Victory Brewing Company is another reason why I need to go to Pennsylvania on a beer trip immediately. I haven’t paid much attention to their beers critically yet, but a recent trip to Bierkraft to fill my growler had me choosing their Porter as the beer to bring to my Mom and Dad’s house where my Mom would be preparing her classic Hannukah dinner — Brisket, Potato Latkes, and Mushroom Barley Soup. This heavy meal demands a clean, sharp, crisp style of beer, and the guys at the shop ensured me that this was very “British,” which I took to mean clean and classic. It was, and it went down very well with the rich meal that included many of my favorite comfort foods.
Victory might not be the most hyped brewery that makes the rounds of beer shops and bars in New York City, but they are pretty venerable in terms of their history of brewing distinct and unique styles — their Golden Monkey was one of the first American-Brewed Tripels, and they keep their styles diverse enough that their reasonably priced beers deserve attention. I’ve had a few of their bottles here and there, and haven’t been wowed, but the growler I purchased this morning is almost gone, and that attests to how drinkable and clean it is. At less than 6% ABV, this roasty, dark ruby beer is more drinkable than it looks. It pours with a bright, white head and the carbonation is ample — enough to really send out tons of chocolate and coffee aromas. Bags Packed has a perfect amount of body, not too heavy up front, and finishes very clean. I drank the last half of the growler at “winter room temperature,” and it was perfect — very smooth and creamy mouthfeel, nice crisp hop bitterness on the finish, with a great amount of dark flavors to finish everything up. Since it’s been a while since I’ve offensively punned, I’m going to go right ahead and say that my Bags are Packed — Pennsylvania, here I come.