Five Reasons You Need to Visit the Victory Brewing Co.

The Beer Hall at Victory - great tastes await! (picture courtesy of Victory Brewing)

Don and I recently visited the Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown, PA and had a beer-soaked blast.  I was thinking about our trip over the weekend while enjoying a growler full of Victory Storm King I picked up at the brewery, and came to the conclusion that every beer nerd in America needs to visit the Victory Brewing Company if they’re ever near Philly.

Because this is the Internet and folks love lists, I’ve boiled it down to the Top 5 reasons you need to get to Downingtown. And before I begin to gush about the place (and I will, trust me) I want to remind you that we call ‘em how we see ‘em around here, and that we haven’t be bought off or brainwashed by the folks at Victory.  But we did drink the Kool Aid, and lots of it! …

1 – The Beer. This one might seem obvious (it is a brewery after all), but there’s a bit more to it.  You see, there’s stuff available only at the brewery that will blow your beer-loving mind.  For example, while Don and I were there, they had a selection of single hop beers contract brewed for the German Hop Growers Association for the Craft Brewers Conference.  Talk about a fun way to learn your hops! There were ales made with Hallertauer hops, Hallerdauer hops,  Smaragd hops (my favorite), Saphir hops, etc.  Each was delicious and well crafted and available only on tap at the brewery.  They also do small batch beers and try them out on the taps to see what the locals thinks, kind of like their own little focus group.  As a result, there’s always something delicious and interesting at the brewery that you can’t get anywhere else.

2 – The Food. I had heard good things before going, and the food lived up to the hype.  The menu is very creative and will satisfy most foodies, but everything is still accessible to normal people who just want a tasty meal and a nice beer.  We were there for two days and ate a ton of great stuff.  I had an amazing jerk chicken sandwich with smoked gouda and chipotle mayo and the most inspired plate of nachos I’ve ever seen in my life.  Don tried their delicious ribs (barbeque is a big deal at Victory), and had a really clever and terrifically tasty gyro pizza.  Everything we had was well conceived, fresh, well made and delightfully delicious.  There’s something on the menu for everyone and a number of things I have vowed to try when I go back.

It must be Friday at 5pm, because the cask is gettin' tapped! (Picture courtesy of Victory Brewing)

3 – The Culture. I was really excited to see how the locals have taken to Victory.  As we sat in the brew pub on a Thursday evening, there was a steady stream of locals coming in to get their growlers filled.  I saw one guy pushing his young daughter home in an umbrella stroller with a full growler looped over each handle.  This struck me as a sign that the people of Downingtown know a good thing when they taste it and that if you brew great beer, people will know what to do with it. The bar was also full of smiling folks who were having fun, and they lined up at 5pm on Friday for the weekly tapping of the cask.  This time it was a delicious double-smoked Rausch beer, and the locals ate it up (or knocked it back – you get the idea).  Overall, the folks who work at Victory and those who patronize it really seem to “get it” when it comes to beer, and that makes it even more fun to be there.

4 – Growlers! And speaking of the locals, they are spoiled by the custom-built Austrian (or is it Czechoslovakian?) growler filler that features a CO2 evacuation step, which extends the shelf life of each growler filled.  It can dispense 20 different beers and is very entertaining to watch, like one of those tourist vending machines that make a hot wax statue while you watch it (but in this case you get beer when it’s done!).  The growlers stay fresh for a long time and cost $7 to $11 to fill, once you’ve purchased the very cool growler bottle, which is an additional $15.  If I lived near the brewery, I would take full advantage of this, because $7 for two liters of wonderful beer is a bargain.  I loaded up on two growlers while I was there, one filled with the CBC Smaragd single hop ale and one for my wife filled with Storm King.  Both were a special treat, and the Storm King tasted so much fresher than from a bottle, with the hops more subdued, allowing the chocolaty body of the beer shine through.

5 – Excellence. This is the impression Don and I got from Victory.  Everything they do, they do with excellence.  How many breweries can make 20+ beers and have each one turn out superb?  How many restaurants can have a menu full of delicious creative dishes that just about anyone can enjoy? How many places insist on only the finest, freshest, most authentic ingredients in both their beer and their food?  How many places take the time and care to make a connection with the community the way Victory does?  Very few, that’s for sure.  We left the place blown away by their high standards and the consistently excellent taste of the beer and the food. And the bathrooms were clean, which is always nice.  Again, I know this sounds like a Victory commercial, but it’s coming from the heart – the place is really special.

On the downside, the place is really loud, too, especially when Friday night gets rolling.  This is due to the high ceilings and lack of sound-deadening material.  It’s a lot of fun as you feel like you’re in the middle of the action, but it can get tiring after a bit if you’re old and cranky.  But then again, the beer can fix that!

Another downside is the location.  Downingtown is a lovely little town, but the site of the brewery was chosen for access to the clean waters of the Brandywine Creek, not the tourist attractions.  There’s not a lot to there other than visit the brewery.  This is fine for me, as my wife loves beer, but could make it a hard sell for folks who are trying to talk their spouses into a visit.  I recommend saying things like “Amish” and “antiques” and see if that’ll do the trick.

And if you do go, another bonus is that there is fairly reliable cab service in the Downingtown area.  Don and I stayed at the Comfort Suites, about 10 minutes away from Victory.  And while the cab cost $25 each way, it was money well spent, as we were able to enjoy all the fruits of Victory without putting anyone at risk or worrying about taking it easy.  I highly recommend doing the same, as you’re going to want to try every selection on the beer menu.

Have you been to Victory? If so, tell us your thoughts in the comments!

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Categories: Beer, Brotherhood, Lifestyle

Author:Jim

Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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15 Comments on “Five Reasons You Need to Visit the Victory Brewing Co.”

  1. Don
    April 26, 2010 at 12:24 pm #

    I wanted to add a reason to the bunch Jim.

    6-The People! Jim and I had unprecedented access to Victory Brewing and almost all the people who work there. From their wait staff to the Bill and Ron the owners of the brewery, and everyone in between, the people at Victory are great. They all seem to be uncommonly driven and strive for perfection. It can be tasted in every beer they make, really not a clunker in the batch. If you go, make sure you take the tour because you will hopefully get to meet a bunch of these people. Great folks all.

    • April 26, 2010 at 12:30 pm #

      Agreed, Don. They’re a good bunch over there. Especially Frank, “The Yeast Whisperer”!

      • Don
        April 26, 2010 at 12:39 pm #

        I agree, Frank was awesome, but lets not forget about Kevin and his magical “Pig tail”!

  2. April 26, 2010 at 10:44 pm #

    I only need one reason…Hop Devils!
    The Growler is why I stopped making my own beer and that was 10 years ago.

    • April 27, 2010 at 5:13 am #

      I could see how having the brewery close to home might stop you from brewing your own. So much excellent stuff, so many styles, so fresh and so affordable. Why bother trying to do better? I think I’d become a growler collector as well!

  3. mikemoriendi
    April 27, 2010 at 9:30 am #

    The Wings of Victory were off the hook! Especially the Smoked Chipotle sauced ones. I’m looking forward to going back this summer.

    • April 27, 2010 at 9:37 am #

      Wings! Dammit, I knew I missed something. I think I’m dragging the family there in June, so I’ll definately get some wings when we’re there. I’ll also refill my growlers – mmmm growlers!!

      • mikemoriendi
        April 27, 2010 at 11:05 am #

        If you are going in June let me know. I’ll be in Philly June 3-13 for Philly Beer Week. I’ll meet up with you.

        • April 27, 2010 at 11:07 am #

          That could be VERY cool, Mike. I think we’re looking at the first weekend in June, but I’m lumping in my family with my buddy’s family and they are the ones doing most of the planning. So once they tell me what’s going on, we’ll work it out. And I commend you for using your vacation time wisely!

        • Don
          April 27, 2010 at 11:37 am #

          I wish I lived within driving distance of that place!

        • April 27, 2010 at 11:41 am #

          You do, it’ll just take a couple of days, Don. 😉

        • Don
          April 27, 2010 at 11:44 am #

          Ha Ha, very funny. If I lived where you do Jim, my wife would think I was having an affair, because I would say I’m going to the store then come home 8 hours later! Of course the growlers might give me away!

        • April 27, 2010 at 11:45 am #

          If you were married to my wife she wouldn’t miss you and would welcome the growlers.

    • Don
      April 27, 2010 at 9:54 am #

      DOH!!!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Brewpub On Wheels « Beer & Whiskey Brothers - October 1, 2010

    […] no secret that we’re big fans of Victory Brewing’s beer and the great food they serve in their brewpub, but now they’ve taken it to a whole other level.  I watched the […]

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