually the waitstaff) had to "pop the top". That was very cool!!! The brew had a very pleasant presentation, light and crisp, lots of vanilla and distinct yucca flavor. It may have been the yucca that caused a moderate bite, not a Barq's Bite but one that will be easily noticed. The flavor was distinct but not over bearing and carbonation moderate, a perfect brew to compliment my pizza that they served. In fact I should admit, the root beer was actually much better than the pizza.... please consider however that I have spent a year of eating pizza from downtown Philly where pizza has been perfected for generations!!! I am certainly one to enjoy a good brew with my food... any food... and Victory would be a good choice for that. As a stand alone brew I would say that Victory may not be so sure.... but you gotta eat sometime and you should follow it down with brew that won't make you forget what your eating. I extend 3.5 Frosty Mugs to Victory and a huge thanks to Bryan and the courteous waitstaff.


check out Victory Brewing Co. at

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